Department of History Celebrates Student Achievements at Annual Awards Ceremony

Submitted by Eleanor Mahoney on
2017 Department of History Award Recipients

The Department of History celebrated the recipients of almost $200,000 in departmental scholarships and prizes at its annual awards ceremony held on May 10, 2017. Twenty-nine undergraduate and four graduate students were recognized for their scholarship, teaching and service to the field. The event is one of the highlights of the departmental calendar and showcases both student achievement and the generous support of donors.

Read more about the honorees below.

The Pressly Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education

The Pressly Prize, named after University of Washington emeritus professor of History Thomas Pressly and his wife, Cameron, recognizes outstanding teaching of history at the high school level in the state of Washington. In order to award this prize, each year the Department of History solicits nominations from undergraduate and graduate students, who submit short essays describing the talents of their favorite high school history teacher. The Director of Undergraduate Studies then interviews principals at the schools where finalists for the prize teach. This year the Undergraduate Studies Committee selected Sarah Fisher of Central Kitsap High School for the award.

Fisher teaches a variety of classes, including Social Studies, Advanced Placement World History, Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Advanced Placement Comparative Government. She received her BA in History from the University of Washington.

Current history major Benjamin Green told the Committee that Ms. Fisher “loves teaching and she loves her students – and this admiration is reciprocated in her students' love for her and her classroom.”

An aspiring teacher herself, UW student and history minor Sarah Maxwell wrote that “Ms. Fisher’s commitment towards educating her students on important world issues in her AP World History class and inspiring them to be informed about the world’s various systems of government in her AP Government class results in students who are willing and able to actively engage in the world they live in… She wholly believes that knowledge is power as she encourages her students to understand cultural and political spheres different than their own.”

Undergraduate Awards

Dr. Frances K. Millican Fund for Undergraduate Research Projects in History

This fund supports multiple stipends to undergraduate history majors interested in pursuing multi-quarter, sustained, and in-depth research and writing projects. It is intended to help defray the costs of such expenses as traveling to conduct research in archival collections, photocopying documentary materials, and making copies of illustrations for projects.

This year, Kathe Tallmadge received funds to cover travel expenses associated with her attendance at the Twelfth Annual Northwest Undergraduate Conference on the Ancient World. Held in April at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, Tallmadge presented a paper entitled “Emperor Nero and the Inversion of Social Order through Dining.” She was accompanied by her faculty mentor, Dr. Mira Green.

Bicknell Fund for Academic Travel

Established by Professor Emeritus Daniel C. Waugh, this fund provides travel aid for students who intend to study the languages and cultures of Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Near and Middle East, and North Africa.

This year Cleone Abrams received the award to support her upcoming study with the Comparative History of Ideas program in Prague, Czech Republic.

Filerotas Fotas Award for Study at Cardiff University

This award is presented to a student or students accepted to study at Cardiff University in the capitol of Wales, UK. The scholarship alternates each academic year between inbound & outbound students.

This year Tamara Major, Benjamin Reid, and Olivia Zoe Scuderi received the award. They will be studying in Cardiff during Autumn 2017.

Denison-Kernaghan Endowed Scholarship

This award celebrates a friendship of more than 20 years between Mark Kernaghan and Virginia Brandeberry Denison. It is the donor's hope that this endowment fund will be an enduring legacy to help students gain rich experiences through their education.

This year’s recipient is Eleanor Kahn.

Meder-Montgomery Family Endowed Student Support Fund in History

This award was established by Marilyn Montgomery, an alumnus of the UW Department of History, to be used to support undergraduate history majors and their studies.

Grazyna Rae Utterback is this year’s recipient.

Bryan Phillips Scholarship

This scholarship is offered in memory of Bryan Phillips, a student who died in March 2001 of complications from muscular dystrophy after having received his History degree from the University of Washington. Established by his parents, this award provides up to three quarters of resident or non-resident tuition.

This year’s recipient is Cameron Snyder.

Otis Pease Scholarship

The Otis Pease Scholarship is named after longtime UW History professor Otis Pease. It supports the activities of undergraduate history majors with an interest in US history.

This year’s recipient is Olivia Zoe Scuderi.

E.J. Roberts Scholarship

This scholarship is intended to engage history majors in research opportunities.

This year’s recipients are Griffin Hoo and Hannah Steinman.

Faye Wilson Award

The Faye Wilson scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Faye Wilson, who directed that a portion of her estate be used by the University of Washington Department of History to assist outstanding undergraduates with tuition costs. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence, among other criteria.

This year’s recipients are Cheyenne Huffman, Morgan Lantz, Andrea Lewis, Kathryn Placer, Cameron Snyder and Arthur Walker.

Schwartz Award

The Schwartz scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Maurice and Lois Schwartz, who endowed a scholarship fund in 1977 to support the study of non-western history at the University of Washington. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to the study of non-western history.

This year’s recipients are Olivia Corti, Zhiqin Gao and Hannah Russ.

Corkery Scholarship

The Corkery Scholarship is made possible through the generosity of donors who wished to support undergraduate history majors with an interest in ancient history.

This year’s recipients are Sarah Barsion and Tamara Major.

Sleizer Award

The Sleizer scholarship was made possible by the generosity of Herman and Rose Sleizer, who endowed a fund in 1989 in honor of their late son, Larry Lee Sleizer. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to the study of history.

This years recipients are Cleone Abrams, Lucas Audette, Sarah Barsion, Jesse Brown, Britt Carlson, Olivia Corti, Nicole Engelhardt, Rachel Jecker, Eleanor Kahn, Jonathan Pry, Hannah Russ, Olivia Scuderi, Kathe Tallmadge, Grazyna Rae Utterback, Alexander Van De Poel, and Arthur Walker

Freedman Remak Award

This scholarship, named for Nancy Freedman and Ben Remak, both of whom are here today, was created to support history majors who face the high costs of non-resident tuition. Nancy Freedman herself had been an out-of-state student at the University and knows first-hand the financial burden such students face. At a time when non-resident tuition runs in excess of $33,000, I think it is safe to say this fund is more valuable than ever. The scholarship is awarded on the basis of non‐resident status and academic excellence.

This year’s recipients are Cleone Abrams and Arthur Walker.

Power Prize

This award, named in memory of a former history major at the University of Washington, is given to undergraduates who have produced truly outstanding research papers in a University of Washington History course.

This year it is awarded to the the following students: Hannah Russ (first place) -- “’It Must be Odd to be a Minority’: Multiracial Japanese Americans, Racial Segregation, and the U.S. Empire”

Gordon Shelton-Jenck (honorable mention) -- “’It’s Time for Teacher’s Lib!’ Washington’s Teachers at the Crossroads of Gender and Class Struggles”

Power Prize for Outstanding Graduating Senior

This award is named in memory of the same former history major at the University of Washington, and it recognizes the outstanding work of undergraduates who are completing the major in our Department and graduating this year.

This years recipients are Kelsie Haakenson and Isabel Martin.

An extraordinary student, Haakenson has a 3.98 History GPA. She has excelled in her coursework and thrived in the History Honors program, where she completed a superb thesis on the formidable topic of the political uses of World War II memory in French debates about the Algerian War, focusing specifically on the writings and speeches of intellectuals Jacques Soustelle and Jean-Paul Sartre. Her Honors faculty mentor, Professor Ray Jonas, described her thesis as “rich both in sources and in analysis, a combination that one might expect to encounter in an advanced graduate research seminar or even a professional conference. Her work is that good.” The Departement also nominated Haakenson to be Dean’s Medalist for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Martin is a student of tremendous intellectual ability and unwavering commitment to the department and the university. She earned Honors in History with a 3.87 history GPA and completed a fascinating project exploring the cultural history of blackwork embroidery on Tudor undergarments. Her research mentor, Dr. Charity Urbanski, stated that Isabel “required minimal oversight, and is one of those rare, self-directed students who possess a clear sense of their own research interests and an exceptional level of personal accountability.” Further, in the classroom she stands out “among my students for her level of preparation, and her exceptional contributions to class discussions. She regularly asks perceptive questions and offers thoughtful analysis.” Martin was also the Department’s nominee to be the College of Arts & Sciences Banner Carrier at graduation.

Friends of History Prize for Outstanding Student Leader

Given to a graduating History major or a History graduate student, this award recognizes her or his outstanding work to integrate the study of history with community and public engagement. As such, it builds on the department's sense that many of our students are drawing on their studies to do important work beyond the classroom.

Gordon Shelton-Jenck received this year’s award. Shelton-Jenck is a History major with minors in Germanics and Labor Studies. Gordon has distinguished himself as a leader in research and activism related to labor rights and history. His Honors in History thesis, already announced as Honorable Mention for the Power Paper Prize, was described by his thesis advisor, Professor Jim Gregory, as “excellent.”

The instructor for his Honors in History seminar, Professor Ileana Rodriguez-Silva, has said that “Gordon is just bright, with an unstoppable inquisitive mind, and with a keen sense about the workings of power. He has all the right academic skills--writing, research, analysis, diligence, initiative, self-direction--but it is his critical stance and serious commitment to social justice in his approach [that] always got me smiling in satisfaction. I was also impressed by his collaborative spirit in seminar. He is well read and always on top of workload but in class he was deeply interested in dialogue and thinking out loud with others in the group in a way that made it a [true] learning community.” Gordon has brought this spirit of knowledge seeking and team building to his work with United Students Against Sweatshops and to his internship with Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.

Graduate Awards

Thomas M. Power Endowed Prize Fund for Excellence in History

This year’s Winner of the Graduate Power Paper Prize is Adrian Kane. Kane’s paper is entitled “Atrocities Brought to Light:  Sex, Space and State Power in the British Empire, 1858-1885.” This thoroughly researched and theoretically sophisticated paper was the immediate and enthusiastic choice of the Power Prize judges.  In it, Kane examines state attitudes towards the policing of queer or gender variant sexuality in the British Empire of the late 19th century. This outstanding paper brings together recent scholarship on Victorian sexuality, the relations between center and metropole, and the state regulation of space in fruitful and fascinating ways.

Our Power Prize for honorable mention graduate paper goes to Jorge Bayona, for his paper entitled, “Subaltern conquest by proxy: possibilities and limitations in Southeast Asia (Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies, 1904-1905).” This fascinating study deepens our understanding of the inner workings of colonialism and, specifically, the deliberate and self-interested role played by native elites in the extension of imperial rule.  Through a thorough examination of the native press in the Philippines and in the Dutch-ruled East Indies, Jorge Bayona traces the process by which elites in both areas, seemingly paradoxically, worked in support of the ongoing conquests of their American and European colonizers, advocating the forceful repression of, for example, moritos in the southern reaches of the Philippines or rebellious subjects in the Sulawesi island Kingdom of Bone.

Power Prize for Outstanding Teaching Assistant in the Department of History

Josue Estrada is this year’s recipient of the Power Prize for an Outstanding Teaching Assistant in the Department of History. Showing his true strengths as a teaching assistant, Estrada was also nominated for this award last year. As John Findlay, one of the instructors for whom Estrada served as a teaching assistant stated, “Josue was wonderfully supportive in my History of American Citizenship course this fall. He was reliable, effective in the classroom, spot-on with grading. But what particularly stands out to me is his offering to assist the other TA... I commented on his generosity and collegiality, while Josue stayed silent when thinking about his own load of studies, exams and family. ‘I try to help out when I can,’ he said with typical modesty. Josue is a remarkable person who contributes to the department in multiple ways. I have been fortunate to have him assigned to my Citizenship course twice, and it was wonderful twice. I am contemplating how to put up roadblocks to his dissertation so that we can keep him around indefinitely!”

Burke Prize

This award is named after former Pacific Northwest historian and University of Washington Department of History faculty member, Robert Burke. The prize is given to the graduate student deemed to have amassed the most meritorious record during the year he or she completes the MA in US history. This year we are very pleased to award this prize to Joshua Polansky. Polansky completed his MA in American history with John Findlay and Sasha Harmon, focusing on his interest in the territorial period of Oregon Country and the transformation of indigenous homelands into American property. He wrote his seminar paper on white and Native expectations during treaty negotiations in mid-nineteenth century Washington territory. His chair, John described him as “a good and thoughtful student, who has done well in courses and is a strong departmental citizen.” Polansky pursued his M.A. while working full- time as the Director of the Visual Resources Collection for the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments. His duties have recently been expanded to include supervising student services in that College.