Social Justice Projects

A Sample of Social Justice Projects by Faculty, Staff and Students at the University of Washington Bothell

Academic Transition Program (ATP)

The Academic Transition Program (ATP) is a year-long academic preparation program designed to provide assistance for historically disadvantaged, low-income, and first generation college students; though all students may be considered to participate. Successful ATP candidates may not have performed well by traditional measures of college preparedness such as standardized testing. They are selected for the program by showing great promise in overcoming adversity, and demonstrating particularly strong motivation to succeed in college. About 125 students have participated in the program.

Business, Ethics and Taxes

PRMEThe UW Bothell School of Business is a signatory to the Principles of Responsible Management (PRME) initiative. As such, the school supports various activities around the idea of responsible management practice.

One such activity is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that is conducted in collaboration with United Way and through our Beta Alpha Psi chapter (accounting honor society). Our undergraduate students provide free assistance to vulnerable and poor populations. This activity has been conducted for several years now. In short, the students processed 900 returns leading to a refund of $1.6 million and Earned Income Tax Credit of more than $500,000.

Digital Storytelling

Jill FreidbergIAS faculty member Jill Freidberg was the featured filmmaker at Washington State University's 10th Annual International Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference. Friedberg presented and discussed Granito de Arena, her documentary film about the efforts of more than 100,000 teachers, parents, and students fighting in Southern Mexico to defend to country's public education system from the devastating impacts of economic globalization.

Mark KochanskiStudents in Professor Mark Kochanski’s computing technology and public policy class integrate social justice issues with technology. One goal of the computing technology and public policy class is students to participate to helping the local community better understand benefits, issues, and concerns with respect to the impact of computing technology. During the last section of the class, students investigate broad uses of technology within the context of education and the classroom. For this quarter's theme, students explored social justice issues such as how the digital divide intersects with students, technology, and learning.


Shauna CarliseIAS faculty Shauna Carlisle has received the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF) 2014 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty. Carlisle will conduct research related to the relationship between stress, coping, and health.

Carlisle, whose research focuses on the intersection of race, ethnicity, and nativity, and its implications on population health, says the economic burden of racial inequalities in health has been reported to be 30 percent in excess costs. Health inequalities and premature death combined cost over $1.24 trillion dollars between 2003 and 2006.

In the Nursing and Health Studies Program, two faculty work to improve health status/services for prisoners. Another works with local tribes to increase their capacity to monitor chronic illnesses.

Other areas of teaching and research include:

  • Decreasing stigma against people with disabilities in health care and education.
  • Health disparities in marginalized populations.
  • Global health, health access and quality in Africa.
  • Migration-related stress for minority populations.
  • Poverty, faith and health in African American communities.

Inspire STEM Festival

UW Bothell is proud to host the Inspire STEM Festival, which encourages middle school girls from underserved communities to get excited about science. Hundreds of girls (and boys) typically attend the conference. Each festival features a talk by a woman astronaut; workshops for parents and teachers and a street fair with hands-on activities, booths, food and music.

Environment and Social Justice

Carrie TzouDr. Carrie Tzou of the Education program studies how middle school science students living near the polluted Duwamish River can develop a sense of place and explore privilege, class and positioning in formal and informal environmental learning.

Human Rights

Each year, a handful of students from the School of IAS spend several days in Washington, D.C. as part of the Human Rights Seminar, which is part of the UW Minor in Human Rights. Student choose in mid-September, students spend two full days on campus with local human rights scholars and practitioners before they head off to an intense week-long experience in Washington D.C., visiting the Pentagon, the State Department, embassies, think tanks, and international organizations advancing the cause of human rights. 

Karam DanaProfessor and author Karam Dana, Ph.D. is the co-principal investigator of the Muslim American Public Opinion Survey (MAPOS), the largest survey of Muslims living in the United States. Troubled by rising Islamophobia and the lack of reliable information about American Muslims, Dana launched MAPOS in 2007 to study the patterns of social, civic, and political participation among Muslim Americans. "I believe that if people had research-backed information regarding Muslim political attitudes and trends, there would be less of a reason to question the loyalty of Muslim Americans" says Dana.


Dan BergerIAS faculty member Dan Berger has been studying incarceration in the United States. He is completing a book called “Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era” that examines the crucial role that black prisoners played in the black freedom struggle. Berger argues that the prison proved a useful institution in making sense of race and politics in the era immediately preceding the rise of mass incarceration. That book will be published by the new Justice, Power, and Politics series at the University of North Carolina Press. 

Jason PaceJason Pace and the Digital Futures Lab are working with prisoners at the Monroe Correctional Complex on a digital storytelling project. Students visit the facility and work with prisoners to help them articulate and then videotape their personal stories. For many, it is their first opportunity to tell their story. This project is under way and the videos are not yet public.


Wayne AuWayne Au works with teachers regionally through the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Annual Conference, which focuses on anti-racist, multicultural curriculum, as well as educational work that looks more broadly at social, economic, and ecological justice. Au’s research work focuses on the importance of multicultural education and ethnic studies, as well as the importance of radical democracy in the face of increasingly corporate and elitist educational policy reforms.

Outreach Efforts in Area School Systems

Staff in UW Bothell’s Office of Admissions target schools that have low-income, first generation and historically underserved student populations. They work with teachers, principals, and counselors to assist students in outlining a plan to get to college. Furthermore, they present workshops on topics such as the college application process, how to prepare academically to be a competitive applicant, personal and institutional barriers to getting to college and racial identity development and ways that students can build community and navigate through identified barriers.

Multicultural Education

Cherry BanksProfessor Cherry McGee Banks is world-renowned for her work in Multicultural Education. She is the associate editor of the “Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education: and co-editor of “Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives.” Banks is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

Sex Work, Human Trafficking and Sexuality

Kari LerumKari Lerum is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and Cultural Studies and Adjunct Professor in Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies at University of Washington, Seattle. Her scholarship and activism centers on the study of social inequality, focusing on the intersections of sexuality, race, institutions, and culture. She is active at UW Bothell in efforts for social justice and institutional transformation, and has an article related to this work in Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. (2012; University of Utah Press). Her recent research has critically evaluated popular discourses about the "sexualization of girls," and discourses and policies about sex work and human trafficking. In 2011 she was part of a team of academics and activists that successfully convinced the Obama administration to accept a UN recommendation to address human rights abuses against sex workers. Her current research includes a community-based project with transgender sex workers in the Seattle region.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: Mentoring Center Proposal (sent to National Science Foundation)

UW3The intent is to establish the STEM (initial focus on physics) Mentoring Center at UW Bothell. As the newest of the three University of Washington campuses there is a unique opportunity to create this Center with the purpose of educating and training local mentors for UW Bothell students in STEM areas; emphasizing educating/training mentors for underrepresented students, particularly those of color, women, for better academic cultural understanding, life skills and leadership. The proposed Center will host national workshops on mentoring to bring expertise to the Center and to create a robust environment for learning, researching, and employing the best practices and developments in mentoring techniques for our STEM students.

Student Engagement & Activities: Ongoing Diversity and Social Justice Initiatives

studentsStudent Engagement and Activities advises and works closely with diversity programmers, who are paid student staff positions who create educational programs/events that promote awareness and understanding of diversity, social justice, gender equity, and advocacy for historically underrepresented communities.

  • IDEA Project: Identity, Dialogue, Expression, Action
    • A new student-centered space for deliberative dialogue, community dialogue, and development and implementation of social justice initiatives across campus.
  • Safe Space LGBTQ+ advocacy program: official launch spring 2014
  • Universal Leadership Conference
    • The Universal Leadership Conference (ULC) is a student-run conference that provides leadership experience and training for college students. The programming for this conference offers students a variety of opportunities to understand and reflect on the interconnectedness of service, social justice, and leadership.
  • Affinity-based student clubs
    • East African Student Association – new club Winter 2014
    • Muslim Student Association – recognized Winter 2014
    • Black Student Union – new club Winter 2014
    • Chinese Student Association
    • Latino Student Union
    • La Voz de Ella
    • Bothell Women in Science & Engineering
    • Women in Business at UW Bothell
    • Student Veterans Association
    • African Huskies
    • Hong Kong Student Association

Diversity Minor: Interdisciplinary minor to start Fall 2014

Tribal Education Network

UW Bothell professors from the division of computing and software systems, the School of Business and more than a dozen northwest Native American tribes have established the Tribal Education Network (T-E-N). This initiative will allow youth to be educated on the reservation using multimedia and interactive methods including casebook projects, which will replace classes and provide culturally relevant content through narratives and real-life cases.

Project co-director Deanna Kennedy is an assistant professor in the School of Business; she is from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Kennedy says this project may be the missing link to getting native youth college-ready. “I think it is important to figure out how universities and colleges can make this material accessible to Native Americans.”