2021 Community Engagement Award winners

A faculty member who integrates community-engaged teaching into her courses and a staff member who delivers meals to unsheltered people are recipients of the University of Washington Bothell’s 2021 community engagement awards.

Dr. Gülru Özkan-Seely, assistant professor in the School of Business, is the recipient of the Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholar Award. Maria Lamarca Anderson, director of communications, is the recipient of the Outstanding Public Service Award.

The awards were created in 2020 by the Community Engagement Council. The engaged scholar award recognizes scholarship that promotes mutually beneficial collaborations with businesses, nonprofits, schools and government agencies. The public service award recognizes an activity by a staff or faculty member that contributes to the public good. Each award comes with a $2,000 reward.

Community collaboration

Dr. Gülru Özkan-Seely
Dr. Gülru Özkan-Seely

The award for Özkan-Seely notes her undergraduate and graduate level courses have worked with more than 170 small businesses and other partners on nearly 200 projects since she joined the University in 2015. On a project with the Stanwood Camano Food Bank, for example, MBA students changed the flow of goods and customers to increase efficiency. Özkan-Seely also serves as an adviser to the Supply Chain Management Club, which brings student and industry partners together.

Özkan-Seely said the award recognizes the value created for both students and community partners.

“The community engagement activities I have pursued drove students to apply their educational learning experiences to problems they see to benefit institutions, businesses and, most importantly, people,” she said. “Through this work, I aim to celebrate diversity and promote an environment of inclusion that is focused on creating and advancing equity and opportunities for diverse communities.”

Selfless service

Lamarca Anderson has delivered food weekly over the past 24 years through the Chicken Soup Brigade/Lifelong AIDS Alliance in Seattle. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, she learned that the Seattle Community Kitchen Collective was providing free meals but didn’t have a distribution system. She offered to get the meals into the community.

Maria Lamarca Anderson
Maria Lamarca Anderson

Since March 2020, Lamarca Anderson has delivered an average of 50 meals three days a week to the unsheltered in Seattle. “The restaurant owners and operators — all people of color — are my heroes,” she said.

Lamarca Anderson accepted the public service award in memory of her parents who taught their children by example to take care of each other and find ways to support the greater good. As a member of the board for the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Lamarca Anderson serves on its Scholarship Committee, focusing on soliciting applications from college students of color.

“This very much aligns with UW Bothell’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Representation matters,” said Lamarca Anderson, who also mentors young professionals on their careers and service to the community.

Inaugural awards

In 2020, the first year of these awards, Dani Rowland, the American and ethnic studies librarian at the UW Bothell and Cascadia College Library, received the Outstanding Public Service Award. Deborah Hathaway, a lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, received the Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholar Award.

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