Top teaching, research honors awarded


University of Washington Bothell’s top teaching and research honors for 2016 have been awarded. Janelle Silva, right, is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award. Jennifer McLoud-Mann, left, is the recipient of the Distinguished Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Award.  

Silva is an assistant professor of community psychology in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. McLoud-Mann is an associate professor of mathematics in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Distinguished Teaching Award is presented each year to a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching, exemplifying what it means to fulfill the academic mission of UW Bothell. The Distinguished Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity award is presented each year to a UW Bothell faculty member in recognition of scholarly or creative achievement that exemplifies the standards of excellence that are required by the University’s research intensive education environment.

Janelle Silva: A force for social change

The committee that selected Silva was impressed with the number of former students who nominated her for her award.

 “The common theme was the inspiration to achieve their greatest potential as students and as people,” the committee wrote. “Her impact has been especially evident among young women of color, individuals who otherwise can feel especially alienated on a college campus.”

 “Dr. Silva has consistently proven herself as an outstanding and successful teacher, mentor, and colleague,” says Chancellor Wolf Yeigh. “Students leave her classes prepared to lead positive change in the community and throughout the region.”  Silva says her teaching is designed to challenge students about social context, power and privilege and then take their knowledge “to the streets.”

“It is my goal that all students leave my class and put theory into practice by taking the skills and knowledge they have acquired to be a part of future change,” she says.

Silva’s research examines the role of schools in how they facilitate questions of power, privilege, equity, identity, and social justice in young people. She also asks what shifts are needed to construct an environment where young people are motivated toward social action within the structural barriers of the institution.

Silva’s students have been a force for social change on campus.  

“I truly believe that classrooms can be a space of transformation for both students and faculty,” she says. “I hope to continue to build our campus community for the better by collaborating with students on class projects that are inherently tied to UW Bothell's mission to diversity.”

Silva came to UW Bothell in 2012 and has a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz in social psychology with an emphasis in feminist theory.

Jennifer McLoud-Mann: Making mathematics history

McLoud-Mann made mathematics history and international headlines, along with colleague Casey Mann and undergraduate researcher David Von Derau, last year when they discovered a new type of convex pentagon to tile the plane. Their discovery of the 15th way to interlock identically shaped pentagons with no holes or gaps covering a plane (an infinite sheet of paper) was the first discovery of its type since 1985.  It was named one of the top 100 discoveries in 2015 by Discover Magazine.

Chancellor  Wolf Yeigh says McLoud-Mann exemplifies the integration of outstanding scholarship, impact on global communities and impact on the UW Bothell community, especially students. "Dr. McLoud-Mann’s success is an inspiration to all, and she is a wonderful role model for our female students and other under-represented groups in the STEM fields.”

McLoud-Mann received her doctorate in mathematics from the University of Arkansas in 2002. She established the first National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at UW Bothell. She is passionate about involving students in her research. "It’s exciting to include undergraduates in research and show them that mathematics is not some set of boring rules, but a dynamic field of study with fascinating frontiers," she says.

“Teaching and researching in an environment where faculty feel supported and encouraged to engage with undergraduate students in such meaningful ways is a very powerful thing. I have the privilege of introducing students to research and sharing with them the beauty of mathematics and the excitement of discovery. I believe that such experiences are impactful, and I am grateful that research with undergraduates is valued at UW Bothell."

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