Aaditya Hambarde receives top honors for his work as a Graduate Student Instructor

Taking inspiration from such luminaries as Dr. Rita Pierson and Mahatma Gandhi, there is no question that Hambarde was an inspiration to many of those that he taught at Michigan.
Aaditya Hambarde headshot

Aaditya (Ady) Hambarde received a Rackham Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Award, completing a trifecta of GSI awards. He previously received an ECE GSI Award in 2021, and the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Outstanding GSI from the College of Engineering in 2022.

I believe that each student is unique and deserves a teacher who believes in their infinite potential.

Ady Hambarde

Hambarde  has taught a wide range of courses for a graduate student instructor. Soon after beginning his graduate studies at Michigan, he was a GSI for EECS 311: Analog Circuits, and EECS 540: Applied Quantum Mechanics. For the past four years, he joined the team teaching EECS 216: Introduction to Signal and Systems, required for all undergraduate students in the electrical engineering and computer engineering programs. Over the years, he has assisted in the education of hundreds of students at Michigan, while attempting to treat each one as an individual.

“I believe that the best teacher teaches for all types of students,” said Hambarde. “One of my goals while teaching is to ensure that I always teach in a manner such that the best students do not feel that I am oversimplifying while ensuring that I do not leave any student behind. It’s important to me to make sure students know that I am rooting for their success, and also that they feel included in the class.”

He shared that his teaching philosophy is inspired by the Indian school of thought called Sarvodaya, which means “Progress of All.” It was a word used often by Mahatma Gandhi.

“I believe that each student is unique and deserves a teacher who believes in their infinite potential,” said Hambarde.

He seeks to recognize the individual student by learning not only their preferred names, but their pronouns as well. He is careful about enabling closed captioning for his lecture recordings and livestreams, and generates lecture notes in a variety of formats. Rather than waiting for students who are neurodivergent to have to ask for special accommodations, he informs them of Michigan’s Testing Accommodation Centers (TACs). He also takes care that students have information about the full range of university resources should their financial situation preclude easy access to laptops or computer software. 

And that’s not all. 

Hambarde carefully watches the progress of each student, and steps in when he suspects there is a problem of some kind. He tries to facilitate interactions among students and academic support through group meetings via zoom breakout rooms. And he is careful to inform students of the mental health resources available on campus.

His teaching style has been appreciated by Michigan’s students, who routinely give him high praise and teaching scores, and the faculty alike.

Prof. Stéphane Lafortune, who taught EECS 216 for decades and wrote a textbook on the subject, stated, “Every semester that I have worked with Ady, I have heard numerous comments from the students, during my own office hours, praising the quality of instruction provided by Ady during the discussion sections, the usefulness of the teaching materials that he created, his incredible availability on Piazza, and his remarkable dedication to their learning and to their well-being.”

“Learning sometimes occurs because someone insists that you recognize the excellence in yourself.”

This quote by the renowned educator Dr. Rita Pierson is one that Hambarde lives by [watch her TED talk, Every kid needs a champion.]. It drives him to find new ways to help students appreciate their own self worth and ability – knowing that it will help them succeed not only in his class, but in life.

Hambarde’s accomplishments as an educator complement his achievements as a researcher. He received his master’s degree in 2018, and expects to earn his doctoral degree later this year under the direction of Prof. Mack Kira. His research interests include quantum-light spectroscopy, many-body effects in semiconductor nanostructures, strong optical nonlinearities in low-dimensional semiconductor systems, and engineering education research. He has 5 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications to date. He has received a SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship and a Telluride Fellowship. 

Hambarde will be publicly acknowledged at a special awards ceremony on April 15, 2024.