The College of the Environment is pleased to announce the winners of our 2013-2014 College Awards.

Distinguished Staff Member: Miriam Bertram
Miriam is the program operation specialist for the Program on Climate Change. Beginning in 2001, Miriam has worked to coordinate research, teaching, and outreach over multiple academic units around campus, as well as in collaboration with area high schools and with graduate students from around the country for the graduate climate conference. She works tirelessly to support all members of the PCC community, and “the PCC is super awesome as a result.”

Outstanding Teaching Faculty: Kerry Naish
Kerry is an associate professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. She teaches a variety of classes and is one of the highest-ranked teachers in the school. Highly proactive and innovative, Kerry’s approachable and collaborative demeanor provide an ideal atmosphere for learning and for interacting. Kerry has also been invaluable as the chair of the SAFS curriculum committee, and vice chair and chair of the College curriculum committee.

Outstanding Researcher: Eric Steig
Eric is a professor in Earth and Space Sciences, and adjunct professor in Atmospheric Sciences. A prolific researcher, Eric’s work on the geochemistry of ice cores and their climatic interpretation has redefined the understanding of high latitude climate change. He served for years as the associate editor for the journal Quaternary Research and was the director of the Quaternary Research Center. He is now the chair of the Future of Ice initiative. Eric’s research and his efforts to engage the general public around the science of climate change are both internationally lauded.

Outstanding Community Impact (Student): Kristen Rasmussen
Kristen is a PhD student in the department of Atmospheric Sciences. She studies devastating floods, and her work is crucial for the development of warning infrastructure for these natural disasters. Kristen has worked with communities in the Andes, and in Pakistan and northwestern India. Here at home, she has served in a mentorship and advisory capacity in the College: she brought new life to the student chapter of the American Meteorological Society, and she serves on the Student Advisory Council as well.

Outstanding Community Impact (Staff/Faculty)Cliff Mass
Cliff is a professor in the department of Atmospheric Sciences. He has excelled for decades at sharing specialized weather concepts in an accessible and relatable way to the general public. Cliff was instrumental in obtaining weather radar for the Washington Coast, and he has developed a regional real-time forecasting system that is known worldwide. He also started the annual Pacific Northwest Weather Workshop, which every year brings together meteorologists and other stakeholders around issues of local weather.

Graduate Dean’s Medalist: Alicia Hotovec-Ellis
 Alicia is a PhD student in Earth and Space Sciences. Her work has received numerous awards over her tenure in the college, and one particular study–on the screams that volcanoes emit before erupting!–has been covered by numerous news organizations. Alicia has been invited to speak on numerous occasions, she is highly active in the department, and she volunteers in the community regularly, providing valuable science outreach to high school kids and the general public.

Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist: Heather Bervid
Heather is a double-major in both Earth and Space Sciences and English. A top-notch academic, Heather is doing independent research on alpine glacial systems and their relationship to climate change and human activities. She was the recipient of a Mary Gates Undergraduate Fellowship, and expects to publish her research results soon. Heather serves on the College curriculum committee, and she is the vice president of the ESS undergraduate “Geoclub”, which provides mentoring, social events and field trips for ESS students. She also volunteers at the Burke Museum.

Our awards and criteria are listed below. The 2014-2015 Awards nomination period will be opened in April 2015.

Distinguished Staff Member


Nominees should provide extraordinary service beyond the basic job description and demonstrate the University of Washington values of integrity, diversity, excellence, collaboration, innovation and respect.


College of the Environment staff members who hold a 50% or greater permanent appointment, have been employed at the University for a minimum of six months as of the nomination deadline.

Outstanding Teaching Faculty


Nominees should demonstrate:

  • Mastery of subject matter including the continued growth in his/her own teaching
  • Demonstration of enthusiasm and innovation in the teaching and learning process
  • Ability to engage students both inside and outside of the classroom
  • Aptitude to inspire independent and original thinking in students
  • Ability to stimulate students to do creative work
  • Innovations in course and curriculum design


College of the Environment tenure-track, WOT (without tenure), and research faculty; lecturers, and instructors.

Outstanding Researcher


Research or scholarship contributed within the past two years that has been or has the potential to be widely recognized by peers and whose achievements have had or may have a substantial impact of the profession, on research or the performance of others, or on society as a whole.


College of the Environment tenure-track, WOT (without tenure), and research faculty; lecturers, instructors, staff or students who are engaged in research.

Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist


Outstanding academic achievement, including research, overall GPA and other measurable academic achievements, as well as outstanding leadership or service, including community service and leadership on or off campus.


College of the Environment undergraduate students

Graduate Dean’s Medalist


Outstanding academic achievement, including research, overall GPA and other measurable academic achievements, as well as outstanding leadership or service, including teaching, community service and leadership on or off campus.


College of the Environment graduate students

Outstanding Community Collaboration Award


A partnership, program, project or team involving one or more College of the Environment staff, student or faculty, AND one or more external community members or organizations, as an example of a collaborative and innovative approach to environmental science within the broader community. Outcomes or goals might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Working with communities to change management of natural resources
  • Bringing diverse groups of people together to address a common problem
  • Developing business, economic or industry solutions through hands-on interaction and collaboration
  • Implementing innovative learning strategies for K-12, community and/or non-traditional audiences
  • Affecting or changing city, local or state policies and/or processes
  • Engaging citizens in the process of science


Staff, student or faculty, acting within their role in the College and engaging with an entity outside of the University; the partnership shall not have received the College of the Environment’s Outstanding Community Collaboration Award the previous year.


To nominate an award recipient, submit a letter of nomination letter to the Dean, College of the Environment, as an attachment via email to Nomination letters should be no more than two pages in length and may be from a single nominator or a group of nominators.