Students Intern For The Washington State Legislature

This year, the Washington State Legislature selected four UWT students to participate in its Legislative Internship Program. About 60 students statewide are selected as interns who then work directly for members of the Senate or House.  All interns work full time for the Legislature over the winter quarter, earning 15 credits in the process.

Jasmin Randhawa is a Senior majoring in Politics Philosophy and Economics.  She served as a Policy Research Intern for the Senate Democratic Caucus. What stood out for her about this internship is the exposure it gave her to role models.  “For someone who comes from a marginalized community, this is a really great way to enter the world of politics. I met a Senator who speaks the same language as I do and it’s like “wow!” that that could be me.”

Alexandria Steele, a senior majoring in Psychology, interned with Reps Berry, Frame, and Senn. She too found that the experience changed her.  “As a student from a working-class background, I hadn’t thought that much about how to prepare myself for post-graduation.  I just focused on my grades, and now I realize not that many people care about grades.  I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

Dalton Stephens, a senior in Law and Policy, interned for Senator Sam Hunt of District 22 representing Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater.  Dalton found the internship offered a unique professional opportunity.  “It’s exciting to be in political circles and to understand what everyone is saying. It’s amazing how well interns blend in.  I’ve probably learned more during this internship than in two years of college.”

Jonathon Church, a senior in Politics Philosophy and Economics, interned for Reps. Barkis, Klippert, and Sutherland. He seconded the unique educational value of this internship:  “It helped orient me toward the job market and got me to apply what I’ve learned in fields that I’m interested in.”

In addition to interning, students also take part in Civic education, which includes a mock debate, guest speakers, and educational lectures designed to enhance their internship.  This year’s mock debate was overseen by Lt. Gov Denny Heck playing the role of President of the Senate, a role he plays in real life. Remarked Jon Church:  “It is hard not to take it serious when you hear the Lt. Gov. Call out your name with the word Senator before it!”

All four students agreed that this unique internship opportunity is a rigorous one. “It’s one of the most challenging learning experiences I’ve ever had,” summed up Jon Church.

Go here to listen to an interview with the four students.

First Economics and Policy Analysis Major Accepted into UW’s Evans School

Congratulations to Michael Price, UWT’s first student to graduate with a major in our new Economics and Policy Analysis degree.  Michael was recently accepted into the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where this fall he will begin its Master of Public Administration (MPA) program.  The Evans School is ranked as one of the top graduate MPA programs in the nation.

Michael grew up spending time between New Jersey and South Florida, but has found his home in Washington state. In returning to college, he dreamed of gaining the skills to allow him to contribute to solving social problems. For this reason, he was drawn to UWT’s new Economics and Policy Analysis program, which just winter quarter began accepting students. (See this interview with Michael.)

“Because of my success in the EPA major, I wholeheartedly recommend this major for any students interested in either Economics or Policy, as they go hand in hand,” commented Michael after learning of his admission to the Evans School. “The faculty here at UWT has supported me along the way. I’m excited to begin  this new stage of my academic career.” So are we Michael. Best wishes!

Prof. Hanneman’s Book Spotlights Tacoma’s Unique Japanese Community

Professor Mary Hanneman’s new book, Becoming Nisei: Japanese American Urban Lives in Prewar Tacoma (written with UWT Prof. Lisa Hoffman) is receiving significant attention in the local community.  Becoming Nisei explores Tacoma’s prewar Nihonmachi’s (Japan Town) vibrant and close-knit community, one consisting of first- generation Japanese immigrants and their second-generation American children. Prior to World War II, Tacoma was filled with Japanese businesses, homes, hotels and churches.  The Tacoma Japanese Language School, located in Tacoma’s current downtown core, was a central institution in the lives of Tacoma’s Japanese population.  Influenced both by the transnational connections to Japan and by the spatial components of the city itself, the book tells the story of the world they built, one destroyed then erased by incarceration and the passage of time.

On February 19th, the Day of Remembrance of Japanese American Incarceration During World War II, Prof. Hanneman and Prof. Hoffman gave a presentation on this history to the Washington State History Museum’s series Scholarly Selections. Their talk, entitled “Structural Erasure: Remembering Japanese Americans in Prewar Tacoma,” focused on the unique features of Tacoma’s prewar Japanese community, including its single, secular language school, prominent school leadership, and the size and spatial layout of the community.  The book is based on interviews with 42 Nisei who grew up in Tacoma as well as archival work in the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections

Thanks to Profs Hanneman and Hoffman for bringing this important period in our past to light, and highlighting the human stories behind the tragic treatment of the Japanese during World War II.

Research: Women respond to feedback more than men

Congratulations to Prof. Anna Lovasz, whose article “Gender differences in the effect of subjective feedback in an online game,” was just published by the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.  

Prof. Lovasz and her co-authors used an online game with randomized messages to test whether responses to encouragement (You can do it!) and praise (Good job!) differ by the gender of the player. They found that women were more responsive to such feedback. When the feedback took the form of encouragement, women played more games and achieved higher scores, whereas when they received praise, they achieved lower scores. Among men, the feedback had less effect, although men with lower game-playing confidence responded negatively to encouragement. 
“These results don’t mean that men and women should be given different feedback based on their gender,” explained Dr. Lovasz. “Rather, more personalized feedback based on individual needs could help decrease existing gender gaps. However, providing personal attention is time-consuming and costly. This study supports investments in teachers’ pay and new technologies that allow teachers the time to focus on students’ individual and social-emotional needs.”

Senior Andre Jimenez pens Oped On Use of Force

Congratulations to Senior Andre Jimenez, whose oped on a recent Use of Force study conducted by the Pierce County Sheriff’s office was just published in Tacoma’s News Tribune.  As a representative on the Pierce County Equity Review Committee, Andre was one of fifteen members asked to review this study, one commissioned to investigate racial disparities in policing practices by the Sheriff’s office.

Andre found some alarming findings in the study — Black residents experience police force five times more often than white residents, and Black youth experience force more than 10 times more frequently than white youth. Yet his oped points to the deficiencies in the data indicating that the report actually underestimates the magnitude of the disparities. Andre concludes that:

Real change requires independent sources of data on police use of force practices that are no longer dependent on officers’ self-reporting. We need a civilian review board with real oversight authority and independence from the sheriff’s department, ensuring that the police who investigate their fellow officers are held accountable. 

Thanks, Andre, for your commitment to making our officials more accountable and our community a more just one.