Student Awards and Achievements

Submitted by Henry J Laufenberg on
Ashley Beeman, 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Deans Medalist

In the past six months English department graduate and undergraduate students have harvested a legitimate bumper crop of fellowships, prizes, and grants. English Matters isn’t sure if this is a record season, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if it was.  Two things, largely, have coalesced in making this fall’s graduate student grant news so very good: we have excellent students, and we have spectacular alumni!  From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all alumni and donors who’ve found ways to support our department’s ambitious student-scholars.  Your support is key in making studying English a viable choice for our ever-impressive cadre of whip-smart students.  Please visit the English Department’s support page to explore ways you can lend (okay, okay give!) to the cause, and see your name “up in lights” (if you turn your screen’s brightness way up).

Without further ado, our Sponsored Fellowships and Prizes, most made possible by alumni – thank you!

Sumyat Thu
Graduate Fellowships

Betty T. Johnson Fellowship--Chelsea Grimmer

David A. Robertson Fellowship--David Kumler and Alan Williams

Donna Gerstenberger Fellowship--Emily George and Jessica Holmes

Phyllis F. and Donald E. Dorset Fellowship--Bom Kim, Matthew Hitchman, Sumyat Thu, and Phillip Savage

Robert R. and Mary Waltz Fellowship--Navid Ebrahimzadeh

Susannah J. McMurphy Fellowship--Thaomi Michelle Dinh

Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship--Emily George

Joff Hanauer fellowship--Amanda M. McCourt

Padelford Endowed Fellowship--Brianna Martinez and Luis Resendez


Graduate Prizes

Heilman Dissertation Prize--Emily Bald and Zachary Tavlin

Hallien Johnson Memorial Prize in Women and Literary Study--Tyler Kipling

Hermione and Louis Brown Graduate Publication Prize--Chelsea Grimmer


Creative Writing Graduate Fellowships

Pollock Fellowship– Sarah Bitter, Boston Chandler, Dilara Elibir, and Rachel Hill

Ingham Fellowship– Allison Ang and Kym Littlefield

Pollock Professorship Fellowship – Rachel Hill

Loren D. Milliman Fellowship– Rachel Hill


Creative Writing Graduate Prizes

Nelson Bentley Prize (fiction)--Boston Chandler

Nelson Bentley Prize (poetry)--Michael Alexander Turner

Joan Byers Grayston Prize--Emma Aylor

David Guterson Prize--Piper Daugharty

Eugene Van Buren Prize for Fiction – Marianne Manzler and Piper Daugharty

Joyce Waddell Prize for Talented Writers--Sarah Bitter and Dilara Elbir


Undergraduate Scholarships

Eilert Anderson Scholarship –Izaiha Linton

Edward G. Cox Scholarship – Addie Augsburger

Gamma Phi Beta-Winnifred S. Hagget Scholarship – Cara Pangelinan

Robert B. Heilman Scholarship - Addie Augsburger

John Kimball Woolley Scholarship – Maxwell Eberle

Roger Sale Scholarship -  Addie Augsburger

Peter L. Thorpe Scholarship – Micah Lusignan

Tia Val Spinoza Sullivan Scholarship – Aman Agarwal

Lucky Budd Waller Scholarship – Mickee CheungMcLennaghan Term Scholarship – Will St. Pierre Nelson and McKenzie Murray

Thomas Pickering Scholar: Marshall Sherrill

Libraries Student Employee Scholarship: Zoe Amery Handler

Creative Writing Undergraduate Scholarship

Edith K. Draham Scholarship--Sumaya Ali


Creative Writing Undergraduate Prizes

Grayston Prize--Julia Powers

Arthur Oberg Prize--Daniel O’Connell and Kendall Upton

Charlotte Paul Reese Prize--Riley Grace Borden

In other award, prize, and general excellence news:

Claire Barwise and Alex McCauley each received a one-quarter Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary History fellowship for the 2019-20 academic year.  MLQ is a venerable institution at the University of Washington, having first gone to press in 1940.


Matthew Poland received a Chester Fritz International Research and Study Fellowship from the UW Graduate School for the 2019-20 academic year to fund one quarter of archival research in London.


Kaelie Giffel and Caitlin Postal have been awarded 2019-2020 Mellon Collaborative Grant Fellowships as part of the Simpson Center's initiative Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics: Catalyzing Collaboration.  This fellowship supports work in developing connections between UW and local community colleges.

Also administered by the Simpson Center, funding to organize a Graduate Research Cluster focused on Indigenous Studies has been awarded to Lydia Heberling. Matt Poland received Simpson Center funding to organize a Graduate Research Cluster focused on The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century.  And Alexandra Meany received funding to organize a Graduate Research Cluster focused on Writing Racial Capitalism Across Disciplines.


We are pleased to announce the recipients of our department's awards for Graduate Students teaching in English Department Writing Programs.  The recipient of the Richard J. Dunn First Year Teaching Award (English 131) is Kaelie Giffel. Honorable Mention for the Dunn is Brittney Frantece.  Co-Winners of the Joan Webber Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Writing Programs by a Graduate Student are Yan Wang and Leah Rubinsky


Winner of the Joan Webber Award for 200-level teaching is Matthew Hitchman.


Dilara Elbir recently published her essay "Why films about lesbian characters should be called lesbian films" in Little White Lies (UK). Little White Lies is one of the leading publications on indie cinema and has been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Elbir is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Much Ado About Cinema, a publication that works to cast new impressions on the traditionally white, male and heterosexual world of film criticism. She is a Pollock Fellow at UW and recipient of Joyce Waddell Prize for Talented Writers.


Rasheena Fountain recently published her essay, "Black Children and the School-to-Prison Pipeline" in Zora. Fountain was also featured on a radio programBird Note: Stories about Birds, the Environment and More, in which she talks about an educator who was one inspiration for her work in environmental science and the outdoors.


And finally, and, perhaps, most impressively, Ashley Beeman, one of our English undergrads (also majoring in French), has been named the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Medalist for the Humanities.  This award recognizes the most outstanding graduating senior in the Humanities Division. We thank Jeff Knight and Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges, who wrote letters of nomination, and to Nancy Sisko for coordinating the nomination process. Below we reprint Beeman’s award announcement from the College of Arts and Science.  Way to go Ashley!


Ashley Beeman loves books. That makes sense given her double major in English and French. But unlike many of her peers, Beeman is drawn to volumes that are centuries old. For both of her majors, she has undertaken research projects that involve rare books in UW Libraries’ Special Collections, dating back to the sixteenth century.

Given her interest in rare books, Beeman found the perfect campus job as a student, working in Special Collections. She also researched a collection of about 100 French books from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that had been donated to the Department of French & Italian Studies.

“In trying to figure out how to catalogue books so that we’d know what was in the small collection, I couldn’t think of a better person than Ashley to go through them, do some research into each, and write up a detailed, annotated bibliography,” says Geoffrey Turnovsky, associate professor of French. “She did a fantastic job and we are immensely grateful to her for this work, which has helped us understand this donation much better.”

It’s no surprise that Turnovsky chose Beeman for the research project. He describes her academic work as “remarkably advanced.” Jeffrey Knight, who had Beeman in two of his classes, is equally effusive. “Ashley is a student of the humanities in the truest and most undiluted sense,” says Knight, associate professor of English. “She doesn’t just take classes, she synthesizes them. She allows different disciplines and texts in different languages to reflect on each other and produce new insight.”

When not researching historical books or working in UW Special Collections, Beeman has focused on another of her interests: music. Her first year at the UW she played piccolo in the Husky Marching Band; for the remaining three years she performed flute and piccolo with the UW Symphonic Band.