July 8, 2024

Each year, in celebration of their outstanding achievements and dedication to the field of social work, the University of Washington School of Social Work proudly acknowledges their staff and faculty in a recognition ceremony. These prestigious honors highlight the exceptional contributions of the faculty and staff who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to social justice, community service, and academic excellence. This year's awardees exemplify the core values of the School of Social Work, showcasing remarkable leadership, innovation, and hard work that resonate within and beyond the university community.



Mary Grembowski (Staff of the Year) Recipient:
Mark Bello 

Mary Grembowski Nominees:
Vaughnetta Barton
Melissa Becker 
Shirley Chu 
Jen Kitajo 
Megan Reibel 

SSW Endowed Staff Scholarship: 
Jon Torres 

Staff & Faculty Awards 

Award Name Award Description Recipient 
Wave of Progress Award Someone who has grown tremendously
over the past year 
Carly Lauck, Kate German & Sierra Wollenhall 
Beach Docent Award

Someone who mentors others generously

Patty Erdman, Emiko Tajima, Lisa Winters, Nicole Guenther & John Fowler 

Beach Volleyball MVP Award

Best team Player

Kristian Jones, Nagem Donawa, Shyla Reed & Wendy Wilford

The Picnic Planner Award

Someone who has put in extra effort to cultivate community 

Chantal Reynolds, Charlotte Sanders, Deb Ausema & Lev Cunningham
Sandcastle Creator Award

Someone that sets new trends or implements new best practices for their unit or organization 

Desi Schatz, Kathy Brennan & Sarah Brolliar

Sunbeam Award 

Someone who is always around to cheer others on 

Jennifer Daniels & Laurie Lippold 

Kite Surfer Award Person or group who is always willing to take a risk or take on special projects. 

Luanne Marshall & Stacy Edwards

The Dolphin Award 

Wise person with many stories and lessons to impart

Don Berg, Maria Ponz & Rebecca Vaux

The Golden Horizon Award 

Awarded to those who are retiring this year

Susan Carey, Diane Christensen, Paula Nurius, Aidan Ramos & Lisa Winters


Congratulations again to every member of our outstanding staff & faculty for your ongoing commitment to our school, or students, and to social work as a whole.



The SSW Recognition Event Committee:

  • Deb Ausema 
  • Nagem Donawa 
  • Nicole Guenther
  • Paula Nurius 
  • Chantal Reynolds 
  • Desi Schatz
  • Carrie Seaberg 
  • Griffin Street 
  • Emily Wesley 


The SSW Mary Grembowski Staff Award Committee:

  • Jessica Sowa
  • Shyla Reed
  • Stacy de Fries
  • Michelle Birdsall

SSW Staff Endowed Scholarship Committee

  • Gail Colfax
  • Nicole Guenther 
  • Deb Ausema
  • Shirley Chu
  • Shyla Reed


These awards not only celebrate the achievements of the honorees but also inspire the entire community to continue striving for excellence and advocating for social change. The remarkable efforts of these students, faculty, and alumni reflect the enduring spirit of the School of Social Work, reaffirming its commitment to fostering a more just and equitable world. With their passion and dedication, this year's awardees set a high standard for future generations, ensuring that the legacy of transformative social work will continue to thrive.