Barnali Mazumdar and Joseph Grenier Awarded LSU University College’s Alumni Association Teaching Assistant Award

Barnali Mazumdar and Cliff Vannoy

Barnali Mazumdar, doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, and Cliff Vannoy, president and CEO of LSU Alumni Association. Photo: LSU University College

BATON ROUGE – LSU University College presented its annual “Celebration of Excellence” Spring Awards program on Thursday, March 14, at The Club on Union Square. The college awarded $66,000 through 55 undergraduate student scholarships, four LSU faculty teaching awards, two graduate teaching assistant awards, and one LSU Advisor of the Year Award.

During the ceremony, Barnali Mazumdar and Joseph Grenier were each awarded the LSU University College’s Alumni Association Teaching Assistant Award. LSU University College’s Alumni Association Teaching Assistant Award is presented to a teaching assistant that has demonstrated an environment of learning in the classroom as well as inspiration.

Mazumdar is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders.

“Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to LSU Alumni Association for providing me with such a prestigious honor and recognition,” said Barnali. “I accept the Teaching Assistant Award not only as encouragement but also as a responsibility to conduct high-quality teaching and to develop cutting-edge teaching models in the future. I want to dedicate this award to my students who have validated my active-learning based teaching philosophy with their enthusiasm, involvement and excellent performance in my class.”

Mazumdar earned her Master of Arts degree in linguistics from the University of Calcutta in Kolkata, India, in 2009, as well as her Master of Arts in philosophy linguistics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, in 2013. She has received numerous awards including the 2017 and 2018 Asian Indian Caucus Student and Clinician Scholarship and Academy of Neurologic Communication  Sciences & Disorders Conference Student Fellowship in 2018. One of her many publications is the ‘Sociolinguistic adaptation process of the Bangla Western aphasia battery-revised' published by the Journal of Indian Speech Language & Hearing Association in 2018.

“Due to Barnali’s caring and observant nature, she has also recognized students who were struggling and offered them assistance before they asked,” said Neila J. Donovan, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “Given what we know about student challenges and struggles early in their freshman and sophomore years, I feel Barnali’s ability to recognize a struggling student is a true gift that has benefitted her students and our department as well. She has used ‘LSU CARE’ to make appropriate referrals, so students don’t fall through the cracks. A number of these students have thanked her later, and to my knowledge, five students have stated they changed their majors to COMD based on their interactions with Barnali.”

Mazumdar’s teaching evaluations illustrate positive feedback from her students. One student commented, “She was an amazing teacher and had the entire classes well-being in her best interest. She made sure everyone understood the course work before moving on to other topics and went very in-depth details”

Joseph Grenier and Cliff Vannoy

Joseph Grenier, graduate teaching assistant of the Department of Math, and Cliff Vannoy, president and CEO of LSU Alumni Association. Photo: LSU University College

Grenier is currently working toward his Ph.D. in mathematics in the College of Science.

“As a graduate student, there's always this worry that you’re spending too much time on your own work or spending too much time on teaching,” said Grenier, teaching assistant in the Department of Math. “When I have to make a decision, I ask myself which is the greater responsibility? For this degree, I am accountable only to myself. When it comes to teaching, I have a civic duty to share my understanding with others. With few exceptions, I will always choose my students. Receiving this award is a reminder that I'm making the right choice.”

Grenier earned a Master of Science in applied mathematics from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2015. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from the State University of New York and an associate degree in Arabic from the Defense Language Institute in California.

“Joe is a truly outstanding teacher,” said James G. Oxley, Boyd professor in the Department of Mathematics. “He generates an excellent spirit in his classroom, one that helps to relax and engage his students. He knows and uses his students’ names, is very well prepared, and gives clear explanations in response to questions. His energetic presentation style is very successful at involving his students in the lesson and his questions frequently generate choruses of responses.”

His teaching evaluations are consistently high with written comments from his students that include:

  • “Grenier is the best teacher I have ever had. He is gifted when it comes to teaching. He made something that I would consider hard easy to understand.”
  • “Mr. Grenier is an awesome math teacher. He is very good at explaining the material and very helpful when answering questions.”
  • “His students recognize how much he cares about their learning, so much so that they take follow-up courses with him. He would be a most worthy recipient of the LSU Alumni Association Teaching Assistant Award.”

University College salutes all of these deserving individuals and expresses our gratitude to donors for their continued support. University College Teaching Award Selection Committee included Marybeth Lima, chair; Granger Babcock; Tracy Blanchard; and Clint Bordelon.

Since 1933, LSU University College has served as the portal of entry for students enrolled at LSU. Academic and personal success is the hallmark of a well-rounded student, and University College provides a foundation of support services for students beginning their academic careers at LSU.  University College has two enrollment divisions: The Center for Freshman Year and The Center for Advising and Counseling. Additionally, University College offers retention-specific programs:  Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars, and Summer Scholars. These academic support programs focus on particular student populations and are a significant part of the role and mission of University College.

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Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations