Hundreds of UW colleagues, family and friends celebrated the recipients of this year’s Awards of Excellence on Thursday, June 13, in Meany Hall.
The following is based on remarks made by President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost and Executive Vice President Mark Richards at the 49th annual event.
2019 Awards of Excellence Recipients
Distinguished Staff Award: Sam Al-Khoury, Director of Student Engagement & Activities, Student Engagement & Activities, UW Bothell
“Collaborative and strategic” are how Sam’s colleagues describe his work supporting the needs of the diverse and dynamic environment for students at UW Bothell. Sam’s gifts for finding compromises and opening the lines of communication have helped students and staff find solutions to issues that seemed, at times, intractable. His commitment to equity, inclusivity and social justice are matched by his talent for maintaining an environment of civility and respect, while always keeping students at the center of his work.
Distinguished Staff Award: Laura L. Harrington, Air Force ROTC Program Coordinator, Department of Aerospace Studies, Air Force ROTC
Considered “the rock” of her department, Laura has been an invaluable resource for cadets and their families. She has worked tirelessly to improve the cadet experience, revamping processes, finding new efficiencies and developing tools that put cadets’ needs first. She has also forged a vital link with the department’s alumni community and has helped grow support for scholarships. She is appreciated as much for her kindness, warmth and empathy as she is for her effectiveness and impact on the program.
Distinguished Staff Award: Darrell Owens, Clinical Assistant Professor and Section Head for Supportive and Palliative Care, UW Medicine Northwest Hospital Campus
Darrell is among the most decorated advance practice nurses in Washington, and for good reason: He has dedicated countless hours to caring for patients and their families at the end-of-life. When faced with the prospect of closing an outpatient consulting program in order to preserve an inpatient service, Darrell created a plan to continue caring for both groups. In doing so, he became the first and only advanced practice nurse to have started two medical consult services within the UW Health System.
Distinguished Staff Award: Douglas Stevens, Program Support Supervisor II, Mailing Services, Creative Communications
Campus mail service is one aspect of our jobs that we often take for granted, and that is in large part thanks to Douglas, whose innovative work leading the e-bike program has transformed the way the UW Mailing Service delivers mail and packages to the entire Seattle campus. Through his leadership and vision, Douglas has reduced our campus’s environmental impact, cut down on traffic noise and congestion, and cut waste throughout the system.
Distinguished Staff Award: Digital Strategies Team, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance
- Molly Jay, Chief Digital Officer
- John Compton, Director of Digital Strategies
- Ian Gonzales, Assistant Director of Digital Strategies
In launching the Evans School’s new online case repository and interactive teaching resource, “The Hallway,” Molly, Ian and John set a new standard for excellence. Thanks to Molly’s leadership, Ian’s technical expertise, and John’s outstanding project management skills, this small-but-mighty team drove the transformation of a cumbersome and outdated system into a platform that is cutting-edge, nimble and already attracting national attention. Thanks to their ingenuity and dedication, faculty and students are benefitting from this game-changing resource.
David B. Thorud Leadership Award (faculty): Margaret L. Spearmon, Senior Lecturer and Chief Officer of Community Engagement and Diversity, School of Social Work
Margaret has held numerous leadership positions over her 25 years with the UW School of Social Work, and she has excelled at all of them. Whether serving as the director of the Baccalaureate Social Work Program or the associate dean for Academic Affairs, Margaret has provided transformational leadership in the initiatives she undertakes, in her commitment to social justice and as a friend and mentor to her colleagues. She embodies the best of public scholarship and community engagement.
David B. Thorud Leadership Award (staff): Patricia Dougherty, Director, Retiree Relations; Executive Director, UW Retirement Association
When the Great Recession hit, the UW Retirement Center lost its funding. With creativity and determination, Patricia helped to reimagine the UW Retirement Association’s relationship to the UW. She found ways to raise funds, save people’s jobs and continue the vital work of helping our retirees stay connected to our University. Today, the UWRA is stronger than ever, thanks largely to her tireless efforts, which not only benefit our thriving community of retirees, but do so much to benefit our entire University.
Distinguished Librarian Award: Hyokyoung Yi, Korean Studies Librarian and Head of Public Services, East Asia Library, University Libraries
Thanks to Hyokyoung, the UW is home to one of the world’s greatest academic Korea collections, but her excellence goes far beyond even this important contribution. Described by her nominators as possessing “out-of-the-box creativity and administrative acumen,” her commitment to curating and maintaining this impressive and distinctive global collection is accelerating discovery and scholarship as well as fostering student success. Her international leadership in this field has made some critical research materials open and freely available worldwide for the first time.
Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award: Connie Kravas, Senior Vice President, University Advancement
Connie’s impact on University Advancement and the whole University can hardly be overstated. She has transformed our relationships with our alumni, donors, friends and supporters, helping them to connect deeply with our mission to serve students and the public. She has built an Advancement organization that is the envy of every one of our peers. We could ask for no better champion of our great public mission, and as she prepares to retire, she leaves incredibly large shoes to fill.
Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award: James P. LoGerfo Sr., Professor Emeritus, Medicine and Global Health, UW Medicine, Harborview Medical Center
Over a long and decorated career, James has done an enormous amount to create access to primary care for vulnerable communities. His impact has been felt here in Washington and through his extensive work in Cambodia. He inspires others to follow his lead, both in and out of the clinic, as he has become a powerful and effective advocate for public health initiatives. Today, he continues his vital work to benefit the health of our global community.
Distinguished Teaching Award: Jennifer H. Doherty, Senior Lecturer, Biology, College of Arts & Sciences
Jennifer’s evidence-based teaching practices are so well known that faculty from other institutions visit her classes to learn from her. She uses the scholarship of teaching and learning to inform her work. Then she aligns her objectives, assessments and strategies to advance student learning. A coordinator for her Biology 200 course noted that “Jennifer is making constant micro-revisions in her teaching style based on student feedback and literature in the field of Biology education to improve the learning experience of the students.”
Distinguished Teaching Award: José M. Guzmán, Acting Instructor, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, College of the Environment
José doesn’t just introduce students to a subject, he inspires them to dig deeper as they help each other learn. In marine biology classes with more than 150 students, José engages each of them by constantly asking relevant case-study questions to gauge their understanding. As one student said, “I was so nervous before starting classes, but he has an incredible way of making every student feel welcomed. Our classes were upbeat, well-paced, engaging and overall an incredible learning environment.”
Distinguished Teaching Award: Maureen A. Howard, Professor, School of Law
Maureen makes a point to tailor her teaching to each student as she promotes their personal, professional and intellectual development. She consistently checks in with students to measure their understanding of the complexities of the law. She asks their opinions and encourages critiques. Weekly review sessions and practice tests promote student success. And she fosters excellence by challenging students’ critical thinking and facilitating conversations on the practical effects and impact of the law.
Distinguished Teaching Award: Kira Schabram, Assistant Professor, Management and Organization, Foster School of Business
Not only does Kira excel as a teacher, she is an outstanding mentor and advocate for students. With her inviting and energizing style, Kira has an immediate and positive rapport with her students. When one student performed poorly on a midterm, Kira assisted him with time management and study strategies prior to the final.
“Kira’s inspiration and mentorship were exactly what I needed at exactly the right time to turn a bad situation into a great quarter,” he said.
Distinguished Teaching Award: Julie Shayne, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Coordinator for Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell
In Julie’s classes, students readily take on intellectual risks and engage in discussions about complicated and even sensitive topics. Students say it’s because of the supportive atmosphere Julie creates. This support is one reason that one of her students chose to continue her undergraduate program after nearly dropping out. Now that student is pursuing her master’s degree.
“At every turn of my academic and activist career, Julie has rallied behind my work, opening the door to opportunities and elevating my projects among her colleagues.”
Amanda’s feminist pedagogy of mutual learning is the foundation of her teaching. This means that she presents new and challenging material without belittling or dismissing what students already know. She leads students to question and analyze traditional views on gender and sexuality. For instance, she once invited students to avoid looking in the mirror for one week. One student said: “Students came to understand on an embodied level how gendered, sexualized and classed norms exist in something as mundane as examining our reflections in the mirror.”
Distinguished Teaching Award: Anaid Yerena, Assistant Professor, Urban Studies, UW Tacoma
Anaid not only brings excellent teaching and scholarship to her classes, she brings her deep interest in affordable housing. She poses challenges to her students and then guides them as they develop and then propose solutions. Her fieldwork projects in Pierce County provide her graduate students with real-world experience. Through studio-style teaching, critical reading of public documents, and community-informed urban design and planning approaches, Anaid engages diverse learners and empowers them to make a difference.
Distinguished Teaching Award for Innovation and Technology: Sarah Culpepper Stroup, Associate Professor, Classics, College of Arts & Sciences
Sarah deftly blends science, technology, the arts and the humanities into a single class — one such as Greek Athletes, Roman Gladiators, the Modern Olympics and College Football. Sarah knows how to write a course title that draws attention — and students. Her signature class, STEM in the Ancient World, centers on the contributions that Greeks and Romans made to science, technology, engineering and math. In the words of a colleague, “21st-century students engage in ancient theories and apply them in a lab.”
Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award: Aurora Valentinetti, Professor Emerita, School of Drama
The impact of Aurora’s teaching and work has lasted long after the curtain call. A 1965 UW graduate with a degree in drama and a long career as a UW professor, Aurora’s imagination, humor, rigor and high standards helped her students explore the art of puppetry in college — and they continue to use her techniques today as teachers, artists and performers themselves. Her legacy lives on during story times in classrooms, on stages in children’s theaters and in exhibits and programs at the Valentinetti Puppet Museum in Bremerton.
Excellence in Teaching Award: Jeffrey Paz Buenaflor, Graduate Student, Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
In a field of more than 100 chemistry teaching assistants, Jeffrey stands out — for his passion for organic chemistry and his commitment to explaining the subject to students at every level. A fellow Ph.D. candidate said: “He takes immense care of students whether it is helping them out with a particular problem or developing a new concept from scratch.” His student evaluations underscore his ability to precisely coordinate content between the lectures and his quiz sections, noted his department chair.
Excellence in Teaching Award: Margarita Zeitlin, Graduate Student, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
Communication skills are essential in teaching, and Margarita leverages hers to ensure that her students are learning. Margarita also is a model for students who are interested in pursuing research-focused graduate degrees, one academic adviser said. Margarita uses stories, humor and insights to help students understand her own path to graduate school. She is honest in her appraisal of the hard work and difficult odds, and at the same time, she shares hope and excitement about future possibilities for students.
Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning Award: Anna Ratzliff, Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
Anna has devoted more than a decade to improving the lives of people with mental illness and addiction, their families and their communities through lifelong learning for health-care professionals. She has presented hundreds of workshops around the world to train psychiatrists, psychologists, primary-care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and social workers — anyone willing to help those struggling with mental-health issues. As one psychiatrist noted: Anna makes complex concepts approachable so that health-care providers can solve real-life problems.
University Faculty Lecture Award: Jacqueline McMurtrie, Professor, School of Law
As founder of Innocence Project Northwest, which works to free innocent people who are currently incarcerated, Jackie has spent the last 30 years inspiring many law students and colleagues to dedicate their careers to public service. She is a scholar-activist who challenges her colleagues intellectually and encourages them to serve their own communities. One colleague said that Jackie “kindles in us compassion for the people we serve in our profession.”
Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award: Tatiana Toro, Craig McKibben and Sarah Merner Professor, Mathematics, College of Arts & Sciences
Tatiana is known throughout the mathematics community as an advocate for underrepresented minorities in her field. Her students praise her mentoring skills, her generosity of time and spirit, and her support in all aspects of their lives. In the words of one student: “She is the first mathematician I have seen speak against racist and sexist comments, making her a role model so deeply important to me, as a Latina mathematician.”
Outstanding Public Service: Theresa Cheng, Clinical Assistant Professor, Periodontics, School of Dentistry
Theresa has devoted her leadership and innovative efforts to improving the lives and health of low-income veterans who have returned from combat areas. Most veterans do not receive dental benefits; as a periodontist, Theresa has provided free dental care to about 30 veterans a year. To serve even more veterans across 13 states, Theresa convinced over 350 dentists, specialists and dental labs to collaborate and provide pro bono comprehensive dental care in their private clinics. These collective efforts have treated more than 300 veterans, providing close to $1 million in dental care.
Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award: Priscilla Taylor, ’93, ’96, School of Nursing, Retired Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army
This award is intended to recognize a UW alumna or alumnus who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, and that certainly describes Lt. Colonel Taylor in her profound dedication to the care and support of veterans. From serving as a medic and in the Army Nurse Corps from the Vietnam War era through operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, she has done a great deal to advance the standard of care for all wounded veterans, and she has continued to heal wounded veterans and their families even after she retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel, helping to coordinate care for veterans during surgery and recovery.
President’s Medal: Marisa De Luccia, Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Marisa began her college journey at Seattle Central College, and when she first arrived at the UW, she worried that she had missed out on the full college experience. But her résumé of accomplishments and activities is proof that she didn’t. While making the College of the Environment Dean’s list every quarter, she has received funding to do independent research in Costa Rica, become president of the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honors Society and given back through UW TRIO, an organization that once provided critical support to her.
President’s Medal: Emma Spickard, Public Health–Global Health, School of Public Health
Emma’s passion for public health has manifested in many ways throughout her Husky Experience — from volunteering at a local women’s day shelter, to advocating for affordable housing, to working with GlobeMed to improve global health. She has seized every opportunity to not only learn about her field, but to make an impact here and now. As a recipient of the prestigious Bonderman Fellowship, she will continue to expand her horizons and seek out ways to have impact on her travels.
Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus: James G. Anderson, ’66, Physics
At a time when our whole planet is grappling with the seriousness of humans’ impact on the climate, James Anderson’s monumental discoveries that connected climate change and ozone loss are of global importance. His research led to the banning of chlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants because of their adverse effect on the ozone layer.
James joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1978 and since 1982 has been the Phillip S. Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences there. He also served as chair of Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. His enormous scientific contributions have earned him numerous recognitions, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was also awarded the United Nations Vienna Convention Award for Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award.
The impact of James’ research and scholarship would be more than enough to secure his legacy, but he has also been a devoted teacher of undergraduates; long before it was fashionable, James saw the classroom as an opportunity to cultivate young minds rather than weed them out. His impact on generations of students ensures that we will continue to benefit from his brilliance and ingenuity long into the future, for which we can all be grateful.