Maria DiBattista honored for excellence in mentoring graduate students

Written by
Jennifer Altmann for the Princeton Graduate School
May 22, 2024

Four Princeton University faculty members have been named recipients of Graduate Mentoring Awards by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate School. They will be honored during the Graduate School’s Hooding ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 27.

The award winners are Maria DiBattista, the Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor of English; Alison Isenberg, professor of history; Tania Lombrozo, the Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Psychology; and Andrés Monroy-Hernández, an assistant professor of computer science.

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. Students also serve on the committee that selects the winners, along with faculty members and senior staff from the McGraw Center and the Graduate School. The award honors faculty in each academic division and includes a $1,800 prize and a commemorative gift.

Maria DiBattista

Maria DiBattista. Photo by Kevin Birch

Maria DiBattista

A faculty member since 1974, Maria DiBattista specializes in 20th-century literature and film, the European novel, and narrative theory.

Students praised DiBattista’s deft approach to drawing out their ideas and offering guidance. Her mentoring is “based on a bedrock of encouragement, deep conversation, and honesty,” said one student. “Perhaps the most important thing about Maria as a mentor is her commitment to my growth not only as a scholar but as a person; she has modeled, for me, how to have high expectations without giving burden, how to be insightful with grace.”

Her “impact on my academic work and professional development has been immense,” said a student who appreciated how DiBattista focused on the importance of interdisciplinary and comparative thinking.

Another student observed, “I have had several mentors throughout my Ph.D. years and undergraduate years, but none so crucial in the combination of academic rigor and deep trust. If mentoring is something more than teaching, it is because it encourages the mentee to become him or herself.”

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