The College of Engineering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of the college’s teaching and research assistants, staff and faculty members.
Faculty Award: Junior
Assistant Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Investigating the relationship between human psychology, cyber security, phishing and misinformation, Prashanth Rajivan develops fundamental cognitive models to analyze the processes associated with decision-making in adversarial contexts. His work has led to collaborations with companies like Starbucks, Cisco and the National Science Foundation. He received a 2022 NSF Career Award to support his research and develop a curriculum on computer security and agent-based simulation.
Prashanth is directly helping to attract more students and increase undergraduate enrollment in ISE. He has not only created new workshops and courses to meet the dynamic needs of current and future students but also engaged with engineering advisers and other faculty to highlight ISE for prospective undeclared engineering students. A team player dedicated to uplifting everyone, Prashanth is working closely with faculty and students to create the next generation of industrial engineers.
Faculty Award: Research
Associate Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering
Kate Starbird is nationally recognized in her field for her contributions to the identification and analysis of the spread of online rumors, misinformation and disinformation during crises–including natural disasters, political disruptions and an ongoing pandemic. During the 2020 election, Kate and her team identified, analyzed and addressed rumors related to election processes and results. This real-time work enabled several different studies, recent publications and citation in the final report of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. As a public scholar, Kate educates thousands of people in identifying misinformation across her social media platforms.
In addition to her role as teacher and researcher, Kate is the co-founder and director of the UW’s Center for an Informed Public.
Faculty Award: Teaching
Assistant Teaching Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering
Bridging the gap between academic theory and industry, Kristin Dew is highly regarded by her students and peers for her adaptability and forward thinking. As an instructor of several HCDE courses, Kristin is constantly thinking of new ways to engage students and help them grow professionally and personally, including the application of case studies from industry into graduate theory courses, accommodating students with English as a second language and developing interactive projects.
In addition to developing new courses in Sustainable Interaction Design for the B.S. and M.S. programs, Kristin mentors students in research, helping support the publication of their work in top tier conferences. She is the recipient of two HCDE teaching awards as well as multiple awards from Association for Computing Machinery conferences.
Staff Award: Classified
Office Manager and Building Coordinator, Human Centered Design & Engineering
As office manager and building coordinator, Jane Skau is an innovator and collaborator who is instrumental to the ever-shifting facilities needs of the Human Centered Design & Engineering department. From orchestrating the installation of a design lab suitable for supporting hybrid teaching to managing building and departmental spaces during COVID, Jane not only manages departmental logistics regarding space, equipment, safety and security, they are also responsible for the smooth running of day-to-day operations of the main office.
Jane’s expertise in facilities management is compounded by their focus on equity, which led to the implementation of a food pantry for students who may have difficulty getting food between classes, all gender restrooms, and a dedicated prayer and meditation space. Referred to as a “Jane of All Trades,” Jane’s creativity and ability to anticipate the needs of students and staff illustrates their thoughtful and collaborative nature.
Staff Award: Professional
Senior Research Scientist, Human Centered Design & Engineering
As a senior research scientist in the Momentary Experience Lab, Elin Bjorling focuses her research on the participatory design of social robotics and virtual reality to address teen mental health. She helped to develop a social robot that can be deployed to local high schools to capture, understand and reduce student stress levels. She received the FACET Award in 2020 and 2022, and the UW Comotion Innovation Gap Fund in 2020.
Elin’s commitment to mental wellness extends outside the lab, where she created stress-reduction sessions and workshops for colleagues and faculty. In her courses, she begins every class with a session aimed at centering students and prioritizing student mental health. Across her interactions as a colleague and instructor, Elin reinforces her care for the totality of each person she interacts with.
Staff Award: Professional
Director of Finance and Administration, Computer Science & Engineering
Since joining the Allen School 19 years ago as the front office manager, Jen has taken on various duties from event coordination to grants management, culminating in her current role as director of finance and administration. As the School's first new administrative director in 37 years, Jen has overseen a growing portfolio of vital administrative and financial services and provides high-level strategic leadership for a unit that has grown exponentially over the years–and continues to expand. She has revamped staff infrastructure to meet high-volume, complex demands and has created the scaffolding to support growth into the future.
Beyond the defining lines of excel spreadsheets and compliance, Jen prioritizes relationships, and in the words of a colleague, she “makes each staff member feel seen and valued.” This combination of warmth and organizational know-how contributes to a culture that benefits her team and the Allen School as a whole.
Director of Institutional Research & Planning
Director of Finance and Grants
Collaboration Core Administrator
When the College of Engineering began centralizing UW’s myriad financial systems to Workday under UW's Financial Transformation project, staff members Carol Diem, Vivian Ho, Scott Koziol, and Amanda McCracken-Roberts stepped in to facilitate a number of initiatives to ensure a smooth transition. They organized and staffed a Shared Services unit, trained and guided staff through the first version of the Adaptive budgeting module and created the Foundation Data Model (FDM) for the COE. Recognizing the number of units and stakeholders who needed to be guided through this process, the team made themselves available through a variety of channels, including office hours, ongoing meetings and weekly digest emails. Their expertise and efforts will allow the College of Engineering to be more efficient and help to lay the administrative, financial and communications groundwork for a seamless transition.
Student Award: Teaching
Ph.D. Candidate, Human Centered Design & Engineering
Thoughtful, positive and community-oriented, Sourojit Ghosh brings his subject matter expertise, leadership and extensive writing skills to create classroom experiences that uplift students and spark engaging in-class conversations. Described as a “bright light in dark times,” Sourojit’s friendly attitude and adaptability helped enable a smooth pivot to online courses. He helped guide several undergraduates to submit multiple research papers, and he holds numerous leadership positions, including Instructor of Record and the leader of several directed research groups. In addition, his dedication to DEI and non-Western perspectives on topics like privilege and data feminism help students understand the ethical and societal impact of their work. Sourojit is an instructor committed to broadening student horizons and providing an exemplary learning environment.
Student Award: Research
Ph.D. Candidate, Bioengineering
Julien Bloch is a Ph.D. student studying neuroscience, dynamic modeling and machine learning to research neurorehabilitative brain-computer-technologies. His work on cortical physiology and neuromodulation directly led to a $4.2M grant from NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health to use machine learning and AI in combination with brain stimulation to explore stimulation-based therapies for mental health disorders. His perseverance, adaptability and initiative have resulted in the authorship of six research papers (including in Cell Reports Methods and iScience), multiple selected talks and posters at international conferences, a patent and numerous fellowships, grants and awards. As put by one UW professor, “Julien is a very talented and accomplished young researcher revving all cylinders to advance the interface of neuroscience data and theory, and their translational applications to boot.”