DAESA honors faculty, staff, and student accomplishments

Washington State University logo.

The Washington State University Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA) celebrated the recent accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students at an April 13 event where a spectrum of awards was presented.

“The endeavors our programs undertake to advance academic student success and promote faculty development are impressive,” said William B. Davis, interim vice provost for DAESA, part of the Provost’s Office. “We are pleased to recognize at our annual celebration the outstanding accomplishments of so many of our people.”

A total of 19 types of awards were presented at the annual event. Most were from DAESA and its units, including the Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC), the Distinguished Scholarships Program, the First-year Programs’ Common Reading Program and First-year Focus Learning Communities, the Office of Academic Engagement (OAE), the Office of Undergraduate Research, and The Writing Program and its Writing Center.

Joining DAESA’s event to present their own awards this year were: the Alumni Centre for its Top Ten Senior Awards; the Teaching Academy for conference, publication, and large-class teaching awards, as well as the induction of 32 new members; Smith Teaching and Learning Awards; and the WSU Emeritus/Emerita Society for its undergraduate researcher awards, plus arts and humanities grants.

DAESA awards and awardees for 2023 include:


The inaugural DAESA Excellence Awards

This award honors those whose exceptional contributions to the division, its programs, and student success made a significant difference throughout the year. First-ever recipients of the award are:

  • April Seehafer
    Director of the Distinguished Scholarships Program
    Category: Administrative/professional
  • Amanda Morgan
    Associate director of ASCC
    Category: Administrative/professional
  • Erin Rapone
    Administrative and communications manager for OAE
    Category: Classified staff

The Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching

This award honors UCORE/general education faculty who help undergraduates progress toward achieving WSU Learning Goals and Outcomes. The selection committee was impressed by the awardee’s ability to bring to life the processes and concepts of science using a wide variety of active pedagogical tools and practices.

  • Lisa Carloye
    Associate professor biology

The OAE’s Staff Excellence Award

This award is presented to the team member whose exceptional contributions have advanced student success, and who exemplifies the characteristic spirit of the OAE community. This year’s awardee has a genuine commitment to excellence, servant leadership, and lifelong learning, and whose commitment and contributions were indispensable over the past year.

  • Josefina Galvan-Barajas
    Assistant director of College Success Programs

The Writing Program’s Contributions to Writing Across the Curriculum Award

This award is sponsored by the Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Endowment, presented to those whose work improved the teaching of writing, supported grant writing, and helped students make writing authentic and in service of a practical, tangible outcome.

  • Cameron Peace
    Professor in Integrated Plant Sciences
  • Bob Krikac
    Professor in the School of Design and Construction

The Common Reading Excellence Award

This award recognizes exceptional efforts surrounding the use of the year’s shared text — “Braiding Sweetgrass” — to create dialogue within and beyond classrooms on topics raised in the book. The awardee is credited with bringing indigenous voices and perspectives to programming, and for contributing to the faculty teaching guide developed for use of the book.

  • Julian Ankney
    English instructor and coordinator of Native American Programs at WSU Vancouver

The Learning Communities Excellence Award

This award is presented to First-year Focus faculty and staff for collaborative and significant efforts to help entering first-year students make meaningful connections with their peers and faculty, and with new ideas and experiences they encounter at college. The awardees received the award for their work leading pilot and themed living-learning communities — one at Olympia Hall called GreenHouse focused on environmental sustainability, and another at Stephenson North called Wellness House focused on many facets of wellness.

  • Griffin Hogan
    Residential education director at Olympia Hall
  • Grant Mongin
    Residential education director at Stephenson North Hall

The Recognition of Excellence in Support of Undergraduate Research Award 

This award recognizes those who support students’ mentored undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities in unique and important ways. This year’s awardees were applauded for helping guide students into research opportunities, thus impacting the academic experience and student success of hundreds over many years. They were also credited with serving on the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) Committee.

  • Andrei Smertenko
    Professor in the Institute for Biological Sciences
  • Donelle “Dee” Posey
    Professor in the Dept. of Psychology
  • Samantha Gizerian
    College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) associate dean and professor in Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience

The Distinguished Scholarships Ambassador Award 

This award is given to those who make valuable contributions to the program and support the many student applicants that it serves. The awardee is credited with advising, reviewing materials and giving feedback, and providing applicants with country- and field-specific advice that made applications stronger, and for serving for seven years on the Fulbright Review Committee.

  • Kay Brothers
    Retired advisor and professor in CVM

The Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Writing Center Initiatives 

This award recognizes the efforts of its top student writing consultants. Awardees were credited with, for example, facilitating writing consultations with students in person, over Zoom, and through emails; working diligently to assist students throughout the COVID‑19 remote office months and since; excelling in listening and communications skills; training other consultants; and boosting the trust and confidence of WSU writers.

  • Aja Uesato
    Civil engineering major and center writing consultant since 2019
  • Gerome Dosono
    Wildlife ecology major and consultant since 2019
  • Jamie Diamond
    English education major and consultant since 2017
  • Puneet Bsanti
    Print journalism and English major, and consultant since 2021

OAE’s new College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) Peer Educator Certification

This certification offers undergraduate and graduate students who are mentors the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively engage and support fellow Cougs, and to respond to students in crisis. This certificate program from CRLA is new at WSU.

  • Jonah Bates
    Criminal justice and criminology major who mentors in OAE’s Veterans Student Support Services (SSS) program
  • Krystal Flores
    Wildlife ecology and conservation major and STEM SSS mentor
  • Ryley Griffiths
    Animal science and animal management major and Teacher Prep SSS mentor
  • Collin Helsel
    Criminal justice and criminology major and Veterans SSS mentor
  • Jasmine Payne
    Psychology major and criminal justice minor and Passport Program mentor
  • Kaulanie Rivers
    Kinesiology major and Passport Program mentor
  • Vanessa Solorzano Cardenas
    Neuroscience major and STEM SSS mentor

ASCC’s CRLA Peer Tutor Certification 

This certification is awarded to students who obtained more than 10 hours of training through a UNIV 497 course, and accumulated more than 25 hours of active tutoring of students. ASCC’s tutors assist students across a wide range of disciplines — from chemistry and math to engineering and computer science, and from kinesiology to bioengineering and organic chemistry, and more.

  • Jenna Jeffries
    Biology major who tutors in kinesiology, chemistry, and math
  • Logan Willis
    Mechanical engineering major and mathematics minor who tutors in mathematics, physics, engineering, and computer science
  • Ethan Jaeger
    Bioengineering major who tutors in biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, bioengineering, and statistics

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