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Kristina Olson wins NSF Waterman Award, becomes the first UW faculty member to receive the award in its history. Congratulations, Kristina!

April 12, 2018

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

Kim Eckart

UW News

Kristina Olson, associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington, has won the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award, given to one outstanding scientist under age 40. Olson is the first UW faculty member to receive the honor.

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 a Ph.D.

As part of the honor, Olson receives a five-year, $1 million research grant.

Olson, who runs the Social Cognitive Development Lab at the UW, created the TransYouth Project, which is the nation’s largest longitudinal study of transgender children, an effort for which she is renowned.

She is the first UW faculty member to receive the Waterman Award in its 43-year history. She is also the first psychologist to receive the award and the first woman to receive it since 2004.

“Winning this award was a true shock as I was unaware I’d even been nominated. I am truly humbled and honored to have even been nominated. More than anything, this award is a reflection of the hard work, dedication and brilliance of the staff, students and collaborators with whom I work. Only through their contributions am I even in consideration for this award,” Olson said.

According to the NSF, Olson is being recognized for “innovative contributions to understanding children’s attitudes toward and identification with social groups, early prosocial behavior, the development of notions of fairness, morality and inequality, and the emergence of social biases.”

Cheryl Kaiser, chair of the UW Department of Psychology, said Olson’s work “breaks tremendous new ground.” Examining how children view inequality, for example, can ultimately impact how they address such issues as adults.

Read the full article here.