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James Dorsey
True Believer

James Dorsey
A kid straight outta Compton, James Dorsey grew up attending schools that were ranked dead last in California for quality. Which makes it all the more eye-opening that Dorsey was just elected national president of MESA USA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement), an organization that strives to bring more underrepresented minority students into the STEM fields. For the past eight years, Dorsey has served as executive director of Washington MESA, which is housed in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. He knows all about the obstacles facing young people of color. With MESA support and programs offered through OMA&D, students can overcome these barriers. Says Dorsey: “I’ve seen the results.” —JULIE GARNER

Kristin Hanna’s, ’83, latest book “The Nightingale” has enjoyed many weeks (58 as of this writing) on The New York Times best-seller list, including a spot at No. 1. The UW communication alum has written 21 novels. This one tells the stories of two sisters in France during World War II and has been optioned by TriStar Entertainment to be made into a movie.

Lip Service Three years ago, Zoe Mesnik- Greene started a lip-balm company in her dorm room. Today, her eco-friendly product, “Lasting Smiles,” can be found at Whole Foods and Target, with 25 percent of the profits going to support cleftpalate surgeries in Peru, India and Burkina Faso. The senior majoring in environmental sciences and communication was recently profiled in The New York Times.

Mammoth Project This spring, UW students made 3-D scans of a mammoth skull in an effort to replace missing pieces of a Columbian mammoth for the Burke Museum. Steven Weidner, instructor in mechanical engineering, is leading several classes in the effort. Scanning and 3-D printing bones from other mammoths in the collection and making mirror images of bones from the main skeleton found near Richland, Wash., will allow Weidner’s students to complete the mammoth. He says the effort is “‘Jurassic Park’ meets the ‘Star Trek’ replicator.”

Sound Citizen Janet Runbeck, ’06, was honored for her work with several Tacoma-area organizations to protect women and children from sex trafficking. South Sound Magazine named her Citizen of the Year. Runbeck, a longtime nurse practitioner, earned her master’s in nursing at UW Tacoma, where she teaches nursing classes.

Prison Parents Marian Harris, associate professor in social work and criminal justice at UW Tacoma, has been named Educator of the Year by the Washington chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Harris is a co-investigator on a federal grant to evaluate how the state helps incarcerated fathers and mothers transition back into society and be successful parents.

Lushootseed Last summer, UW Tacoma worked with the Puyallup Tribe to offer a Lushootseed Language Institute immersion program to help teachers and others learn and refresh their Lushootseed. The central Salish language, once prevalent among tribes around the Puget Sound, is in danger of disappearing. Danica Sterud Miller, assistant professor of American Indian Studies and member of the Puyallup Tribe, coordinated the course.

Larry Matsuda
With Honor

Larry Matsuda
Writer Larry Matsuda, left, and animator Randy Eng, ’81, won a Northwest Regional Emmy Award for their animated short film about a local World War II veteran. “An American Hero: Shiro Kashino” was based on Matsuda’s graphic novel, “Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers.” The 20-minute film tells the true story of Kashino, a Seattle native who served in the 442nd/100th Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service. “Ironically, these soldiers were fighting to liberate foreigners when their own families were in American prisons,” says Matsuda, ’67, ’73, ’78, a retired educator and former UW Alumni Association president who was born in the Minidoka War Relocation Center. To watch the documentary, go to —JULIE GARNER

Waste Not The city of Seattle is turning to the School of Public Health for help analyzing how to prevent food waste. Assistant professor Jennifer Otten and her colleagues have studied the city, food banks, public agencies, restaurants and stores to craft a plan to reduce waste and combat hunger.

Nursing Fellow Butch de Castro, associate professor at the UW Bothell School of Nursing and Health Studies, is a new American Academy of Nursing Fellow. His research focuses, in part, on health disparities among immigrant and minority worker populations that result from chronic stressors related to working conditions.

BMOC Jerry Baldasty, ’72, ’78, is now the UW’s provost, a position made official in June and scheduled to last three years. He previously was interim provost, dean of The Graduate School, and chair of the Department of Communication, where he joined the faculty in 1978. Counting his student years, he’s been a Husky for nearly fifty years.

Women’s Advocate After volunteering for more than 25 years with the YWCA, Sandra Madrid has become the chair of the organization’s Seattle/ King/Snohomish board. As board chair, she plans to work more with the community to “eliminate racism and empower women throughout our region.” Madrid, ’80, ’82, ’85, is retired from the School of Law and works part time in minority affairs and diversity.

Moon Shot UW football legend Warren Moon, ’78, was featured in The New York Times last spring for his help paving the way for black quarterbacks to play in the NFL. Opportunities for black quarterbacks were nearly nonexistent when he graduated because the “thinking positions” went to white players. It was more about stereotyping than racism, he says. He played in the CFL for six seasons before finally joining the NFL in 1984.

Write It, Right? Handwriting, while seen by many as a nonessential skill, may be helpful to brain development. Virginia Berninger, professor of educational psychology, is lead author on a study in The Journal of Learning Disabilities explaining how learning oral and written language plays a role in executive function skills. “Writing is the way we learn what we’re thinking,” says Berninger. “The handwriting, the sequencing of the strokes, engages the thinking part of the mind.”

Long, Hot and Buggy While the Northwest experienced a generally mild summer, much of the rest of the country did not. So the news media turned to Kristie Ebi, professor of global health, for her expertise on the health risks of global climate change. She recently told National Geographic that climate change and growing urbanization, shipping and travel will stretch the range of insects, like the mosquitos carrying the Zika virus. Ebi suggests preventive measures such as early warning systems for heat waves, public education and changing building codes to reduce stagnant heat in urban areas.

Fizzy Rocks Earth and Space Sciences professor Roger Buick has found that Earth’s early air exerted half the pressure of today’s atmosphere. He spoke with BBC Radio last spring about new clues regarding early life on Earth. Bubbles that formed in rocks when lava was fizzing before it solidified are clues to Earth’s thin atmosphere and the gasses it contained 2.7 billion years ago.

Big on Earth The University of Washington published the most Earth and environmental science research last year, outpacing all other universities worldwide, according to a database compiled by the journal Nature. Researchers in the College of the Environment as well as the Applied Physics Laboratory were lead or co-authors on 126 journal articles.

Cellphone Elbow? The digital age is taking its toll on our bodies. Even our kids are bent over their keyboards and smartphones and not taking sufficient breaks. Debra Milek, medical director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic at Harborview, warns that your discomfort now may herald a future injury. “It’s important to pay attention to how we use these devices,” she recently told The Washington Post.

Pot Policy Though recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, there are still many legal questions left to answer, says Sam Mendez, executive director of the UW Cannabis Law and Police Project. Because of that, the law school held a marijuana policy conference last spring to explore questions about pesticides, youth access and the fate of medical dispensaries and research. “There’s also issues around banking, or lack thereof,” Mendez says. “A lot of banks are federally chartered, so a lot of larger banks simply won’t take on cannabis clients.”

Shana Brown
True History

Shawna Brown
Shana Brown, ’89, history and language arts teacher at Broadview- Thomson K-8 school in North Seattle, has rewritten history, altering the state curriculum to include Native history. Brown, a member of the Yakama Nation, is the principal author of “Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State,” a new required curriculum for Washington’s public schoolchildren. It highlights the lives of Indians before contact with settlers. Last spring, the White House recognized her as a “great educator” and invited her to the National Teacher of the Year ceremony. “My next dream is to change textbooks,” she says. “Until these stories are woven into the actual texts, teaching an accurate history of how this country came to be is impossible.” —JULIE GARNER

Milgard Man Howard L. Smith, ’76, was named the Gary E. and James A. Milgard Endowed Dean of the Milgard School of Business at UW Tacoma. He comes from Boise State University via the Pacific University School of Business in Oregon. He earned his doctorate at the Foster School of Business. While he has spent several decades in university administration, much of his academic and volunteer work centered in nursing and health care.

Rock Star Geologist Alison Duvall, who studies landslides, received the American Geophysical Union’s early career award for researchers in the Earth and space sciences. The Luna B. Leopold Award recognizes scientists who have made “a significant and outstanding contribution that advances the field of Earth and planetary surface processes.”

OMAD’s New Leader The Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity has a new leader: Rickey L. Hall, who joins us from the University of Tennessee, where he served as its inaugural vice chancellor diversity and inclusion three years ago.

Back to the Faculty Howard Frumkin is stepping down as dean of the School of Public Health after six years. Frumkin, an internist, environmental and occupational medicine specialist, will return to the faculty as professor of environmental and occupational health sciences.

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