MIT Jameel Clinic principal investigator Vinod Vaikuntanathan honoured for exceptional teaching

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Vinod Vaikuntanathan, a professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MIT Jameel Clinic principal investigator, has been awarded a MacVicar faculty fellowship as an outstanding undergraduate teacher and mentor.

A competitive process

Named after MIT's first dean for undergraduate education, Margaret MacVicar, the fellowships are awarded by MIT in recognition of exemplary and sustained contributions to undergraduate education at MIT.

The competitive annual selection process is based on nominations from colleagues, students and alumni, reviewed by a committee led by MIT's vice chancellor, and determined by the provost. The fellowship is awarded for 10 years and carries an annual stipend.

2024 MacVicar faculty fellowships were also awarded to Karl Berggren, a professor in the same department as Vinod; professor of political science Andrea Campbell; and associate professor of music Emily Richmond Pollock.

An award-winning scientist and an inspiring teacher

A computer scientist celebrated for his work on cryptography and encryption, for which he shared the 2022 Gödel prize for outstanding papers in theoretical computer science, Vinod became a principal investigator at the MIT Jameel Clinic, the epicentre for artificial intelligence and health at MIT, in 2023.

As a teacher, including of all three undegraduate theoretical computer science subjects in his department, Vinod has previously been recognised with awards in 2016 and 2017.

Vinod joined the MIT faculty in 2013, having previously completed his master's and doctoral studies there. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2003.

Professor Vinod Vaikuntanathan, MIT Jameel Clinic principal investigator and 2024 MacVicar faculty fellow, said: “It is humbling to be in the company of such amazing teachers and mentors, many of whom I have come to think of as my role models. Many thanks to my colleagues and my students for considering me worthy of this honor.”

A tradition of care and support

Last year, Professor Esther Duflo, co-founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and a 2019 Nobel laureate in economics, was honoured as 'committed to caring' in an MIT scheme recognising faculty support for graduate students. As one student nominator wrote: “Every time I meet with her, I feel like I have wings.”

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