Larimian – UCSB Teaching Assistant Award

ECE's Shabnam Larimian honored by UCSB’s Academic Senate for excellence in teaching

photo of larimian

The UCSB Academic Senate has selected Shabnam Larimian, a PhD candidate of electrical and computer engineering, to receive the 2020-21 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Recipients are selected by a committee composed of past award winners, and representatives from the Graduate Council and the Council on Faculty Welfare, Academic Freedom, and Awards. Advised by electrical and computer engineering (ECE) professor Dmitri Strukov, Larimian says that the prestigious award reaffirms her career path. 

“The opportunity to teach and learn from students has strengthened my conviction to pursue a career as an educator,” said Larimian. “This award is a huge motivator and booster for me to stay on the teaching path and contribute to my own learning experience and that of my students.”

Larimian has served as a teaching assistant for the core ECE 10 Series, which teaches students the foundations of analog and digital circuits and systems. Last summer, she was part of a team of ECE instructors and TAs who worked together to transform the in-person 10 Series labs into remote, but still hands-on, learning experiences. They created remote kits that were shipped to each student, working diligently beforehand to program the microcontrollers, so that when the students received the kits, they could download the code to operate them from home. 

“As a teaching assistant, the pandemic made me think about how we can remotely provide students with an in-person experience,” said Larimian. “For example, I tried to provide students with a high-quality learning experience from home by providing much more detailed instructions during a lab experiment to eliminate any questions a student may have.”

Larimian says that the aspects of teaching she enjoys the most are interacting with engaged students, serving as a role model to female students, and helping students understand material for the first time. 

She has accepted a position at Uber as a software engineer, but Larimian plans to apply for faculty positions at universities in the near future.

UC Santa Barbara’s Academic Senate recognizes faculty members and graduate students each year for excellence in teaching and mentorship. This year, three faculty from the College of Engineering and one graduate student were honored for outstanding achievements in a range of activities that support the research and teaching missions of the university. Committee members selected recipients from a pool of nominations submitted by current graduate students, recent alumni, and colleagues. Winners will be honored by the Faculty Legislature during a virtual ceremony to be held later this spring.

COE News – "Recognizing Excellence" (full article)