UW News

January 27, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Honorary doctorate, early career award, Washington state LGTBQ Commission, writing program praise

Recent honors to University of Washington faculty and staff include an early career award in astronomy, an honorary doctorate from the Delft University of Technology, a seat on Washington state’s new LGBTQ Commission and national honor for an English Department writing program.

American Astronomical Society honors UW’s Emily Levesque for early career achievement

UW astronomy professor Emily Levesque has been given the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize by the American Astronomical Society

Emily Levesque

The American Astronomical Society has named Emily Levesque, UW assistant professor of astronomy, recipient of its 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize, given for outstanding early career achievement in observational astronomy.

Levesque was honored, more specifically, for her “breakthrough studies of massive stars and their explosive end states.

“Through observations of the host galaxy environments of long-duration gamma-ray bursts she has provided new insights into the stellar populations that create these extremely energetic events,” the AAS said in its news release. Levesque also led development of a new temperature scale for red supergiant stars. She wrote a graduate-level e-book on the subject in 2017, and is working on a new book for the general public about observational astronomy, coming in August.

The award is named for American astronomer Newton Lacy Pierce. This is Levesque’s second honor from the AAS; in 2014 she received the Annie Jump Cannon Award for outstanding research and promise for future research by a postdoctoral woman researcher.


Social work professor Karen Fredriksen Goldsen named to Washington state LGBTQ Commission

Karen Fredriksen Goldsen of the UW School of Social Work has been named to the new Washington state LGBTQ Commission

Karen Fredriksen Goldsen

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has named Karen Fredriksen Goldsen of the UW School of Social work one of 15 members to serve on the state’s new LGBTQ Commission.

Fredriksen Goldsen is a professor of social work and director of the Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence at the UW.

All the commission members were chosen by the governor with input from members of the state House and Senate as well as from community stakeholders. The commissioners will serve three-year staggered appointments, and all are effective immediately. The announcement was made Jan. 16.

The LGBTQ Commission was established by the state Legislature and signed into law by Inslee in April 2019. The commission is tasked with identifying the needs of the LGBTQ community and advocating for equity and inclusion throughout Washington state government.


Information School professor Batya Friedman receives honorary doctorate from Delft University of Technology

Batya Friedman

Batya Friedman, professor in the Information School, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Delft University of Technology, in Delft, Netherlands.

The honor was one of two given to researchers who “symbolize new perceptions in design” during Dies Natalis, the Dutch school’s 178th anniversary celebration, on Jan. 10. Friedman gave a keynote lecture during the event’s Program Design for Values Symposium.

Friedman is founder and co-director, with iSchool colleague David Hendry, of the UW’s Value Sensitive Design Lab. The two also co-wrote the 2019 book “Value Sensitive Design: Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination.”

Value sensitive design, the two wrote, “brings together theory, methods and applications for a design process that engages human values at every stage.”

In the ceremony, Delft professor Ibo van de Poel praised Friedman as a pioneer: “In 1996, you for the first time used the term value sensitive design in a publication … Now, 20 years later the approach has been adopted world-wide.”

Watch a video of the Dies Natalis event (Friedman appears at about the 55:35 mark).


English Department’s Expository Writing Program wins national honor

The Department of English’s Expository Writing Program has been awarded a certificate of excellence by the nationwide Conference on College Composition and Communication.

The program is directed by Candice Rai, UW associate professor of English. Other associate directors and mentors, noted in the department newsletter, are Elizabeth Simmons-O’Neill, Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges, Michelle Liu, Jake Huebsch, and Nancy Bou Ayash.

The awards committee wrote that they were impressed by the program’s “expansive” vision of writing, including its “attentiveness to the needs of diverse learners, including its support for multilingual writers, and its integration of anti-racism into professional development opportunities.”

The newsletter also noted the contribution former program directors, including John Webster, Gail Stygall, Juan Guerra and Anis Bawarshi.