Paw'd Defiance: The UW Tacoma Podcast

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The title of our show is more than just a clever play on words. The name reflects a philosophy, one that is committed to telling interesting stories about the people, research, initiatives, community partnerships and other issues related to UW Tacoma and higher education. It also speaks to our interest in the greater Tacoma community. Point Defiance is inexorably linked to the Grit City. Also, “defiance” is a fun word and, either intentionally or not, speaks to Tacoma's history as the “other” city in the Puget Sound region.

Thank you to Doug Mackey at Moon Yard Recording Studio for his recording support and Senior Lecturer Nicole Blair for our theme music. The first season of this podcast was made possible by funding from the UW Tacoma Strategic Initiative Fund.

You can find Paw'd Defiance on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and Spotify. You can also click here to listen: Paw'd Defiance

 

Episodes

Tamiko Nimura and Rosa Franklin

SEASON 2, EPISODE 11:

Lift As You Climb

Rosa Franklin is a local icon. She was the first black woman elected to the Washington State Senate, serving the 29th Legislative District in the Tacoma area. Born in the Jim Crow-era South, Franklin moved to Tacoma in the 1950s. Franklin holds bachelor's degrees in biology and English and a master's in social science and human relations. She worked as a nurse for 40 years before joining the Washington State Legislature in 1990. Franklin recently teamed up with local historian Tamiko Nimura on a new book, an oral history called Rosa Franklin — A Life in Health Care, Public Service, and Social Justice. In this episode we'll talk with Franklin and Nimura. We'll discuss Franklin's life growing up with her aunt and uncle in South Carolina as well as her career in nursing and why she decided to run for office. We'll also talk about the housing discrimination Franklin faced when she first moved to Tacoma. Finally, Nimura tells us about what drew her to this project and why oral histories are so important.  (Running time: 40:54)


Robin Minthorn

SEASON 2, EPISODE 10:

Indigenizing Higher Education

UW Tacoma Ed.D. Director Robin Starr Zape-tah-hol-ah Minthorn (Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Apache, Nez Perce, Umatilla and Assiniboine) recently wrote an article for Higher Education Today where she discussed ways colleges and universities can better meet the needs of its Indigenous students. We'll talk about her recommendations. We'll also discuss a paper Minthorn co-wrote about a theoretical campus tour that provides a fuller understanding of an institution's history. Finally, Minthorn discusses a new agreement between UW Tacoma's School of Education and the Muckleshoot Tribe.   (Running time: 34:04)


Movies

SEASON 2, EPISODE 9:

Movies!

We're joined by UW Tacoma Associate Professor David Coon and Destiny City Film Festival's Executive Director Emily Nakada-Alm to discuss how movies play a part in shaping our culture, and the way our social identities are reflected in and affected by the movies we watch. We'll also talk about film festivals as an important format for storytelling outside of the media industry, as well as what makes a movie "good."   (Running time: 33:25)


Mother and child

SEASON 2, EPISODE 8:

Motherhood (Part II)

UW Tacoma Associate Professor Natalie Jolly and Assistant Professor Sarah Hampson join us to talk about their research. Both Jolly and Hampson have looked into life in the military for mothers. We'll discuss their work and we'll also get into a conversation about motherism, the wage gap, the new Paid Family & Medical Leave act in Washington State and the possibility of having the Equal Rights Amendment added to the United States Constitution.   (Running time: 34:54)


Washington Black book cover

SEASON 2, EPISODE 7:

Novel Idea

A common book is used by colleges and universities to get students on the same page - literally. The idea is to have students in different classes read the same book. UW Tacoma used to employ common books but shelved the idea a few years ago. The project has been revised with a particular emphasis on creating community. Indeed, the renewed effort is referred to as the "community book." In this episode we'll talk with UW Tacoma Lecturer Annie Nguyen about this year's community book Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. We'll discuss why this book was chosen and plans to host the book's author on campus.  (Running time: 11:29)


Ali Modarres

SEASON 2, EPISODE 6:

What to Inherit, What to Leave Behind

The importance of the U.S. Census, how cities are built and life growing up in Iran are just some of the topics covered during this episode with UW Assistant Chancellor for Community Partnerships Ali Modarres. Modarres is well-known in the Sound Sound. Besides being an assistant chancellor, Modarres serves as Director of the School of Urban Studies at UW Tacoma. Modarres is an expert on cities, specifically how they're built and who they're built for. He has focused a significant portion of his public scholarship on economic development through an equity lens. Modarres is also on the board of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and has been active in helping that organization spread the word about how the census impacts Pierce County.  (Running time: 45:35)


Thanksgiving table spread

SEASON 2, EPISODE 5:

Dawg Tales - Tradition

A Thanksgiving dinner gone awry, a homemade game of Jeopardy devoted to better understanding one's family and an ornament collection that's been growing steadily for nearly 30 years. These are just some of the stories told to us by UW Tacoma students, faculty and staff. Everyone now and then we're going to hand over the microphone and ask you to tell us a story around a certain theme. We're calling this series Dawg Tales. For this first episode in the series we decided to focus on stories about tradition.  (Running time: 18:53)


Parking lot

SEASON 2, EPISODE 4:

Finding A Spot: Parking at UW Tacoma

In this episode we talk about parking in and around UW Tacoma with Associate Director of Maintenance & Operations Tessa Coleman, Program Operations Manager James Sinding and ASUWT President Vincent Da. UW Tacoma's urban setting presents different challenges and limitations when it comes to parking. We talk about those. We also discuss a new parking lot that is scheduled to open in the spring along with other possible solutions that could help open up spots on campus. Finally, we chat about a new transportation survey that students, faculty and staff are encouraged to complete.  (Running time: 22:50)


Mother and child

SEASON 2, EPISODE 3:

Motherhood (Part I)

UW Tacoma Associate Professor Natalie Jolly and UW Tacoma Lecturer Annie Nguyen talk about the role of motherhood in the United States. Jolly and Nguyen are both mothers and discuss their experiences as working mothers. They also discuss how motherhood is viewed in the Amish community and in other parts of the world. Finally, Jolly and Nguyen address what changes need to be made to better support mothers and parents in general who are either working or going to school.  (Running time: 34:18)


Polluted lake

SEASON 2, EPISODE 2:

Arsenic and Old Lakes

The Asarco smelter shutdown more than 30 years ago but the plant's legacy is still being felt. Lead and arsenic emitted from the smelter's smokestack contaminated the soil and found its way into local lakes. UW Tacoma Associate Professor Jim Gawel joins us to discuss his work. Gawel and a team of researchers is examining arsenic in local lakes including Lake Killarney in Federal Way. Gawel will also talk about the importance of getting students into the field and the chair in his office that's so nice no one will sit in it.  (Running time: 29:31)

Bonus material: Why is Jim Gawel considered the Susan Lucci of Pies?


Wildfire smoke in Downtown Tacoma

SEASON 2, EPISODE 1:

Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Warmer temperatures and rising sea levels are only part of the story when it comes to climate change in the Pacific Northwest. Decreased mountain snow pack could lead to drought and more wildfires. On the flip side, heavy rains may lead to more frequent and intense flooding. We'll talk about the local impact of climate change and climate resiliency with the University of Washington's Amy Snover. Snover serves as both director of the Climate Impacts Group and university director of the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center. She is also an affiliate associate professor. Joining us in the conversation is UW Tacoma Senior Lecturer Ellen Moore.  (Running time: 40:31)

Bonus material: Ellen Moore talks about her experience as a scholar activist.


Speak Lushootseed sign

SEASON 1, EPISODE 17:

Learning Lushootseed

The Lushootseed Language Institute (LLI) is a collaboration between the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and UW Tacoma's Professional Development Center. The LLI is one part of the Puyallup Tribe's larger effort to revitalize Lushootseed. Up until the early 1800s, Lushootseed was the only language spoken by indigenous peoples living in an area from present day Olympia in the south to Skagit Valley in the north. The Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains provided the eastern and western borders. In this episode we hand over the microphone to UW Tacoma student and Puyallup Tribe member Shelby Cross as she works her way through the LLI. We'll hear her struggles and successes as well as her personal reasons for wanting to learn Lushootseed.  (Running time: 14:48)


Math Science Leadership Program logo

SEASON 1, EPISODE 16:

Water is Life

On this special episode of Paw'd Defiance we hand over the microphone as students and staff in UW Tacoma's Math Science Leadership program explore Mt. Rainier. MSL serves youth in grades 7-12 that are historically underrepresented in STEM. The program works to connect students to different STEM fields through activities and field work. MSL is traditionally held over a three-week period in the summer. This year is a bit different. Students spent a week on campus and at different locations around the area exploring the idea that "water is life." They will return to this idea during two day sessions in the winter and spring. Note: this is a field recording so expect to hear some wind and other natural sounds in the background.  (Running time: 11:23)


Tamandua pup from Point Defiance Zoo

SEASON 1, EPISODE 15:

It's All Happening at the Zoo

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's Alan Varsik and Karen Povey stop by the show to talk about conservation and sustainability. Varsik and Povey also discuss misconceptions people have about zoos. Varsik weighs in on recent changes to the Endangered Species Act and Povey provides background information the Grit City Carnivore Project. The project is a collaboration with UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Chris Schell.   (Running time: 43:37)

Bonus material: Read about Assistant Professor Christopher Schell's research on urban wildlife


Altaf Merchant and Katherine Felts

SEASON 1, EPISODE 14:

A Green Cookie Monster

Think back to your childhood or a time in your life you really enjoyed. What do you see? Chances are your memories of that particular time are attached to a song, movie, product, etc. Nostalgia can be a powerful feeling which is why companies use it in their advertising. UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Altaf Merchant studies nostalgia. He'll discuss how it works and how study participants responded to the idea of a green Cookie Monster.   (Running time: 35:05)

Bonus material: Should Cookie Monster adopt a healthy lifestyle or continue to indulge? Insights into brand icons


Ben Meiches

SEASON 1, EPISODE 13:

Room for Debate

A conversation about debate with UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Ben Meiches. Meiches is a former national debate champion. Meiches along with UW Tacoma junior Zaira Rojas and UW Tacoma alumnus Eric Ballentine talk about the importance of debate in terms of skill development and how they're working to break down barriers in a space that has historically excluded people of color. Rojas and Ballentine will also the settle the age old argument about which is better: dogs or cats.   (Running time: 32:41)

Bonus material: Assistant Professor Meiches talks about his new book which discusses how the defintion of the word genocide has changed over time


Kim Davenport

SEASON 1, EPISODE 12:

Grit City Music History

UW Tacoma Lecturer Kim Davenport takes us on a magical history tour of music in the City of Destiny. Davenport is a professional musician who has written articles and books about different aspects of Tacoma's history, including music. We'll hear some original recordings of Tacoma booster songs which were designed to bring people to the city. Davenport will also discuss different artists who lived in Tacoma as well as famous artists who played here.   (Running time: 31:57)

Bonus material: Read more about Tacoma music history


Lori Tharps

SEASON 1, EPISODE 11:

Hair That Won't Be Quiet

The history of Black hair in the United States with Temple University Associate Professor Lori Tharps. Tharps co-wrote the book Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America with Ayana Byrd. Tharps' work has been featured in the New York Times, Ebony.com, The Columbia Journalism Review and Time Magazine. She also hosts the podcast My American Meltingpot. Tharps and guest host Katherine Felts discuss the importance of hair in African communities prior to contact with Europeans. Slavery and institutional racism in the United States transformed what it meant to have Black hair. The cultural revolution of the 1960s ushered in a new era of pride in Black hair. Tharps and Felts discuss this and the current natural hair movement.   (Running time: 57:56)


Wildfires

SEASON 1, EPISODE 10:

The Fifth Season

Winter, spring, summer, fire and fall. Wildfire season is here. During each of the past two summers a thick blanket of smoke from wildfires covered large parts of Western Washington. Thousands of wildfires in the American West and Canada burned millions of acres. UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Maureen Kennedy talks about how climate change has contributed to a prolonged fire season. She'll also talk about the role of fire in forests and how fire suppression practices that were created to protect forests lead to larger and more destructive wildfires.   (Running time: 29:57)


EMAR

SEASON 1, EPISODE 9:

Using a Robot to Measure Stress in Teens

UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Emma Rose and UW Tacoma student Christina Nelson discuss Project EMAR, a social robot designed to help address teen stress. Project EMAR (Ecological Momentary Assessment Robot) is a cross campus partnership between UW Tacoma and UW Seattle. Rose and Nelson will talk about why they decided to use a robot to help with teen stress and how they are involving teens in the design process.   (Running time: 31:09)

Bonus material: Read more about EMAR and the research that is helping teens


Microplastics

SEASON 1, EPISODE 8:

Searching for Microplastics

UW Tacoma Senior Lecturer Julie Masura along with student researchers Tracie Barry and Abby Deaton talk about their work with microplastics in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Masura's work in this area began a few years ago. She helped pioneer a method for collecting and analyzing microplastics that is used around the world. Masura also discusses the role students play in advancing research at UW Tacoma.  (Running time: 29:18)

Bonus material: Listen to Julie Masura talk about her love for jigsaw puzzles


Omari Amili

SEASON 1, EPISODE 7:

Building a Prison to College Pipeline

UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Chris Beasley and UW Tacoma alumnus Omari Amili talk about their experience with incarceration. Beasley and Amili turned their lives around and are now working to build a prison to college pipeline. They discuss the challenges formerly incarcerated people face. Beasley and Amili also talk about the challenge of making college more accessible to those who served time in jail or prison.  (Running time: 45:55)

Bonus material: Watch Omari's TacTalks presentation on how he turned his life around


Fence image

SEASON 1, EPISODE 6:

Credible Fear

UW Tacoma Professor Marian Harris and graduate student Zea Mendoza spent a week helping women and children at the family detention center in Dilley, Texas prepare for their credible fear hearings. Harris and Mendoza talk about their experience at the facility including what they saw and heard. They also talk about how the work impacted them on a personal level.  (Running time: 40:29)

Bonus material: Listen to a summary of this episode in Spanish.


Scales of justice image

SEASON 1, EPISODE 5:

Community Builders

During the past year a group of UW Tacoma students have worked to organize an immigration conference on campus. The result is "Our Tacoma Story: Education, Advocacy and Building Communities". Among other things, the two day event will feature a legal clinic where participants can speak with an immigration attorney. There will also be a panel featuring Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez and Senator Claire Wilson. During this episode UW Tacoma student Karla Michelle Vargas will talk about her personal reasons for wanting to host this conference and what she hopes the community will take from it. Assistant Professor Sarah Hampson offers insight into the budding law community on campus.  (Running time: 18:33)

Bonus material: Listen to a summary of this episode en Espanõl.


UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Ellen Bayer running in the snow.

SEASON 1, EPISODE 4:

The Ultra-Marathon Educator

UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Ellen Bayer has a passion for the outdoors. Bayer's love of nature guides her work both in and out of the classroom. She teaches literature courses at UW Tacoma and leads her students on excursions into the natural world. Bayer recounts the story of a student who'd looked at Mt. Rainier her entire life but had never actually seen the mountain up close. This experience lead Bayer to include field trips in her curriculum. Finally, Bayer discusses why she took up running in her mid-thirties and recounts the difficulties she faced while competing in her first 100-mile ultra-marathon. (Running time: 34:48)

Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

Bonus material: Dr. Bayer explains the connection between Edgar Allan Poe and English Ivy.


T Rex is staring at you

SEASON 1, EPISODE 3:

A Podcast Episode 65 Million Years in the Making

UW Tacoma Assistant Professors Uba Backonja and Christopher Schell discuss their mutual love of the 1993 film Jurassic Park. Schell and Backonja credit the movie for cultivating their love of science. The pair also talk about their career paths and how students in college now can find inspiration in unlikely places. Oh, and there's at least one dinosaur impression.  (Running time: 30:19)

Bonus material: See Christopher's Jurassic Park sweater


First Gen Fellows graphic

SEASON 1, EPISODE 2:

Be the First

Amanda Figueroa, Director of Student Transition Programs, and Yanira Pacheco Ortiz, First Generation Student Initiatives Coordinator, talk about what it means to be a first-generation college student. Figueroa and Pacheco Ortiz relay their experiences as first-generation students and discuss ways in which universities can support students who are the first in their families to attend college.  (Running time: 35:54)

Bonus material: Meet some of our first-generation students, faculty and staff


Puyallup Tribe image

SEASON 1, EPISODE 1:

Generous and Welcoming

UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Danica Miller and her father, Puyallup Tribal Chairman Bill Sterud come to the studio to talk about the Indigenous history of the Tacoma area. Miller and Sterud provide context to our historical understanding of the area by discussing, among other things, the Medicine Creek Treaty and the Boldt decision. UW Tacoma sits on ancestral Puyallup land. Miller and Sterud talk about the campus' founding and how that revitalized the Downtown area.  (Running time: 54:11)

Bonus material: You can learn Lushootseed this summer and help keep the language alive



The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the University of Washington or UW Tacoma.