Maynard Awarded Texas Exes Teaching Award
From exploding soda cans to comparing dead end filtration to a vacuum cleaner, Chemical Engineering Professor Jennifer Maynard has a knack for bringing lecture material to life, but it is her effort outside the classroom that really inspired students to grant her a 2012 Texas Exes Teaching Award.
“Words cannot express the extent to which I have benefitted from Professor Maynard’s instruction, both in and out of the classroom,” said Julie Fogarty, an undergraduate student who nominated Maynard. “She’s always accommodating and begs students to come to office hours. She even seems disappointed when only one or two people come by.”
Maynard, who is also the undergraduate faculty advisor, added extra office hours to ensure students have ample opportunity to ask questions or seek help to better understand material. She even returned early from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting in Minneapolis to help students review for an exam and initiated a chemical engineering (ChE) team to run the five-mile Turkey Trot last semester.
“Dr. Maynard has a contagious enthusiasm,” said Fogarty. “She has a warm and welcoming personality and never acts irritated with my questions, regardless of how silly they are. She always gives her advice openly and serves as a calming, supportive force.”
Maynard is also actively involved with student organizations. She has held faculty firesides for Omega Chi Epsilon, the ChE honor society, and attended icebreaker events for the AIChE student chapter.
“She aims to achieve a real sense of togetherness within the department,” Fogarty said. “She regularly participates in extracurricular activities and genuinely wants to hear about students’ educational and social concerns.”
Texas Exes, the university’s official alumni organization, provides the annual $1,000 teaching award for a professor in each school and college to recognize instructors who positively influence the educational experience of students. Faculty especially value the acknowledgment because it is student nominated and selected by a student-based committee. Maynard accepted her award at a private ceremony in the Connolly Ballroom of the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on Feb. 21.
“Professor Maynard’s award exemplifies our commitment to undergraduate education in the department,” said Roger T. Bonnecaze, department chair and T. Brockett Hudson professor. “We’re really proud of her. She is only the second woman in the Cockrell School of Engineering to receive this honor.”
Maynard holds the Laurence E. McMakin, Jr. Centennial Faculty Fellowship and joined the department as an assistant professor in 2007. She currently teaches Material and Energy Balances (ChE 317), Thermodynamics (ChE 322), Mass Transfer and Separations (ChE 363) and Quantitative Analysis of Molecular and Cellular Biology (ChE 379/384). She received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UT Austin in 2002 and a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University in 1996.
Three other ChE faculty members have received the Texas Exes Teaching Award since the awards began in 1982: Roger T. Bonnecaze (’96), Buddie Mullins (’99) and Hal Alper (’09).