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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.

2020 College of Engineering Awardees

Faculty Award: Junior

Cole DeForest
Dan Evans Career Development Assistant Professor

Chemical Engineering

Cole DeForest photo

Since joining UW in 2014, Cole DeForest has established himself as an innovative researcher, an effective teacher and a collaborative colleague, holding appointments in Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and the Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine. His research focuses on the development of (de)polymerization reactions that can be triggered using light in the presence of cells, and “represents a major advancement in cell culture niches that allow unprecedented control of the cellular microenvironment, and is enabling him to conduct newfound experiments that were previously impossible.” Cole has received numerous honors, including an NSF Career Award, a Young Investigator Award through the American Chemical Society, and a UW Presidential Distinguished Teaching Award. He has published nearly 50 manuscripts, submitted several patents on his research, and his work has been cited over 3,600 times. Cole is an outstanding mentor who is dedicated to outreach, developing a collection of modules to introduce underrepresented middle school students to biological engineering.

Faculty Award: Research

Miqin Zhang
Kyocera Professor

Materials Science & Engineering

Miqin Zhang photo

Miqin Zhang is an expert at applying materials science principles to biology and medicine. She joined MSE in 1999 and holds positions in the School of Medicine and in Radiology, Bioengineering, and Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Miqin has become an internationally recognized authority in the areas of nanotechnology for cancer diagnosis and therapy, biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, 3D natural polymer-based matrices for cancer research and drug discovery, and biosensors for chemical and biological agent detection and drug screening. “The success of all her research programs demonstrates her ability to identify meaningful yet feasible research projects, and quickly expand knowledge base, and apply new knowledge to a new field.” Miqin has published more than 180 journal articles, holds 14 patents, co-founded two startup companies and has raised more than $20 million for research as a PI. She has successfully mentored 250 undergraduate students, 18 Ph. D. students and 12 postdoctoral/medical associates.

Faculty Award: Teaching

Dianne Hendricks

Human Centered Design & Engineering

Dianne Hendricks photo

Dianne Hendricks is a dedicated teacher who is passionate about bringing diversity, equity and inclusion to all aspects of education. She excels at integrating active learning into her classrooms, has developed four new courses, and has published extensively through the American Society for Engineering Education. As director of the Engineering Communication Program, Dianne manages a curriculum including the Introduction to Technical Communication course, which reaches thousands of students across the College of Engineering. Dianne co-founded HuskyADAPT (Accessible Design and Play Technology), a multi-departmental collaboration that fosters an inclusive, sustainable and multidisciplinary community supporting accessible design and play. Her K-12 outreach programs and yearly summer camp workshops have had an immeasurable impact on UW students and the wider Seattle community. Her favorite part of teaching is connecting with and mentoring students. “Dianne empowers undergraduate and graduate students to utilize their education and serve their community.”

Student Award: Research

Shane Colburn
Research Assistant

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Shane Colburn photo

Shane Colburn is a double Husky, earning B.S. degrees in electrical engineering and physics from the UW in 2015 and now working on his Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering. In research, he focuses on novel approaches for white-light imaging with compact metasurface optics, which have the promise of enabling compact optics for a wide variety of imaging applications across the consumer and defense spectrum. Shane discovered a way to circumvent one of the main problems in metasurface optics, and recently published this work in the prestigious journal Science Advances. Shane interned twice at Facebook Reality Labs as well as at Google X, where he has collaborated with senior researchers and engineers across several different groups on multiple projects. “He is very good at connecting concepts from different fields to come up with solutions.” An extremely productive graduate student, Shane has 17 journal publications and his work has been cited more than 420 times.

Student Award: Teaching

Elena Agapie
Ph.D. Candidate

Human Centered Design & Engineering

Elena Agapie photo

Elena Agapie is a gifted teacher and mentor, known by her students for her accessibility, empathy and understanding. As a Ph.D. candidate in HCDE, Elena led a number of research seminars, and developed and taught a new master’s programming course for first-time programming students. “Elena has modeled a teaching mindset that powerfully supports students as they take increasing ownership of their learning.” She has been a leader in HCDE’s K-12 educational outreach programs, developing a set of activities for K-12 schools to learn about human-centered design, and coordinating over 50 workshops on design and engineering at schools around Washington. Elena’s workshops have reached more than 2,000 K-12 students, including students of the Makah Tribe through the Alternative Spring Break program. Outside of her formal teaching roles, she offers mentorship to fellow students, gives guest lectures, and runs panels with fellow Ph.D. students on a variety of topics. Elena accepted a new position as an Assistant Professor at UC Irvine, beginning this summer.

Staff Award: Classified

Cindy Phan
Fiscal Specialist 2

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Cindy Phan photo

As the payroll coordinator for Civil & Environmental Engineering, Cindy Phan plays a critical role for departmental faculty, staff and students. She also manages CEE’s scholarship and fellowship disbursements, serves as the staff representative on the Diversity Committee, assists with hiring and other human resources tasks, manages the travel account, and supports the fiscal office with processing reimbursements. Colleagues praise her willingness to go above and beyond, as she has frequently taken on additional duties to support other engineering departments in addition to CEE. When ISE lost their payroll coordinator, Cindy provided staff training, and when ME needed support, she accepted a two-month additional assignment. Cindy’s innovative approach to her work and willingness to streamline processes has provided support to help faculty comply with deadlines, while her cheerful attitude and sense of humor provide a morale boost for her colleagues.

Staff Award: Professional

Jesse Chiem
Computing and Technology Manager

Chemical Engineering

Jesse Chiem photo

Since joining the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2017, Jesse Chiem has applied his resourcefulness and creativity to improving computing infrastructure. He assessed and converted most physical servers to virtual servers and moved staff and faculty to cloud storage solutions, which has made computing in the department more efficient and easier to maintain. Jesse also worked with College of Engineering Computing Services to deploy a remote server hosting Aspen and COMSOL to enable students to use these programs remotely. He submitted two successful STF proposal grants, securing more than $125,000 in equipment for the undergraduate and graduate computer labs, and he adjourns a quarterly Computing Committee meeting to discuss plans and solicit feedback on new initiatives. Jesse serves as a resource for faculty, students and staff, including offering programming seminars throughout the year. Jesse’s patience and support ensures that everyone in the department feels comfortable asking for help.

Elise Dorough
Director of Academic Services

Computer Science & Engineering

Elise Dorough photo

If you ask any graduate student in the Allen School who is most critical to their success, the answer would be the same: Elise Dorough. Since being appointed the Director of Graduate Student Services in 2014, Elise oversaw the doubling of the graduate admissions process, and has completely transformed graduate advising to be more efficient, effective, and to meet the needs of graduate students as well as faculty advisors. She has demonstrated a deep commitment to ensuring that the Allen School is a diverse community, serving on the Allen School’s Diversity Committee, as the UW point person for the FLIP Alliance, and creating and leading an Inclusive Community Workshop. More than 80 current Ph.D. students contributed testimonials about Elise, praising her knowledge, her welcoming and caring attitude, her compassion and support, calling her “the pillar that all of the Ph.D. students in the Allen School rely on.”

Team Award

Undergraduate Advising Team
College of Engineering

Team members: Ali Cho, Lauren Fryhle, Shanai Lechtenberg

Ali Cho photo
Ali Cho
Lauren Fryhle photo
Lauren Fryhle
Shanai Lechtenberg photo
Shanai Lechtenberg

The Engineering Advising & Student Engagement (EASE) team has been on the front lines of the most significant change to UW engineering education in the last 30 years: the transition to Direct to College (DTC) admissions. With DTC, the EASE team has been responsible for helping more than 1,700 students successfully launch their careers at UW via a reimagined first-year experience in engineering. They redesigned the summer Advising & Orientation program, helped develop extensive new website content to explain the changes in process, policy, procedure and to provide new resources, and completely revised ENGR 101: Engineering Exploration, the gateway course that all DTC students take as they begin their engineering education. The EASE team has successfully built a sense of community for DTC students through the creation of Engineering First-Year Interest Groups (E-FIGs), the Engineering Peer Educator program, and a variety of engagement activities and information sessions. “They work tirelessly to support our students and to make their experience in the College, and at the UW, one where they thrive and succeed.”