Award Winners

Winners of the University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
35th Annual Academic Honors Convocation
April 12, 2016

Tushar Bharati
Economics (USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

As an exemplary student and talented instructor, Tushar Bharati has garnered tremendous praise throughout the university for showing young scholars how to move beyond established knowledge and push the boundaries of a given field. His passion for learning through intellectual and creative exchange, and his drive to confront uncertain academic ground make him an adventurous and exemplary instructor. Drawing upon his background and unique perspective, Tushar exposes students to a diverse array of economic concepts, which also heavily influence his primary research interests: human capital, applied econometrics, and development economics.

Tushar first gained teaching experience at an early age while serving as a volunteer for the Society for Advancement in Tribes, Health, Education and Environment—a non-governmental organization that works to advance and empower tribal peoples in India. Hailing from a small community in Jharkhand, India, he is the first person from his village to pursue a doctoral degree. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Delhi and his master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics, and has conducted research through programs at the London School of Economics, Fordham University, Franklin and Marshall College, and Monash University.

In recognition of his exceptional contributions to undergraduate education, and the countless students who have benefitted from his guidance, the University of Southern California is proud to honor Tushar Bharati with a University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

Jose Raul Gonzalez Alonso
Physics and Astronomy (Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences)

Jose Raul Gonzalez Alonso is as enthusiastic, charismatic, and caring as he is intelligent, dedicated, and creative. In order to help students understand the concepts involved in studying physics and astronomy, he developed his own unique approach to student-centered learning. Jose believes that one of the biggest challenges in grasping difficult material stems from trepidation rather than a lack of capability. After observing many USC students with strong educational backgrounds who remain apprehensive about their aptitude for comprehension, he started focusing on in-class exercises to reduce anxiety, and help students feel more comfortable learning at their own pace.

Jose consistently goes above and beyond his regular duties in order to be available, frequently providing additional office hours and study sessions, and sometimes bringing homemade baked goods to his students. Many have found him to be an invaluable source of knowledge and guidance, and someone who can alleviate their worries in order to help them clarify their thinking. Jose has a knack for crafting understandable explanations of complex theories, and often uses real-life applications to illustrate them. He also demonstrates an intuitive understanding of how to tailor information to his audience.

In recognition of his thoughtful mentorship, and his efforts to unlock the potential of his students, the University of Southern California is proud to honor Jose Raul Gonzalez Alonso with a University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

Christopher Muniz
Creative Writing (USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

No matter the context—fiction writing, composition, or writing on ethnicity through film—Chris Muniz knows how to inspire his students to engage thoughtfully with their work and excel as writers. Even his syllabi are a pleasure to read, and in his classes he encourages the use of anything—even a scrap of paper—as a journal. Chris promotes creativity and discipline, and peppers his courses with lively exercises that introduce challenging points of view. In Chris’ evaluations, students often cite him as the reason they have come to love writing.

Chris receives the same glowing reviews for all of his courses, proving his ability to help young writers overcome their obstacles to producing work of clarity, depth, and vitality. In addition to USC, Chris has taught at the South Central Scholars Foundation, and has delivered papers three times at composition conferences on related topics. In all he does—his writing, teaching, and scholarship—he continues to deepen academic and creative discourse, and instill in others the excitement he feels for his craft.

In recognition of his incomparable ability to help students write expressively, accurately, and enthusiastically, the University of Southern California is proud to honor Christopher Muniz with a University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.