Alumni Spotlight: Chris Laws, GPSS 2001-04 Executive Senator

Chris Laws

Chris Laws

What was your most memorable UW class?
The most memorable class I took at UW would have to be a graduate class on the stars of our galaxy back in 2000, taught by Suzanne Hawley (now serving as the Divisional Dean for Natural Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences) — it was a great class on a great subject, and Suzanne would go on to be one of my most valuable mentors and best friends on campus.

But really the most memorable UW class for me is one that I taught starting in summer of 2005, the ASTR 481 Advanced Astronomical Observations course. That course takes about a dozen junior and senior level students out to the UW’s Manastash Ridge Observatory near Ellensburg for several weeks of staying up all night and taking pictures of the beautifully dark skies. Leading those groups transformed my career, and from all accounts was transformative in the lives of many, many of my students as well.

Who is your hero? Why?
My hero is definitely my wife — she’s a first-generation student with a Masters Degree from the UW (Go Huskies!), who spends her days helping students and families impacted by severe developmental issues such as autism. She is stronger and more gentle and generous than anyone I know, she changed my life, and I admire her more than I could ever, ever hope to express.

What would be your go-to karaoke song?
Ooh — tough. If they’ve got it (but they won’t), Tom Waits’ “Swordfishtrombones” — otherwise either Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” (easy to get the crowd involved!), or Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” (c’mon — I’m an astronomer!).

What is your favorite Husky football game day tradition?
Doing my lucky purple pajama pants dance — and then winning, baby!

What has been your favorite memory of the HUB?
WAY too many for a clear favorite — but a standout was definitely the big celebration after the HUB reopened post-renovation, and watching the entire HUB crew get the praise they so richly deserve. Especially sweet to see Lincoln Johnson called out by so many students that day for the powerful impact he had on them — he’s a HUB superhero for sure!