UW News


October 10, 2018

How a community reclaimed its Southeast Seattle high school

Rainier Beach High School in Southeast Seattle was proposed for closure in 2008, but community members rallied around a new vision for the school. Photo of front of school building.

When Rainier Beach High School was proposed to close in 2008, community members rallied around a new vision for the school, which has since nearly doubled its enrollment and introduced a more rigorous curriculum.


October 4, 2018

UW’s Kristina Olson wins MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant’

Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, on Oct. 4 was named one of the MacArthur Foundation's Fellows. She receives a $625,000, no-strings-attached stipend. Photo of Kristina in her lab.

Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, has been named one of the 2018 MacArthur Fellows. The Fellowship from the John T. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation comes with a $625,000 stipend, commonly known as the “genius grant,” for recipients to use as they see fit.


September 28, 2018

Researchers release endangered crows into the forests of Pacific island

Aga nestlings are reared in captivity by San Diego Zoo Global. Photo of young bird with its mouth open, facing camera.

  For more than 2 million years, the native forests on the Pacific islands of Guam and Rota were home to several thousand crows, members of a species found nowhere else on Earth. But over the last 60 years, the Mariana crow — called the Aga in the Chamorro language — has completely disappeared from…


September 25, 2018

Practicing mindfulness benefits parents and children, UW study says

A University of Washington study finds that parents who took mindfulness lessons were better able to manage their emotions, and their children's behavior improved, as well. Photo of a father walking with his young son.

A UW study found that mindfulness lessons, offered to parents at two early childhood centers, helped adults learn how to manage their emotions and behaviors while supporting their child’s development.


September 20, 2018

Even toddlers weigh risks, rewards when making choices

A University of Washington study finds that young toddlers conduct a form of cost-benefit analysis in deciding whether to help someone. Photo of blocks at an infant's feet.

A University of Washington study finds that 18-month-old toddlers conduct a form of cost-benefit analysis, making choices based on how much effort they want to expend, or on whether they like the people involved.


September 13, 2018

Poverty rates hold steady, average incomes continue to increase in Seattle area and Washington state

image of piggy bank

The share of Washingtonians living below the federal poverty threshold declined slightly from 11.3 percent to 11 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to new Census data released Thursday. While this change was not statistically significant, the 2017 poverty rate remains below the post-recession high of 14.1 percent in 2013. Washington was one of 28…


UW psychology professor honored for founding research on implicit bias

Tony Greenwald

When Tony Greenwald and his colleagues developed the online Implicit Association Test two decades ago, it enjoyed quick success in the pre-laptop, pre-smartphone, nascent Internet world, with some 45,000 participants in the first month. The test, which requires classifying words and images rapidly according to their meanings, captures unconscious biases toward — depending on the…


August 28, 2018

New study finds police-related fatalities may occur twice as often as reported

A study led by the University of Washington and Cornell University uses new data sources to determine the likelihood of dying at the hands of police. Photo of police sirens

A study by the University of Washington and Cornell University shows that the risk of being killed by police, relative to white men, is 3.2 to 3.5 times higher for black men, and between 1.4 and 1.7 times higher for Latino men.


August 21, 2018

Do persistent babies make for successful adults?

University of Washington researchers argue that greater study of infant persistence can shed light on the factors that instill this trait, and the outcomes that may emerge from it later in life. Photo of baby playing in sandbox.

University of Washington researchers argue that further study of why infants persist, and to what end, may shed new light on how they learn and what the future yields.


August 20, 2018

Student volunteers help expand UW’s outreach to homeless youth

The University of Washington's Doorway Project has been offering pop-up cafes for homeless youth in the U District since last December. The event is a partnership with YouthCare to coordinate services in the neighborhood, which has one of the largest concentrations of homeless youth in King County.

The University of Washington’s Doorway Project has offered a cafe for homeless young adults each quarter, while students have helped add services, from preventive health care, to establishing a fundraising organization to designing a permanent café home. Its summer pop-up cafe event is Aug. 24.


August 16, 2018

Men and women show surprising differences in seeing motion

A University of Washington-led study finds differences in the ways men and women see motion.

A new UW-led study shows that males and female process visual motion differently, a variation that may be attributable to a neural regulatory process that is different in the male brain.


August 6, 2018

Alexa, be my friend: Children talk to technology, but how does it respond?

voice interface duck

When young children talk to voice-activated technologies, the devices don’t always respond in a helpful way. A new University of Washington study suggests that these interfaces could be designed to be more responsive – repeating or prompting the user, for example – and be more useful to more people.


July 13, 2018

Battling STEM stereotypes, UW’s Sapna Cheryan helps Barbie evolve

Sapna Barbie RESIZE

Sapna Cheryan, a University of Washington associate professor of psychology, has spent her career researching the stereotypes surrounding STEM. Now she’s serving on Mattel’s Barbie Global Advisory Council, lending her expertise as the company looks ahead to the toy’s future.


July 9, 2018

Pucker up, baby! Lips take center stage in infants’ brains, study says

A new University of Washington study shows how the hands, feet and, in particular, the lips are represented in the brains of 2-month-old infants. Researchers believe that at that age, the lips are a focus for survival.

  A typically developing 2-month-old baby can make cooing sounds, suck on her hand to calm down and smile at people. At that age, the mouth is the primary focus: Such young infants aren’t yet reaching for objects with their hands or using their feet to get around, so the lips – for eating, pacifying…


June 20, 2018

Why 9 to 5 isn’t the only shift that can work for busy families

A University of Washington study finds that consistency in parents' work schedules, even "nonstandard" shifts such as nights, can positively impact children. Such alternative shifts are common in health care, law enforcement and the service sector.

    For the millions of Americans who work “nonstandard” shifts – evenings, nights or with rotating days off – the schedule can be especially challenging with children at home. But a new study from the University of Washington finds that consistent hours, at whatever time of day, can give families flexibility and in some…


June 14, 2018

‘Teachers are brain engineers’: UW study shows how intensive instruction changes brain circuitry in struggling readers

This illustration of the brain shows the arcuate fasciculus (green); inferior longitudinal fasciculus (blue) and posterior callosal connections (pink).

    The early years are when the brain develops the most, forming neural connections that pave the way for how a child — and the eventual adult — will express feelings, embark on a task, and learn new skills and concepts. Scientists have even theorized that the anatomical structure of neural connections forms the…


June 12, 2018

Anthropology professor focuses book on the bonds between humans, animals

Animal Intimacies cover

Radhika Govindrajan’s book “Animal Intimacies” started attracting attention before it was even available to readers. A University of Washington assistant professor of anthropology since 2015, Govindrajan specializes in animal studies, and in the politics and culture of the Central Himalayas, where much of the research for this book was conducted. “Animal Intimacies,” published in May…


June 6, 2018

Washington state Supreme Court takes up court-fee reform, considers UW data at sold-out Wednesday symposium

Monetary sanctions disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. A Washington State Supreme Court symposium will discuss the issue of legal financial obligations, with new data from the University of Washington.

  African-Americans in Washington state are 2.3 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to fines and fees, and carry about three times the debt in unpaid monetary sanctions. In all, said University of Washington sociology professor Alexes Harris, legal financial obligations represented nearly $2.5 billion in debt in Washington in 2014, the most…


May 25, 2018

Anthropologist explores China’s changing art scene in ‘Experimental Beijing’

Sasha Welland's book, "Experimental Beijing," was published by Duke University Press.

On a two-year stint teaching English in Beijing, Sasha Welland got her first glimpse of contemporary Chinese art. Not the antiquities so common in Western museums of Asian art, or the scroll paintings or ceramics or Buddhist sculptures, explains Welland, an associate professor in the University of Washington departments of anthropology and gender, women and…


May 18, 2018

Memorial Day events focus on veteran mental health, suicide

American flag photo

    For the past three years, a striking visual statement has marked Memorial Day on the University of Washington campus: thousands of miniature flags dotting the HUB lawn. The first year, student veterans placed hundreds of flags as a solemn gesture to underscore the significance of the holiday. The next year, the office of…


May 17, 2018

Want to help your child succeed in school? Add language to the math, reading mix

A University of Washington-led study finds that a child's language skills in kindergarten predict his or her performance in other areas, including math and reading, throughout school.

    Research shows that the more skills children bring with them to kindergarten – in basic math, reading, even friendship and cooperation – the more likely they will succeed in those same areas in school. Hence, “kindergarten readiness” is the goal of many preschool programs, and a motivator for many parents. Now it’s time…


May 15, 2018

STEM for All Video Showcase features six UW projects

stem for all logo

  Family-focused science lessons, robotics for young children and touch-based programming for the visually impaired are among the University of Washington research videos featured in the STEM for All Video Showcase, funded by the National Science Foundation. The weeklong online event, in its fourth year, highlights more than 200 projects from universities around the country…


April 26, 2018

Community efforts to prevent teen problems have lasting benefits

A University of Washington study finds that a community-based approach to substance-abuse prevention, which can include after-school activities, can affect young people into adulthood.

  Want to prevent kids from using drugs and make it stick into young adulthood? Get the community involved and intervene before they’re teens, say researchers from the University of Washington. A new, longitudinal study from the UW Social Development Research Group shows that young adults who grew up in communities that used a coordinated,…


April 16, 2018

UW Jackson School researcher: Alternative energy is key to long-term health

Access to reliable electricity is critical to public health, argues UW geoscientist Scott Montgomery. And the best way to assure both is to pursue renewable energy.

  Halting the spread of disease involves a combination of health care and societal practices — from access to doctors and vaccines to clean water and adequate resources. Many of those solutions rely on electricity and transport fuels, whether for refrigeration, diagnosis and treatment, or distribution. But with two of the major energy sources the…


April 12, 2018

UW’s Kristina Olson wins NSF Waterman Award for studies of ‘how children see themselves and the world’

Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, on Oct. 4 was named one of the MacArthur Foundation's Fellows. She receives a $625,000, no-strings-attached stipend.

  The National Science Foundation today named Kristina Olson, University of Washington associate professor of psychology, winner of this year’s Alan T. Waterman Award. The Waterman Award is the U.S. government’s highest honor for an early career scientist or engineer, recognizing an outstanding scientist under the age of 40 or within 10 years of receiving…


April 4, 2018

‘Differences can be a part of their skills’: Pilot program at UW offers on-the-job training for young adults with autism

20180307_Alan Chen UWNews Denny_0186

A national program to boost the employment prospects of young adults with autism is piloting its approach at the UW this year. At 10 locations on campus over the course of the year, interns with the program have built databases, organized libraries and maintained facilities.


March 15, 2018

New minor recognizes, celebrates Pacific Islander community

Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies photo 3

The University of Washington’s new minor in Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies debuts spring quarter. The 25-credit, interdisciplinary program is the result of a longtime effort to elevate the history and culture of an underrepresented, and often misrepresented, community.


March 12, 2018

UW study offers help to soldiers with signs of PTSD

PTSD survey photo 2

The University of Washington is launching a study to identify soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms and to determine whether free, confidential, over-the-phone counseling can help them navigate resources and spur them to seek further support.


March 9, 2018

How social networks help perpetuate the ‘Cycle of Segregation’

Kyle Crowder is co-author of "Cycle of Segregation."

  Think about the last time you looked for a new apartment or house. Maybe you asked your friends or colleagues about where they lived. You thought about your route to work, or that neighborhood you always drive through on your way to your kid’s soccer practice. Many of these places were familiar to you,…


March 7, 2018

Is there a glass ceiling in academic publishing?

Student researchers at the Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab

A University of Washington study finds that women authors are significantly under-represented in high-profile academic journals.


March 1, 2018

Tri-campus survey aims to identify student struggles with housing, food costs

The housing and food survey is open to any UW student age 18 or older.

    In a region as expensive as the Puget Sound, making ends meet affects college students, too. Rent, utilities and food can run into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month – and for students without the means, it’s a daunting and sometimes compromising challenge. Urban@UW is trying to learn more about…


February 27, 2018

Mining memories for stories of ‘real black grandmothers’

Black Grandmothers featured image

LaShawnDa Pittman, a UW assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies, is collecting stories of African-American grandmothers, past and present, on her Real Black Grandmothers website.


February 22, 2018

New curriculum prioritizes tribal sovereignty, cultural respect in scientific research of American Indian, Alaska Native communities

School shot

    When scientists have conducted research in Native American communities, the process and the results have sometimes been controversial. There have been a few well-known cases, such as the 1979 Barrow Alcohol Study, in which researchers examined substance use in the tiny Arctic Circle town and issued findings to the press, before briefing the…


January 31, 2018

Reconstructing an ancient lethal weapon

wound ballistics 2

    Archaeologists are a little like forensic investigators: They scour the remains of past societies, looking for clues in pottery, tools and bones about how people lived, and how they died. And just as detectives might re-create the scene of a crime, University of Washington archaeologists have re-created the weapons used by hunter-gatherers in…


January 30, 2018

Depression, anxiety affect more than one-fourth of state’s college students

A study of college students from around the state shows the prevalence of depression and anxiety. Suicide prevention advocates say this illustrates the need for more mental health resources on campuses.

  Nearly one-third of Washington college students have experienced depression in the last year, and more than 10 percent have had thoughts of suicide, according to a new survey of young adults attending schools around the state. The survey of more than 10,000 students at 13 of Washington’s two- and four-year institutions shows the need…


January 16, 2018

A ‘touching sight’: How babies’ brains process touch builds foundations for learning

A 7-month-old baby sits in the Magnetoencephalography machine at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. An I-LABS study shows how babies' brains register "felt touch" and "observed touch."

  Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby’s brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom’s face, or the sound of her voice. Now, through the use of safe, new brain imaging techniques, University of Washington researchers provide one of the…


January 11, 2018

Can the president really do that? Two UW law professors give answers in new book

University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts have published a new book as the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration approaches. "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law" is available on Amazon.

Can the president single-handedly toss out environmental rules designed to combat global warming? Force states like Washington to help enforce federal immigration laws? Fire Robert Mueller? No, no, and not directly, say Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts, professors of law at the University of Washington, in a new book. The answers, of course, are more complicated…


January 5, 2018

UW ranks No. 5 nationally for social science research funding

Snowy W

    The University of Washington is ranked fifth among more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities for social science research funding, according to a new report. The Consortium of Social Science Association’s 2018 College and University Rankings for Federal Social and Behavioral Science R&D was released this week. The UW, with $38.6 million in…


January 3, 2018

Popular exhibit on Latino music debuts as a book: A Q&A with UW faculty authors of ‘American Sabor’

"American Sabor: American Sabor Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music" by Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley and Michelle Habell-Pallán, was published in December. The authors also created an American Sabor playlist.

  When “American Sabor” opened at what was then the Experience Music Project a decade ago, its University of Washington creators saw it as a chance to celebrate the extensive Latino contribution to popular music. It was a product of years of interviews and research, and an often challenging exercise in collaboration and presentation. But…


December 21, 2017

Promoting self-esteem among African-American girls through racial, cultural connections

Ethnic identity photo 2

    For African-American students, data, alongside societal attitudes and stereotypes, often present a negative picture: a wide academic achievement gap separating them from their white peers. Higher rates of discipline and absenteeism. Discrimination by other students, teachers and the larger community. And just last summer, a study indicated that black girls, from an early…



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