News releases on topics ranging from babbling babies to brain control, a UW-developed way for advancement officers to deal with complex databases and a UW Columns magazine article have all won medals in the annual awards program sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
The organization is one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations and its international competition honors outstanding work in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing at colleges, universities, independent schools and nonprofits. The contest is open to more than 3,600 member colleges, universities and non-profit organizations in 82 countries.
Michelle Ma, Molly McElroy, Hannah Hickey and Doree Armstrong, public information officers in the Office of News and Information, won a silver in the research, medicine, and science news writing category for an entry that included five news releases issued in 2013:
- While in womb, babies begin learning language from their mothers
- Researcher controls colleague’s motions in 1st human brain-to-brain interface
- Breaking deep-sea waves reveal mechanism for global ocean mixing
- New strategy lets cochlear implant users hear music
- More sex for married couples with traditional divisions of housework
Each story in the entry showed how cross-lab connections, a strength of the UW, were central to the story of discovery. The news releases led to media coverage in outlets such as the New York Times, NPR, Washington Post and Slate.
In the portion of the contest for advancement services programs, the UW Office of Advancement Services won the gold in the category for overall operations for Michelangelo, a way to link data together that includes tools to build reports and lists that even people without database skills can use.
As the website says, “Effortlessly query your data: Michelangelo helps create ad-hoc reports – without involving IT.”
Developed by the UW in 2010, the patented technology has been licensed to universities throughout the U.S. Thousands of reports on alumni, research and other topics have been generated using Michelangelo.
The final medal went to freelance writer Diane Mapes for “Reconstructing Hope,” her first-person account of breast reconstruction surgery that appeared in the June 2013 Columns magazine, published by the UW Alumni Association. The article was edited by Jon Marmor and Paul Fontana, the director and assistant director respectively of publications for the association.
Mapes won in the category for best articles of the year among entries in the three regions organized by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education that make up the western U.S. and Canada.