The mentoring award recognizes Princeton faculty members who nurture the intellectual, professional and personal growth of their graduate students. Graduate students nominate faculty members for the award, and they serve on the committee that selects the winners together with faculty members, senior staff from the McGraw Center and the deputy dean of the Graduate School. The award honors faculty in each academic division (engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences) and includes a $1,000 prize and a commemorative gift.
Ileana Cristea joined the Princeton faculty in 2008. Her lab focuses on characterizing mechanisms of cellular defense against viruses, as well as mechanisms used by viruses to manipulate these critical cellular processes. “She is one of the most genuine, optimistic and supportive people I know — fully committed to the success of her students and laboratory members in their quest to develop as professionals, scholars and teaching experts in the sciences field,” said a student. Cristea is known for supporting emerging scholars even outside her lab and subfield. “She will selflessly give up her precious time to ensure that her students and students in other labs are thriving professionally and mentally,” said another student. “I am extremely grateful to have her in my department.” Cristea also continues championing mentees after they graduate. “Ileana is still invested in my career, and I talk to her all the time for advice for grants, publications and how to handle transitioning into my new assistant professor position,” said a former student. “She is always looking out for opportunities to help me advance my career.”
The othe award winners are: Yuxin Chen, assistant professor of electrical engineering; Brandon Stewart, assistant professor of sociology; and Judith Weisenfeld, the Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion and chair of the Department of Religion.