Research at UW Tacoma

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Recent Research Awards

Congratulations to Larry Knopp, SIAS Professor Emeritus, who is leading an NSF funded project titled Examining Shifting Geographies of Historically Underrepresented Groups with co-PIs Dr. Michael Brown, UWS Geography Professor, and Dr. Bo Zhao, UWS Geography Assistant Professor.  This 3-year project started in May 2020 and is being administered by UW Seattle’s Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology. 

This project aims to construct, analyze, and make publicly available a geographically extensive, longitudinal data set of LGBTQ spaces in the U.S. The data set will be compiled from a purposive sample of annual entries (1965-2014) in the only extant annually published national-scale source listing LGBTQ venues since the mid-twentieth century (Bob Damron’s Address Book, later known as The Damron Men’s Travel Guide – published annually since 1965 – and its companion, the Damron Women’s Traveler – published annually since 1990). The data will then be analyzed spatio-temporally using spatial statistics and GIS. Specifically, the project team will analyze and visualize shifting locational patterns of entries by city, state, and region; changes in the entries themselves (including the appearance and disappearance of particular entries, types of entries, and descriptions); and relationships between these.

Upon completion of the project the data set will be hosted at the Harvard Dataverse, where it will be linked to an Open Science Framework (OSF) webpage with a wiki feature, maintained by us, making discussion and addition of new data from other sources possible.

Congratulations to Michael Honey, SIAS Professor, who was named a 2020-21 Fellow in the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.   Radcliffe Fellows are exceptional scientists, writers, scholars, public intellectuals, practitioners, and artists whose work is making a difference in their professional fields and in the larger world.

As a Radcliffe Fellow, Dr. Honey will write “They Never Can Jail Us All: A Personal History of Repression, Resistance, and the Freedom Struggle,” tracing his experiences as a conscientious objector to war in the 1960s and an organizer in the Southern freedom movement from 1970 through 1976. Honey will research the newly-accessioned files of Angela Davis in Harvard’s Schlesinger Library, as well as civil liberties and rights records at the Wisconsin Historical Society. He will also use Freedom of Information Act surveillance records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 1970, it placed him on its “security index” to be arrested, along with thousands of other civil rights and anti-war activists, during a declared national emergency. This is a book project developed partly at UW Tacoma with Mary Gates Scholarship winner Casey Reynolds Wagner, undergraduate researcher.


Congratulations to Ruben Casas, SIAS Assistant Professor and Anaid Yerena, Urban Studies Assistant Professor who are co-leading a project funded through UW’s Urban@UW Research Spark Grant program titled “How Dislocation Impacts Civic Engagement in Parks and Greenspaces.”  This project seeks to understand the impact of dislocation, a term used here to capture the experiences of people impacted by long commute times, on civic engagement. The PIs posit that long commute times correlate with decreased civic engagement as people have less time to encounter others in public space. In this project, they ask: how does dislocation impact whether, when, and how people use neighborhood parks and green spaces to engage with others in the community? Currently, many U.S. households experience dislocation as commute times have grown generally across the U.S. in the past 20 years. As people spend more time commuting they spend less time on leisure. This redistribution of time impacts the use of parks and green spaces even in regions in which there are abundant and high-quality ones. This project will measure just how much of an impact dislocation has on park use in the Central District of Tacoma, Washington.

And Congratulations to the following externally sponsored research award recipients at UW Tacoma who received new funding between July-September 2020.

Wei Cheng, School of Engineering and Technology             
Smart Street Parking Assistant
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Finding street parking in big cities is challenging. Even more, street parking could be expensive (ticketed/towed) due to the misunderstanding of the street parking signs, which can be very complex to read and understand. Most of the existing parking apps are for garage parking. The needs of street parking were not well served. Although some cities’ DOTs provide street parking information like Seattle, the information may be obsolete. Moreover, entities other than DOT can also post their street parking signs; and different cities have different styles of street parking signs. In addition, drivers need more information for safety/comfortability than just allowed parking time and parking prices when they park in unfamiliar places. Therefore, there is still no one-for-all solution for street parking. The outcome of this project are two products: One is an App via which users can know how long they can park at a street parking spot by simply taking a picture of the signs. The other is the APIs for automobile manufacturers and Map/Navigation services providers, who can use the API for smart parking, route planning, and autonomous cars. Our solution can provide features such as convenience, economy, no parking ticket, no confusion, safe street parking guidance, worry-free, and trip planning. This project will be undertaken by a team of female entrepreneurs and minorities.

Christine Stevens, School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership            
Urban Universities and Food Insecurity During a Pandemic
The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and the Kresge Foundation

The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities is hosting a collaborative research-based exploration that lifts up the experience of urban universities as leaders in basic needs delivery. Urban universities have demonstrated that they can innovate and adapt quickly to address and solve for basic needs in their communities. Because of their leadership in this area, grantees are primed to answer these and other questions:

• How is the pandemic changing basic needs innovations at institutions?

• How are universities articulating the student success impact of basic needs on students?

• What will basic needs look like in the fall and beyond? How do universities prepare for this?

• How does institutional racism differentially impact certain populations’ access to basic needs?

• What future directions should be explored? What areas are ripe for innovation?

The project will culminate in a publication (or multiple publications) which will include steps universities can take to ensure their student success efforts are addressing basic needs in an equitable manner, and provide insight to philanthropic organization as to how they can support universities in this effort.

Andy James, Center for Urban Waters                               
Effects based Characterization of Chemicals in Puget Sound Biota
Washington State Department of Ecology/Environmental Protection Agency

Humans are discharging a wide range of contaminants into receiving waters, with many of them being poorly characterized.  According to a recent global survey, over 350,000 chemicals and chemical mixtures are utilized worldwide with a large fraction of them lacking even basic descriptions (Wang et al.2020).  Many of these chemicals may affect the health of exposed species, leading to altered reproduction or affecting fitness and ability to survive.  To better understand and manage pollutant loadings to aquatic ecosystems, we will survey water and biota from a range of sites to understand occurrence, sources, exposures, and potential impacts.  The project will investigate the occurrence and impacts of trace organic contaminants on aquatic biota through three approaches: 1) optimize methods for chemical recovery and identification utilizing mass spectrometry approaches, 2) identify source-specific chemical tracers in water and tissues for source apportionment and exposure characterization, and 3) measure and evaluate the relations between chemical uptake and metabolic responses of organisms in controlled and field exposure scenarios.

Debasis Dawn, School of Engineering and Technology                 
Chip-based ADS-B for High Density, Low Altitude UAV Operations
KalScott Engineering Inc./National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

In collaboration with KalScott, Professor Debasis Dawn will continue development of a chip-based ADS-B for high-density, low-altitude UAV operations in the national airspace. This effort consists of designing and fabricating a multi-band transceiver chip that can provide ADS-B functionality. In addition, the chip will also have the ability to port vehicle data into other formats for dissemination over multiple bands. During this Phase II process, the components of this chip will be developed and tested individually, and then integrated into a final design as a single chip. This will be tested in the lab, on the ground in a moving vehicle, and finally in flight on a small UAV.

Congratulations to our Spring 2020 UW Royalty Research Fund award recipients Professors Katie Haerling and Turan Kayaoglu!

Katie Haerling, Nursing and Healthcare Leadership
Examining Theory-based Debriefing Practices after Virtual Simulation Experiences

Experiential learning is an essential component of all practice-based disciplines. Simulations, and more recently virtual simulations, are widely used as facilitated opportunities for learners to engage in interactive experiential learning. While decades of research have helped establish theory and best practices for facilitating learning through the experiential learning process in traditional simulation-based activities, there is limited research establishing how theory and best practices apply in the virtual environment. The primary purpose of this project is to deepen knowledge about effective strategies for debriefing after virtual simulation experiences – a vital but under-examined component of experiential learning that is key to unlocking the potential of virtual simulation in nursing and other practice-based fields.

Turan Kayaoglu, SIAS
Rethinking Islam and Human Rights:  Voices from the Grassroots

Are Islam and human rights compatible? So far debate on this question has been confined to conservative jurists, reformist Islamists, and liberal scholars, all of whom focus on textual interpretations of specific Islamic sources and ignore grassroots Muslim voices. “Rethinking Islam and Human Rights: Voices from the Grassroots” aims to recast this debate by asking how Islamic human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) protect and promote human rights. Specifically, the proposed project explores how grassroots activists utilize human rights and, in the process, reconcile Islam and human rights in their human rights activism. 

Congratulations to the following externally sponsored research award recipients at UW Tacoma.  (Awards received between April-June 2020)

Julia Aguirre, Education
Collaborative Research:  Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling (EQ-STEMM)
National Science Foundation (NSF)


EQ-STEMM focuses on equity-centered professional development (PD) designed to improve mathematics teaching and learning through mathematical modeling (MM) in grades K-5.  MM gives students equitable access to complex problem solving, quantitative reasoning and communication skills required for participation in STEM-related disciplines and civic engagement (English & Sriraman, 2010; Lesh & Zawojewski, 2007). Project goals are to a) increase equitable participation and learning of mathematical modeling for culturally and linguistically diverse children; b) develop and test tools and resources to strengthen MM instruction that leverages students’ lived experiences and cultural funds of knowledge; and c) develop and refine a model for an innovative practice-based PD that includes on-line hybrid learning spaces for teachers in diverse settings.

Maureen Kennedy, SIAS
Quantitative methods for fuel characterization and management
US Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture (USDA)


This project is funded through a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) that supports the productive collaboration between the Division of Science and Mathematics (SAM) in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Science (SIAS) at the University of Washington Tacoma and the Fire and Environmental Applications (FERA) team in the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, PNW Station. The mission of FERA is to inform management of natural resources through research and development in fuels and combustion science, fire and landscape ecology, and integration of the physical and ecological sciences. This JVA continues and expands on the existing collaboration that has existed between FERA and the UW to an explicitly interdisciplinary context on the Tacoma campus, with an emphasis on advanced and innovative quantitative techniques for data analysis and model development. 

This research collaboration also aims to provide opportunities for undergraduate research and for undergraduates to develop relationships with a federal government agency, exposing them to the practice of science to inform management in a government agency.

Joel Baker, Center for Urban Waters
Technology Assessment Protocol – Ecology
Washington State Department of Ecology


The Technical Assessment Protocol – Ecology (TAPE) program provides verification and certification of Manufactured Treatment Systems (MTDs) used to treat storm water in Washington State. Using MTDs with TAPE-program approval assists permittees in achieving and maintaining permit compliance and helps to ensure that local funds are not expended on products that do not provide a water quality benefit.  Investigators at UW Tacoma’s Center for Urban Waters will work with Ecology to accept and review applications, review and respond to the submitter of Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) and Technical Evaluation Reports (TERs), maintain and edit the TAPE guidance manual, attend meetings with potential applicants, manage the Board of External Reviewers (BER), and other activities to keep TAPE moving forward.

Andy James, Center for Urban Waters
King County Wastewater Effluent Discharge Assessment – Impact to Marine Organisms
Washington State University (WSU)/King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks


Dr. James and Center for Urban Waters project staff will perform sampling and analysis to support the characterization of impacts from wastewater-associated chemicals on important marine species in Puget Sound. This will include sampling and analysis of wastewater treatment plant effluent (Brightwater, West Point, and South Plant), five estuarine water locations in Puget Sound, and water and tissue from controlled exposure studies. The project team will analyze water and fish tissue samples for a fish exposure study being performed by WSU and NOAA personnel at the WSU Puyallup research facility.  Quantification of chemical occurrence in water and tissue samples will be provided for those compounds for which there are existing calibration standards available at the Center for Urban Waters facilities. 

Marc Nahmani, SIAS
Uncovering the Presynaptic Function of Autism Spectrum Disorder-Associated Protein GRIP1
M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust Foundation


This M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust Partners in Science grant will partner University of Washington Tacoma Assistant Professor Marc Nahmani with Margaret Walter of Stadium High School.  A primary goal of Partners in Science awards is to provide high school teachers with opportunities to work on innovative science, and thus to revitalize their teaching and help them to appreciate the use of inquiry-based methods in the teaching of science. The program enables teachers and academic scientists to collaborate in the advancement of science, with the goal that both will grow professionally in the process. High school teachers begin to see themselves as scientists as well as being an integral part of the scientific community. Teachers will be a part of a cohort of teachers forming a professional learning community and will present their research at a national science conference in January after each summer of research. Faculty mentors benefit from research assistance and contact with those shaping their future students. All partners develop broader understanding of the linkages between high school and college science education.

More specifically, Ms. Walter will be submersed in hands-on experimentation guided by Dr. Nahmani to investigate the distribution of the ASD-related protein GRIP1 within excitatory and inhibitory presynaptic boutons, and to determine whether homeostatic plasticity effects the amount of presynaptic GRIP1.


Congratulations to the following sponsored research award recipients at UW Tacoma with new awards received into OSP between January-March 2020.

Michael James McCourt, SET
Design of stable cyber-physical systems using a network interface approach
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

This project will study systematic methods of designing cyber physical systems (CPS) that are safe and reliable.  The main goals of this project are to study the principles of stability and compositionality of networked CPS and to conduct multi-agent robotic experiments to validate these original approaches. The theoretic study of compositionality will focus on designing new network interfaces that can be used to connect systems to a network regardless of whether the system is stable or unstable, linear or nonlinear, physical or computational, etc. The use of such network interfaces is inspired by existing approaches but greatly expands the applicability of the approach. The design of the interfaces is based on the passivity indices of the systems to be connected. An example of a networked CPS that will be studied in this project is a multi-agent team of autonomous agents that must communicate and cooperate. One main goal of this project is to design an interface that can be used to connect agents to a network using graph theory and passivity indices. This original approach will be validated by conducting multi-agent system experiments with ground robots. 

Andy James, Center for Urban Waters (CUW)
PSP and UWT PSEMP_2020-2
Puget Sound Partnership/US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

This project will identify and prioritize a suite of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) based on biological relevance to focus future monitoring efforts and provide the information necessary to support in developing management responses. Hundreds of CECs such as pharmaceuticals, plasticizers, pesticides, etc. have been detected in Puget Sound. It is now imperative that we understand which of these chemicals might be causing the greatest affects to reproduction and survival of important marine and/or freshwater species. Under a new task, a working group will compile and synthesize regional CEC data, evaluate the potential risk to key species, and communicate key findings.

Andy James, CUW
Skagit County Pollution Identification and Correction
Skagit County/US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Skagit County and other parties designated by the County will collect and send samples to the Center for Urban Waters for analysis. Skagit County anticipates six to eight sampling events with up to 15 locations sampled during each event. Rain events will be targeted for sampling when possible since Samish Basin fecal coliform pollution is highest during rain/runoff conditions. Investigators at the Center for Urban Waters will analyze samples provided for chemical tracers analysis, and provide information including the prevalence of each type of pollution and the utility of chemical tracers. The results will be used by Skagit County and its partners to target Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) activities.

Christine Stevens, Nursing and Healthcare Leadership
Access is not equity:  Expanding cultural food resources of UWT and Community food banks
The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

This supplemental funding was provided to support a Food Justice Curriculum Project, which will be a two-quarter credit-bearing learning community experience focused on food-justice leveraging the research and partnerships. First quarter course, “Introduction to Food Justice,” will fulfill diversity education requirement. Second quarter course, “Food Justice in Tacoma,” will be a community-based research course that will incorporate The UW Tacoma Pantry and Nourish Pierce County as field placement sites and fulfill the ‘Individual and Society’ general education requirement.

Matthew Tolentino, SET
Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) without the Global Positioning System (GPS)
Namatad/US Department of Defense (DOD)

The use of GPS has become ubiquitous for position identification and navigation. However, in many areas, such as within buildings, dense urban areas, complex terrain, or hostile environments, access to satellite-transmitted positioning signals may be limited, unavailable, or intentionally denied, limiting the spatial awareness and navigation capabilities of personnel in transit. To ensure continuity in navigation capabilities, alternative localization techniques are required to avoid personnel and assets from becoming lost or disoriented while traversing unknown areas. 

In this proposal, PI Matt Tolentino and project members will investigate the feasibility of adapting the Namatad FIREFLY localization platform, which was originally designed for firefighters, to enable warfighter localization in GPS-denied areas. The project team will detail the adaptations necessary, including potential networking protocol accommodations and multiple channel usage, to evolve a dynamically deployable, cost effective devices for warfighter scenarios. Given FIREFLY was purpose-built for localizing first responders within a single structure, the project team will also analyze the feasibility of the FIREFLY system for two additional environments, including mixed multi-building environments characteristic of dense urban areas as well as longer-range outdoor environments. The feasibility results will be highlighted with proposed adaptations to be incorporated into defense-specific designs in the subsequent Phase II project.

Congratulations to the following sponsored research award recipients at UW Tacoma.

(Awards received September 1-December 31, 2019)

Cheryl Greengrove, SIAS/Sciences and Mathematics
MERHAB 19: Application of a quantitative molecular method to characterize abundance and distribution of Alexandrium Cysts for NOAA’s HAB Forecasting
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA is developing Alexandrium bloom forecast products through the HAB (harmful algal bloom) Operational Forecasting System to mitigate human health risks and economic effects of shellfish closures during seasonal blooms of Alexandrium catenella in U.S. Atlantic northeast and Pacific northwest states. Forecasting efforts hinge on determination of wintertime abundance of Alexandrium resting cysts in the sediment at bloom locations.  This project will evaluate a new quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay for A. catenella cysts using sediment samples from the Gulf of Maine, Puget Sound and Alaska.

Tessa Francis, Center for Urban Waters
Residential Shoreline Loan Program Feasibility Study
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

This grant will conduct a feasibility study for the development of a self-sustaining Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program to provide homeowners with low-interest loans for shoreline management projects. The RLF program would address the construction funding need faced by residential property owners when seeking to reduce shoreline impacts on their property through actions such as armor removal, soft-shore stabilization, and/or sea level rise risk reduction.

Jim Gawel, SIAS/Sciences and Mathematics
Biofilm Pilot 2019 - Wapato Lake
City of Tacoma

Funding was awarded to conduct a pilot study to test the design and effectiveness of a freshwater algae turf scrubber (ATS). Algae Turf Scrubbers are extremely effective in permanently removing harmful nutrients from water sources. This project will determine the rate and amount of nutrient removal from Wapato Lake water samples using a small-scale ATS.

Ed Kolodziej, Center for Urban Waters
Water Treatment Performance of Engineered Hyporheic Zones in Urban Creeks
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU)

A previous pilot study funded by SPU tested two floodplain reconnection projects on Thornton Creek, and measured project effectiveness with respect to detaining and treating storm water runoff entering the creek. One of the unique design elements of both projects was an engineered streambed featuring a constructed hyporheic zone. The hyporheic zone is the area of mixing of surface and ground waters within the streambed, which circulates, cools and cleans the surface water entering the streambed. The preliminary monitoring results indicate that a substantial fraction of the surface water is directed into, and travels through, the streambed, resulting in the removal of hundreds of organic storm water pollutants through a single hyporheic design element (a.k.a. a plunge pool structure) during both summer base flows, and medium-sized autumn storm flows. The results exceeded expectations and were published in a peer-reviewed journal (Peter et al., Water Research 2019). SPU provided additional funds to continue the partnership and joint contribution to this research work. 

Ariana Ochoa Camacho, SIAS/Social and Historical Studies
Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation


With support from the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, Dr. Ochoa Camacho intends to advance two articles based on elements of her previous research provisionally titled "Los Panfletos: Imprints from the Neoliberalization of Violence on the Colombian Cultural Archive of Unbelonging" and "Maria is not Full of Grace: The heteronormative imperative of U.S. and Colombian media narratives" which deal with cultural texts and ideas of belonging.

Andy James, Center for Urban Waters
Gathering, Compilation and Processing of PCB data for use in Salish Sea Model - Toxics Module Development and Application
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

PNNL (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) is leading a U.S. EPA funded project titled “Fate and Transport of Toxic Contaminants in Puget Sound – Development of a Toxics Module for the Salish Sea Model Using Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)”. The overall objective of this project is to enhance the capabilities of the existing Salish Sea Model (SSM) to assist the agencies responsible for management of water quality and aquatic life in Puget Sound with respect to PCB contamination in the water column, sediments, and the pelagic and benthic food webs. When completed SSM-Toxics is expected to assist agencies design effective management actions to reduce the exposure of biota to toxics such as PCBs. University of Washington (UW) will be leading the PCB data compilation and preparation tasks for the project through a subcontract from PNNL.

Joel Baker, Center for Urban Waters
Puget Sound Action Agenda-Puget Sound Institute Renewal
Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Led by the Puget Sound Institute, an experienced, strategic and expert coalition will guide, use, review, and revise scientific processes and information to support the development and adaptation of Action Agenda Vital Sign Implementation Strategies (IS). The coalition will collaborate with Strategic Initiative teams, the Partnership’s science panel, the science community, and other partners to characterize the state of knowledge about Vital Signs and their management; identify and address needs for research, monitoring, and modeling, including contributions from social sciences; design the science based adaptation of ISs; and synthesize science findings to improve the development of ISs and to communicate key messages from and about ISs. This award will (1) develop regional consensus that Implementation Strategies are credible depictions of the paths to recovery and protection and (2) increase confidence that plans for recovery and protection will deliver expected results. 

Belinda Louie, School of Education
Teaching English Language Learners - Professional Development (TELL-PD)
US Department of Education

Project goals for TELL-PD aim at supporting educators to improve academic performance for ELs: 1) pre-service teachers complete WA certification with EL endorsement license; 2) principals and in-service teachers complete hybrid professional development modules to improve EL instruction; 3) in-service teachers take online endorsement program; and 4) Parents, families, and community will expand and enhance their skills, strategies, and knowledge to communicate and to collaborate to support ELs’ learning.

(Awards received between May 27-August 31, 2019) 

Andy James
, Center for Urban Waters
PSEMP 2019
Puget Sound Partnership/Environmental Protection Agency
Within the Puget Sound Partnership, the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP) exists to convene a collaborative network of subject matter experts from many monitoring organizations and different parts of the ecosystem to directly address management and science questions critical to recovery of the Puget Sound ecosystem.  This specific award is an ongoing collaboration that engages Dr. James’ expert research knowledge to identify, help coordinate, and make recommendations for monitoring programs related to the ecology, transport, fate, and effects of toxic contaminants in the Puget Sound ecosystem.   

Rachel Hershberg
, SIAS/Social, Behavioral and Human Sciences
Critical Reflection
Tufts University/Spencer Foundation

Critical consciousness is associated with positive outcomes for marginalized youth, particularly youth of color from low-income backgrounds (e.g., Diemer et al., 2016).  However, little research has focused on whether and how critical consciousness may manifest differently for individuals who have at least some privileged aspects of their identities (e.g., white men from low income backgrounds). Dr. Hershberg’s Intersectional Perspective on the Nature and Development of Critical Reflection among Adolescents and Young Adults project involves an in-depth investigation of critical consciousness from an intersectional and developmental perspective. Using a sequential exploratory mixed methods design (Creswell, 2013), it addresses three main research questions. First, how does critical reflection manifest for adolescents and young adults with intersecting group memberships, if at all? Second, are these manifestations of critical reflection related to adolescents’ and young adults’ engagement in critical actions? Third, what life experiences do these adolescents and young adults describe that may be associated with their critical reflection and critical action? How (if at all) are these experiences related to their intersectional identities?        

Rachel Hershberg, SIAS/Social, Behavioral and Human Sciences
Opening Up the Black Box:  Uncovering the Role of Adults in Youth Character Development
Montclair State University/S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Dr. Hershberg’s proposed project is to define and validate adult practices that foster youth character development in Boy Scouts. By establishing SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused, and time specific) objectives to evaluate, scientifically validate, support improvement, and document significance of improvement, Dr. Hershberg hopes to provide clearly defined and evidenced adult practices that support youth character development for the Boy Scouts and other youth-serving organizations.  

Debasis Dawn
, School of Engineering and Technology
CHIP-BASED ADS-B for High Density, Low Altitude UAV
KalScott Engineering, Inc./National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Currently, there is a national initiative to integrate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) into the national airspace safely. ADS-B (surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it) is considered to be the primary protocol for enabling the safe integration of UAVs, since it is the accepted standard for air traffic control for manned aviation. However, ADS-B units which are currently available for manned aircraft are not suitable for hosting on small UAVs, due to their size, weight, power consumption and cost characteristics. Dr. Debasis’ Phase I effort will involve the design of the chip, and the fabrication and testing of key blocks of the design. In Phase II, a fully-integrated chip will be fabricated and tested, both in the lab and in flight. 

Ed Kolodziej
, Center for Urban Waters
Performance Evaluation of Engineered Hyporheic Zones in Urban Creeks
Washington State Department of Ecology

Scientific studies and biological indicators clearly show that urban stormwater is toxic and unhealthy for aquatic organisms. Recently, the Kingfisher Reach of Thornton Creek (Seattle) was restored by installing hyporheic design elements (HDEs) into the creek bed.   Dr. Kolodziej will build on preliminary work at Thornton Creek to understand how effective these systems are in improving water quality. This study directly addresses the Toxics in Fish Vital Sign (Regional Priority TIF2.1) by addressing stormwater treatment, especially for endpoints related to Coho pre-spawn mortality.

Ed Kolodziej, Center for Urban Waters
Development of Chemical Indicators to Detect, Track and Assess Pollutants
Washington State Department of Ecology

This project will improve water quality by identifying and quantifying a suite of chemical indicators representing legacy, novel and emerging chemical toxicants important to salmonid health and that impair water quality, especially in systems impacted by urban stormwater. Dr. Kolodziej and his team will survey the occurrence of chemical indicators in regional watersheds, particularly those in relation to watershed restoration efforts and evaluate treatment systems for identified chemical removal performance.

Yan Bai
, School of Engineering and Technology
Collaborative Research:  Colorado-Washington Security Scholars Program
National Science Foundation CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program

University of Colorado Colorado Springs and UW Tacoma host strong cybersecurity degree programs and have close ties with the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) and the local cyber/defense companies. This Colorado-Washington Security Scholars Program (CWSSP) will reinforce the cybersecurity programs at UCCS and UWT by providing scholarships to the CWSSP scholars and by implementing a team-highlighted curriculum and the student-driven conferences/workshops in the host institutions’ cybersecurity programs. Professor Yan Bai as a member of CWSSP will collaboratively work toward a model scholarship/education program and a framework for the other institutions constructing inter-institution education programs outside of the local partners. CWSSP will also involve the underrepresented students in the state of the art cybersecurity research and enable them to gain leadership/management experiences. 

Have you recently received an award not identified here? Let us know!

More Recent Awards

Office of Research Annual Report

Quarterly Office of Research Roundup

Recent Faculty Research Talks

Spring (May) 2019 Faculty-led Research with Undergraduates Lightning Talks


Spring 2019 CPES Presentations

In June 2019, seven UW Tacoma faculty presented their Collaborative Publicly Engaged Scholarship Fund projects.


Research news

Drawing the Line

A "communities of intterest" electoral district map of Charlotte, North Carolina.
October 1, 2020
Associate Professor Jim Thatcher's NSF-funded project uses data to show college students how electoral districts are created.
Full Article »