Ph.D. Student William Eiers Receives College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

By Sandra Dieron, PR Assistant, Computer Science

UCSB Computer Science Ph.D. student, William Eiers, recently received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant (TA) Award from the College of Engineering. Eiers is currently the Lead TA of the Computer Science department, and was chosen for this role by Professor Elizabeth Belding.

“It is an absolute honor to receive the COE Outstanding Teaching Assistant award. TAing has been the most joyful and challenging experiences I have had in my life. Each day I try my best to make sure every single student has the tools they need to be successful in their classes. I am thankful that my work hasn’t been for naught!” said William Eiers on how he felt about winning the award.

Eiers went on to say that an Outstanding Teaching Assistant is one who genuinely loves teaching and does everything they can to help each and every student succeeds. Such a person captivates their students and ignites their passion for learning. Above all, this person should care for their students.

On what inspired him to become a TA, William says: “I have always wanted to pass on what I've learned, to make the world a better place. As a graduate student, the best way to share my knowledge is by becoming a TA. Being a TA allows the unique experience of connecting with students, guiding them on their path to success. Additionally, since my goal is to become a professor, TAing gives me the opportunity to become a better teacher and prepare for the future.”

In the computer science department, the Lead TA is chosen from those who are in the PhD program and who have TAed in the past. The choice is made by the Graduate Vice Chair, with the help of the previous Lead TA. The choice is made using several criteria: e.g., student evaluations of the TA and evaluations from the professor(s) for the classes the TA has been assigned. In William Eiers’ case, Professor Elizabeth Belding, the Graduate Vice Chair, and Neeraj Kumar, the Lead TA for the 2017-2018 academic year, asked him to be the Lead TA for the 2018-2019 academic year.

William’s advisor, Professor Tevfik Bultan, had nothing but positive praise when asked about Eiers. Professor Bultan described Eiers as, energetic, hard working, curious, and optimistic, and noted that Will enjoys learning, teaching, and research which makes him a perfect fit for graduate school.

When asked about what qualities William Eiers possesses that contributed to his award, Professor Bultan named three in particular: Will values teaching a lot, enjoys teaching, and is good at getting to the bottom of technical concepts and explaining them in a clear manner.

“I believe that the students appreciated the amount of effort Will put into teaching and his ability to explain complicated concepts in a clear manner,” explained Professor Bultan when I asked why he believed William Eiers received the Outstanding TA Award.

William Eiers is a 2nd year PhD student working in the Verification Lab in the CS department, advised by Professor Tevfik Bultan. Eiers’ research focuses on automated verification techniques and their application to software. Computer systems have become pervasive in our everyday lives. People of all ages and ethnicities use or come into contact with computers many times a day. As such, the dependability of these computer systems is extremely important. These systems are large and hugely complex, and are often prone to errors in their design and implementation. William’s research is focused on developing verification tools and techniques for software developers to automatically find and identify errors in software.

Congratulations are in order to William Eiers for receiving the College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award!