David Pickard Teaching Awards

Once every two years, the David Pickard Teaching Awards will be given. Here is information on the origin of these awards and associated lecture series:

The gifts of colleagues, students, and friends of David Pickard establish the David K. Pickard Memorial Endowment Fund. This fund celebrates the memory of David K. Pickard, who served as a junior faculty member in the Harvard Statistics Department from 1977 to 1985. Professor Pickard was known for his outstanding teaching, having won two major Harvard-wide teaching awards: the Phi Beta Kappa Prize in 1982 and the Levenson Prize in 1984. He also won the Hoopes Prize two years in a row for supervising and nominating a senior thesis. Professor Pickard had a strong influence on the Statistics PhD students at Harvard in that period. Sadly, Professor Pickard died of a brain tumor in August 1986 in Kingston Ontario, where he had moved after leaving Harvard.

Income from this fund shall support a biennial lecture by an outstanding university faculty member on a topic to do with teaching and pedagogy.

Invited lecturers thus far have been Jeffrey Rosenthal of the University of Toronto, Hans Rosling of the Karolinska Institute, and Deborah Nolan of the University of California, Berkeley.

The Harvard Statistics Department is grateful to all donors to the Pickard Fund for making these generous awards possible.

2014 Awards

The 2014 Pickard Award for Teaching and Mentoring went to Dan Levy, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The award citation reads:


Two doctoral students were named 2014 Pickard Teaching Fellows.

Daniel Cervone was commended for:

... excellence as a Departmental Teaching Fellow and for outstanding teaching of students at all levels.
Alexander D’Amour was commended for:

... excellence in teaching Bayesian and computational thinking to a wide variety of students.

2012 Awards

The 2012 Pickard Award for Teaching and Mentoring went to Tirthankar Dasgupta, Associate Professor of Statistics. The award citation reads simply:


Three doctoral students and one AB/AM student were named 2012 Pickard Teaching Fellows.

Viviana Garcia Horton was commended for:

... excellence in serving as a teaching fellow in courses as diverse as Statistics 100 and 110, and for her generosity in working with struggling students.
Jessica Hwang, who is now studying at Stanford, was commended for:

... excellence in serving as a teaching fellow in Stat 110, teaching over 50 students while still supporting their learning as individuals, creating illuminating section materials, and generating enthusiasm for statistics.
Bo Jiang, who is now working at Two Sigma Investments, was commended for:

... excellence in serving as a teaching fellow in Stat 110, 123, and 265, revealing the connections between and within statistical and mathematical ideas, and helping students at all levels to grow.
Nathan Stein, who is now lecturing at the UPenn Wharton School, was commended for:

... excellence in serving as a teaching fellow in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, in serving as the departmental teaching fellow, and in demonstrating the interweaving of pedagogy and research.

2010 Awards

The 2010 Pickard Award for Teaching and Mentoring went to Joseph Blitzstein, Professor of the Practice in Statistics. The award citation reads:


Three doctoral students were named 2010 Pickard Teaching Fellows.

Cassandra Pattanayak, who is now lecturing at Wellesley, was commended for:

... being a devoted, effective teaching fellow for five courses covering statistics, economics and law; for contributing substantially and innovatively to graduate and undergraduate education as a member of the "Happy Team," including creating the highly innovative and entertaining course trailer for a general education course designed and taught by the Happy Team.

Kevin Rader, who presently is an instructor in the department, was commended for:

... being an outstanding preceptor and Head Teaching Fellow; for exceptional skills in training teaching fellows and facilitators for the Study Network; for exemplary teaching in Harvard summer school, receiving the highest ratings of any other summer school course taught to a similar audience; and for generosity in working with students in class and in distance learning.

Xianchao Xie (a.k.a "Double X"), who currently works at Two Sigma Investments, was commended for:

... being a dedicated, energetic teaching fellow for a wide range of courses, from introductory undergraduate courses through advanced graduate level courses; for achieving the rare distinction of a perfect 5 course evaluation, and for being an extraordinary problem-solver and problem-creator, patiently helping his sections work through many interesting examples.

Congratulations and much appreciation to all!