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Graduate School Medal

We live in an increasingly complex world, therefore understanding the nature of social, cultural and political issues in the US and across the world is exceptionally difficult. It is clear that there are no easy answers to our world’s current problems — making it all the more important that we dedicate ourselves to understanding the complicated answers. The Graduate School at the University of Washington is dedicated to training the next generation of individuals — in laboratories and classrooms, in business and government, at home and abroad — to provide leadership and to impact positive change through innovative solutions. Compelled by the world around them, our graduate students are positioned at the leading edge of learning and discovery, seeking new approaches and innovative solutions to some of our most intractable problems. To recognize and honor the “scholar-citizens” in our midst, The Graduate School offers The Graduate School Medal. This medal is given to recognize a doctoral candidate whose academic expertise and social awareness are integrated in a way that demonstrates an exemplary commitment to the University and its larger community.

About the Graduate School Medal

The Graduate School Medal is a $5,000 award to a Ph.D., DMA, Au.D., DNP, DPT, or Ed.D. candidate who displays an exemplary commitment to both the University and its larger community. The Graduate School Medal recognizes the “scholar-citizens” whose academic expertise and social awareness are integrated in a way that demonstrates active civic engagement and a capacity to promote political, cultural and social change. The Medal recipient will be announced in spring quarter. The Medal is funded from the UW Graduate Fellowship Fund, which is supported primarily by annual gifts from alumni and friends of the UW.

NOMINATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, April 13, 2022, noon (PT)


Any graduate student who has achieved candidacy for a Ph.D., D.M.A. or Ed.D. and who expects to receive their degree by August 2023 is eligible for the Graduate School Medal, as is any student in a practice doctoral program (Au.D., D.N.P., D.P.T., some Ed.D. programs) who expects to receive their degree by August 2022. Departments can nominate only one student.

Nomination Process

Doctoral candidates must be nominated by their home academic department. The Graduate School Medal does not take applications directly from students. Departmental staff or faculty authorized to use MyGradProgram’s Awards section must submit nomination materials through the this portal.

Departments may nominate only one student.

Doctoral candidates may be nominated from departments or programs that lie within the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. These are the Ph.D., D.M.A., D.N.P., Au.D., D.P.T. and Ed.D. programs. Not included are the J.D., M.D., Pharm.D., and D.D.S. programs.

Each nomination consists of the following:

  • a 1–2 page nomination letter from a dean/director/chair;
  • a 1–3 page (double-spaced) statement from the student addressing the integration of their academic experience and social awareness, and describing their vision for promoting political, cultural and social change and how their academic record advances this;
  • a 1–2 page letter from the chair of the nominee’s doctoral supervisory committee;
  • a curriculum vitae from the student.

Nominations meeting initial review requirements will be examined by a committee consisting of Graduate School deans and a current member of the Graduate Council. The committee will select a pool of finalists to be forwarded to the Graduate School Council for consideration. The Council will review the finalists’ applications, conduct interviews during mid-late April, and make the final selection.

Nominations must be submitted through the Awards portal in MyGradProgram absolutely no later than Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at noon to be accepted for consideration. Late submissions will not be considered.

Submit a Nomination in MyGrad Program

Criteria for selection

In addition to the minimum criteria listed above, nominees will be expected to have demonstrated — and/or show potential to demonstrate — an ability to integrate intellectual insight and social concern.

Nominees will:

  • have applied their disciplinary expertise to the world around them,
  • be committed to “problem-oriented” scholarship and its requisite interdisciplinary nature, and
  • be integrating their work in the academy with engagement in the public/private sectors.

The Graduate School Medal recipient will be a scholar-citizen who illustrates the synergy between graduate-level achievement in the University and social or cultural productivity outside.

Terms of Award

The award will be paid as a lump sum. Medal recipients may be asked to participate in various Graduate School events but are not required to provide work or service to the University.

Past Medalists

2021: Nick Maurice, Molecular and Cellular Biology 
2020: Paul Tubig, Philosophy
2019: Brandon Nguyen, Rehabilitation Medicine
2018: Cassandra Simonich, Molecular and Cellular Biology 
2017: Niket Thakkar, Applied Mathematics 
2016: Erica Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology 
2015: Cuauhtemoc Mexica, Comparative Literature
2014: Shiri Azenkot, Computer Science and Engineering 
2013: Chris Bassett, Mechanical Engineering 
2012: Jill Woelfer, Information School 
2011: Yaw Anokwa, Computer Science and Engineering 
2010: Anna Cavender, Computer Science and Engineering 
2009: Renee Byrd, Women Studies 
2008: Caroline Faria, Geography 
2007: Thomas Robey, Bioengineering 
2006: Laura Certain, Genome Sciences and Karen Rosenberg, Women Studies 
2005: Mae Henderson, Women Studies and Melanie Roberts, Neurobiology and Behavior 
2004: Vibha Sazawal, Computer Science and Engineering and Jeanette Bushnell, Women Studies 
2003: Selina Mohammed, Nursing and Maha El-Taji, Near and Middle Eastern Studies

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Please contact the Office of Fellowships & Awards at or 206.543.7152.