Distinguished Staff Award
Photograph of Pamela Mitchell

Carolyn Chow

Director of Admissions and Multicultural Student Affairs, School of Nursing, Academic Services

Nominated by Eleanor Marsh, Registered Nurse, BSN, MN Student, School of Nursing

Awarded 2015

It is a true honor to be students who have worked closely with Carolyn Chow, and it is with great pleasure that we nominate Carolyn Chow for consideration for the 2015 UW Distinguished Staff Award. Carolyn is an outstanding nominee, as she possesses the characteristics and models the values that are recognized by the UW Distinguished Staff Award. Carolyn is a true leader committed to promoting diversity awareness and community building at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Carolyn tirelessly works to ensure students have the tools and support they need to become agents of change, both in the academic environment, as well as in their greater communities.

As students we have experienced first hand Carolyn’s commitment to diversity in the School of Nursing (SoN) and campus wide. She has co-founded numerous student led organizations that have been born out of her profound respect for students’ visions for a diverse and inclusive UW SoN environment. One such organization is the Western Washington Chapter of The National Association of Hispanic Nurses (WW-NAHN). Carolyn saw the inception of WW-NAHN as an organization that would serve as a shining star for the SoN, as it would be designed to support financial, relational, and academic needs for underrepresented Latino nursing students. Carolyn beamed at the prospect of weaving into the nursing program an organization that would elevate the UW SoN’s existing recruitment and retention strategies for Latino nursing students.

November 1st, 2014, only six months after co-founding WW-NAHN, Carolyn’s innovative skills and exceptional ability to engage and talk with people led to the first WW-NAHN Scholarship, which stands to benefit two nursing students who self-identify as Latino. Carolyn’s quest for inclusiveness guide and ground her work as multicultural director, and she plants the seed of diversity in every project she creates. Much like a gardener, who watches out for many factors that influence a harvest, Carolyn watches out for all the factors that impact a student of color’s academic experience.

Carolyn’s contributions to diversity awareness and to community building provide superior and sustained service, as she has bridged the UW SoN with outside communities of underrepresented students of color. As a founding member of the UW SoN Diversity Awareness Group (DAwGs), in 2009 Carolyn proudly and successfully spear headed the creation of an annual UW Nurse Camp, the crown jewel of the student organization. UW Nurse Camp is a weeklong, free day camp for underserved and under-represented high school students who show an interest in the field of nursing. Diverse students from various walks of life experience a rigorous admissions process and once accepted, the students are immersed in the nursing world by shadowing nurses at UW Medical Center, practicing basic nursing skills, becoming CPR certified, and meeting nurses from diverse specialties. This experience for high school students leads to sustainable mentoring relationships between them, and the volunteers involved in executing Nurse Camp, which always includes Carolyn herself.

Since funding organizations is sometimes precarious, Carolyn approaches the issue with expertise and integrity. In 2013, she proposed a way to garner financial support for these student-led groups: Professional Organization of Nursing Students, Network of Doctoral Students, DAwGs, SoN Queers and Allies, and WW-NAHN. She saw the opportunity for the SoN to not only recognize but also support the exceptional work of student leaders and their efforts. With diplomacy and creativity Carolyn went to Finance and Administration to ask for the funding and in her proposal, she outlined a fair way to distribute the funds and to determine how the funds could be used in a way to best support the work of the groups. By 2014, the student-led groups were allotted a portion of financial assistance thanks to Carolyn’s dedication.

True to her essence, Carolyn brings excellence and respect to all her interactions, and has earned well deserved accolades:

  • Clare Sherley, Doctor of Nursing in Practice student describes Carolyn’s devotion to excellence as inspirational when working around issues of social justice and says: “Her passion for diversity and social justice seeps into all of the work that she does and has inspired many of my colleagues and I, to remain engaged and involved. Carolyn demonstrates the kind of integrity and commitment to UW nursing students that cannot be matched.”
  • Lauren Cline, UWMC Clinical Nurse Educator, expresses admiration for Carolyn’s sense of respect and states: “Carolyn demonstrates so many wonderful qualities. She leads by example and follows through on all that she does. Carolyn is respectful when working with students, faculty, and staff members, and consistently asks for feedback and encourages others to speak up. Carolyn is a staff member who others look up to for guidance, support, a listening ear and an occasional laugh.”
  • Lisa Taylor-Swanson, a current SoN PhD student highlights Carolyn’s integrity and says: “I can say that in addition to her good humor and warm personality, she is a person who has the highest level of integrity, a sharp mind and an open heart. She is committed to diversity not only via her work with Nurse Camp and as the Director of Multicultural Student Affairs for the SoN, but also in her everyday interactions with students and with other committees. She is indeed a person who “walks her talk” with integrity, respect and warmth.”

Carolyn has always said the best part of her job is working with and alongside the students. Mei Louie, a current Bachelor of Science in Nursing student sums up how Carolyn embodies the values of the UW Distinguished Staff Award: “My parents have never attended college, thus, I felt limited on my resources at home to help me accomplish my goal to be a nurse. Carolyn supported, motivated, and advised me through my academic goals. On top of what she did for me, she also mentored many of the students who attended UW’s Nurse Camp as well as pre-nursing students all around the community. Due to unforeseen hardships, I lost confidence in my ability to finish school, but Carolyn reached out to me personally and mentored me through my hardship. She did not let me give up because I know she values all her students.”

Carolyn Chow plays a dynamic and outstanding role within the University of Washington. She promotes diversity and excellence and has made exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the numerous leadership positions she embraces as ambassador to UW SoN nursing students. Her passion and dedication in developing others as leaders and creating a legacy of success will continue to make UW SoN the number one nursing school in the country.

For all these reasons and more, we believe Carolyn deserves your serious consideration for the 2015 UW Distinguished Staff Award.

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