Newsletter Editions

Published: 12/16/2010
Winter 2010


New Certificate Program in Early Childhood Leadership

Rebecca Cortes
Instructor Rebecca Cortes

The Psychology Department has launched its first professional certificate program! The program leads to a certificate in Early Childhood Leadership and it is now open for registration. Classes start Feb. 23, 2011, and last for six months.  Psychology Department researcher Rebecca Cortes is the coordinator and instructor for the program.  Participants have the opportunity to develop a strong conceptual framework that strengthens their leadership vision for the field of early childhood development and education. They will gain a multidisciplinary perspective on system factors that contribute to early development and learning, acquire a core set of leadership skills that allow them to guide teams toward continuous quality improvement, and connect with essential resources and professional networks to remain current on issues in the field. 

Faculty Set Groundwork for Collaborations in China

Jane Simoni, Jessia Sommerville, Brian Flaherty, When assistant professor Janxin Leu was an undergraduate in China, there were about 15 departments of psychology in the entire country.  Less than two decades later, there are almost 250. This fall, four faculty from the UW Department of Psychology traveled to China to investigate and explore collaborations, meeting with researchers and top public health officials. Read more.

A partnership with K-12 Education: The Evergreen School

Photo of Todd Rose
Dr. Todd Rose
Dr. Kurt Fischer
Dr. Kurt Fischer

For the third year, the Psychology Department has partnered with the Evergreen School in Shoreline, WA, to bring leading child researchers to the University of Washington campus for public events.  The goal of this partnership is to inform parents and plicy makers about cutting edge research and best practices for child education.  In November, Drs. Kurt Fischer and Todd Rose (both from Harvard University) discussed the importance of working memory in K-12 classrooms, the role of neuroscience in education, and how to transform research into practice in the classroom.

2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival

Psychology Department Research Professor Randy Kyes, Director of the Department-affiliated Center for Global Field Study, was in Washington D.C. last October to host a science exhibit as part of the USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo on the Washington Mall

Kyes helping a festival attendee practice pipetting.
Kyes helping a festival
attendee practice pipetting.

The exhibit, titled “What Can Animals Tell Us about the Future of the Earth,” featured demonstrations and hands-on experience with equipment used in field research (such as GPS receivers, trap cameras, radio telemetry, blow pipes), as well as in the lab.  The goal of the exhibit was to demonstrate how biodiversity conservation and human health are interrelated and that we must focus our attention and study on the human-environment interface if we are to be successful in our conservation of biodiversity and promotion of global health.  By studying animals at this interface, we can better understand the anthropogenic threats and resulting impact on the animals and their environment, and in turn, the growing risks to human health.

Photo of Randall Kyes, Mathew Novak, Katie Hinde and Crita Johnson
From left to right: Kyes with
former UW students,
Katie Hinde, Crista Johnson, and
Matthew Novak

The Festival Expo was the culmination of a two week national celebration of science that began on October 10, 2010 and was designed to reinvigorate American youth’s interest in science.  More than 1500 exhibits sponsored by the country’s leading science and engineering institutions were present for the two day event which drew an estimated half million visitors. 

Former UW students, Dr. Matthew Novak (Psychology), Dr. Katie Hinde (Anthropology), and Crista Johnson (Anthropology) assisted with the exhibit.   All three are alumni of Kyes’ International Field Study Program, in Indonesia

Edward's Lectures 2011: Diversity, Culture and Behavior

Edwards SpeakersSince 2004, the Psychology Department has hosted the annual Allen Edwards Lecture Series. For 2011, Professors Sapna Cheryan, Cheryl Kaiser, and Jane Simoni will speak about (respectively) gender stereotypes and career choice; the role of diversity research in discrimination-related policy and law; and global mental health and HIV. Read more.

Youth Enrichment in Sports: An Applied Sport Psychology Perspective

“If it hadn’t been for sports, I wouldn’t have grown up hating my father.” - Quote from a 40-Year-Old Man

Youth sports are a firmly established part of societies around the world, and they directly touch the lives of millions of children, adolescents, and adults. In the United States alone it is estimated that about 60.3 million youngsters 6-to-18 years of age participate in agency-sponsored sports, such as Little League Baseball, the American Youth Soccer Organization, and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Additionally, about 7.5 million youth (4.4 million males, 3.1 million females) participate in high school sports.

The growth of youth sport programs during the past half-century has been dramatic in scope, but not without dispute. Much of the debate concerns the roles that coaches and parents play. To resolve some of the controversy, Drs. Ronald E. Smith and Frank L. Smoll have carried out a program of research and development that has spanned more than three decades.

How Can Coaches and Parents Improve Youth Sports?

Beginning in the early 1970s, Professors Smith and Smoll co-directed a project that is now known as Youth Enrichment in Sports (YESports). The objective of the project is to develop, evaluate, and deliver child-centered educational programs for coaches and parents—instructional offerings that ultimately serve to benefit young athletes. Supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the William T. Grant Foundation, their approach illustrates what is called “evidence-based practice” in the field of medicine. At every stage of the process, scientific research played a key role in developing YESports interventions.

Photo of Frank Smoll
Dr. Frank Smoll
Dr. Ron Smith
Dr. Ron Smith

YESports training programs are designed to help coaches and parents create a mastery climate—a learning environment that emphasizes skill development, personal and team success, maximum effort, and fun. In both academic and sport settings, a wide range of salutary outcomes have been linked to a mastery climate.

What is the Mastery Approach to Coaching?

In their basic and applied research, Smith and Smoll developed the Mastery Approach to Coaching (MAC), which is the only scientifically validated coaching education workshop that has been shown to have the following outcomes:

  • Fosters positive coach-athlete relations and greater mutual respect
  • Increases the amount of fun that athletes experience
  • Creates greater team cohesion and a more supportive athletic setting
  • Promotes higher mastery-oriented achievement goals in sports and in school
  • Increases athletes’ self-esteem
  • Reduces performance-destroying anxiety and fear of failure
  • Decreases athlete dropout rates from approximately 30% to 5%
  • Produces equally positive effects on boys and girls teams

Where Have MAC Workshops Been Presented?

More than 25,000 youth sport coaches have participated in some 500 workshops in the United States and Canada. Workshops have been presented to volunteer coaches in a variety of sport-specific organizations (e.g., Little League Baseball, Washington Youth Soccer, Minnesota Hockey) and multi-sport organizations (e.g., Catholic Youth Organization, Boys and Girls Clubs, community recreation departments). The program has also been offered as in-service training for PE teachers and coaches in public school districts.

What is the Biggest Problem in Youth Sports?

When asked this question, administrators and coaches almost unanimously agree. It’s parents! Although problem parents may be a small minority, their impact can be huge. Because of this, the Smith-Smoll team developed the Mastery Approach to Parenting in Sports (MAPS) so that mothers and fathers can learn to make positive contributions. The research-based workshop for parents complements the one for coaches and is designed to get the two groups of adults “on the same page.”

What are the MAC and MAPS Self-Instructional Programs?

The MAC and MAPS workshops were recently transformed into self-instructional DVD format. The 66- and 45-minute programs are specifically designed to teach mastery-oriented principles with the aid of animated graphics, photos, and embedded videos.

How will the Mastery Approach DVDs be disseminated? Drs. Smith and Smoll are working to find corporate and foundation sponsors to deliver the training—free of charge—to youth sport organizations nationwide.

Where is More Information About YESports Available?

The YESports project website contains summaries of Smith’s and Smoll’s research articles, expanded descriptions of the Mastery Approach programs, and video previews of the MAC and MAPS DVDs (

Psychology Staff Members in Community Service

Meet three Psychology Department staff members who are sharing their time and talents, volunteering in their communities.

Junior the jaguar plays with enrichments prepared by zoo volunteer Jamie Campanelli
Junior the jaguar plays with enrichments
prepared by zoo volunteer Jamie Campanelli

Jamie Campanelli, an animal technician for the Department for the past twelve years, credits that experience in facilitating his volunteer work at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.  Jamie began volunteering at the Woodland Park Zoo after spending many hours observing the male and female jaguars, Junior and Nayla, for a school research project.  As he got to know the keeper staff, volunteers, zoo administration, and many of the regular guests, he saw daily evidence of the dedication to conservation and education efforts and was inspired to get involved.  “I felt that I wanted to contribute to an organization that did so much to preserve habitats and species while educating the public by providing a venue to connect with the larger world community as well as threatened species and habitats," says Jamie.  He continues that "a personal connection with species otherwise out of reach can engender concern for the environment and motivate conservation.”  Thanks to his experience in animal husbandry, Jamie was placed as an animal unit volunteer.  He prepared regular diets and enrichments for the jaguars, ocelots, golden lion tamarins, colobus monkeys, lemurs, and many more.  Due to his experience and efficient work, he was soon given the opportunity to help with additional keeper duties.  Jamie looks forward to resuming a seasonal paid position at the zoo that grew out of his volunteer activities and his passion for the work.

Merly Jones and Friends
Merly Jones and friends; Cecille, Lily, Chona,
and Gemma in the Philippines

In August, Merly Jones, Payroll Coordinator and her daughter spent thee weeks visiting the Province of Leyte in Merly's native Philippines. Their trip included visiting family, sponsoring a town fiesta, and joining four high school friends in volunteering at an orphanage.  The experience, which was deeply moving for Merly, gave her the opportunity to work alongside old friends - some she had not seen since her high school graduation - and to give back to her home community.  While Merly says that the orphanage staff "seemed to be doing the best they can with limited resources," she was happy to be able to brighten their day by delivering a special meal for the children.  She and her sisters prepared fried chicken (a special request from the children) to serve along with ice cream.  Flying home from the Philippines, Merly revisted the highlights of her journey.  Touched by the children's stories, their innocence, and their hunger for love, affection and acceptance, Merly looked to the future.  "I can't wait to return to the Philippines to continue the charity work with my high school friends," says Merly, who shares a favorite quote from Henry David Thoreau:  Kindness to children, love for children, goodness to children - these are the only investments that never fail.

Vicky Burke
Vicky Burke

Psychology Department academic advisor Vicky Burke draws upon her natural talents, as well as her experience and training, to help some of the communities most vulnerable people.  Through four different volunteer positions, Vicky brings her strong listening skills, problem solving abilities and empathy to people in need.  Working with the Seattle Police Department's Victim Support Team, Vicky and a partner serve as city-wide on call advocates for victims of domestic violence and other crisis.  This program provides direct service to victims during the weekend when the professional victim advocates are unavailable.  As a fundraiser for TreeHouse for Kids, an organization that supports children in Seattle area foster care, Vicky provides outreach and raises money to support in-school and after-school tutoring programs, summer camps, after-school activities, and new, cool clothing for kids who are always the 'new kid' in their school.  In her role as a patient care volunteer for Providence Hospice of Seattle, Vicky works directly with patients and their families, visiting once a week to give a respite break for the primary caregiver. Volunteers connect with patients through conversation, games, reading, and activities.  Her most recent volunteer position is with the Community Truancy Board for the King County Prosecutors Office.  She sits on a board that elementary, middle and high school students go to if they have missed a significant amount of school days.  Board members talk with students and their family members about the situation, discuss expectations for behavior change, and make recommendations to the Truancy Officer.  "In my work as an academic advisor in the Psychology Department, I am fortunate to work with very intelligent and energetic students," says Vicky, who loves helping students to plan their education and focus on their future goals.  "Although this is very rewarding work," she continues, "I feel that it is important to volunteer with people in crisis who are in need of greater support and assistance. The unifying experience I have in my various volunteer experiences is the opportunity to connect and listen."  The people who Vicky serves are from diverse backgrounds and face many different barriers.  She notes that, like some of the UW students with whom she works, the people that she meets through volunteering are unsure where they are going and what they would like their life to look like.  "I use many of the skills I have developed as an academic advisor when I work in the field," observes Vicky, "and likewise, I believe that my volunteer experiences has given me a deeper perspective on our community and has shaped how I work with our undergraduates."

Thank you to our supporters

Special thanks to the following April - October 2010 supporters.  Contributions help strengthen our Department and support a wide range of important research and instructional work by our current students and faculty, as well as recruitment of the very best new faculty and graduate students.  Please let us know if we have accidentally omitted or misspelled your name by writing to the Psychology Development office.

Mr. and Mrs. Alan S. Ailie  |  Ms. Amalia Annest  |  Ms. Veronica L. Asui  |  Mr. Robert C. Barkley  |  Mr. and Mrs. Roger M. Belanich  |  Mr. and Mrs. Kevin P. Boyle  |  Ms. Tiffany D. Brewster  |  Dr. and Mrs. James M. Campbell Jr.  |  Mr. and Mrs. Dennis M. Chandler  |  Dr. and Mrs. Paul W. Clement  |  Mr. Patrick Loudon Coblentz  |  Ms. Melanie Colon  |  Ms. Margaret S. Dennis  |  Mr. Robert E. Donnell  |  Ms. Jeunai Dotson  |  Ms. Rebecca L. Emery  |  Dr. Michael S. Fanselow  |  Melissa A. Fleming, Ph.D.  |  Mr. Peter M. Fogliano  |  Mr. Steven R. Galper  |  Ms. Christine D. Galvin  |  Mr. and Mrs. Paul A. George  |  Mr. and Mrs. David G. Gilbert  |  Drs. Robert N. Golden & Nona K. Phillips  |  Mary Ann Goodwyn, Ph.D.  |  Dr. and Mrs. Stephen G. Green  |  Dr. & Mrs. Anthony Greenwald  |  Ms. Iisha Fawn Gwynn  |  Mr. and Mrs. Gary D. Hack  |  Dr. and Mrs. Gordon C. Nagayama Hall  |  Mr. and Mrs. Robert T. Hamilton  |  Mr. and Ms. Jason Hannigan  |  Dr. Jean and Mr. Thomas Heestand  |  Mr. and Mrs. James Hereford  |  Ms. Barbara M. Hertzog  |  Ms. Margaret E. Hix  |  Dr. and Mrs. Albert R. Hollenbeck  |  Warren G. Holmes, Ph.D.  |  Ms. Patricia M. Johnson  |  Ms. Krista Ann Jones  |  Ms. Rhonda L. Jones  |  Mr. and Mrs. Bill L. Langdon  |  Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D.  |  Drs. J. E. Lipton and D. P. Barash  |  Prof. G. Alan Marlatt  |  Mr. Daniel J. Miller  |  Ms. Judyth I. Mirante  |  Ms. Rindy Rose Moreira  |  Mr. and Ms. James P.  Morrison  |  Mr. S. Mitchell & Ms. S. Nishimoto  |  Drs.  Brian Kelley and Patricia Pedigo  |  Ms. Kris P. Primacio  |  Mr. Gordon C. Pyke  |  Mr. Kevin Kai Ren  |  Mr. Kevin R. Rio  |  Ms. Arleen G. Runkle  |  Ms. Mitsuye Y. Sakaguchi  |  Ms. Nancy Lynn Schaaf  |  Ms. Donna E. A. Schmidt  |  Ms. Jennifer L. Schulze-Aguirre  |  Ms. Helen J. Setter  |  Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Shimer  |  Mr. and Mrs. Kevin S. Y. Shiraishi  |  Ms. Carroll P. Smith  |  Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Sobolik  |  Mr. Ronald Soper & Ms. Barbara Bunkle  |  Dr. and Mrs. Joe T. Stone  |  Ms. Julie Anne Tague  |  Mr. and Mrs. Mark P. Thompson  |  Ms. Mary Jane Thompson  |  Ms. Chandra D. Wajdik  |  Dr. and Mrs. David G. Weight  |  Ms. Marguerite M. Weis  |  Adam M. Weisman, Ph.D.  |  Mr. Michael Allen Williams  |  Mr. and Mrs. Todd D. Worthington  |  Ms. Susanna P. Wu  |  Jeff and Julie Ziegler  |  Lori A. Zoellner, Ph.D.

Behavioral Tech, LLC  |  LISALI LLC  |  Universitetet I Bergen

Estate of Robert C. Bolles  |  Estate of Allen L. Edwards

In honor of Dr. Cheryl Kempinsky:  Ms. Donna L. Klein

Matching:  American Association of Retired Persons  |  The Boeing Company