Associate Professor Yael Niv has been selected as one of the recipients of the 2018 Graduate Mentoring Award. Niv will be honored during the Graduate School’s Hooding ceremony Monday, June 4, 2018.
The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate School sponsor this annual award to honor Princeton faculty members who are exemplary in supporting the development of their graduate students as teachers, scholars, and professionals.
Yael Niv, a faculty member since 2008, studies the neural and computational processes underlying reinforcement learning and decision-making. “Her strong background in both the computational and experimental sides of neuroscience means that she provides strong support in both areas,” said a former student. Niv is known for modeling a “principled, methodical approach” to science. “Yael was relentless in challenging me to think about every aspect of design and analysis,” said a former student, now a professor. At the same time, Niv also is invested in her mentees’ success down to the smallest details. Said a current doctoral candidate, “Some days you may sit together and debug code, others you may bounce creative ideas off one another or go through equations on the board, and with each student, she tailors her approach to their needs.” Niv’s students marvel at her own productivity while mentoring others. “She reads every conference paper, abstract and poster, even when I sent them hours before they were due and while she was on a parallel grant deadline,” said a former graduate student and postdoc. “Yael puts her students first in a way I have rarely seen anyone else in her position do, often making me wonder how she can possibly have time and energy left for anything else,” said a graduate student. Said another student, “Her prioritization of teaching and mentorship has moreover inspired us to spend time preparing for precepts and mentoring undergraduates instead of just focusing on our research.”
Courtesy of Office of Communications, Princeton University