Photo of Katie Cooper
Photo of Katie Cooper, Recipient of the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Dr. Catherine “Katie” Cooper, Associate Professor in the School of the Environment, is the winner of the 2018-19 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award from the Washington State University Association for Faculty Women (AFW).

She was virtually acknowledged during the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet, part of WSU’s annual Showcase celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence. See

The award recognizes “an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the WSU system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.” It was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to former President Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU.

Professor Cooper is a respected scholar, award-winning teacher, and champion of women and underrepresented minorities. She has led numerous groups that promote the advancement of women. She chairs the WSU Salary Study Task Force and has chaired the Commission on the Status of Women. She led a Women’s Leadership Conference in cooperation with the University of Idaho. She also serves as the Association of Faculty Women (AFW) liaison to the provost. In each of these roles, Cooper has advocated for change to advance diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.

Cooper is a role model for female students in the geosciences, a discipline with few women at the forefront. She advises and mentors students across the University and donated her time to serve as faculty advisor to the LGBTQ+ Diversity in STEM student group. Outside WSU, Cooper is a popular speaker for community programs, including those serving girls in STEM disciplines.

Bryan Slinker, provost, and Laura Hill, vice provost for faculty development and affairs shared this about Katie: “Katie has…effectively advocated for changes in a number of policies that will make academic life more equitable for women… If we had to choose someone to stand shoulder to shoulder with in battle, we would choose Katie in a heartbeat.”