2020 Awards of Excellence

  • Patty Hayes ’76, ’80, Alumna Summa Laude Dignata Award

    Alumna Summa Laude Dignata Award

    Patty Hayes ’76, ’80

    Alumna Summa Laude Dignata Award

    Public Health–Seattle & King County

    Alumna Summa Laude Dignata Award

    School of Nursing; Director, Public Health–Seattle & King County

    Patty is a champion of public health, helping to make our region’s health-care culture a model for the world. As director of Public Health–Seattle & King County, her visionary initiatives have saved and improved countless lives, from advancing a trauma-informed approach to health care to founding the Best Starts for Kids initiative, which fosters a birth-to-adulthood perspective on health. She embodies the UW’s mission of service and the pillars of our Population Health Initiative. We’re proud to count her as an alumna and to honor her as the Alumna Summa Laude Dignata.

  • Virginia Broudy, David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Faculty

    David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Faculty

    Virginia Broudy

    David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Faculty

    UW Medicine

    David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Faculty

    Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Medicine; Chief of Medicine, Harborview Medical Center; Scripps Professor of Hematology

    “Innovative,” “capable,” “forthright” and “respectful” are just a few of the words Virginia’s colleagues use to describe what makes her an excellent leader. She exemplifies gracious, thoughtful leadership, encouraging everyone on her team to contribute and succeed. In spearheading the transition of Northwest Hospital to become a campus of UW Medical Center, she navigated a complex set of difficult negotiations in a way that made everyone on her team a valued part of the mission.

  • Gene Woodard, David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Staff

    David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Staff

    Gene Woodard

    David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Staff

    UW Facilities

    David B. Thorud Leadership Award — Staff

    Director, Building Services, UW Facilities

    Gene consistently impresses his team with his outstanding leadership, grounded in respect, humility and empathy. He creates opportunities for his teammates to shine. He values relationships and makes time to listen and collaborate. Gene inspires his team to take pride in their work, recognizing and valuing their achievements. He’s also a champion of diversity and inclusion, truly “walking the walk.” He reliably looks for and finds the very best in people.

  • Judge Ronald E. Cox (Ret.), ’73, Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award

    Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award

    Judge Ronald E. Cox (Ret.), ’73

    Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award

    School of Law; United States Army

    Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award

    School of Law; Captain, United States Army

    Both during and after his military career, Judge Cox has devoted himself to serving his country and his fellow service members. After earning his law degree at the UW, he went on to a distinguished career as an attorney, followed by 23 years on the bench of the Washington State Court of Appeals. As a soldier, jurist and advocate for young veterans, he has spent a lifetime in public service, exemplifying the University of Washington’s mission of impact.

  • Justin Wadland, Distinguished Librarian Award

    Distinguished Librarian Award

    Justin Wadland

    Distinguished Librarian Award

    University Libraries

    Distinguished Librarian Award

    Interim Director, UW Tacoma Library; Associate Dean, University Libraries

    As head of digital scholarship for the UW Tacoma Library, Justin built the campus’s Digital Commons program from the ground up, enabling UW Tacoma to center publicly engaged scholarship in its research agenda. Justin has been instrumental in the “Founding Stories” project, which collects interviews with faculty, staff and community leaders about the campus’s history and impact. Available online and in the library, these recordings are valuable primary sources that support future scholarly research and storytelling.

  • Robert Roseth, Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award

    Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award

    Robert Roseth

    Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award

    UW News & Information (retired)

    Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award

    Director (retired), UW News & Information

    After 35 years of outstanding service to the University, Bob has continued his habit of excellence and commitment to public service in retirement. He makes a difference in many arenas: helping students apply for financial aid, tutoring underserved elementary school students and advocating for older and disabled adults in assisted living as an ombudsman for Washington state. He is the ultimate “utility player” in community service, always quick to roll up his sleeves and do what needs doing.

  • Gary Oertli, ’70, ’72, ’85, Distinguished Service Award

    Distinguished Service Award

    Gary Oertli, ’70, ’72, ’85

    Distinguished Service Award

    South Seattle College

    Distinguished Service Award

    President Emeritus, South Seattle College

    As a leader of Washington’s community colleges — including as president of South Seattle College, Shoreline Community College and the Community College Presidents Group — Gary has been a stalwart champion of equity and access to higher education. Thousands of Seattle students have benefited from his 13th Year Scholarship Program, recognized as one of the nation’s best. At South Seattle College, he increased recruitment of faculty of color, and his work has been integral to improving transfer students’ experience.

  • Perry Acworth, Distinguished Staff Award

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Perry Acworth

    Distinguished Staff Award

    UW Farm

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Farm Manager, UW Farm

    Perry and her team literally put food on the table for our UW community, providing over $12,000 in locally grown produce to the UW’s Housing & Food Services last year. Under her leadership, the farm also hosts Community Supported Agriculture shares that generate revenue for local farms, has donated nearly 800 pounds of produce to the UW Student Pantry, is preparing to open additional acreage and is becoming certified organic.

  • Noah Briller, Distinguished Staff Award

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Noah Briller

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Radiology

    Distinguished Staff Award

    MRI Technologist, Education & Quality Assurance, Radiology, UW Medical Center

    Noah is a talented and knowledgeable MRI technician who is always seeking ways to improve the process, and he routinely goes above and beyond as a patient-centered health-care provider. He’s known as “the claustrophobia whisperer” for grateful patients facing anxiety about entering an MRI machine. Noah approaches each patient with compassion and empathy, making each one feel seen and heard; he has improved the experience — and outcomes — for countless patients.

  • Polly Olsen (Yakama), Distinguished Staff Award

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Polly Olsen (Yakama)

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Tribal Liaison, Burke Museum

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Tribal Liaison, Burke Museum

    In her outstanding work to amplify Native voices and heal the wounds of colonialism, Polly has transformed the mission of the Burke Museum, fostering a culture that is welcoming, inclusive and authentic throughout the museum’s exhibits, events and programs. Her work not only serves to connect Native people and communities with the Burke, but helps the public understand, acknowledge and be inspired by the people and tribes of the land our University stands on.

  • Tyler Preder, Distinguished Staff Award

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Tyler Preder

    Distinguished Staff Award

    UW Information Technology

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Telecom Design Engineer, UW Information Technology

    The achievements for which Tyler is being recognized may be the most widely appreciated of any UW employee: He developed a spam call–blocking application that thwarted multiple fraud campaigns, blocking over 1.5 million suspected spam calls to the UW throughout the year. In addition to his spam-fighting powers, Tyler leads skills workshops for telecommunications staff and has led several projects to upgrade and implement new technology to make the UW a more enjoyable and productive work environment.

  • Radiological Release Response Team, Distinguished Staff Award

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Radiological Release Response Team

    Distinguished Staff Award

    Distinguished Staff Award

    53 awardees from the School of Medicine, Environmental Health & Safety and Harborview Medical Center

    When an emergency strikes, every organization hopes their response team is as excellent as the Radiological Release Response Team. This 53-member team mobilized swiftly to respond to the accidental release of radioactive material in a UW facility, working seamlessly and often around the clock for months to ensure a safe and thorough remediation. Thanks to their stellar work under stressful and complex circumstances, the continuity and integrity of important research was protected and, most critically, our community was kept safe.

    • Environmental Health & Safety 
      • Meli Ahumada, Assistant to the Director
      • Stephen Bahl, Safety Professional 2
      • Denise Bender, Assistant Director
      • Phil Campbell, Assistant Director
      • Cam-Ly Cao, Finance Manager
      • Joyce Chambers, Program Operations Specialist
      • Karen Crow, Outreach & Communications Specialist
      • Natalie Daranyi, Occupational Health & Safety Specialist
      • Jeff Forister, Environmental Control Technician 3
      • Doug Gallucci, Assistant Director
      • Alex Hagen, Program Operations Specialist
      • Tony Han, Biosafety Officer
      • Tracy Harvey, Lab Safety Manager
      • Taylor Heiss, Program Operations Specialist
      • Jennifer Johnson, Hospital Health Physicist
      • Amy Lim, Program Operations Specialist
      • Zara Llewellyn, Biological Safety Manager
      • Kevin Makinson, Program Operations Specialist
      • Matt Moeller, Environmental Programs Manager
      • Scott Nelson, Fire Safety & Engineering Manager
      • Raymond Noble, Program Operations Specialist / Shipping Coordinator
      • Corbin Powell, Radiation Safety Technician 2
      • Eric Stefansson, Senior Biosafety Officer
      • Mark Volkert, Program Operations Specialist
      • Eleanor Wade, Occupational Health & Safety Specialist
      • John Wallace, Industrial Hygienist 2
      • Mike Zittle, Manager of Program Operations
    • Harborview Medical Center
      • Alieu Ann, Director, Security Services
      • Timothy Fredrickson, Director
      • Ian Goodhew, Director of Government Relations
      • Pam Jorgensen, Assistant Administrator
      • Liz Kindred, Environment of Care Manager
      • John Lynch, Associate Professor
      • Esi Nkyekyer, Acting Assistant Professor
      • Mike Warren, Director of Facilities & Engineering
    • School of Medicine, Dean’s Office
      • Nicole Gibran, Associate Dean
      • Susan Gregg, Director, Media Relations
      • Tina Mankowski, Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs
      • Kim Wisecup, Manager, Space Planning & Management
      • Mike Young, Facility Coordinator
    • School of Medicine, Dept. of Comparative Medicine
      • Alan Avalos, Postdoctoral Scholar
      • Edwin Balahadia, Animal Technician 3
      • Laura Campbell, Facility Operations Specialist
      • Lesley Colby, Associate Professor
      • Cory Conner, Program Coordinator
      • Gary Fye, Program Operations Specialist
      • Sarah Harris, Research Scientist / Engineer
      • Virni Mamaril, Program Support Supervisor
      • Dean Rashid, Facility Operations Specialist
      • Rowen Razon, Animal Technician 3
      • Nick Reyes, Lecturer
      • Emily Spaulding, Research Scientist / Engineer 1
      • Rick Wells, Research Scientist
  • Mabel Ezeonwu, Distinguished Teaching Award

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Mabel Ezeonwu

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Nursing & Health Studies

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Associate Professor, School of Nursing & Health Studies, UW Bothell

    Mabel’s passion for educating is evident in all her work — from teaching undergraduates about social determinants of health to demonstrating effective leadership for graduate-level nurses. Through her Global Health Promotion class, she mobilizes health-care students and helps them see global problems as local ones. A colleague commends Mabel for “the desire and commitment to help her students do more than observe the world around them — she challenges them to act and get involved.”

  • Xiaosong Li, Distinguished Teaching Award

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Xiaosong Li

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Chemistry

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Harry & Catherine Jaynne Boand Endowed Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences

    Xiaosong is an enthusiastic, dedicated instructor and mentor in the Chemistry Department, as well as associate chair for graduate education. Xiaosong was also instrumental in creating a new professional degree program and new curriculum in the Chemistry Department. A dynamic speaker, he receives rave reviews from students in his classes of more than 500. “While the class was indeed challenging,” one student wrote, Xiaosong’s teaching “made the course interesting … It stretched my thinking and made me think of concepts in a new way.”

  • Karin D. Martin, Distinguished Teaching Award

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Karin D. Martin

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Public Policy & Governance

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Assistant Professor, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

    Using every inch of the walls in Odegaard’s active learning classroom, Karin creates interactive experiences that engage students of all levels. Karin includes guest speakers and readings in her courses to reflect the diversity of her students and community. She values critical thinking, often leading difficult conversations about criminal justice while ensuring that all voices are heard. Karin approaches teaching and learning as a collaborative endeavor, nurturing each student’s intrinsic motivations.

  • Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Distinguished Teaching Award

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Ali Rowhani-Rahbar

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Public Health

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Associate Professor, Epidemiology, School of Public Health

    By connecting abstract mathematical concepts to tangible public health issues, Ali demonstrates to students why they should not only learn but care about incidence estimation and odds ratios. He engages deeply with student questions, challenging them to think critically while respecting their participation. “The students ― I among them ― adore Ali because he is truly a life-changing, inspiring teacher and mentor whose voice, vision and guidance follow you long after class is done,” wrote one former student.

  • Ian Schnee, Distinguished Teaching Award

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Ian Schnee

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Philosophy

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Senior Lecturer, Philosophy, College of Arts & Sciences

    Ian encourages students to be well-prepared when they enter the classroom; he structures class time according to best practices, being mindful of pacing. Because he understands the psychology of learning, Ian knows how to engage visual, tech-savvy Gen-Z students in philosophical questions. He’s active, inclusive and fun; one student noted, “Dr. Schnee’s course design resulted in some of the most engaging class discussions out of all of my philosophy coursework.”

  • Alyssa Taylor, Distinguished Teaching Award

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Alyssa Taylor

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Bioengineering

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Senior Lecturer, Bioengineering, College of Engineering

    Alyssa keeps her students on their toes, whether in a lecture or the lab. By designing well organized, structured courses, she teaches theoretically complex topics in an engaging way that deepens students’ understanding. Alyssa teaches students to work in inclusive teams, with an approach that involves setting clear expectations about inclusivity, collecting feedback and then closely mentoring the teams. As one student noted, “She demonstrates her commitment by working tirelessly to improve the whole student experience.”

  • Tanya Grace Velasquez, Distinguished Teaching Award

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Tanya Grace Velasquez

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Sociology

    Distinguished Teaching Award

    Senior Lecturer, Sociology, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Tacoma

    With a steadfast commitment to equity, Tanya integrates her knowledge of community and diversity with her expertise in teaching and learning. She ensures that marginalized voices are heard, enhancing students’ appreciation of diversity and drawing out even the most introverted students for discussion. “She always reminds students that even if sociology is not their major/minor,” one student said, “her goal is to get students to think from a sociologist’s perspective, which is a life-changing and realistic view of life.”

  • Jack P. Keating, Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award

    Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award

    Jack P. Keating

    Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award

    Psychology

    Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award

    Professor, Psychology; Dean, UW branch campuses

    Even when teaching 700 students in Psychology 101, the late Jack Keating didn’t use notes. His “encyclopedic knowledge of psychology and engaging teaching style,” along with his commitment to intellectual rigor and social justice, inspired students and prepared them to turn their knowledge into action. Jack made the UW accessible and welcoming, co-chairing the committee that created the Department of American Ethnic Studies. He was instrumental in the development of UW Tacoma and UW Bothell, chairing the search for founding faculty and serving as dean of the branch campuses. The UW is recognizing him posthumously for his enduring legacy.

  • Vern Harner, Excellence in Teaching Award

    Excellence in Teaching Award

    Vern Harner

    Excellence in Teaching Award

    Social Work

    Excellence in Teaching Award

    Doctoral Candidate, Social Welfare, School of Social Work

    Vern is a champion for co-creating equitable learning environments, helping students develop the self-reflection and communication skills needed to participate in those environments. Vern achieves this in ways big and small, from using a microphone so all students can hear and emphasizing self-care to offering individual consultations with their students. One student reflects, “Vern gave us room for our voices to be heard and pushed us to think further when they knew we could.”

  • Charles C. Lanfear, Excellence in Teaching Award

    Excellence in Teaching Award

    Charles C. Lanfear

    Excellence in Teaching Award

    Sociology

    Excellence in Teaching Award

    Graduate Staff Assistant, Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Chuck’s enthusiasm for statistics and R, a software environment for statistical computing, is contagious. “He made all the students want to learn it,” one student wrote. In his interdisciplinary statistics courses, Chuck skillfully explains concepts and presents well-organized, carefully sequenced slides. His Intro to R course “is an incredible resource … because it provides an appropriately paced opportunity to learn and apply R with the guidance of an expert instructor.”

  • Manka Varghese, Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

    Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

    Manka Varghese

    Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

    Education

    Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

    Professor, College of Education

    Manka’s numbers are impressive: She has mentored and graduated 16 doctoral and 53 master’s students and served on more than 40 doctoral committees, including five from external international institutions. But what’s even more impressive is how she empowers others. “After Manka got to know me on a personal level and heard about my background and research interest,” a student notes, “she helped me feel proud of my upbringing and the unique perspective I bring to academia.”

  • Fa'aumu Kaimana, President’s Medal (Four-Year Award)

    President’s Medal (Four-Year Award)

    Fa’aumu Kaimana

    President’s Medal (Four-Year Award)

    Anthropology and Sociology

    President’s Medal (Four-Year Award)

    Medical Anthropology & Global Health and Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

    Fa’aumu’s vibrant Husky Experience and impressive academic success are grounded in the importance of family. As a low-income student of color grappling with the recent loss of their mother, Fa’aumu created a chosen family through involvement with the Burke Museum, the Lushootseed language research project and clubs and affinity groups connecting them with their Polynesian heritage. Fa’aumu further explored the concept of family in their honors thesis, which investigates the role of family in Indigenous students’ educational success.

  • Savannah Cassis, President’s Medal (Transfer Award)

    President’s Medal (Transfer Award)

    Savannah Cassis

    President’s Medal (Transfer Award)

    Psychology

    President’s Medal (Transfer Award)

    Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences

    A love of research brought Savannah to the UW as a transfer student from Tacoma Community College, and ever since, she has passionately pursued her interests in the Cognition and Cortical Dynamics Lab through the Honors Psychology Program. In addition to her fascination with brain and behavioral science, she studies Japanese and plans to pursue a law degree focusing on Asian and comparative law, to help facilitate connections between Asia and the United States.

  • Julianne Dalcanton, University Faculty Lecture Award

    University Faculty Lecture Award

    Julianne Dalcanton

    University Faculty Lecture Award

    Astronomy

    University Faculty Lecture Award

    Professor and Chair, Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences

    Julianne has been described as a “role model of determination and civility” in encouraging women and minorities to enter astronomy. A colleague praised her “outstanding teaching record, a result of her deep content knowledge, meticulous preparation, dedication to all students, natural empathy, and a happy demeanor that evokes enthusiasm from every audience and class.” An astronomy professor from another institution recalled Julianne’s recent lecture at the American Astronomical Society conference: “Multiple people commented that it was clearly the best review talk they had ever heard. I agree.”

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