Undergraduate Research Program

Katherine Slack

Katherine Slack smiling

Major: Psychology (intended)
Minor: Spanish
Mentor: Tonya Palermo, Psychology PhD; Alina Metje, MD

Contact: kslack12@uw.edu

Current research project: Seattle Children’s Hospital Research, & New Mom’s Connect





Katherine is currently a junior and she is planning to earn a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Katherine has been doing research since fall of her sophomore year, working with Dr. Tonya Palermo at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Although she has been involved in several projects here, right now she is part of a follow-up study for young adults who were part of an internet-delivered chronic pain program as adolescents. This quarter, she is also starting research at New Mom’s Connect which evaluates the effectiveness of groups designed for low-income moms and their infants. In her free time she loves to play any sports or games with friends.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
The research I do for Seattle children’s hospital is a psychology lab, so a number of the studies I have been involved in have had a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy and its efficacy as a treatment for chronic pain. This condition is common in children and is often physically debilitating. It can also affect a child’s ability to participate in extracurricular activities, social events, and school. Therefore, finding ways to treat this condition is very important, and if psychological treatment is effective, it can also minimize pharmacological treatment for children and limit their use of opioids.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I started looking into research opportunities at the end of my freshman year because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future, and I had been told by many people that research can help you find out what you’re interested in. I got involved by meeting with people in the undergraduate research program so that I could learn more about what was offered at UW. Now, even though I am currently in the biology major, I am planning to switch to a BS in psychology because of my growing interest in the psychological research I have done in my labs.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
I would tell any student considering research to jump right in and do it! It can feel intimidating reaching out to people at first but this is how you can build a network and connections with people that will be really helpful going forward. If you feel overwhelmed, go talk with someone in undergraduate research advising because they are really helpful at helping introduce you to the opportunities that will be best for you depending on your major, experience, and schedule.