May 22, 2023
Elin Bjorling, Kristin Dew, Sourojit Ghosh, Jane Skau, and Kate Starbird are recognized with awards from the College of Engineering for their extraordinary efforts supporting the mission of the College.
The College of Engineering Awards celebrates the efforts of faculty, staff, and students who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to transforming the world through innovation, collaboration and service. The honorees will be recognized by Nancy Allbritton, Dean of the College of Engineering, in an awards ceremony on May 23.
Please join HCDE in celebrating the accomplishments of the following outstanding HCDE community members.
HCDE 2023 Engineering Awardees
Senior Research Scientist
Staff Award: Professional Staff
As a senior research scientist in the Momentary Experience Lab, Elin Bjorling focuses her research on the participatory design of social robotics and virtual reality to address teen mental health. She helped to develop a social robot that can be deployed to local high schools to capture, understand and reduce student stress levels. She received the FACET Award in 2020 and 2022 and the UW Comotion Innovation Gap Fund in 2020.
Elin’s commitment to mental wellness extends outside the lab, where she created stress-reduction sessions and workshops for colleagues and faculty. In her courses, she begins every class with a session aimed at centering students and reinforcing student mental health as a priority. Across her interactions as a colleague and instructor, Elin reinforces her care for the totality of each person she interacts with.
Assistant Teaching Professor
Faculty Award: Teaching
Bridging the gap between academic theory and industry, Kristin Dew is highly regarded by her students and peers for her adaptability and forward thinking. As an instructor of several HCDE courses, Kristin is constantly thinking of new ways to engage students and help them grow professionally and personally, including the application of case studies from industry into graduate theory courses, accommodating students with English as a second language and developing interactive projects.
In addition to developing new courses in Sustainable Interaction Design for the B.S. and M.S. programs, Kristin mentors students in research, helping support the publication of their work in top tier conferences. She is the recipient of two HCDE teaching awards as well as multiple awards from Association for Computing Machinery conferences.
Student Award: Teaching
Thoughtful, positive, and community-oriented, Sourojit Ghosh brings his subject matter expertise, leadership and extensive writing skills to create classroom experiences that uplift students and spark engaging in-class conversations. Described as a “bright light in dark times,” Sourojit’s friendly attitude and adaptability helped enable a smooth pivot to online courses. He helped guide several undergraduates to submit multiple research papers, and he holds numerous leadership positions, including Instructor of Record and the leader of several directed research groups. In addition, his dedication to DEI and non-Western perspectives on topics like privilege and data feminism help students understand the ethical and societal impact of their work. Sourojit is an instructor committed to broadening student horizons and providing an exemplary learning environment.
Office Manager & Building Coordinator
Staff Award: Classified Staff
As office manager and building coordinator, Jane Skau is an innovator and collaborator who is instrumental to the ever-shifting facilities needs of the Human Centered Design & Engineering department. From orchestrating the installation of a design lab suitable for supporting hybrid teaching to managing building and departmental spaces during COVID, Jane not only manages departmental logistics regarding space, equipment, safety, and security, they are also responsible for the smooth running of day-to-day operations of the main office.
Jane’s expertise in facilities management is compounded by their focus on equity, which led to the implementation of a food pantry for students who may have difficulty getting food between classes, all gender restrooms, and a dedicated prayer and meditation space. Referred to as a “Jane of All Trades,” Jane’s creativity and ability to anticipate the needs of students and staff illustrates their thoughtful and collaborative nature.
Faculty Award: Research
Kate Starbird is nationally recognized in her field for her contributions to the identification and analysis of the spread of online rumors, misinformation and disinformation during crises–including natural disasters, political disruptions and an ongoing pandemic. During the 2020 election, Kate and her team identified, analyzed and addressed rumors related to election processes and results. This real-time work enabled several different studies, recent publications, and citation in the final report of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. As a public scholar, Kate educates thousands of people in identifying misinformation across her social media platforms.
In addition to her role as teacher and researcher, Kate is the co-founder and director of the UW’s Center for an Informed Public.