Thomas A. McMahon Mentoring Award

Nominations for the 2019 award are due March 11.


Thomas A. McMahon studied physics at Cornell and received his doctorate in engineering from MIT. He joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1971 and was later named Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Mechanics and Professor of Biology. Professor McMahon was a highly valued member of the HST faculty. Internationally recognized as a pioneer in biomechanics, he authored over eighty scientific papers, two scientific books, and three novels. Professor McMahon passed away suddenly in 1999. 

Tom was praised for his inspirational teaching and his genuine dedication to students. One student wrote: "While choosing my future advisors and mentors, I found myself comparing prospective mentors with Dr. McMahon. I have looked for the same qualities of compassion, understanding, love of science, intelligence, ethics, and enthusiasm. He is exactly the sort of professor I might want to be." His style of mentoring was based on a combination of warm friendship, keen scientific insight, active day-to-day interaction, and a gift for helping people define and realize their goals. In 1999, Professor McMahon was honored with the Harvard Graduate Student Council Excellence in Mentoring Award at Harvard and the Irving M. London Teaching Award in HST.

Criteria and Instructions for Nomination

HST students are invited to recommend one mentor for the Thomas A. McMahon Mentoring Award by writing a statement of nomination explaining your relationship with your nominee and why s/he has distinguished herself/himself as an outstanding mentor. All faculty and staff involved in mentoring HST students are eligible for the award; an individual is not required to have a formal appointment in HST to qualify.

We prefer to acknowledge mentors whose contributions have not previously been recognized. However, students may nominate previous recipients for ongoing excellence in mentoring if they have not been recognized in the past five years.

If you have any questions, please contact Traci Anderson at 617.253.7470 or tanderso@mit.edu.

Past Recipients

2018 Leia Stirling, PhD
2017 Loren Walensky, MD, PhD
2016 Benjamin Ebert, MD, PhD
2015 Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD
2014 Konstantina (Tina) Stankovic, MD, PhD
2013 Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD
2012 Julie Greenberg, PhD and Bruce Rosen, MD, PhD
2011 Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

2010 Jeffrey Karp, PhD

2009 Peter Szolovits, PhD

2008 Elfar Adalsteinsson, PhD

2007 Robert H. Rubin, MD

2006 Andrew H. Lichtman, MD, PhD and John J. Rosowski, PhD

2005 Andrew J. Oxenham, PhD

2004 Richard N. Mitchell, MD, PhD

2003 Valerie J. Pronio-Stelluto, MD

2002 M. Charles Liberman, PhD

2001 Louis Braida, PhD and Roger G. Mark, MD, PhD

2000 Elazer R. Edelman, MD, PhD