On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, the Graduate Division and Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Teaching and Resource Center presented Jonathan McKinley with the Outstanding GSI Award in Engineering at the International House in Berkeley, CA. The Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) Award honors over 200 UC Berkeley GSIs each year and recipients are nominated from within their teaching department.
McKinley is a second year Masters candidate in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Bioengineering. He develops computational models of orthopedic implants adjacent to bone, specifically within the spine. Jonathan earned a Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley in 2015 and went on to work in the Berkeley Orthopaedic Biomechanics Lab as a staff researcher. He’s in his second year teaching as a GSI for the unique Berkeley Master of Engineering course, E295: Communications for Engineering Leaders.
“Jonathan McKinley came on board in the middle of the school year, to take over a GSI that had to leave unexpectedly. He jumped right — full of enthusiasm, good cheer, and genuine interest in the program. He was very quick to catch up with the rest of the instructional team; and, more importantly, to ease the transition for students and to make the classroom his own,” said Alex Beliaev, Director of Academic Capstone Experience. “Right after the year ended, Jonathan sought out opportunities to become engaged with curriculum development — working to develop workshops on industry research for career development, project posters, and white-boarding techniques. I’m very happy to have him on our team — and, given that he’s pursuing his PhD — look forward to future collaborations!”
In addition to his academic endeavors, McKinley enjoys traveling and staying active. He recently represented UC Berkeley at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championship in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he placed first!
“Our GSI team is integral to our leadership curriculum at the Berkeley MEng, both in their modeling of great leadership and inspiring us with their innovative backgrounds,” shared Beth Leven, Director of Academic Affairs at the Fung Institute. She added: “Historically, our GSIs have been both innovative and interdisciplinary, which adds to the unique experience we want our students to be exposed to.”
In between his busy schedule, we sat down with Jonathan McKinley to reflect on his Outstanding GSI Award recognition:
What are some lessons you’ve learned through teaching?
Having high expectations for every student is the greatest gift that I have received from past teachers and that I can give to current students.
Can you share a little about your teaching philosophy?
I believe one-on-one meetings either with groups or individuals are the most valuable hours of one’s degree. Personalized meetings are opportunities to provide feedback and convey advice but also to demonstrate the enjoyment one can cultivate for the process of writing and communicating. I believe that enjoyment for a subject comes well before mastery of that subject.
What does this award recognition mean to you?
I admired Dr. Vivek Rao, a past Fung Institute GSI, for his ability to inspire an audience and lead by example. His reputation as a teacher proceeded him when my adviser spoke of his ability to teach and mentor technical communication students. It is therefore an honor to be recognized by the same award which was presented by the Fung Institute to Vivek in 2014.
Congratulations Jonathan on your well-deserved recognition, and thanks for being an important member of our team!