2024: Alex Schmid & Eppa Rixey

Headshot: Alex Schmid

Fourth-year Operations Research PhD student Alex Schmid’s efforts as a teacher in the classroom had a tremendous impact on the learning experience of her students. Schmid has served as a teaching assistant, instructor of record, and session instructor in three courses at MIT, including coordinating an eight-session course as well as designing a workshop for 15.S60, Computing for Optimization and Statistics.

Schmid has been instrumental in promoting a more active learning approach and fostering stronger student engagement across multiple courses. One student describes her as having “a knack for distilling complex concepts into an easy-to-digest manner that is accessible to everyone, and she’s so incredibly patient.” 

Her support of students as individuals stood out to another recommender: “In a lecture of hundreds of people, she made me feel that I would not be left behind.” Schmid provides a personalized, caring approach through one-on-one check-ins and cultivating a nonjudgemental environment in her office hours. 

She has also received high praise from MIT faculty, having been described by one faculty member as “a star educator all-around.”

Headshot: Eppa Rixey

Eppa Rixey, a fifth-year PhD student in Management, demonstrated conspicuous effectiveness as a teacher at all levels of teaching and learning, from first-year undergraduates through doctoral students. As well as his work as a teaching assistant for four Sloan courses, Rixey collaborated to design and deliver 15.302, Power: Interpersonal, Organizational and Global Dimensions with Professor Susan Silbey.

Rixey pushes his students to become self-reflective learners as well as consummate knowledge producers themselves. One student describes him as possessing “a remarkable talent for clarifying complex concepts in a way that resonates with students.” 

Another student recommender appreciated Rixey’s detailed feedback on classwork: “Eppa engages deeply with our work, offering sentence-level insights that force us to match his high level of critical dialogue with concepts from class.”

He received the highest level of praise from an MIT faculty member, being described as “the very finest TA I have worked with during 50 years of classroom teaching.”