UW 360 Season 7: Episode 6

UW 360 Season 7: Episode 6

October 8, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Today on UW 360, what does
it take to become the best in the world? We’ll ask the UW School of Social Work, which
has now earned that incredible distinction. Plus, the inspiring UW Summer Camp that’s
empowering thousands of students with disabilities to achieve their college dreams. Also, hitting all the right notes, the UW’s
premier a cappella group takes the stage at the international finals. And the fight to save the world’s elephant
population– how a UW researcher is using technology to help catch poachers in Africa. Hi, everyone from the University of Washington,
I’m Carolyn Douglas. Welcome to UW 360. Science in service of change. Not a surprising motto at a university, but
probably not one you’d expect for a school of social work. But the UW School of Social Work is truly
in a field of its own. Already considered one of the best in the
country, now, it has been designated the best in the world for its innovative approach to
solving social problems. A warm spring evening finds the University
of Washington’s School of Social Work miles from campus, hosting a free public panel on
emerging federal policies and the poor. JENNIFER ROMICH: of the things we’ve done
is we’ve brought together speakers across a number of different topic areas. So housing, environment, labor, labor standards
and workers’ rights, health care, tax policy. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: The UW School is being singled
out for its modern approach to social work. The Center for World University Rankings has
named it best in the world for its practical research and practice of sharing it. JENNIFER ROMICH: We do a lot of original inquiry
into different types of social problems, possible interventions at different levels– understanding
the world and understanding how social work can change the world, and creating evidence
around that. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: But it isn’t all about big
data. Master’s candidate Taurmini Fentress says
field work and community building are both still vital aspects of modern social work. TAURMINI FENTRESS: From the beginning, our
community partners are letting us know what’s important to them, and we can use our research
skills to really dig deeply into those questions, and hopefully provide some answers for them
to help them do the work that they do. ERIC OPOKU AGYEMANG: We all have different
situations where we feel shy. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Master’s social work student,
Eric Opoku Agyemang, spends once a week at Seattle’s South Shore School. He teaches social and mental health skills
to sixth graders. ERIC OPOKU AGYEMANG: Usually, if you meet
someone, or you go into a social gathering for the first time, you can begin a conversation
by introducing yourself, right? CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Eric is founder of a nonprofit
in Ghana that focuses on saving children from being trafficked and exploited, often for
labor in West Africa’s fishing industry. UW students have come to Ghana to help his
foundation. ERIC OPOKU AGYEMANG: The School of Social
Work is one of the popular organizations that brings students on the study abroad to come
and support our projects back in Ghana– by helping us with interviews, by helping us
have one-on-one tutoring for the children that we’re returning from being trafficked. And by even providing public health services
to the community members. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: On his study abroad at the
UW, Eric is focusing on ways to influence public policy at home and expand his reach. ERIC OPOKU AGYEMANG: My dream is that, how
can I influence policies within the country to be able to address the root causes of child
trafficking? CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Taurmini is working as a
research assistant at the UW’s West Coast Poverty Center. One of the things she studies is how family
traumas, including being poor, can influence the next generation. TAURMINI FENTRESS: We don’t want to do research
just for research’s sake, but we’re hoping to make an impact within our communities. It’s a place that social work should be looking. I think that UW is certainly a leader in that. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Along with the work done
by faculty and staff, student internships and practicums also help add to the research
that’s analyzed and distributed by the UW School of Social Work. Still to come, a summer camp like no other
that empowers students with disabilities to achieve their college dreams. Plus, using DNA to catch a killer a continent
away. A one UW researcher is on a mission to protect
elephants from poachers. And the inspiring story of the Husky runner
who overcame devastating injuries to become one of the best in the country, as UW 360
continues. ANNOUNCER: The following UW 360 story is made
possible by the generous support of BECU. BECU– more than just money. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Welcome back to UW 360. Every summer, thousands of school kids take
part in summer camps at the University of Washington, immersing themselves in everything
from robotics and athletics to art and screenwriting. But one of those camps is truly unique. It’s called the DO IT Scholars Program. And for more than 20 years now, it has empowered
students with disabilities to succeed in challenging STEM-related fields. Some of those scholars shared their college
goals with Stacy Sakamoto. SUBJECT 1: I think that college is important
because it creates a pathway to the rest of your life. And it really shapes your identity as an adult. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: DO IT scholars are high school
students from an innovative transition to college program. Scholars are students with disabilities who
come from all over Washington State. Some have mobility or sensory impairments,
while others have invisible disabilities. They learn about college life, academic accommodations,
and disability advocacy. TEACHER: Wide open. You can do HTML, CSS, Javascript. SUBJECT 2: Going to college is important because
we’re always learning in life. And college is a way to help us do that. And that is what shapes us in our later lives. SUBJECT 3: The great thing about college is
it can help you get a better paying job. What I hope to get out of college is a great
financial future. SUBJECT 4: What I enjoyed most about college
was the chance to live on my own and become more independent, explore life and who I am,
and make a life for myself with my friends. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: DO IT scholars stay in dorms
during summer study at the University of Washington campus. They meet mentors, faculty members, and business
professionals. SUBJECT 5: I think college is important because
it allows you to get to know so many different types of people, and see so many new perspectives
on every problem or every situation that you might face. And I believe that this is really important,
because it really allows you to get to know other people. SUBJECT 6: I think college is important because
it’s a time to find yourself. See what you’re good at, what you like, and
what you’re successful at. SUBJECT 1: Going through college, I want to
understand my reason for being. And I want to understand why I am the way
I am. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Scholars participate in science
labs and academic workshops, and learn about technology. SUBJECT 7: I think college is important because
you get a head start in preparing for getting a job some day, and to pursue your dreams,
and hopefully get paid. SUBJECT 8: I want to go into business and
it will be really hard for me to get a job in business without getting a college degree. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Many of the DO IT scholars
leave camp with big plans for themselves, and for the world. SUBJECT 9: Life has changed so much for the
world in general, but especially for people with disabilities. And the awesome thing is, now, that we can
go to college and we can be a part of continuing to change the world. That’s why college is so important. Not to get a piece of paper or a degree, but
to make actual change happen in the world. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Since it started in 1993,
more than 400 students have participated in the DO IT Scholars Program, and many of them
were hired by tech companies, like Microsoft and Amazon, after they graduated from college. All right, from summer camps to singing competitions. The tradition of collegiate a cappella dates
back to the late 1800s. Some groups, like the Yale Whiffenpoofs have
been running continuously for more than a century. But the UW’s a cappella group is also making
a name for itself. Just this year the fermata a cappella group
became the first Washington team to ever make it to the international finals in the world’s
Premier Collegiate A cappella Competition. Austin Siedentopf shows us what makes them
such a force on stage. CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: First off, they’re
really excited to have us here. AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: If you’ve ever sung in
the shower– CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: Let’s make a good
impression today. AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: Danced in the kitchen,
or even whistled while you work– CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: I also know the lyrics,
that you’re not ready. AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: Then maybe you’ve daydreamt
about performing competitively. Maybe something like what you may have seen
on the silver screen. SUBJECT 10: One, two, bop bop. Bop bop. Bop bop. Yeah, yeah, yeah. SUBJECT 11: [SINGING] CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: We love performing. A lot of us don’t get the chance in everyday
life just to do what we love. MAGGIE MASER: These are people who love singing
and loved performing. And we couldn’t move forward in the competition
if it wasn’t for that. A cappella GROUP: Winners don’t quit on themselves. Bring on– AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: Andrew and Maggie are the
co-music directors of UW’s Premier Competitive A Cappella performance group– Furmata. CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: Furmata– F, U, R,
M, A, T, A is a musical term, which is– usually, when you hold out a note artistically longer
than the music notates. We are Furmata– F, U, R, M, A, T, A, and
that’s because we are the University of Washington Huskies, which have fur. So we are Furmata A Cappella. Hold it right there. A CAPPELLA GROUP: [SINGING] AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: Everything Furmata performers,
from musical arrangement to choreography, is thought of and implemented by members of
the group. MAGGIE MASER: We have to make room for, let’s
say there’s a weird rhythm inside that song, or whatever– we have to arrange it so that
our group can transpose that rhythm into what we’re singing. We have to just take everything and arrange
into a way that is performable. A CAPPELLA GROUP: [SINGING] AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: In less than a year, Furmata
has become a tour de force in the ICCA A Cappella Competition, where they will be representing
the Pacific Northwest in the international finals in New York. CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: It is, basically,
Pitch Perfect. MAGGIE MASER: Everything has to be top notch,
because we are competing with the best groups across the entire nation. AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: Andrew and Maggie credit
Furmata’s success in the competition to the group’s powerful ability to emote. MAGGIE MASER: We all like each other. And we’re very energized by each other. We feed off each other’s energy. CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: I think a big strength
is that none of us are music majors, but we all have this one commonality, which is our
love for singing. MAGGIE MASER: We’re all good friends in the
group, and we couldn’t do what we do if we weren’t good friends. A CAPPELLA GROUP: I’m going to keep on running
because a winner don’t quit on themselves. AUSTIN SIEDENTOPF: Perhaps it’s due to Furmata’s
commitment to song, and to each other, that they were able to fund their trip. Regular busking out in the city and a GoFundMe
page certainly didn’t hurt. CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: But funding from the
community to get us to finals in New York– launching, all of that stuff, and then to
keep growing as a group. We want to start recording albums. We want to start traveling, recruiting, and
growing the a cappella scene within this region– the Pacific Northwest. A CAPPELLA GROUP: She takes till I break and
I can’t give more. CHANGSEOP “ANDREW” LEE: We’re super honored
to be able to represent the University of Washington, the greater Seattle area, and
also the Pacific Northwest. We hope that we can get support from our local
community, from our university, and help us spread the love of singing and a cappella. PHOTOGRAPHER: OK, one, two– focus. A CAPPELLA GROUP: I’m going to keep on running
’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Furmata was one of the only
groups in New York that didn’t have a single music major on its team– an impressive feat
by itself. Furmata did not place at the ICCA finals,
but they are already preparing for next year’s competition. Still ahead, using DNA to catch a killer on
another continent. Meet the UW researcher who’s helping catch
elephant poachers in Africa. Plus, she’s one of the most decorated runners
in Washington State history. How this Husky track star battled back from
serious injury to stunning success, as UW 360 continues. Welcome back to UW 360. Elephants are an iconic symbol of Africa. But there are fewer than half a million left
in the wild. Nearly 96 elephants a day are killed by ivory
poachers. But a University of Washington conservation
biologist is working to stop that. His pioneering work in DNA analysis is bringing
some of those poachers to justice. Stacy Sakamoto has the story. SAMUEL WASSER: Go to any freezer in our lab
and– STACY SAKAMOTO: Get ready. It’s quite a sight. SAMUEL WASSER: You will find just tons and
tons of poop. Mount St. Helens from elk. These are whales, so here’s all the killer
whale projects. And we’ve got oodles and oodles of poop. STACY SAKAMOTO: Samuel Wasser’s Center for
Conservation Biology at the University of Washington has studied hundreds of animals
over the years. But it is his pioneering research of elephant
DNA that has attracted international acclaim. SAMUEL WASSER: So African elephants are now
being poached at a rate of about 40,000 animals a year. And there’s only 400,000 elephants left in
Africa. STACY SAKAMOTO: His lab uses DNA to trace
the origin and shipment of illegal ivory. This has been a tremendous breakthrough in
helping bring poachers to justice. SAMUEL WASSER: This is the DNA extracts from
the dung, from South Sudan, Kenya. STACY SAKAMOTO: The first step is extracting
DNA from dung samples. SAMUEL WASSER: We would get samples from across
the continent, from ourselves collecting– our colleagues– and created a DNA map of
elephant genetics for the entire continent of Africa– One for forest elephants and one
for Savannah elephants. Once we had that map, we then developed ways
to get DNA from ivory. And we could get a large seizure, and genotype
all the samples, match their genotypes to the map, and then tell where the elephant
actually was poached. STACY SAKAMOTO: The ivory samples are little
squares that look like pieces of ceramic tile. SAMUEL WASSER: This is kind of a typical piece
of ivory. STACY SAKAMOTO: Extracting DNA from ivory
is a painstakingly detailed process. Each step is carefully documented so the information
can be used as evidence to prosecute ivory poachers and exporters. SAMUEL WASSER: Once there’s a large seizure,
and that seizure arrives in our lab, it takes us a total of three weeks to get the entire
seizure analyzed, assigned for origin, and to write a full report and send it back to
the country that sent it to us. Our work was instrumental in bringing down
probably the biggest ivy dealer in Africa. And we had linked them to 10 major ivory seizures
with DNA. STACY SAKAMOTO: To measure the effect that
humans have on threatened and endangered species, the Center for Conservation Biology analyzes
the skat of many other animals. SAMUEL WASSER: Just for our wolf study alone,
we will get 5,000 samples for that one study of dung. STACY SAKAMOTO: Wasser loves all animals,
but his work with elephants holds a special place, because he feels that the center’s
work is making a difference. He wants to make sure that future generations
can appreciate what he’s seen. SAMUEL WASSER: There is nothing more wonderful
than to go to Africa and see these wildlife, and to just appreciate their splendor. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Wasser says the most poached
animal in the world is now a pangolin. It’s a small anteater with scaly armor, and
it’s hunted for its meat and its scales, which are used for medicinal purposes in some countries. Straight ahead on UW 360, a star athlete’s
long road to recovery. Meet the UW track star who battled multiple
injuries to return to championship form, and is now finding incredible success both on
and off the track. Welcome back to UW 360. When it comes to Husky athletics, Husky runners
are some of the best in the world. But there’s one particular runner on the UW
track team who has had to reach deep, emotionally and physically, to save her career. Erin Mayovsky has more on the runner who fought
to literally keep her career on track. ERIN MAYOVSKY: This is her domain– her road
to success. Step by step, mile after mile, Amy-Eloise
Neal is the Husky champion. But not without pain. AMY-ELOISE NEALE: I never wanted to quit. I think I sometimes questioned if I’d ever
be back. But deep down I always wanted to be, and I
always knew what I wanted to do. REPORTER: She’s also run– ERIN MAYOVSKY: Armed with relentless desire,
the redshirt junior battled numerous injuries after her freshman year. REPORTER: Nice to see her. She’s six on the all-time list at UW in the
1500. ERIN MAYOVSKY: Keeping her from competing
for 18 months. REPORTER: Amy-Eloise Neale. First appearance today, and coast to the finish
line. ERIN MAYOVSKY: But despite the uphill climb
of rehab, Neale never gave up– pushing herself to the limit in 2016, becoming the first Husky
ever to win the Pac 12 title, and the NCAA West Regional Cross-country championship. AMY-ELOISE NEALE: I think the key thing that
made me get better is putting it in perspective, and saying, I love to run. This is something I love to do. I love my team. I love my coaches. I love practice. ERIN MAYOVSKY: She admits she couldn’t have
done it without the support of the purple and gold. GREG METCALF: Gosh, her last year had been
phenomenal. The Pac 12 champion and the cross-country
season– she didn’t know for a moment that she’d actually won it. So they went and looked at the tape again. And she just says, I never thought I would
do this again. ERIN MAYOVSKY: Now, an all-American in cross
country and second teamer in the mile and 1300, the Snohomish native is not slowing
down. She’s off to the races again, not just in
the US. She’s a dual citizen with England. AMY-ELOISE NEALE: I will continue to compete
for England. But honestly, just seeing how the season goes
and seeing where it takes me. ERIN MAYOVSKY: Is it your peaceful play just
to be out here? AMY-ELOISE NEALE: Yeah, definitely. I think it gives you time to yourself, and
sometimes just gives you time to not think about anything at all, and just zone out a
little bit, which is really nice. ERIN MAYOVSKY: When her racing career starts
to slow down, Amy-Eloise will jump in the fast lane of life with her public health degree
from the UW. AMY-ELOISE NEALE: One of the reasons I came
to UW was because I want to have good academics. And there’s a lot of universities that are
pretty good for athletics, but maybe not for academics. And that’s something that I was really looking
for. Very aware that at the end of the day, I’m
not going to be able to run for forever, and I want a career. CAROLYN DOUGLAS: Even though Amy just received
her degree in public health, she’ll still continue to run for Washington next year,
as she starts graduate school in the UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Oh, and in her spare time, she’ll be getting
married to a former Husky rower. Congratulations to them both. And that does it for this edition of UW 360. If you’d like more information on any of the
stories you saw today, just head to our website at uwtv.org/uw360. You’ll also find us on Facebook and Twitter. I’m Carolyn Douglas. Thank you for watching, and we’ll see you
next time with all new stories from the University of Washington.