UW News

April 6, 2016

3 University of Washington professors recognized by Guggenheim Foundation

Three University of Washington professors are among the 178 scholars, artists, and scientists from the U.S. and Canada recognized this year by the Guggenheim Foundation. Katharyne Mitchell, Helen O’Toole and Rajesh Rao were among the winners chosen from more than 3,100 applicants and will receive grants of varying amounts that allow them to pursue creative projects of six to 12 months in the fields of science, academic scholarship and the arts.

GuggenheimfellowsKatharyne Mitchell is a professor of geography. Her research falls into several broad categories, including transnational migration, education, critical race theory, philanthropy and urban political geography. Mitchell has been at the UW since 1998. She was the chair of the Department of Geography from 2008 to 2013.

Helen O’Toole is a professor of art and chair of the painting and drawing program at the UW. In addition to teaching in Seattle, O’Toole has taught at La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore and at the UW Studio Art Program in Rome. Recently, O’Toole received a 2016 Contemporary Northwest Art Award from Portland Art Museum. Her work has been included in several international exhibitions in Ireland – where she was born – and Singapore. O’Toole has been at the UW since 1996.

Rajesh Rao is the director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering and a professor of computer science & engineering. He is also an adjunct professor in the electrical engineering and bioengineering departments. Rao’s research spans the areas of computational neuroscience, artificial intelligence and brain-computer interfacing. With his collaborators, he has proposed theories of how the brain might work based on computational ideas such as predictive coding, Bayesian modeling and reinforcement learning.