CELEBRATING OUR SENIORS: Academic Excellence Workshop (AEW) Facilitators are graduating and moving on! Best wishes and gratitude!

Each semester we have to say so long to some of our most experienced and cherished AEW facilitators.  This year, at a time when we cannot give the in-person recognition that they deserve, we celebrate eight Cornell Engineering seniors for the dedication, time and expertise that they have shared with peers in core engineering courses. We do this by sharing how much they have meant to the program, their students’ success, and by letting you hear a bit of their thoughtful voices. This group led the charge on transitioning to an online scenario using rapidly trained best practices for creating online engagement.  They continued to improve their practice throughout the semester, and students appreciated the effort! They have also inspired a new cohort of applicants to become Facilitators.  Each new applicant interviewed this spring mentioned that their experience as a student in an AEW, was invaluable and was what led them to want to apply and to give back to fellow students in the same way they were supported in their early semesters at Cornell. This was an incredibly challenging last semester to be an AEW Facilitator and these graduates and their peers succeeded with professionalism and poise.

Juan Berrio

One of our most experienced Facilitators, Juan has been with ELI for over 4 semesters, most recently facilitating a workshop for CS1112, Introduction to Computing Using Matlab. Additionally, he just completed his final semester as AEW Co-Lead, a position he has held for the past several semesters.  Co-leads collaborate on development and running in-semester training workshops, regular communication with Facilitators, organizing the process of Facilitator observations and much, much, more! Juan graduates with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and we will miss his passion for teaching and his great, dry sense of humor!

Student Gratitude for Juan:

“Thank you for helping me through the semester! Your humor and enthusiasm always made the class enjoyable and the content bearable. I wish you the best in the future!”

“Thank you for putting up with me and my questions…I’ve only known you for what, a semester? In that time, though, that’s the sense of self you gave off. Like you can do anything. … Good luck, and stay safe”

What Co-facilitator Emily Care learned from working with Juan: Reflection, May 2020- “Meeting in person to make lesson plans and worksheets. I was able to brainstorm ideas with Juan in real time and was also able to learn a lot about how he teaches and develops learning materials. I would not have been able to know him as well or work with him as well without meeting in person to talk”

Abby Swanson

Another one of our most experienced Facilitators, Abby has been with ELI for 5 semesters and graduates with a degree in Computer Science.  This past semester Abby facilitated not one but two sections of CS1110, Introduction to Computing Using Python, with different co-facilitators while completing her final academic semester! In the past, she also acted in a leadership role as co-lead.  Abby is cherished as a facilitator for her positive energy, patience and kindness, and going above and beyond to support her students’ learning! We will miss her incredible initiative and work ethic.

Student Gratitude for Abby:

“Abby is such a great facilitator!!! …. she’s so patient and teaches us the material. She puts in so much effort for us to succeed like giving us supplementary worksheet during our spring break. I wish her all the success after college and hope she knows what a great help she was to us” 

“Thanks so much for taking the time to host our CS 1110 workshop. You have really helped me a lot with python and have made the course much more enjoyable than stressful. Before the workshop started, I felt anxious about the course, but after meeting weekly with the group, it helped calm a lot of my nerves and taught me a lot. Thanks for always being so kind and upbeat. Good luck with everything you plan to do!”

“Thank you for being so patient and helpful. You always bring such positive energy to the class and it will always make my day a little better. Best luck with everything!”

Abby Kotwick

This Chemical Engineering graduate has facilitated AEWs for 3 semesters. This recent semester it was in ENGRD 2700, Engineering Probability and Statistics, with another one of our graduating seniors, Camilo Cedeno-Tobon.  Her students shared gratitude for her ability to help them develop strong understanding of the material. We will miss her hard work and great skills immensely!student peer educator

Student Gratitude for Abby

“It was a pleasure to have you as my facilitator not once, but twice. You’re so smart and helpful and there’s so much I wouldn’t know without your help. I remember you being in my AEW freshman year for diff eq and its crazy to think that 4 years flew …”

“Thank you for taking the time to help me out. It has massively impacted my understanding of the material and I’m grateful. Best of luck in your next adventure”!

Adam Wojciechowski

Adam, also a highly experienced facilitator, graduates with Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science degrees. This past semester Adam Facilitated a deeper understanding for students in Math 2940, Linear Algebra. We will miss the incredible ability that Adam has demonstrated for helping students understand course concepts!

Student Gratitude for Adam:

“You’re the reason that I’m learning in this class. … you are the reason why I truly understand the core concepts of Linear Algebra. I can’t thank you enough for the immense value you’ve brought to my college education.”

“Adam thank you so much for being an amazing 2940 AEW facilitator this semester. Your teachings are so clear. When you explain things, they make more sense than they did before. I hope you have a good career and good luck with your future endeavors.”

 Andrew Xu

Andrew has been another long-term facilitator, most recently working to support students in Math 1920, Multivariable Calculus for Engineers. Graduating with a degree in Computer Science, this committed, patient, and dedicated facilitator will be missed for his excellent understanding, and ready support for engineering peers. Thank you for the difference you made to your students and to the AEW Program!

Student Gratitude for Andrew:

“You answered every question with great wisdom!”

“Thanks for your time and patience Andrew! You were super helpful this semester!”

“Good luck in the future Andrew!! Wishing you the best”.

Camelia Wu

We are lucky to have had Camelia as a facilitator for 2 semesters before she graduates this spring with a degree in Chemical Engineering. This past semester she worked with students to deepen their understanding of Math 2930, Differential Equations for Engineers.  Her students’ responses speak to her value in the program. We are glad to have had you with us for these 2 semesters!

Student Gratitude for Camelia:

“Thank you for being an awesome facilitator. You always took the time to explain concepts step by step, and knew how to try a different method when something wasn’t working. Wishing you luck! “

 “Thanks so much for all the help this semester! Your help and explanations really made a difference in how much I got out of the class, and the AEW was a bright spot during the week!”

Here is one main take-away Camelia shared from being an AEW facilitator:  “… communication, interpersonal skills, and public speaking. Running a good class is not just about knowing the material, but making it fun, engaging, and clear for the students. It is about taking in their perspectives and interests and doing what is more helpful for them even though it might not be most convenient for me…”

Sheetal Athrey

Graduating in Computer science after 5 semesters of facilitation, most recently CS 2110, Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures, Sheetal’s students note her approach-ability and clear way of helping students understand the course material. We will miss the positive, friendly attitude and welcoming classroom environment Sheetal maintained while working with her students and becoming an amazing facilitator.

Student Gratitude for Sheetal:

“Thank you so much for all your hard work in teaching CS 2110 AEW this semester!! You helped me so much in learning the material and I don’t think I would have done as well if I hadn’t taken the AEW. Best of luck in your future endeavors. Congrats on graduating “

“Thank you for being an awesome facilitator! You had very clear explanations and were always super friendly!”

 Sheetal shared some of what the AEW Program has meant to her:  “I’ve grown to understand not just how to teach, but how to understand the different ways people learn and conceptualize material…(its also about) creating an environment in the classroom where everybody thrives…These 5 semesters have helped me grow as a mentor and is an experience that shaped my Cornell life. It has taught me things that will stick with me as I start my career. ”

 Camilo Cedeno-Tobon

Camilo has facilitated AEW sessions for 3 semesters. This spring he co-facilitated ENGRD 2700 Engineering Probability and Statistics with another graduating senior, Abby Kotwick. We will miss Camilo’s easy smile, obvious professionalism, and dedication to the students he has helped to succeed!

Student Gratitude for Camilo:

“Thanks for always being so helpful and patient. I feel so lucky to have you as my TA first semester in college and this year for AEW. Best luck with everything.”

“Camilooooo! I really don’t know where I would be without your intelligence and selflessness. Thank you for taking extra time to help me with material even if it was 10 pm on a Thursday night lol. Your efforts never went unnoticed! You and Abby are such a great AEW duo (the best I’ve had for sure) and I enjoyed all my time with you guys. Can’t wait to see what you accomplish after December and congrats on all your success!”

“I really appreciate the effort you put in to make sure we all engaged with the material. It has been extremely helpful to me. Congrats and best of luck post-graduation!”

Camilo shared some aspects that he valued in the face-to-face and online teaching and learning environment :(Face-to-face) “Being able to have the students sit in groups at a table and work on problems together. That is not possible online. I feel like the environment makes a huge difference in how students engage with each other.”

(Online victory)” Being able to screen share my iPad and write on the lecture slides was very useful. Writing on an iPad can be very clean, so I think it is a good way to lecture!”



For sticking it out with us and supporting your peers’ learning at a difficult time. Spring semester 2020 was time when your skills were most needed and also a time when you were working with your own transition to online learning as Seniors finishing your degrees! We are so proud of what you were able to accomplish and we wish you the very best in your next endeavors. The world is in need of some great new leaders. All the best, and please keep in touch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *