The Seattle-area chapter of the Association for Women in Science, or AWIS, has selected two women from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to receive 2019 Seattle AWIS awards.
Dr. Jeanne Ting Chowning, senior director of Science Education Training, has been selected to receive the Excellence in STEM Education/Outreach Award. Dr. Denise Galloway, an expert in the role of infectious diseases in cancer whose research was fundamental to the development of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine, will receive the Science Advancement and Leadership Award.
Chowning and Galloway will be among four women honored June 6 at the 2019 Seattle AWIS Banquet. The event will take place at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture.
The annual Seattle AWIS awards program recognizes women who have advanced the fields of scientific research, education and outreach. Awardees include scientific mentors and inspiring role models for students and other professionals.
For more than 25 years, Chowning has focused her professional efforts on improving science education and promoting opportunities for underrepresented students in science.
She began her career as a public high school biology teacher and became acquainted with Fred Hutch in the mid-‘90s as an early participant in its Science Education Partnership program. Established in 1991, SEP has served as a science boot camp of sorts for more than 545 Washington state high-school and middle-school science teachers. For three years in a row Chowning spent part of her summer vacation working beside scientists in research and teaching labs at the Hutch, updating and honing her lab techniques and teaching skills in subjects ranging from genetics to molecular biology.
Today Chowning oversees the program that she says changed how she taught biology.
“The SEP program not only helped me grow professionally, but it also allowed me to bring hands-on, cutting-edge science into the classroom,” said Chowning, who joined the Hutch in the fall of 2016 after the retirement of SEP Director Dr. Nancy Hutchison, who oversaw the program for 25 years. “Teachers make a tremendous difference in the quality of a young person’s education. By supporting educators, Fred Hutch has inspired hundreds of thousands of Washington state students and engaged them in the excitement of modern biology,” she said.
Chowning not only leads the SEP program but also oversees the strategic efforts of Fred Hutch’s pre-baccalaureate science outreach. She also serves as principal investigator on two grants totaling more than $3 million from the National Institutes of Health to enhance science-education efforts at the Hutch.
Prior to joining the Hutch, Chowning directed education programs for the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research and served as the associate executive director of Rainier Scholars, a 12-year leadership and academic-enrichment program for underrepresented students.
More than three decades of research by Galloway, a virologist, and her colleagues at the Hutch and UW shed light on the mechanisms by which certain types of HPV, a sexually transmitted pathogen, contribute to cervical, anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers.
Galloway, director of the Pathogen-Associated Malignancies Integrated Research Center at Fred Hutch, led the 12-member interdisciplinary team of molecular biologists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and clinicians who were instrumental in the development of the HPV vaccine, which prevents at least six types of genital tract and head and neck cancers.
For their contributions to public health, Galloway and colleagues received the 2011 Team Science Award from the American Association for Cancer Research. Last year Galloway, who holds the Paul Stephanus Memorial Endowed Chair, was inducted into the Washington Life Science Hall of Fame. This year, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Galloway’s lab at Fred Hutch continues to work to understand the natural history of genital HPV infections and why only a small number of women infected with high-risk HPVs go on to develop cancer.
Over the years, Galloway estimates that she has trained more than 50 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.
“It is so rewarding to watch students and postdocs, and other junior faculty at Fred Hutch develop their own wonderful careers,” said Galloway, who is also a research professor in the departments of Microbiology, Pathology and Global Health at UW.
The Seattle AWIS chapter, founded in 1985, seeks to advance the careers of women in science and technology and promote the participation of girls in the sciences. Its offerings include peer mentoring, undergraduate scholarships and a science program for middle-school girls.
Previous AWIS award recipients from the Hutch include Dr. Beverly Torok-Storb, a transplant biologist and student mentor who last year received the Award of Excellence in Science Education/Outreach; Dr. Colleen Delaney, an expert in cord blood transplantation and holder of the Madeline Dabney Adams Endowed Chair in AML Research who last year received the Award for Scientific Advancement and Leadership; HIV researcher Dr. Julie Overbaugh, associate director of Graduate Education and holder of the Chair for Graduate Education at the Hutch, who in in 2015 received the Award for Scientific Advancement; and Dr. Nancy Hutchinson, former director of the Hutch’s Science Education Partnership, who in 2014 received the Award for Scientific Education/Outreach.
Note about banquet tickets: Although individual tickets to the AWIS Banquet have sold out, please email awards@seattleawis if you would like to be added to a wait list for an available seat.
Kristen Woodward, a former associate editor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, had been in communications at Fred Hutch for more than 20 years. Before that, she was a managing editor at the University of Michigan Health System and a reporter/editor at The Holland Sentinel, a daily in western Michigan. She has received many national awards for health and science writing. She received her B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.