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Suren Jayasuriya receives ECE Outstanding Ph.D. TA Award

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Suren Jayasuriya was recently honored with the 2015 Outstanding Ph.D. Teaching Assistant Award from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. A TA in the spring 2014 semester for ECE 2100, Introduction to Circuits, Suren was nominated by Professor Clifford Pollock. During the course, Suren conducted three lab sessions each week, held office hours, and presented lectures.

When he volunteered to be a TA for the class, Suren had never taken any introductory circuits or microelectronics courses, and was nervous about teaching the material.  “I took this as a challenge,” he said, “and since I was learning the material for the first time, I could easily relate to the students and truly ‘teach from the front lines’. I enjoyed helping students learn how to debug their breadboards, a learning experience that teaches persistence and determination over seeming failure.”

In evaluations, many students cited Suren’s enthusiasm and energy in the lab. One student claimed “during lab hours, Suren moved swiftly from person-to-person without taking hardly and breaks for himself.... He hustles with drive and energy that seem to stem from one who is truly passionate for EE.” Another student wrote: “Suren is one of the best TAs I’ve had in college. His politeness and energy really make him easy to work with. He answers questions with remarkable clearness and can make a complex issue appear simple; few people (even some professors) can do that.”

Since teaching, Suren has brought several students from the courses into his lab group to do undergraduate research. “I have enjoyed this new experience of mentoring and showing them how the concepts they learn in class can be useful in research,” he said. “It’s been fulfilling professionally to see the students I have taught grow intellectually. Teaching has been an amazing experience for me, and I hope to TA again soon.”

Three other ECE students assisted Suren as teaching assistants for the class: Alex Ruyack (Ph.D. student), Visarute (Earth) Pinrod (Ph.D. student), and Anthony Boiano (M.Eng '14).

Suren is a Ph.D. student in Cornell ECE under the direction of Associate Professor Alyosha Molnar. His research interests are in computational imaging and photography, mixed-signal integrated circuits and sensors, and computer graphics/vision. He received a Jacobs Fellowship from Cornell ECE in 2012, and a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2013, and is a finalist for the 2015 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Before Cornell, he received a B.S. with departmental honors in mathematics and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.

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