Winter 2021

Message from the Dean

Dear Arts and Sciences Alumni and Friends,

Dean David Powers works from his basement during the 2020 pandemic

I hope you and yours are well. As we reach the halfway mark of Winter Quarter, I continue to be proud of how our students, faculty, and staff are addressing the difficulties and engaging the opportunities of this challenging time. One example is this issue’s article about Dr. Kira Mauseth and her student research team supporting the state’s Behavioral Health Strike team.

At the end of 2020, three College of Arts and Sciences students and Spectator staff, Andru Zodrow, Anna Popp, and Logan Gilbert published the op-ed “Seattle U’s new president must strengthen ties to today’s economy” in The Seattle Times. (President-elect Eduardo M. Peñalver met with the students shortly after publication.) The College of Arts and Sciences has demonstrated our commitment to professional formation for our students through “Pathways to Professional Formation,” recognizing the urgent need to support students in exploring and developing potential career paths throughout their educational journey at Seattle U. We are continuing that support in a virtual format this year and you can help.

Our signature professional formation event is LinkUp, and many of you in the Seattle area alums have participated as mentors. Over the past four years, students gathered with alumni to learn about potential career paths and developing relationships with mentors. Due to the pandemic, this year we are moving to a virtual platform, which opens the door to all A&S alums, regardless of geographic location. I invite all of you to check out the event, scheduled for April 8, 4 to 6 p.m. (Pacific Time). You can register as a mentor here.

Join us for many other virtual events, including “A Racial Equity Reckoning,” our Black History Keynote address with Dr. Benjamin Danielson on February 18 at 12:30 p.m. Read the rest of the newsletter to learn more about other opportunities to engage with our students and faculty in the coming months.

Thank you for your continued support of Seattle University and the College of Arts and Sciences.

In This Issue

A Racial Equity Reckoning:

Black History Month Keynote Address by Dr. Benjamin Danielson

Photo of Dr. Benjamin Danielson with text about eventFebruary 18, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

RSVP to receive the Zoom link

The aim of Dr. Danielson's keynote is to sustain people’s commitment to racial equity during these exhausting days. Another goal of this event is to go deeper into the nature of systemic racism and strategies to help address the difficult work of promoting equity. The address will be followed by Q&A.

Tickets are free and participants are invited to include an optional donation to the Black Student Union Scholarship Fund.

Presented by Seattle University Social Work Department and co-sponsored by Seattle University Nonprofit Leadership.

About Benjamin Danielson, MD

Dr. Danielson is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in ethology. He received his doctorate from the University of Washington, School of Medicine where he specialized in pediatrics. For the past 21 years, Dr. Danielson has served as the Senior Medical Director Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. An esteemed physician, he provided resources, advocacy and clinical service to our most vulnerable and marginalized children and families, predominantly communities of color. Dr. Danielson has played a huge role in addressing issues of public health, healthcare delivery, foster care advocacy, youth justice issues, diverse mothers and babies, anti-racism and social justice issues. Dr. Danielson has served on numerous committees and task forces, and most recently, he led the Governor's task force on creating the new Office of Equity. He has received numerous awards, including the Norm Maleng Advocate for Youth Award, which recognizes Dr. Danielson's exemplary leadership, dedication, and commitment to the youth and families of Washington State.

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Dr. Kira Mauseth engages student researchers for state pandemic project

When Dr. Kira Mauseth, Senior Instructor, Psychology, and her colleague, Dr. Tona McGuire, responded to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, they had no idea that it would launch behavioral health training which would, in turn, prepare them to lead the State of Washington’s Behavioral Health Strike Team through a pandemic 10 years later. Dr. Mauseth had no idea that it would also offer opportunities for Seattle U Psychology students to immerse themselves in critical, real-time research in response to a global natural disaster.

Students and Dr. Mauseth“We were deployed with a group to Haiti,” says Dr. Mauseth. “A nonprofit invited us to come to their school on the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince and set up an emergency clinic to respond to the overwhelming need. Sitting on the plane on the way home afterward, we agreed that we needed to leave something more tangible behind.

“We realized that there is little about the nature of direct service in disaster behavioral health that specifically requires a PhD or a license. We thought, ‘we can teach high school students who no longer have schools. We can teach college student who want to help their communities. We can teach community leaders how to support people from an evidence-based, psychosocial perspective.’”

Drs. Mauseth and McGuire responded by creating a curriculum called Health Support Team and returned to Haiti to provide training to more than 400 people. They also trained trainers, creating culturally-adaptive, culturally-appropriate training; the Haitians then communicated the skills and the techniques in a way that is appropriate in their culture, rather than from a Western viewpoint. They then took the curriculum to Jordan with Syrian refugees. They continued local training through the Disaster Clinical Advisory Committee, and Northwest Health Care Response Network, engaging first responders, doctors, nurses, interested community members, anyone with an interest in disaster response.

When the State Department of Health began designing the Behavioral Health Strike Team as one of rapid response deployment teams for emergencies in the state, Dr. Mauseth and her partner were poised to accept their positions as co-leads. “Whether the emergency is a school shooting or a flood or a landslide, strike teams move in in and support the community,” explains Dr. Mauseth. “They offer training, resources – whatever what is needed – to bolster local efforts typically from anywhere from one to two weeks.”

They outlined the Behavioral Health Strike Team organization and structure in the summer of 2019 as part of the larger Behavioral Health Group at the DOH. In January 2020, just as the team felt they had found their footing, COVID-19 appeared on their radar. Dr. Mauseth remembers, “We really started paying attention, realizing this is going to be a lot bigger than most people think it is. At Seattle U, by March, even before the initial shutdown order, I was already talking to colleagues in the Psychology Department and making plans with students to move online.”

From the beginning, the Behavioral Health Strike Team made it a priority to position the pandemic as a natural disaster. “It isn’t what many think of as a typical natural disaster,” says Dr. Mauseth. “I emphasized that in our educational materials, making it the opening of all of our guidance documents. It is an important distinction when we talk about the behavioral health impact.”

Student Research in Action

The team worked to craft the specific response advocacy plan for Washington providers, hospitals, and health systems to prepare for what residents are likely to experience. They created presentations, trainings, and written guidance materials, creating a forecast of emerging needs and issues as the pandemic approached.

Developing all of that critical content offered an unexpected opportunity for Seattle U’s psychology students. Dr. Mauseth says, “We had a wealth of information that we needed to organize and share but our team members didn’t have the capacity to sit down and focus on the literature review and background library searches to find the latest data.”

As the university faculty member on the team and a previous practicum supervisor, Dr. Mauseth realized the potential for students. “During the pandemic there are fewer options for students to get practical, real world experience.” She took the idea to Department Chair Dr. Kathleen Cook. Dr. Cook was immediately on board; “SU students are perfect for this work! They are all well trained to work with the extant literature, synthesize information, and critically assess the quality of research.” They solicited student resumes, interviewed them, and chose a team of student researchers. Team members include Breanne Coulthard, Chemistry and Honors; Joanna Corpuz, Psychology ’22; Isabel Gilbertson, Psychology, Public Affairs, and Honors,  ’22; Sydney Lindell, Psychology ’21; Kes Sorensen, Psychology ’21; and An Than, Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Honors ’23.

“They have provided exactly the support I hoped for,” Dr. Mauseth says. “They are advancing the guidance documents and reports we are putting out by being on the ground, doing their research. And they are matching the pace; disaster response is inherently very fast and not anything like the usual academic or research cycle.”

“I am really proud of the behavioral health component of disaster response that our state as put together. These students and their contributions have been an integral part of that.”

Behavioral Health in the (Virtual) Classroom

Dr. Mauseth is highly aware of the impact this natural disaster has on her students. “I struggle with a lot of the common responses we have to disasters. I don’t remember things, I don’t track things as well. I know these are normal reactions and that my students are experiencing them, too.”

At the beginning of Fall and Winter quarters, she started the first days of class with the acknowledgement that students are in the middle of a disaster, how it affects people mentally and emotionally, and what one can reasonably expect. “I let them know that it’s normal to feel they have cognitive issues. I let them know that while I expect effort and performance, with a disaster environment that so strongly impacts people’s ability to perform, we will make adjustments and be flexible. I emphasize messages of resilience, that we will get through this.”

Looking forward from this vantage point, Dr. Mauseth sees potential for her own research into resilience. “The Seattle U education seems to be prepping students to be not just responsive, but also adaptive. The ingredients for resilience are purpose, connection, adaptability and flexibility, and hope. I suspect, given my experience this year, if we can look at adaptability and flexibility specifically, I think resilience is going to predict successful outcomes in the workplace environment and for students more than anything else than we've ever measured before.”

Photo: top row, l. to r.  Isabel Gilbertson and Dr. Kira Mauseth; middle row, l. to r. An Than and Joanna Corpuz; bottom row, l. to r. Kes Sorensen and Syndey Lindell. Not pictured Breanne Coulthard

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Pathways to Prof Formation ImageLast December, The Seattle Times published  “Seattle U’s new president must strengthen ties to today’s economy,” and op-ed by three College of Arts and Sciences students, all of whom work for The Spectator. The editorial by Andru Zodrow, political science and economics, and honors, Anna Popp, journalism, and Logan Gilbert, journalism, called on Seattle U President-Elect Eduardo Peñalver to renew and strengthen SU's commitment to students' professional formation. "Seattle U students are facing a tense, competitive job market amid a global pandemic. Renewing the focus on professional development will not only benefit students but enrich the reputation of the university."

Professional formation has been a strong focus in the College of Arts and Sciences, especially with our signature student mentoring event, LinkUp. Over the past four years, many Seattle-area alumni have participated, meeting with students to share the career paths they found after graduation and answering questions about their professional experiences.

This year, as we move the event online, we hope that more Arts and Sciences alumni will want to join us in supporting our students.


April 8, 4:30-6 p.m.

Register here. You can learn more about the event on our website.

Co-sponsored by  College of Arts and Sciences and the Dean’s Leadership Council; Seattle University Board of Regents; Career Engagement Office; and Alumni Engagement, the Alumni Board of Governors, and Graduates of the Last Decade Chapter (GOLD)

We will send more details as we get closer to the event. If you have questions, please contact Alexis Bradley by email.

We look forward to seeing you on April 8.

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Seattle U Gives

Join us next week on Thursday, February 25 for Seattle U Gives, 24 hours of celebration. During this day of uncommon generosity, the combined power of many gifts will have ripple effects on our students, our communities and the world. 

Logo for Seattle U GivesHelp us spread the word by signing up to be a Social Ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. Ambassadors receive tools that make sharing their passion for programs and departments quick and easy. The time commitment is small, but the potential to help your favorite area is infinite!

This year, your contribution can make a bigger difference than ever before. During Seattle U Gives, 124 gifts of any size to the College of Arts and Sciences—whether $5, $50 or $500—will unlock an additional $11,000 pledged by some of our most generous donors. The earlier you give, the greater opportunity you have to amplify your impact through this challenge and dozens more.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, to share our content with your networks.

For more information, contact Katie Chapman by email..

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How to Raise a Feminist Son by Sonora Jha

Sasquatch Books releases How to How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family, Dr. Sonora Jha’s latest book, on April 6. Publisher’s Weekly recently gave the book a starred review, saying, “At times touching and always impassioned, this is an excellent resource for like-minded parents.” You can read the full review here.

cover of How to Raise a Feminist Son by Sonora JhaReaders can look forward to two engaging opportunities to hear her talk about the book. On April 7, Town Hall Seattle and Elliott Bay Books host her and author Ojeoma Oluo for a conversation. Two weeks later, Dr. Jha is joined by two of her Seattle U colleagues: Dr. Nalini Iyer (Professor, Department of English and Pigott-McCone Endowed Chair) and Dr. Theresa Earenfight (Professor, Department of History and Chair Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program).

Tickets for the April 7 event go on sale at Town Hall Seattle soon. The book is available for preorder at Elliott Bay Books and Seattle University students, faculty, and staff receive a 20% discount on purchases.

Tickets for April 19 will also be on sale soon; information will be available here.

“In How to Raise a Feminist Son, Jha weaves her own fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking, and always beautiful story of raising her own feminist son with careful research, insightful interviews, and helpful advice. There were countless times in reading this book where I found myself reevaluating things I had told my own sons and setting new goals for things I would teach them in the future. True love sees you for who you are, and true love holds you to account when you fall short of who you can be, because true love knows what you are capable of. This book is a true love letter, not only to Jha's own son but also to all of our sons and to the parents--especially mothers--who raise them.” —Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race and Mediocre

Sasquatch Books calls the book, “A love story that will resonate with feminists who hope to change the world, one kind boy at a time.”

“From teaching consent to counteracting problematic messages from the media, well-meaning family, and the culture at large, we have big work to do when it comes to our boys. This empowering book offers much-needed insight and actionable advice. It’s also a beautifully written and deeply personal story of struggling, failing, and eventually succeeding at raising a feminist son.

“Informed by the author’s work as a professor of journalism specializing in social justice movements and social media, as well as by conversations with psychologists, experts, and other parents and boys, this book follows one mother’s journey to raise a feminist son as a single immigrant woman of color in America. Through stories from her own life and wide-ranging research, Sonora Jha shows us all how to be better feminists and better teachers of the next generation of men in this electrifying tour de force.

“Includes chapter takeaways, and an annotated bibliography of reading and watching recommendations for adults and children.”

“You can’t punish your way to a more feminist world, I’ve long believed; you have to create, encourage, invent that world, especially in how you raise kids, but that’s only one reason Sonora Jha’s book is exhilarating and inspiring. It’s a beautiful hybrid of memoir, manifesto, instruction manual, and rumination on the power of story and possibilities of family. I can’t wait to put it in the hands of everyone raising kids or thinking about how we do it and how it could be different.” —Rebecca Solnit, author of The Mother of All Questions

Sonora Jha, PhDSonora Jha, PhD, is a novelist, essayist, researcher, and a Professor of Journalism at Seattle University. She is the author of the novel Foreign (Random House India, 2013). She was born in India, where she had a career as a journalist in Mumbai and Bangalore before moving to Singapore and then to the United States to earn a Ph.D. in Political Communication. Dr. Jha's academic research on the emerging intersections of the press, politics, and the Internet has been published in top-tier national and international scholarly journals. Her debut novel, Foreign, is based on true stories of farmers' suicides in contemporary India, and it grew out of her work as a journalist, an academic, and a creative writer. It was a finalist for The Hindu Prize for Literary Fiction and the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award. It was long-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian literature.

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News: College of Arts and Sciences Community

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Upcoming Events

  • The Promise and Peril in Seattle’s New Era of Female Leadership

    February 17, 6 p.m. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and Seattle Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau discuss the highs and lows of women serving as leaders. Info here.

  • Seattle University Choirs, "To Dust," by Karen Marolli

    February 22, release date, virtual performance by Seattle University Choirs.

  • “ACTIVATE” Poetry Event

    March 4, 4:00 p.m., hosted by Distinguished Visiting Writer Anastacia-Renee Tolbert.

  • Roots of Injustice: The Structural Sources of America’s Penal State

    March 4, 4:00 p.m., hosted by Distinguished Visiting Writer Anastacia-Renee Tolbert.

  • "Uncharted Waters:" theatrical collaboration with Seattle U Theatre, Cornish College of the Arts, and UW School of Drama

    Live, virtual performances of "Twelfth Night" and "Bodies of Water," an original devised piece.

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