Each year, UW Professional & Continuing Education has the honor of recognizing the work of a standout group of our certificate instructors with Teaching Excellence Awards.
After poring over nominations, our awards committee selects recipients for their exceptional instruction, generous support of their students and outstanding contribution to UWPCE program offerings. Considering we have more than 500 talented instructors at the helm of our certificate programs, choosing just a few is no easy feat!
The names are in, though, and it’s our pleasure to introduce you to this year’s recipients.
Certificate in Public Relations & Strategic Communications
Teaching Excellence Award
With more than 25 years of communications experience on the job and 11 years working with the PR certificate program, Lee Schoentrup can aptly be described as a pro in her field. Over her career, she’s worked in for-profit and nonprofit organizations across a range of industries, including global health, health care and software development.
As a certificate instructor at UWPCE, Lee is well known for providing students with challenging content and invaluable feedback. We’re pleased to celebrate Lee for her excellence in the classroom, a distinction buttressed by glowing comments from many of her students over the years.
Certificate in Software Product Management
Teaching Excellence Award
Adam Grupp is an experienced product manager with a passion for driving impact and a focus on strategy, business planning and analytics. Adam, currently a group manager for Microsoft’s search business planning and strategy team, has a wealth of real-world experience — which he’s happy to share with his certificate students.
Among the reasons for honoring Adam with a Teaching Excellence Award this year is his ongoing commitment to providing the best possible learning experience. He cares deeply about the Certificate in Software Product Management program and his students, both during and after their time in class.
Certificate in Agile Development
Teaching Excellence Award
Brent Barton, founder of River Rock Endeavors, has an extensive background mentoring and guiding organizations toward agility. He’s certified thousands of people in Scrum techniques and trained and mentored many more. His commitment to helping individuals, teams and organizations build great software is an asset for companies he works with and a boon for the students he teaches.
As an instructor in the Certificate in Agile Development program, Brent is known for being innovative, creative, motivated and in tune with his students’ needs. We’re happy to recognize the enthusiasm and expertise Brent brings to the classroom every time he enters it.
Certificates in IT Foundations and Python Programming
New Instructor Teaching Excellence Award
Summer Elasady is a bioinformatic scientist who’s been working in the software industry for more than a decade. She’s currently a data scientist and computational biologist at the Altius Institute in Seattle, where she uses Python and R to improve pipelines and analysis algorithms for drug-targeting research.
Summer is passionate about teaching Python and making the STEM fields more accessible — a passion she pursues both in and out of the classroom. Her IT certificate students this year describe her as a “wonderful, patient, funny and enthusiastic teacher.”
Certificate in Project Management
Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award
Al Hirsch is the managing director and owner of CTARCo International. He’s been working in project management and program management for decades. His experience also includes serving as chief operating officer and chief financial officer to several startup companies.
For more than 20 years now, Al has been an integral part of the Certificate in Project Management program — garnering stellar reviews from students all along the way. We’re pleased to celebrate his continuing dedication to teaching excellence. His pioneering spirit and willingness to be a resource to students and staff alike, have had an immeasurable impact.
Certificate in Localization: Customizing Software for the World
Team Teaching Excellence Award
The talented team of instructors for the Certificate in Localization bring an abundance of industry know-how and a shared commitment to the success of the program and its participants.
Over the years, students have repeatedly called out the contributions of this group of instructors and lauded their commitment to the localization program and its participants. Beyond adding value in the classroom, these instructors are also active behind the scenes, continually going above and beyond to improve the program and broaden its impact.
We’re pleased to honor these instructors with the Team Teaching Excellence Award.
- Soren Eberhardt, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft
- Jan Grodecki, Senior Program Manager at Moravia
- Pavel Soukenik, Program Director at Moravia
- Alfredo de Alemida, Project Manager at Microsoft
- Hiram Machado, President and co-founder of AdaQuest
Congrats again to this year’s winners! And many thanks to all of our dedicated instructors for sharing your time and talents. You help thousands of students, every year, take a big step toward what’s next in their career.