The Alumni Award for Excellence in Mentoring is given to alumni in recognition of their invaluable contributions of expertise, time, and advice to University of Washington Department of Communication undergraduate and graduate students. Outstanding alumni mentors are people who consistently dig deep into their resources to connect academic with professional and personal learning experiences. They work closely with faculty and staff, paying it forward to provide creative and generous mentoring that promotes leadership and opportunity for all.


2019 – Dawn Cheung (B.A., 2013) As a pre-professional career coach for the UW Career and Internship Center, Dawn works with students to identify their educational, professional, and personal goals, as well as to explore their interests and opportunities in their desired fields. Currently, she specifically serves pre-law and pre-health students and alumni.

Born and raised in Seattle and a long-time husky, she graduated from the UW with a B.A. in Communications and minor in Education, Learning, and Societies (ELS) in 2013.  She also earned her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree from the UW School of Social Work, with a focus on Community-Centered Integrative Practice in 2018.

Some of her most memorable UW experiences were studying abroad in Hong Kong, being a mentor in the Dream Project, and being a communication student (of course)! Identifying as a 1.5 generation Chinese-American woman and a daughter of immigrants, Dawn uses her identity and experiences when relating and working with students to ensure that they are heard, understood, and represented.

Before coming to the UW, Dawn worked at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) as a Youth Program Manager, primarily working with immigrant and refugee youth in Seattle and South King County. During this time, she was also crowned Miss Chinese Seattle (in 2015), and used her platform to mentor students in the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce Young Leaders Program, coach badminton at Foster High School to first generation students, and participate in various events around the Asian-Pacific Islander community. In her spare time, she loves to travel, play with her dog Belle, read a good book, play badminton, and take on various arts and crafts projects.

Read more about Dawn Cheung HERE

2018 – Alexander Diaz (B.A. 2012). Driving forward with agility, enthusiasm, and a sense of discovery as Uber’s Marketing Program Lead for the Pacific Northwest, Alexander Diaz does more than wrangle together new and creative marketing campaigns. Throughout his career, Alex (as he is known to his friends and colleagues) has worked across a wide range of industries — from startups to Fortune 500s — focused on go-to-market strategies and tactics for products and brands. Past projects have included Xbox One’s platform launch, Twitter‘s Ad Suite growth, and launching Uber in over 25+ cities. No matter which hat he is wearing, Diaz’s goal is simple: drive brand and product growth, success, and results through compelling, actionable marketing.

With a passion for community contribution, Diaz has been a member of the organizing committees for numerous TEDx and Startup Weekend events, as well as having served on the board for the Puget Sound American Marketing Association. Currently, Diaz is a mentor for students within the Minds Matter Seattle chapter, and as a member of the UW Communication Department’s alumni board. Not one to sit still — you’d be hard pressed not to find Diaz without a smile, a cup of coffee, and another adventure on the horizon.

Read More about Alexander Diaz HERE


2017 – Kaci Aitchison (B.A., 2001) is an Emmy-nominated host and reporter for Q13 News This Morning and proud graduate of the UW Department of Communication. She joined Q13 as a features reporter in 2009 before being named co-anchor of the morning show in 2012; and continues tackling feature stories that celebrate local heroes and highlight communities all over the Puget Sound area. Aitchison also hosts several local events, including Seattle Humane’s Tuxes and Tails, and Valve Corporation’s “The International,” an annual DOTA 2 gaming tournament viewed by millions.

Born and raised in the Seattle area, Aitchison has spent the last 18 years as a local broadcasting personality- and it all started with a radio internship while at the UW! By junior year she was reporting traffic for KISS-FM Seattle and spent the next few years there as an on-air personality. In 2004, she joined The Bob Rivers Morning Show on KZOK as a co-host and news anchor, and sang with their band. She currently only sings in her car.

Aitchison graduated from the UW in 2001 with a degree in communication and Political Science, and currently serves on the Alumni Board for the Department of Communication. Aside from her husband and cat, Aitchison’s passion is sharing people’s stories; she believes we all have a story to share, and that every single one is worth celebrating.

Read More about Kaci Aitchison HERE

Tinamarie2016 -Tinamarie Feil is co-founder and President of BMC Group, a global information management firm with offices in North America, Asia and Europe.  Tinamarie brings three decades’ experience directing various aspects of corporate compliance, communications, insolvency case administration, and the due diligence process in major merger & acquisition transactions.

An innovator, frequent author and speaker, Tinamarie is an active participant in the evolution of legal noticing and legal claims management. Her work has included many “first to market” services.  Tinamarie currently sits on the Board of Directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute, is an IWIRC Director liaison and delegate to the United Nations Committee on International Trade Law (Working Group V, Insolvency), and, is on the Board of Editors for The Bankruptcy Strategist.

Awards include 2014 Executive of the Year from the Women’s Division of the New York Institute of Credit and 2011 Melnik Award from IWIRC for significant and long lasting contributions.

Passionate about community service focused on education and advancement opportunities for young people, Tinamarie has held board and committee positions with various non-profits.  She’s proud to be the Foundational Alumna for University of Washington’s Career Exploration New York, and currently sits on the board of non-profit Kids Co. in Seattle.

Read more about Tinamarie’s journey >>

Engle2015 – Stacey Engle (B.A., 2008) is the Vice President of Marketing at Fierce Inc., a global leadership development and training company. She works collaboratively across all business functions to develop and implement a multi-tiered global marketing strategy for Fierce. This spans digital marketing, product development; corporate communications, and community relations. Her professional background includes nonprofit and corporate work including public relations, B2B and B2C marketing and communication as well as leadership development and professional training. She has built the Fierce marketing department directly contributing to its double digit growth along with cutting edge business and design awards.

Read more about Stacey’s journey >>

Chiarelli_2502014 – Pete Chiarelli (B.A., 1996) graduated from the UW with a degree in Communication and Economics, focusing much of his time in broadcasting. He interned with KING-TV and Northwest Cable News before becoming a full-time news producer after graduation. He later attended the University of Southern California to study film and become a movie producer. He interned and then worked at DreamWorks, while doing side projects in his free time. One of those projects was writing a screenplay for the movie “The Proposal” – which he did under the pseudonym Jennifer Kirby. It was well received and the film grossed more than $314 million worldwide becoming the highest grossing romantic comedy of 2009. Screenwriting became his passion and he continues to succeed in the industry. Chiarelli received the inaugural 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the UW Department of Communication in recognition for his invaluable mentorship during Career Exploration trips to L.A. for students interested in the entertainment business and moving to L.A. after graduation.

Read more about Pete’s journey >>