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Published: 08/05/2016

Winter 2017

Letter from the Chair
Sheri Mizumori

Here we are, starting not just another academic year, but we are at the beginning of our 100th academic year!  Yes, that’s right, our Psychology Department was established 100 years ago in January of 1917!  What a great time to celebrate our long and strong history of pioneering and impactful discoveries that have shaped our understanding of fundamental behaviors such as how we learn and remember, how we make sense of our external sensory world, how children develop social and emotional competence, how the brain enables us to make good decisions, how implicit biases shape our view of the world, and how psychological intervention can improve mental health around the world.

Read more here...

Tackling Implicit Bias in Society
Tony Greenwald
Tony Greenwald

In recent times, we have heard public figures including US presidential candidates, the FBI director, and heads of major technology corporations discuss the role of “implicit bias” in a wide range of social disparities. UW Psychology’s own Tony Greenwald (Professor in the Department since 1986) is the world’s leading scientist behind implicit bias and he invented the Implicit Association Test, a widely used tool to study these hidden implicit biases, in his Guthrie Hall laboratory in 1994.

Now that implicit bias has leaped from the scientific journals to the world at large, how does Greenwald think policy makers should approach implicit bias?

Read more here...

Understanding Child Mental Health in New Delhi’s Slums

Prerna Martin is a 2nd year Child Clinical student working with Shannon Dorsey. The Psychology Department asked Prerna to share her experiences conducting a research study in India this summer, while being supported by the Graduate School's Top Scholar recruitment award. Shannon Dorsey’s lab focuses on disseminating and implementing evidence-based practices for children and adolescents domestically and globally in low- and middle-income countries.

Delhi slum
A typical Delhi slum and one of the study sites

Growing up in India, I worked in urban slum communities from a young age. This involvement was through Asha, a non-profit organization founded by my mother that serves over half a million slum residents in New Delhi. 

Read more here...

Endowed Student Scholarships and Fellowships at the UW Psychology Department

As 2016 comes to an end, we are including a new section to our newsletter: Endowed Scholarships and Fellowships. This section highlights the motivations behind the creation of our different funds as well as the groups of students they benefit. It is also an opportunity to share with donors, alumni, and friends what and who their gifts will support in the Department of Psychology.

Read more here.


Save the Dates! Upcoming Psychology Events

Allen L Edwards Psychology Lectures Series: March 29, April 5, and April 12, 2017

Kane Hall, Room 225

Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m.

Online registration opens in March 2017. Watch for your email invitation to register!

David Gire
David Gire Geoffrey Boynton Katie Mclaughlin

Improving Society through Brain Science

Wednesday, March 29, 2017:

David Gire, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Zach Mainen, Ph.D., Director, Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

Wednesday, April 5, 2017:

Geoffrey Boynton, Ph.D., Professor, University of Washington

Wednesday, April 12, 2017:

Katie McLaughlin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Washington

Charles Nelson, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital, Director of Research, Developmental Medicine Center, Harvard University


Upcoming Winter Colloquium

No registration required. A small reception will follow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Physics/Astronomy A114 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Edwards Lecturer:

James Elder, Ph.D.

Centre for Vision Research, York University

UW Psychology Faculty Host:

Ione Fine, Ph.D.



Navigating the Next Steps: Graduate School Exploration Class

"The class gave me a lot of confidence going forward and best of all, it gave me deadlines to get things done."

     - Logan Kaplan, BS in Psychology - 2016


Vicky Hansen
Vicky Hansen

The class in question is PSYCH 298, Graduate School Exploration for Psychology Majors, taught by Psychology Academic Advisor Vicky Hansen.  What began in 2005 as a multi-session workshop for psychology majors planning to apply to graduate programs has evolved into a two credit class that is offered each fall quarter.  The class focusses on the main components of the graduate school application process: understanding the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), obtaining strong letters of recommendation, crafting CVs, writing compelling personal statements, and preparing for interviews.  Many psychology majors aspire to some type of post-graduate education and a number of these students are intimidated by the task of finding an appropriate program and negotiating the application process.  "The desired outcome of the class," explains Vicky Hansen, "is that everyone feels more knowledgeable about the process of selecting a program and applying to it, and they feel comforted by the fact that they are not alone on this journey."

Each fall quarter, Vicky welcomes 40-45 registered seniors as well as several recent graduates to embark on this journey together.  Logan Kaplan was one of these students during the fall of 2015.  Now a graduate student in School Psychology at Eastern Washington University, Logan appreciated the ready access to advice as well as the class structure that helped to keep him on track.  "Without this class," recalls Logan, "I would have waited until the last minute to obtain letters of recommendation and prepare my CV and personal statement and the process would have been a lot more stressful."  Vicky especially enjoys the opportunity to mentor students through the application process, as well as the ability to work with a large group of students all at once.  "I am able to work with 45 or 50 students at the same time for 20 hours over the course of the quarter," says Vicky, "and the group aspect of the class is almost as valuable for students as the information we cover."

Student feedback about the class has been very positive and the opportunity to work both with a group teaching/advising model and to provide each student with individual attention has been especially satisfying from Vicky's perspective.  In particular, guiding students through the process of writing a strong and engaging statement of purpose is simultaneously rewarding and challenging.  Vicky notes that many students find it difficult to write about themselves and her aim to help them overcome this hurdle and to find their unique voice.  In that specific task, as well as in the process as a whole, the aim is to mentor students step by step as they navigate what can be a bumpy path.  "I think that students are surprised by how many things they need to do to get ready to apply," observes Vicky, "and while it can feel overwhelming, when you put it together piece by piece, it can be accomplished."

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