Feldman Wins Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award

May 03, 2021

Naomi Feldman, an associate professor of linguistics with an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, recently received a Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year award.

The award, administered through UMD’s Graduate School, recognizes faculty that have made exceptional contributions to the graduate experience for a student or group of students.

This year, 155 graduate students nominated 22 Maryland faculty for the award. A campus-wide selection committee of graduate faculty and graduate students evaluated the nominations, and 10 faculty—including Feldman—were chosen to receive this honor in 2021.

Cassidy Henry, a third-year doctoral student in linguistics, is one of a group of 12 current and former graduate students who nominated Feldman. In the nomination letter, they speak of how Feldman has trained students in computational areas who did not have a computational background before, pushed them to go outside of their comfort zones, and encouraged students to gain interdisciplinary depth. She also tells her mentees to pursue the research that they find most exciting, not what is easiest or fastest.

“We wanted to highlight how absolutely stellar a mentor Naomi is,” Henry says. “She really puts her all into doing the best for her students. I feel that if there was a platinum level award for mentorship, she'd easily deserve it.”

Feldman, who is director of the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing (CLIP) Laboratory and active in the campus language science community, came to UMD in 2011. Her research focuses on computational psycholinguistics, using methods from statistics, machine learning, and automatic speech recognition to formalize questions about how people learn and represent the structure of their language.

Feldman will be formally recognized with her Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year award during a virtual celebration later this month.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld