Dr. Katherine Kuchenbecker in “Lindback and Provost’s Awards—Sketches of the 2014 Winners” from the Penn Almanac

April 28th, 2014

Lindback and Provost’s Awards—Sketches of the 2014 Winners in the Penn Almanac

Since 1961, Lindback Awards—for members of the standing faculty—have been a springtime tradition at Penn.
The Provost’s Awards—for full- and part-time associated faculty and academic support staff—have been given in
conjunction with the Lindbacks since 1988. Another University-wide award to honor faculty who teach and mentor
doctoral students began in 2003 for members of the standing or associated faculty in any school offering the PhD.
Below are profiles and excerpts from colleagues’ and students’ letters of recommendation for this year’s winners.

“Katherine Kuchenbecker, associate professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, has taught at Penn since 2007. “Without a doubt, the most engaging, passionate and fun instructor I have ever had,” writes one student. She “inspires me to be a better student, a better engineer and to try my best to understand the subject matter.” Says another student, “If I could describe Professor Kuchenbecker in a few words, I would say: goes above and beyond. She doesn’t have to write all of her own homework problems … or provide extra videos on complex topics, or hold countless office hours, or jump up and down with excitement when you get good results, or take the time to explain to you exactly how to use a certain plot and format your first technical paper, but she does. She commits her time to her students and her research with a level of enthusiasm and innovation that inspires people to be better learners, mentors and teachers.” She “is not only an inspiring and incredibly effective instructor,” notes a senior colleague, “she has also been an innovator and a leader in education and in combining education, research and mentoring. This is clearly demonstrated by her undertaking the significant role of Undergraduate Curriculum Chair for MEAM and in co-leading an NSF-supported Research Experience for Undergraduates site, which has had tremendous impact.”  As one student sums it up, “I couldn’t ask for anything more of a mentor, teacher and leader than a person who is constantly trying to be a better mentor, teacher and leader. She always looks for ways to improve and learn, and that attitude rubs off on all who get to work with her.””