UCLA Engineering 2023 Award Recipients
in Teaching Awards
very year, the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering selects and recognizes outstanding achievements by a number of its alumni, faculty members and students who have excelled in various fields. Below are profiles of the recipients of the Eon Instrumentation Inc. Excellence in Teaching Award and the Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award.
Eon Instrumentation Inc. Excellence in Teaching Award
Professor of Computer Science
Jens Palsberg’s student-centered teaching style and meticulously organized classes have consistently earned him high praise from computer science and engineering students at UCLA over the last two decades. More recently, students from chemistry, physics, mathematics and other disciplines have taken his classes and given similar rave reviews.
A professor of computer science, Palsberg regularly teaches an undergraduate course on compiler construction. He also teaches graduate courses on quantum computing and quantum algorithms. The two-course sequence is now a requirement for the new Master of Quantum Science and Technology program offered through the Physics and Astronomy Department.
For Palsberg, cultivating a welcoming learning environment is important to teaching. He makes every effort to help students learn new and complex concepts. He has applied the same creative approach to his own learning, exploring quantum computing as a new research focus and became one of the world’s renowned leaders in the field in only a few years. He has since published several papers on the topic and is part of a national effort to build undergraduate programs in quantum computing.
Regarded by many students as a clear and engaging professor, Palsberg designs his lectures with a memorable hook and a preview on what each lecture will entail. He has strived to look at problems not only from an instructor’s standpoint, but from students’ point of view as well, making easy-to-understand connections as he progresses through the syllabus. He aims to make his lectures as self-contained as possible, allowing students to stay focused on learning each new concept.
Palsberg joined UCLA in 2003 from Purdue University where he was a professor. His research interests include programming languages, software engineering and quantum computing. At UCLA, he served as chair of the Computer Science Department from 2010 to 2015 and is now the faculty director of the Science Hub for Humanity and Artificial Intelligence — a collaboration between UCLA and Amazon launched in 2021. He received a master’s in computer science and mathematics from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, where he also earned a Ph.D. in computer science.
He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) — the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society — and an associate editor of ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing. He received the 2012 ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award and was named an ACM Distinguished Speaker.
UCLA Samueli’s senior teaching excellence award this year is sponsored by Eon Instrumentation Inc. Founded in 1961 and headquartered in Van Nuys, California, the company operates a second facility in Oceanside and designs and manufactures military-qualified electronics products for airborne, shipborne and ground vehicle platforms.
Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award
Carissa Eisler ’10
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Since joining the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering faculty in 2019, Carissa Eisler has been at the forefront of bringing innovative educational techniques to help enhance students’ learning experience.
An assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Eisler’s research interests include nanophotonics, renewable energy, and optoelectronic and photonic devices. She teaches courses on transport phenomena and semiconductor manufacturing as well as a chemical engineering laboratory class.
Eisler incorporates the “think-pair-share” method into her lectures, where students are encouraged to think independently first on topics at hand before discussing them with a classmate and then within a larger group setting. This approach helps foster more engaging intellectual discussions between students and their instructors. Her efforts to incorporate inclusive and creative teaching techniques to improve her students’ classroom experience have been praised by students and faculty peers alike.
Students have cited Eisler’s willingness to listen to feedback and adjust her courses in real time as one of the reasons for her consistent high marks in course evaluations. In addition to helping her students academically, she has served as an advisor for multiple teaching and outreach programs, including Learning Spaces at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Women in Engineering at UCLA.
To promote active learning, Eisler works with the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences to integrate undergraduate learning assistants into her courses, allowing students to have more direct educational support from peers who have succeeded in the course previously.
Eisler earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UCLA. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, where she worked as a graduate researcher and was selected as an Everhart Distinguished Graduate Student Lecturer. Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, Eisler was a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.
Among her many accolades are the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Department of Energy, the UCLA Society of Hellman Fellows award and the Professor of the Year award from student-run organization American Institute of Chemical Engineers at UCLA.