The College of Engineering is pleased to announce that James Nagel has been selected to receive the Thomas G. Stockham, Jr. Medal for Teaching Excellence, awarded to a graduate student each year for “conspicuously effective teaching.” James will be recognized on Friday, May 4, 2012, at the College of Engineering Convocation at 1:45 p.m. in the Huntsman Center, as the first University of Utah graduate student to receive the award. James will be hooded at the ceremony and formally receive his PhD degree in electrical and computer engineering.

The award was established by the University in memory of Thomas G. Stockham, Jr., professor of electrical engineering, who is remembered as the father of digital recording in honor of his pioneering work in the fields of digital recording and tapeless editing.

James was nominated for the award by his faculty advisors and mentors. According to Cynthia Furse, associate vice president for research, “James has been, in every sense of the word, a fantastic teaching assistant in many of our classes, from beginning freshmen courses to more advanced graduate classes. In all of these classes, he went above and beyond the normal expectation of a TA as someone who shows up and teaches the lab or grades papers. He has creatively and generously given of his time and effort to help with both major and minor improvements to the labs, the write ups, the teaching support materials, the training of the other TAs, and more.”

According to several faculty, James’ dedication and knowledge really helped the students and he seemed to have infinite patience with a couple of students who otherwise might have severely struggled, but made it through with his help. His innovations in teaching have been adapted as standard practice by several of the labs. Described as creative and talented, James enjoys music and the martial arts. He also produced a YouTube video on quantum mechanics that has been viewed nearly 40,000 times.

James is currently working in a start-up company led by University of Utah research professor Mark Miller.

About Thomas Stockham, Jr.

Thomas G. Stockham Jr. was a pioneer in digital electronics whose work helped to pave the way for the transition from long-playing records to compact discs. An electrical engineer trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stockham began working on projects involving the primitive digitization of sound almost immediately after he joined MIT as an associate professor in 1957.

In 1968, Stockham moved from MIT to the University of Utah, where he was able to combine his personal and institutional research, laying the groundwork for Soundstream, the audio company he founded.

He won an Emmy award in 1988 for his work on tapeless audio and editing systems. In 1994 he won a Grammy award for his ”visionary role in pioneering and advancing the era of digital recording,” and in 1999 Stockham and Robert Ingebretsen received an Oscar, a Scientific and Engineering Award, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for work in digital audio editing.