Tin Foil Awards 2017

The Annual Tin Foil Awards

It is that time of year again. The annual Tin Foil Awards are awarded to deserving people again. You have never heard of the Tin Foil Awards? Well, admittedly, most people haven't. That has no impact, however, on the award's importance or prestige. Wasn't there a time when Henry Fonda told Shirlee Adams "They want me to receive some kind of 'Academy Award'... but I never attended university"? Probably not! I think the Oscars were always huge. Nevertheless, I am rather certain that there are awards out there which aren't quite world-changing, yet, but will get there some day: Why shouldn't the Tin Foil Award be one of them?

When I thought about leaving the US, and therefore the University of Michigan, I had this feeling... the feeling that I wanted certain people to know that they had a noticeable impact on my life. I guess everybody knows this feeling. Two years after you shared something on Facebook somebody walks up to you and tells you "Man, that thing you shared on Facebook two years ago... that was great, thanks"... and you had no idea! I think we tell our fellow human beings too little that we appreciate them and what they do, the way they do it. Why?

That's why I created the Tin Foil Awards. I don't have much (except some tin foil) but I want to show people my appreciation more often and 2017 seems like the perfect year to start doing that! So, here we go. These are the first annual Tin Foil Awards and the winners in the categories Best Advisor, Best Student Managers, Best GSI, Best Professor - Language, Best Professor - Communications and Best Professor - Overall, alongside a special award for Variety.

Best Advisor

Sarah Pauling

If you need some top-notch advising, Sarah is the person to talk to. She didn't just provide me with academic advise and support, but also helped me out a great deal on a personal level.


Some call her Michigan's Oprah Winfrey, and rightfully so, because it is very easy to open up to her. Once you did open up to her, she will treat your problems with respect and knowledge.


Sarah is a very deserving winner of the first TFA to ever be awarded. The committee wishes her nothing but the best for her future endeavours.

Best Student Managers

Aaron Adiwidjaja & Asma Baban

Always friendly and always in a good mood, Aaaron and Asma made working, well, not fun (you know, it's still work) but more than bearable. They kept the hierarchy flat and were as much made fun of as they made fun of their minions.


They had a special relationship to every single student and I was genuinely surprised by how quickly they remembered my name and the names of all the other workers. While I never really met them outside of work, they were thoughtful and talented managers for the past five months and seemed like the kind of persons I would love hanging out with if I didn't have to spend all my spare time on studying.

Best GSI

Amelia Couture

As a GSI, Amelia is responsible for the intermediation between professor and class. Not only did she work together with our professor very well, but also provided interesting alternative ways to think about the course material.


Very attentive to students facial expressions and body language, she often correctly evaluated the collective emotional state of her discussion sections to modify her way of teaching accordingly.


More than once, she lightened the mood with a funny anecdote from her own life. She successfully used this strategy to clarify complicated concepts, as well.

Best Professor - Language

Jinyi Li-Stevenson

Li Laoshi is  very much like the first season of the US hit comedy 'The Office': Short, funny and teaches you a lot!


She managed to get everyone - really everyone - interested in and excited about the Chinese language and culture. She is what all language professors should be like. She can easily detect a student's strengths and weaknesses in order to address their individual barriers in learning a new (and very complicated) language.


While seeing her every week-day could have been a nightmare, she actually made students look forward to their daily dose of Chinese. I will keep taking Chinese in Germany, however, I am sad I cannot keep my teacher.

Best Professor - Communications

Best Professor - Overall                   

Dr. Brian Weeks

There are several reasons for why Brian Weeks won two of the most prestigious Tin Foil Awards:


1) His special teaching style gets students engaged with the course material in a way that promotes self-reflection, deepens the understanding of concepts presented in readings and connects theory to the students individual circumstances and experiences.


2) Students can actively engage in class even if they haven't had a chance to do the reading.


3) His presentation slides are carefully put together and allow students to write down the most important takeaway while still following the lecture. 


4) The course material was fun, contemporary and presented in a way that resulted in the most frequent attendance of any class I have ever taken.


Considering all this, the first double-win in TFA history is well-deserved and something all potential TFA winners should strive to achieve.

Special Award: Variety

Dominos 716 Packard Rd

The special award for 'Variety' goes to my local Domino's. Never before has an individual or a business misspelled my name in so many - very creative - ways. Among my favourites are:

1) Maris

2) Marus

3) Marcus
4) Morris
5) Maurice
6) Marcise

They really made an effort and deserve this extraordinary award.

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