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College of Engineering Awards

The College of Engineering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of the college’s teaching and research assistants, staff and faculty members.

Nominations for the 2022 College of Engineering Awards are now open until February 11.

Submit a nomination  Eligibility & Criteria

Faculty Award: Junior  Faculty Award: Research  Faculty Award: Teaching  Faculty Award: Outstanding  Staff Award: Classified  Staff Award: Professional  Staff Award: Outstanding  Student Award: Teaching  Student Award: Research

2021 Awardees

Faculty Award: Junior

Sam Burden
Assistant Professor

Electrical & Computer Engineering 

Sam Burden photoSam Burden is an expert in sensorimotor control and hybrid systems and their application to robotics, neuroengineering and cyber-physical systems. He is a founding co-director of the Laboratory for Amplifying Movement and Performance (AMP Lab), where his research focuses on developing mathematical and computational modeling tools to enable collaborative learning and control between humans and machines. As a first-generation college graduate and UW engineering alum, Burden is committed to broadening participation in engineering, a goal he pursues in his role as the first DEI coordinator for the ECE department, where he works to define and implement the department’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals through the formation of an advisory committee and partnering with other department leaders on strategic planning, funding, hiring and recruiting. He is the recipient of an ARO Young Investigator Award, WRF Early Faculty Award and an NSF CAREER Award.

Lillian Ratliff
Assistant Professor

Electrical & Computer Engineering 

Lillian Ratliff photo

Lillian Ratliff’s work at the intersection of game theory, machine learning, and control and dynamical systems has led to fundamental contributions to theory and resulted in widely used algorithms in large scale learning-based intelligent systems. Her work in intelligent decision-making has influenced the mechanisms and technology used to set parking policy in Seattle and resulted in algorithms that aim to mitigate bias in the scientific peer-review process. Says ECE Chair Eric Klavins, “Ratliff has a track record of creating order out of chaos in areas where new approaches are often used without much understanding of why they work.” Ratliff’s research has appeared in top-tier conferences and journals, and as a teacher and mentor, she has facilitated collaborations with students and faculty across the UW and in institutions around the world. Her honors include the NSF CISE CRII Award, NSF CAREER Award and ONR Young Investigator Award. Her work has been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering through an invitation to speak at the NAE China-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.

Faculty Award: Research

Guozhong Cao 
Boeing-Steiner Professor

Materials Science & Engineering, Chemical Engineering 

Guozhong Cao photo

Guozhong Cao’s research contributions have enabled the understanding of and strategies for tailoring the chemistry and structures of inorganic and hybrid materials to attain desired properties for a variety of applications, including control of the aggregation of nanoparticles in photoanodes for dye-sensitized solar cells. His research on lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors resulted in new electroactive materials. He has been cited more than 46,000 times through 800 publications, and received awards that include the UW Presidential Entrepreneur Faculty Fellow and the Asian American Engineer of the Year Award. His book “Nanostructures and Nanomaterials” has been published English, Chinese and Russian, and has been used in more than 100 universities worldwide. Raj Bordia, former chair of MSE says, “He is among the most well-known researchers in the world, in the highly crowded and competitive field of inorganic nanomaterials. The scholarly impact of the research that he has led is at the highest level in the field.”

Linda Shapiro

Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
Electrical & Computer Engineering 

Linda Shapiro photo

With more than 48 years of research in computer vision, image and multimedia database systems, and artificial intelligence, Linda Shapiro has made seminal contributions on graph-based matching, CAD-model-based vision, image retrieval, and medical image analysis. She’s written nearly 300 research papers and five books and was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1996 and a fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) in 2000. As an educator, Shapiro is dedicated to her students, helping them to strategically choose projects that further their research goals and lead to exciting careers. She has supervised 45 Ph.D. students and has mentored countless undergraduates through the Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. “Her concern for the ‘whole student,’ makes her an exceptional adviser and role model to a diverse group of students as well as to other researchers, staff, and faculty,” writes Allen School Director Magda Balazinka and ECE Chair Eric Klavins. 

Faculty Award: Teaching

Pedro Arduino
Henry Roy Berg Endowed Professor

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Associate Dean for Infrastructure
College of Engineering

Pedro Arduino photo

Pedro Arduino has a reputation as an excellent and popular instructor in his department, bringing enthusiasm to his role teaching students geotechnical and structural engineering. He has developed many innovative teaching aids which have been used by other instructors around the country. He developed a program that enables students to visualize how soil variables affect earthquake ground motions in real time. Arduino is also responsible for a number of course innovations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels through curriculum updates and updating labs by actively seeking funding for new equipment. These innovations resulted in Arduino receiving the J. Ray Bowen Professorship for Innovation in Engineering Education as well as an Outstanding Teacher Award from CEE. Though he holds a joint appointment as an associate dean at the College of Engineering, Arduino continues to teach at a higher load than is required for the benefit of his students and colleagues.  

Alyssa Taylor
Associate Teaching Professor


Alyssa Taylor photo

Alyssa Taylor supports bioengineering students’ educational journey as an instructor for bioengineering introductory and junior laboratory courses, and as students prepare to graduate, she oversees the senior capstone design course. As an instructor, she applies student feedback to evolve her courses to better serve student needs, from adding more wet lab experiences to the addition of implicit bias training to the curriculum. Taylor further demonstrates her dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion as the undergraduate program coordinator, where she ensures policies are equitable for students, and in her work updating course evaluations to collect student feedback on climate and focusing committee efforts on facilitating DEI instructor planning tools. She played an instrumental role in creating a student organization to introduce undergraduates to research, BioExplore. Says one student, “Dr. Taylor is passionate about providing inclusive venues for students across the university to engage with engineering health topics.”

Faculty Award: Outstanding

Jon Froehlich
Associate Director

Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering 

Jon Froehlich photo

Since the pandemic began, Jon Froehlich has worked to fundamentally transform physical computing courses for virtual platforms. For a course that relies on UW space and equipment, Froehlich assembled and mailed hardware kits to students’ homes; he also developed interactive hardware diagrams and created a new fully interactive website with tutorials and videos. He rebuilt his home office space as a virtual teaching studio, including a green screen. In addition, Froehlich co-created and led a group of university educators to share best practices for remote teaching of computing lab courses. As chair for the conference ASSETS’22, he is committed to making the conference accessible to not only those with physical or sensory disabilities, but for those with chronic illnesses, caretaking responsibilities, or other commitments that prevent physical travel. Says Allen School Director Madgaldena Balazinska, “Since his arrival at UW, he has demonstrated attention to detail, quality, and continuous self-improvement in all aspects.”

Kate Starbird
Associate Professor

Human Centered Design & Engineering 

Kate Starbird photo

Kate Starbird has been critical to helping unpack and understand misinformation through the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election, including documenting the disinformation campaign that resulted in the January 6 insurrection. Since joining the UW in 2012, Starbird has pioneered the field of disinformation studies, analyzing massive amounts of social media data to identify patterns of rumors, misinformation, and disinformation. The impact of her work extends to other fields, including journalism and public policy. She is one of five founding faculty members for the UW Center for an Informed Public, a $5 million center that spans engineering, the Information School and the School of Law. Starbird will direct the center in 2021-2022. As an instructor, Starbird’s courses are consistently rated at the highest level, and she provides opportunities for student research throughout her work. Writes HCDE Chair Julie Kientz, “I cannot think of anyone in any field doing work that is of greater importance and impact than Dr. Starbird.”

Yinhai Wang

Civil & Environmental Engineering 

Yinhai Wang photo

Throughout the last year, founding director of the STAR Lab Yinhai Wang focused work in developing new methods and tools to address mobility challenges, including assessment of COVID-19 impacts on transportation. Partnering with diverse public agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation and state DOTs, and private industry, such as Verizon and INRIX, Wang and his STAR Lab has been internationally recognized as a leader in creating innovative solutions to enhance roadway safety, efficiency, reliability and safety. Wang has also been working with local tribes, such as Yakama Nation, to improve safety equity in transportation. In 2020 alone, under Wang’s direction, the lab produced more than 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, received more than $1.2 million in new research funds, and won numerous student awards. Wang is also director of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans) and the USDOT University Transportation Center for Federal Region 10. Wang and his PacTrans educational research team recently created the PacTrans Workforce Development Institute to address transportation workforce challenges. He was the 2019 president of the Transportation & Development Institute at American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and currently chairs the Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Computing Committee at Transportation Research Board. Wang was named a fellow of the ASCE and the Institute of Transportation Engineers in 2020.

Staff Award: Classified

Maggie McCrory
Fiscal Specialist

Chemical Engineering 

Maggie McCrory photo

Maggie McCrory blends her institutional knowledge of financial best practices with a passion to help people. As a fiscal specialist, her innovation and creativity has improved departmental tracking, reporting and compliance; and her work to maintain timely and accurate financial data is crucial to budget reviews, expenditures and payroll activity. Her colleagues have commended her willingness to take on duties that help her team and expand her professional development. When two colleagues went on leave, McCrory stepped up to help grant managers meet internal deadlines. “She has always gone above and beyond to help with purchasing, Workday, or troubleshooting issues. She is very knowledgeable and always ready to lend a helping hand.” 

Tia Edwards
Payroll Coordinator

Mechanical Engineering

Tia Edwards photo

Tia Edwards has leveraged her role as payroll coordinator into a department problem-solver. Colleagues commend her initiative, responsive work ethic and willingness to improve difficult processes and systems quickly and resourcefully. She is entrusted with complex financial tasks from Procard reconciliation to WorkDay compliance. In the four years she has been in her role, Edwards introduced new systems that solved problems such as staff vacation tracking, quarterly student appointments, stipend requests and payroll review. “Tia is a wonderful colleague to work with and is not only someone we rely on for all payroll-related things but whose exceptional commitment to helping faculty, staff and students is appreciated even more during this challenging year.”

Staff Award: Professional

Della Welch
Web Computing Specialist

Computer Science & Engineering

Della Welch photo

When Della Welch joined CSE as an undergraduate student lab assistant, she showed dedication, patience and cheerfulness, building a self-service web application for loaning equipment that was more efficient and easier to use than the previous paper-based system. After graduating, she joined the school as a full-time developer, applying her systems administration skills to modernize tools for budget reconciliation and TA management. She examined the complex software used for Ph.D. admissions, applied user design testing and created an improved interface for the admissions process. “When you set your sights on building a harmonious and collegial workplace, Della is the team member you dream of attracting. When the pace of work accelerates madly and collides with uncontrollable world events, you want to stand shoulder to shoulder with Della.” 

Amanda McCracken

Collaboration Core 

Amanda McCracken photo

Amanda McCracken brings a unique collegial spirit to her role. When the new model for shared services for MolES, NanoES and CEI was launched, she navigated managing spaces for multiple national research centers while managing seminars and Ph.D. programs. Despite distinct operating models, a complex reporting network, leadership changes, and through the challenges of the pandemic, McCracken communicates effectively across building tenants and research groups. She is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and has worked on initiatives in recruitment and staff development. “I believe Amanda to be a shining star who performs in a complex, challenging setting with the highest possible level of integrity, diversity, excellence, collaboration, innovation and respect.”

Staff Award: Outstanding

Chetana Acharya
Undergraduate Advisor


Chetana Acharya photo

Chetana Acharya often asks, “What can I do to help you,” a question she repeats in her roles as undergraduate student advocate, faculty consultant and faculty-student liaison. Acharya is dedicated to helping undergraduates and faculty, as well as building relationships with alumni. When her team moved to remote operations, she ensured students had the resources and information they needed. She led a video project featuring alumni sharing their professional advice with students, enabling engagement and networking in a digital space. One student shares, “Every time I meet with Chetana, she makes a point of knowing me as a person beyond my academic record. Her encouragement and tireless support make a huge impact on the students whose lives she touches.” 

Leah Pistorius
Communications Manager

Human Centered Design & Engineering

Leah Pistorius photo

Leah Pistorius manages a broad range of communications for HCDE, working to advance the department's reputation and ensure HCDE's mission and vision are widely recognized. Her work is highly regarded for its design, accessibility and content. In 2020, Pistorius stepped up to support HCDE's strategic goal of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. She is leading a new program in sustained dialogue to bring faculty, staff and students together to have difficult conversations across differences and work together toward collective action. "Leah truly helps exemplify how the work of DE&I is up to everyone and that it needs to be embedded in the work that we all do," says Julie Kientz, HCDE professor and chair. “To be able to have as much impact on our department as she has had is incredible. Leah is a role model for what an outstanding staff member can truly be.”

Student Award: Teaching

Steven Pestana
Ph.D. Candidate

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Steven Pestana photo

Steven Pestana began teaching his first class at the same time that the UW campus pivoted to remote learning. He not only rose to the challenge, he elevated the curriculum by incorporating the latest data science, programming and cloud computing techniques. He restructured the class, helping students to build an online community that accommodated research interests and utilized student feedback. Noticing how his students were affected by the stress of the pandemic, he offered additional hours for asynchronous students, reduced the workload and offered flexible deadlines. “Steven is exceptionally responsive to individual student concerns and encourages everyone to use the skills we are learning in the class on problems that get us fired up.” 

Shuowei Li
Ph.D. Candidate

Electrical & Computer Engineering 

Shuowei Li photo

Shuowei Li has been instrumental in designing the curriculum and pedagogy and improving the student experience in ECE. As a TA, she helped redesign three courses in the embedded systems concentration and implemented new audio and video processing labs, elevating rigorous classes into departmental pride points. Students appreciate her student-centered approach in the pivot to online instruction. To address the logistical and financial difficulties of shipping lab kits to students, Li helped set up an online lab to enable students to access on-campus hardware remotely. Her work in successfully adapting labs to remote learning has been accepted by an international engineering conference as well as a UW teaching symposium

Student Award: Research

Nuttada Panpradist
Ph.D. Candidate


Nuttada Panpradist photo

Nuttada Panpradist’s impressive academic career includes 13 publications, 17 conference proceedings, and four patent applications. Her simple point-of-care tests detect HIV genetic mutations to help doctors prescribe non-resistant drugs. She designed rapid lab tests for COVID-19 and devices to ensure patients are taking their TB medication. She has collaborated with various researchers on COVID-19 projects such as developing new methods to detect SARS-CoV-2 in Seattle to validating point-of-care tests in pediatric clinics. As a mentor, Panpradist connects undergraduate students with research projects that match their interests. All her students have received research scholarships and are named as co-authors and co-inventors of patents. “Nuttada has gone above and beyond to foster our new collaboration; beyond her scientific acumen, she is an attentive and professional partner, mature beyond her years, conscientious, flexible, able to balance multiple responsibilities, and has an impressive work ethic.”

Momona Yamagami
Ph.D. Candidate

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Momona Yamagami photo

Momona Yamagami is an innovative researcher who focuses on developing novel accessible technologies with translational impact. In her first year, she helped build an interdisciplinary research program that blended neuroengineering, human-computer interaction and rehabilitation at the Amplifying Motion and Performance (AMP) Lab to evaluate and mitigate symptoms of Parkinson's disease using virtual reality. Dedicated to building accessible and inclusive technology, she is working to apply control theory and artificial intelligence to improve device accessibility for people with and without limited motion. “Momona is a truly exceptional student with a demonstrated history of leadership in research and education. We cannot wait to see where Momona steers her career trajectory and research contributions.”