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Jan Hammer awarded Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
ECE PhD candidate Jan Hammer has been awarded the Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for exceptional teaching assistantship. He is one of nineteen graduate students receiving this award across UBC in 2021/22.
“I feel overwhelmed to receive this award!” Jan says. “To be honest, I didn’t expect to receive it.”
The Killam award recognizes the valuable role that teaching assistants play in UBC’s programs. Awardees are recognized for skills, abilities and contributions resulting in a high level of respect from undergraduate students and supervisors.
Jan has been at the ECE department for five years. “My engineering career started probably when I was around eight years old,” he recalls. “I crashed our first computer and my dad had me fixing it which taught me some valuable lessons in engineering.”
Through an apprenticeship in technical IT, and a B.Eng in electrical engineering, Jan discovered an interest in power electronics. He completed a M.Eng degree in systems engineering, while working part-time as a full-stack software developer. During his master’s, he undertook an exchange semester with ECE’s Martin Ordonez in the power electronics lab, working on prototyping power stages for Silicon-Carbide (SiC) power semiconductor applications.
Following his master’s, he worked in the solar industry as a software and controls engineer, before returning to academia. He entered PhD study at ECE under the supervision of Martin Ordonez, and is currently working on printed circuit board (PCB) optimization for Gallium-Nitride (GaN) power semiconductor applications.
“After a steep learning curve in the beginning of my PhD, my efforts seem to be producing results.” says Jan. “To all my peers reading this: perseverance pays off!”
Of TA-ing, Jan says, “I enjoy the mentoring aspect of being a teaching assistant in term projects.”
“The duration of these projects allows me to establish a good relationship with the students that translates to an enhanced learning and teaching environment. I’m able to witness students’ growth in technical and interpersonal skills, which is very fulfilling.”