Paul J. Olscamp Research Award

Named after the eleventh president of Western, the Paul J. Olscamp Research Award goes to a faculty member from either the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or the College of Science and Engineering in recognition of their impressive record of achievement in scholarship and research during their time at Western.

*Please Note: Only Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, or Professors are eligible for this award. (Instructors, Lecturers, Senior Instructors are not eligible. Please check the staff directory for faculty titles.)

Selection Criteria

While the award is intended to recognize all of one’s excellence in scholarship while at Western, supporting research and scholarship materials from the candidate shall be limited to no more than five years, but should include the last three.


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in May. This award also includes a payment of $2,500, made possible by the Western Washington University Foundation. (Please note: for each payment, the University also contributes approximately $1,553.66 for tax related deductibles plus benefits for a total expenditure of approximately $3,553 per award.)

Award Adminstration

College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Science and Engineering Dean’s Offices (rotating).

The 2024 award will be facilitated by the College of Science and Engineering.

Nomination Process

Only WWU faculty members, department chairs, and academic deans may nominate their faculty colleagues for a Scholarship/Research award. Nominations for the 2024 award are currently CLOSED. Thank you to those that took the time to nominate someone!


Dr. Tesla Monson wears a vibrant turquoise blazer and a WWU award medallion

Tesla Monson - Anthropology

Associate Professor of Anthropology Tesla A. Monson is an internationally recognized, award-winning scholar whose writing has been viewed and shared by millions of people worldwide. She earned a B.A. from Princeton University, an M.A. from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.  

At Western, Tesla runs the Primate Evolution Lab; her research and teaching focus on the evolution of reproduction and the growth of the skeletal system in living and fossil primates. Her research has been met with exceptional federal and state financial support, bringing in more than $1.1 million in the last five years. She has published more than 20 peer-reviewed papers in top journals, with press features and international news articles in Science and Inverse Magazine, and is regularly invited to speak about her research at institutions worldwide. Her 2023 piece in the popular research news outlet The Conversation was published in English and French and recorded more than 34,000 readers over the first six months.

Tesla is also an editor at the American Journal of Biological Anthropology, the top journal in her field. In May, she accepted a publishing deal with Flatiron Books to write a book on the evolution of pregnancy.

Past Awardees

1 awardee(s) for this year

2023 Awardees

Photo of David Sattler wearing WWU award medallion with green trees in the background

David Sattler - Psychology

David N. Sattler received a B.A. in psychology with a minor in Spanish from San Diego State University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology with a minor in industrial/organizational psychology from Michigan State University. Social justice and environmental justice are at the core of David’s international research and scholarship, which examine discrimination and stigma, climate change risk perception and adaptation, and disaster preparedness and response. The resulting grants, projects, and publications represent and give voice to people in 14 countries, including Mongolia, Tonga, Fiji, Tuvalu, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the United States. David established the International Tsunami Museum in Thailand to assist with community recovery and has been serving as a delegate for the Kingdom of Tonga at multiple United Nations Climate Change Conferences. David is especially grateful to superb colleagues and students at Western and institutions around the globe for collaborating on these seminal projects.