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Giovanni Gravina and Sipei Li Receive Graduate Student Teaching Awards

Giovanni Gravina

Mathematical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Giovanni Gravina has been honored with the 2019 Hugh Young Graduate Student Teaching Award.

“Giovanni takes his teaching extremely seriously and our students really appreciate him,” wrote William Hrusa, professor of mathematical sciences and associate department head, in nominating Gravina. “He has been an outstanding citizen around the department.”

“His office hours were always well attended, and our students often mentioned his name with a tone of camaraderie, as if Giovanni was someone they felt very comfortable with,” Associate Teaching Professor Dana Mihai wrote about her experience teaching with Gravina in 2015. “Throughout the class I came to rely on Giovanni with confidence that everything will be done well.”

Several of Gravina’s former students also wrote letters attesting to Gravina’s teaching prowess.

“His thoughtfulness, respect for students and genuine interest in helping us learn still stand out to me,” wrote junior Meredith Wong about Gravina, who taught her 2017 Differential Equations course.

Sipei Li

Chemistry Ph.D candidate Sipei Li received the 2019 Guy C. Berry Graduate Student Research Award.

“He is the most creative and collaborative student I have had during my career at Carnegie Mellon,” Li’s co-adviser, J.C. Warner University Professor of the Natural Sciences Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, wrote in nominating Li for the award. “Sipei is the pioneer in the field aimed to marry polymer chemistry, especially controlled radical polymerization, to battery science. His work brings immense opportunities for the development of next-generation high energy density rechargeable batteries.”

Li’s early research at Carnegie Mellon focused on synthesizing functional polymers with controlled functionality and topology. He later branched out to the field of energy, where he invented a liquid-like lithium metal anode that has improved the lifespan of solid electrolytes. In his five years at Carnegie Mellon, Li has published more than a dozen papers, many in high-impact journals and eight as first author, with more on the way.