Congratulations to UW Tacoma faculty members who were awarded Founders Endowment funds to support a planned need project between 1 June 2023 – 31 May 2024.
Founders Endowment funding is provided through the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The application and review process was conducted by the Research Advisory Committee (RAC). This year, the EVCAA provided $40,000 worth of funds from the Founders Endowment to support faculty scholarship needs to start a project, continue a project, or complete a project. Two grants of $4,000 each were awarded per scholarly theme.
Dr. Yixuan Pan, SIAS
Ice Cold- A music video on hot glass
This project involves creating a music video for a song created by the PI titled Ice Cold. The music video will function as both a visual manifestation for the song, as well as a counter-narrative agent for the male-dominated glass art industry. The lyrics of the song, Ice Cold, are collected by the PI from eavesdropping on glass-making jargon between the gaffers and their assistants in motion during the spectacular glass-making process at the glass art hot-shop.
Social Justice Theme:
Dr. Julia Dancis, SIAS
Support for Queer-Affirming Sex Education: A Needs Assessment in Tacoma Public Schools
This project aims to support LGBTQIA2+-affirming sex education in our local community through community-engaged praxis. The PI will begin with surveys to understand health teachers’ perspectives on the status of sex education in TPSD, their intersectional knowledge of LGBTQIA2+ topics, and their professional development needs surrounding the implementation of inclusive sex education. Next, she will utilize the information gained from the surveys to inform phase two: focus groups with health educators. The purpose of the focus groups is to further assess educator needs related to facilitating inclusive sex education and collaboratively brainstorm realistic solutions to meet those needs. Data collected from this mixed-methods study will be used to directly support sex education teachers in TPSD through the provision of district-level recommendations and intervention.
Social Justice Theme:
Dr. Vanessa de Veritch Woodside, SIAS
Latinx Legacies in Tacoma and the South Puget Sound
This project aims to document the diverse Latinx histories and contemporary experiences in Tacoma and the South Puget Sound. This will be achieved by delving into already existing archival materials and bringing community members and organizations together to co-create community archives that celebrate the diverse histories and experiences of local communities. Of special interest is documenting the grassroots efforts that culminated in the creation and expansion of community resources and the community-building and organizing in connection with the Northwest ICE Processing Center. Aligning with the Community Archives Center’s specific objectives to identify and mitigate silenced histories and experiences of our local communities, this project exemplifies decolonial and intersectional scholarship that works to advance social justice and equity.
Social Justice Theme:
Dr. Davon Woodard, School of Urban Studies
Envisioning AfroFuturity: Reimagining the Black Urban Future through Emancipatory Community Visioning
This project aims to develop and emplace novel quantitative and qualitative tools and frameworks to amplify local voices and visions, as acts of resilience in order to preserve existing community social, physical, economic capital while reimagining alternative Black urban futures situated within the emancipatory tenets embedded Afrofuturist praxis.
Dr. Alison Gardell, SIAS; Dr. Sarah Alaei, SIAS; and Dr. Jim Gawel, SIAS
Characterizing the Impacts of Arsenic Contamination on Freshwater Lake Microbiomes
Many lakes of the Puget Sound lowlands are contaminated with arsenic (As) through emissions from the former ASARCO Smelter, which operated in Ruston, WA, for nearly 100 years. Here, we propose to investigate the impacts of this legacy arsenic contamination on environmental microbial communities (microbiomes) within freshwater lakes adjacent to urbanized areas in south King County. Specifically, this work aims to shed light on how arsenic exposure shapes environmental microbial communities within contaminated aquatic ecosystems and whether these As-impacted environmental microbiomes overlap with the microbiome structure of grazing invertebrates. This project focuses on a commonly found freshwater invertebrate, the Chinese mystery snail (CMS), as a model organism to study the links between chronic As exposure and microbiome structure.
Dr. Weichao Yuwen, School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership; Dr. Martine De Cock, SET, and Dr. Anderson Nascimento, SET
Advancing health equity through reducing bias and promoting fair machine learning algorithms
This project will develop techniques that detect and prevent algorithmic discrimination in machine learning (ML) systems used in symptom management for patients with chronic diseases. Our interdisciplinary team is designing ML systems to predict symptoms before they arise. This will help patients take preventive measures, thereby reducing the burden of the disease and improving their quality of life. However, algorithmic racial bias is a real problem. Algorithmic fairness has been considered in some health informatics applications, but, to our knowledge, no published works address the algorithmic fairness problem for symptom prediction for chronic disease patients. This project aims to develop techniques to mitigate discrimination and to measure quantitatively how far we moved the needle on this by comparing how much discrimination is exhibited by an AI system trained with our techniques vs. without.
Social Science Theme:
Dr. Ji-Hyun Ahn, SIAS
Selling Aversion: Anti-Korean Sentiment and New Nationalism in Postcolonial East Asia
This project examines the rise of hate speech and racist discourse towards Korea(ns) across East Asia. It describes how a politics of aversion formulates a new ethnic nationalism under the neoliberal reformation of East Asia. By taking a transnational approach to anti-Korean racism in East Asia, this research answers fundamental questions about the relationship between global cultural flows and regional politics and advances our understanding of how a new affective mode, not fascination but aversion, dismantles and recreates racialized cultural imagination in East Asia.
Social Science Theme:
Dr. Alireza Boloori, Milgard School of Business
Leveraging Patients Claims Data to Unpack Insights for Combating the Opioid Prescription and Pain Epidemic
The aim of this study is to leverage patient insurance claims data to provide relevant insights for combating the opioid prescription and pain management epidemic. This project centers on using the claims data along with advanced machine learning algorithms to greatly enhance understanding of both the risks and benefits of pain treatments, and to make balanced treatment decisions. Results of the work will enable critical insights into personalized recommendations that are adapted to patients’ risk characteristics.
Dr. Anna M. Groat Carmona, SIAS
Discerning the catalytic function of the α∕β-hydrolase domain of the Plasmodium BEM46-like protein (PBLP)
Malaria is caused by eukaryotic parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Plasmodium parasites cycle between their Anopheles mosquito vector and its mammalian host, undergoing extensive developmental transformations to produce infectious forms that ensure progression to the next stage of their life cycle. Upon entry into the blood stream after the bite of an infected mosquito, the parasites’ sporozoite stage travels to the liver and invades a hepatocyte. The liver-stage (LS) of a Plasmodium infection is a critical bottleneck point in the parasitic life cycle since a single invading sporozoite will differentiate before undergoing extensive mitotic divisions (without cytokinesis) to form a multinucleated schizont. This schizont will undergo extensive invagination of its plasma membrane to form tens of thousands of blood-stage (BS) parasites (merozoites), which cause symptomatic disease by infecting red blood cells. Despite LS development being a critical parasite amplification event, little is known about the molecular factors that control this unique form of replication (schizogony). This is a STEM-focused study that seeks to characterize a universal regulator that the PI previously identified, termed the Plasmodium BEM46-like protein (PBLP). This proposed work will allow us to determine the enzymatic function of PBLP and get closer to determining how this enzyme regulates membrane transformation during LS development.
Julie Masura, SIAS
International Partnership Understanding Climate, Ecologic, and Oceanographic Changes in Clayoquot Sound
The PIs for this project have been leading research teams to the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve each year since 2000. This is the only consistent marine data set in Clayoquot Sound and the longest time series of estuarine data on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Long term data sets of environmental conditions are essential for assessing the impact of climate change on ecosystems over time, such as oxygen availability and phytoplankton biodiversity trends. This valuable ongoing study provides opportunities for undergraduates to participate in real-world, hands-on research and often serves as students’ capstone project.