Sonia Travaglini honored with Teaching Effectiveness Award

Sonia Travaglini being awarded the prestigious Teaching Effectiveness Award (TEA). Photo credit: Anne Brice
PhD candidate Sonia Travaglini’s main research focus is mycological materials — materials made from mushrooms — and how they can be used to help solve ecological and societal problems.

What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the TEA?

It’s a proud moment! Working with the MEng students is inspiring, and helping them share the value of their work is what continues to motivate me to grow as a teacher.

What compelled you to submit an essay?

During my time with the Fung institute I’ve been glad to be a part of the journey MEng students experience as they develop their skills — I wanted to help fellow learners to explore science writing and how to use it to express the importance of their work.

Can you share a little about your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is student centered — my approach is rooted in empowering my students and supporting self-motivated learning. Engineering is as much an art as it is a science, and I encourage students to connect to their own life experiences to develop intuition and confidence in their writing.

What are some lessons you’ve learned through teaching?

The most important lesson for me is that learning is different for each student at each phase of their academic career — for experienced, accomplished learners such as the MEng teams, I learned that the best way for students to learn science writing, is by doing it.

How do you manage your PhD and being a GSI, and everything else you have on your plate?

Finding time for everything can be a challenge, but I find having a lot of projects going actually helps as every day is different. If my research is proving difficult, it cheers me up to read my students’ work and immerse myself in their research journey.

What is your favorite thing about Berkeley?

The huge range of things to get involved with at Berkeley! From the many Certificate programs to the maker spaces where you can 3D print, every semester I find something else new and exciting to do.


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Berkeley Master of Engineering

Content hub for UC Berkeley’s Master of Engineering Program. Explore the many ways our students, alumni, and faculty are contributing to thier field.