UW News

March 22, 2023

Faculty/staff honors: Legal education innovation award, stellar astronomical writing and more

Recent recognition of the University of Washington includes the Bloomberg Law 2022 Law School Innovation Program “Top Legal Education Program” for the UW Tech Policy Lab, 2023 Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award for Vera Trainer and 2023 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award for Emily Levesque.

Bloomberg recognizes UW Tech Policy Lab as ‘Top Legal Innovation Program’

The UW Tech Policy Lab was recently recognized by Bloomberg as a Top Legal Education Innovation Program in 2022 due to its unique cross-discipline approach. The award is given to pioneering schools making an impact in the legal field.

Ryan Calo

Founded in 2013 by faculty from the UW School of Law, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Information School, the lab bridges the gap between technologists and policymakers to help generate wiser, more inclusive tech policy.

“The students and community members who interact with the lab come away with the understanding that collaborating and bringing a variety of perspectives together is the key to working through contemporary challenges,” said Ryan Calo, professor of law at the UW and co-director of the Tech Policy Lab. Bloomberg’s Law School Innovation Program seeks to recognize and connect law school faculty, staff and administrators who are education innovators. Submissions to the program were scored based on impact on students, ability to advance the legal industry and replicability. In its submission, the UW Tech Lab demonstrated the model’s unique blend of immersive experiences, opportunities for relationship-building and interdisciplinary approaches.

“Rather than try to work with every student, we offer programming open to all and work closely with a small handful of law students whom we place on interdisciplinary teams to work on consequential issues of tech policy,” Calo said. “They often go on to work in the field and get a unique perspective and experience working across disciplines.”

This was the inaugural year of the awards.

UW professor wins 2023 Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award

Vera Trainer, affiliate professor of aquatic and fishery sciences at the UW, was selected as the 2023 Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award winner for her work on harmful algal blooms, or HABs, which are proliferations of algae that cause environmental and economic damage.

Vera Trainer

The Conversation Research Award has honored leaders and innovators in marine conservation research since 2004, focusing on climate change, plastic pollution, sustainable fisheries and tourism, marine protected areas and socioeconomics.

“This award is not only for what has been accomplished, but what will be accomplished in the future,” said Trainer, a former NOAA oceanographer and current research lead for the Olympic Natural Resources Center.

Trainer’s HABs research has provided a foundation for understanding the effects climate change has had on coastal ecosystems and highlights the need for inclusion of impacted communities in decision-making.

Trainer is also co-founder of the Olympic Region HAB program and founder of SoundToxins, a partnership that monitors HABs in the Puget Sound. These unique community collaborations provide advance warning of HABs that threaten seafood safety as well as ecosystem and human health, ultimately ensuring safe, sustainable shellfish harvests.

Astronomy professor awarded for stellar physics textbook

The American Astronomy Society awarded Emily Levesque, associate professor of astronomy at the UW, and her co-author Henny J.G.L.M. Lamers the 2023 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award for their graduate textbook “Understanding Stellar Evolution.”

The Chambliss Award recognizes astronomy writing geared towards the upper-division undergraduate or graduate level, a rarely recognized category.

Emily Levesque

“It’s great to see the importance of stellar physics recognized,” said Levesque. “Henny Lamers spent more than a decade developing amazing lecture notes for our course on stellar structure and evolution, and it was great to work with him on turning these into a textbook.”

Split into three parts, the book first delves into the physics of how stars work. It then describes the evolution of stars from formation to death and explores some complicating factors of stellar evolution. The book was produced using years of lecture notes for an astronomy class at the UW.

“We spent a lot of time expanding and fleshing out roughly outlined ideas from lecture notes so that they could stand alone as complete explanations in the textbook,” said Levesque. “It was interesting to be teaching the course and writing the book at the same time in the spring of 2016. It helped alert us to a topic or detail that would spark discussion or follow-up questions in class and encouraged us to expand on the topic in the text.”