Celebrating Success at The 2019 History Awards Ceremony

Submitted by Emma R Hinchliffe on
This Years Award Winners

This spring the Department of History was delighted to come together in celebration of some of our brightest members at the Annual History Awards Ceremony.

Nearly $200,000 of scholarships and awards were presented to thirty-one undergraduate students, four graduate students, and one outstanding high school teacher.  

Congratulations Huskies!

See below for the full list of winners: 

The Pressley Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education. 

This year's ceremony began with the The Pressley Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education. This annual student-nominated award is given each year to an outstanding high school teacher in the state of Washington. This award recognizes all the great work teachers at this level put in to inspire the next generation of UW history majors.

Undergraduate and graduate students at the UW are invited to nominate their favorite high school history teachers and write essays in support of their nomination. The winner is then chosen by the Undergraduate Studies Committee. This prize is named after University of Washington emeritus professor of History Thomas Pressly and his wife, Cameron.

This years winner was Dave Armstrong of Skyview High School in Vancouver, Washington. 

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Robin Stacy, who gave out the award described Mr. Armstrong as "Clearly one of those teachers whom one never, ever, forgets.  He is constantly in movement, doing whatever he can to make learning unpredictable, fun, and memorable.  As one student noted, his lectures are self-styled “multi-multi-multi-media extravaganzas:” utilizing desks stacked together to illustrate conditions on slave ships, or doing one-man reenactments of Joshua Chamberlain at the Battle of Little Round top, or turning US history themes into crossword clues so as to help students prepare for their tests."

This innovative approach to the past was just one of the many reasons why Mr, Armstrong was chosen for this award, he was also recognized for his commitment to students beyond the classroom as an active and crucial part of Skyview's athletic program and someone who students can always rely on for advice. 

His principal at Skyview, Mr. Jim Gray, characterized him as “a man of integrity” and an “innovative and engaging instructor who develops strong relationships with his kids to create a positive learning environment in the classroom.” 

Undergraduate Awards. 

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 years winners were: 

  • Emma Peterson for her study in Japan
  • Katherine Scannell-Daniel for her study in Romania, Moldova, and the Ukraine
  • Angelica Runstadler for study at Keio University in Japan

Filaretos 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, and this years scholarship to Megan Scott, who will study in Cardiff in Autumn 2019.

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 years winner was Fleur Anteau.

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.

This year there were two awardees Sarah Cruse and Connor Ritchie.

 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 years winners were: 

  • Paula Araque
  • Neave Carroll
  • Katherine Cavanaugh
  • Kate Wooley
  • Stella Haynes Kiehn
  • Victoria Jackson


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 years recipients were: 

  • Jiaxin Du
  • Victoria Fleck
  • Yourong Pan
  • Calvin Paulson
  • Angelica Runstadler

 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 we had two awardees Katherine Scannell-Daniel and Jasper Winters.

 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. Eighteen students received this prize: 

  • Paula Araque
  • Lindsey Carlson
  • Katherine Cavanaugh
  • Alexander Clark
  • Jiaxin Du
  • Nathan Elliott
  • Victoria Fleck
  • Yourong Pan
  • Calvin Paulson
  • Emma Peterson
  • Xavaar Quaranto
  • Ethan Silver
  • Henry Zing
  • Jonathan Gillam
  • Madison Oversby
  • Angelica Runstadler
  • Meredith Weinstock

 Freedman Remak Award

This scholarship is named for Nancy Freedman and Ben Remak, both of whom were in attendance at the ceremony. It 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 $35,000, 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. Jacqueline Goodrich was this years winner. 

 Ravage Endowment Prize

The Ravage Endowment Prize is for an outstanding paper or project written on the history of African Americans, with a preference for African Americans in the American West. This award is made possible by Jack and Linda Ravage. Ethan Silver was the recipient of this years prize for his excellent paper -  “An Old Struggle with New Ideas: An Examination and Comparison of the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter Movements.”

This carefully reasoned and densely researched paper tackles the complex question of the relationship between the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s and the Black Lives Matter Movement of the current day.  At issue in this sophisticated study are not only the strategic goals and tactics employed by each movement, but media responses to their actions across the political spectrum and the use made by activists in both groups of the media coverage they received.  The author argues convincingly that the Civil Rights movement, while very different from Black Lives Matter in important ways, laid the groundwork upon which the latter was able to build.  Also compelling is the author’s contention that Black Lives Matter poses a challenge to traditional historical understandings of the nature and workings of “social movements” in general. The committee was impressed by the wide range of sources drawn on for this paper and the skill displayed by the author in weaving together the many different strands of this complicated comparison. 


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. Two outstanding papers were acknowledged at this years ceremony.

First Prize went to Calvin Paulson for his work, “Thought Readers, Day Dreamers, and Children: British Tactical Intelligence Networks and the Politics of Knowledge During the south African War (1899-1902).”

This remarkable paper must surely be counted among the best papers ever submitted for this or any other award in this department.  It is a stunningly sophisticated piece of work, one that teases out hard-to-obtain information from a wide variety of sources to put together a picture of British military intelligence in the South African war.  

Honorable Mention went to Katherine Cavanaugh for their paper, “The Immigrants’ Rights Movement of the Spring 2006 in Washington State.”


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.  The prize went to Dax Tate.


 The History department has a lot of exceptional students, but the choice for Outstanding Graduating Senior was made easier this year by the fact that so many members of our faculty felt highly about Dax as a candidate that they took the time to write in to tell us that we simply had to choose him!  Dax will be graduating this year with a History GPA of 3.92 and an overall UW GPA of 3.9, both of which are evidence of his consistently high level of performance in all areas of historical study.  Professor Joel Walker praised the thoughtfulness and insight that characterize Dax’s contributions to class discussion, remarking also on his “hunger for learning” and on the admirable scholarly “rigor” he consistently brings to his research.  Professor Ray Jonas termed him “an outstanding performer” throughout his career at the University of Washington, working even as a freshman at a level significantly above students more senior to him.  And speaking myself as someone who also had the privilege of teaching Dax at both early and late stages of his university career, I would wholeheartedly agree with these comments.  Simply put, Dax is one of those students who leads without being at all overbearing and deepens the level of any discussion into which he enters.  He makes a class better simply by virtue of his being part of it.  Moreover, as Professor Ben Schmidt observes, he is also “an all-around good guy,” a congenial and respectful person who hopes someday to go on to teach history himself at either the high school or college level.  Dax, we would be delighted to welcome you into our ranks as history teachers.

 Department of History’s Dean’s Medalist nominee.

The final undergraduate award, recognized another outstanding graduating senior, Sarit Laschinsky who is the Department of History's nominee for the Dean’s Medalist and was also nominated by many faculty as the best candidate for this nomination. Sarit graduated in Winter quarter with a 3.85 UW gpa and 3.99 in his history coursework, and with a 4.00 in his Communication major. Professor Ray Jonas described him as “thoughtful, earnest and polite,” and Dr. Eric Johnson stated that he demonstrated “admirable academic qualities – initiative, enthusiasm, academic rigor, technical aptitude and a questing mind.”  In Dr. Johnson’s course, Sarit created an online project and presented his findings in a way that was accessible and engaging for a public audience. In describing this project, Dr. Johnson stated, “his research and analysis was top-notch; he contextualized events effectively within their broader historical setting.” Describing further academic attributes, Professor Ileana Rodriguez-Silva said that Sarit “is brilliant not just because he has mastered all the necessary academic skills of comprehension, analysis, and writing (his written work was a delight to read!) but because he knows that there is so much more to learn from all those around him.” Finally, Dr. Rodriguez-Silva stated “I became aware of
Sarit’s desire to pursue a career in journalism. In our course, we had to rely on the work of journalists to examine the recent years of the wars on drugs. These brave men and women are not only narrating the day-to-day drama of pain and struggle but are, together with other victims of violence, the strongest voices calling for justice and transformation. To Sarit, it is that justice work what calls at him the most. I have no doubt he will respond to that call and will succeed at it.”

Graduate Awards

All this years Graduate Awards were Power Prizes.

Graduate Power Paper Prize

The Graduate Power Paper Prize is given to a graduate student who has produced a truly outstanding research paper in a University of Washington History course.

First prize was awarded to Frances O’Shaughnessy, for their paper “Let’s hear something about what goes on in the agamang”:  A Commentary on Roy Barton’s Philippine Pagans:  The Autobiography of Three Ifugaos.”

This engaging and tightly argued paper begins with a single, albeit influential, work in the ethnographic genre, Roy Barton’s 1938 Philippine Pagans, before opening up to embrace broader themes in anthropology and colonialism.  Through a nuanced reading of the key scenes and claims of Barton’s work, the author demonstrates the manner in which this so-called “autobiography” of colonial subjects in fact reproduced the racial and sexual preoccupations of its author rather than of those he was writing about. 

Outstanding Teaching Assistant

The Outstanding Teaching Assistant in the Department of History is nominated by Department Faculty. This years Outstanding Teaching Assistant is Roneva Keel

Power 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.  The prize this year was awarded this year to graduate student Jeffrey Haines.

 It is difficult to overemphasize the contribution Jeff has made to our department and to the community at large.  Within the department, he has served on the Graduate Liaison Committee and has been heavily involved in graduate recruitment.  He is an active participant in department events and is widely known as someone who can always be counted on to help other students out with whatever they are working on.  Probably less well known, however, has been his work connecting the department with the larger community.  He was a founder and co-organizer of the UW Horn of Africa Initiative, a project he became interested in when taking an Ethiopian language class.  Professor Joel Walker notes that Jeff was instrumental to the success of the project at every stage, and that his contacts with Ethiopian community leaders, developed originally in the context of that language class, have proved critical to the success of the project.  Jeff was equally involved in the planning and execution of Ancient Iran Day, “a public humanities event that drew more than 500 people to campus for a series of mini-lectures, exhibits, and demonstrations for learners of all ages and ethnicities.”  Jeff curated the main annotated slideshow for this event and is currently working with an undergraduate student to produce a website that will broaden the audience still further.  Yet a third project, an academic workshop on the Syrian Christian tradition, is in the making.  Jeff is away in Turkey on a departmental fellowship at the moment and is not here to receive his award.  We regret his absence, but we are extremely grateful for what he has contributed both to the department and to the community of which it is a part.  The Committee is very proud to honor Jeff Haines as the Outstanding Student Leader for 2019.