ABOUT US

University of Washington BLOG CREW

Caitlin Courshon is a second-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in school psychology at the University of Washington. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and sociology, and prior to graduate school, she worked in Seattle Public Schools to support kindergarten through third-grade students with literacy intervention. Caitlin is passionate about educational equity, and she is interested in supporting children’s academic and social-emotional outcomes through quality and early intervention in schools and through school-family-community partnerships. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, Caitlin has always loved playing in and exploring the outdoors. She still loves hiking, biking, and lake swimming to this day!

Catie Chun is currently pursuing an EdS in school psychology at the UW and holds a BA in Mathematics and Physics from Whitman College. Prior to graduate school, Catie has worked as an after school tutor and a math teacher, striving to develop her students’ skills and confidence in their math abilities. She is particularly interested in advancing educational equity and supporting the mental health of youth in schools. Catie grew up in San Francisco, where she could be found building with blocks, doing puzzles, and playing cards with her younger brother. 

Clarissa Alfes is a graduate student in the University of Washington College of Education pursuing an EdS and PhD in school psychology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Johns Hopkins University and is passionate about working with young children to strengthen their skills for school readiness. Clarissa particularly loves children’s museum settings; she previously studied early math development through museum-based, experiment games with little scientists from the community. She grew up playing all the games she could get her hands on: board games, card games, puzzles. She is still always up for a game!

Elyanah Posner is a PhD student in the school psychology program at UW and is interested in how to make research more applicable in real-world settings. Originally from California, Elyanah graduated from UC Berkeley, where she majored in psychology and minored in education. While at Berkeley, Elyanah worked in the paleontology museum where she cataloged fossils and did education outreach with local schools. Elyanah is super excited to combine her prior experience and passion for museums with her love of research and child development by collaborating with the Imagine Children’s Museum! When she was little Elyanah enjoyed reading, drawing horses, and annoying her three older siblings.   

Emalise Mitchell is a school psychology graduate student pursuing a PhD at the University of Washington. Emalise earned a Master’s degree in applied psychology and she has worked in the Seattle Public School District in various special education programs. Emalise is interested in exploring the many ways in which students develop identity and explore the world around them. She is particularly interested in bringing more mental health services and interventions into schools. Emalise had two imaginary friends growing up, along with her four siblings, so her childhood was full of creative play and adventuring whenever and wherever possible.

Hannah de Vries is a school psychology graduate student pursuing an Educational Specialist degree at the University of Washington. Hannah has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and has worked extensively in a variety of different research centers with children ranging from 2 months to 10 years old. She is interested in how parent-teacher partnerships support student learning and development and ultimately wants to improve the current education system. Having grown up in Canada, Hannah could always be found in the outdoors and playing in the snow (which still applies today!).

Jen VanEtten is currently pursuing an Ed.S. in School Psychology at The University of Washington. Originally from a small town in upstate NY, she completed a B.S. in Psychology and Kinesiology from SUNY Brockport. With nearly 9 years of experience in childcare, she is interested in supporting the mental health of youth and learning more about crisis interventions in schools. In her free time you may find Jenn (attempting) cooking, doing yoga, hiking with her partner (Evan) and dog (Lando), or Face Timing her 14-year-old sister, Ava.

Jessica Anderson is a first-year school psychology student at the University of Washington pursuing a PhD. Prior to graduate school, Jessica studied elementary and special education and psychology in Wisconsin and had the pleasure of teaching 4th graders. She is particularly interested in literacy development in young children, and how parents and teachers can work together to encourage strong academic outcomes for children. Jessica resides in Seattle with her partner, Dan and 3-year-old daughter, Avery. As a child, Jessica spent hours outdoors pretending with her 5 siblings, and she frequently played “teacher” to her unfortunate 4 younger siblings. As an adult, Jessica still spends some time playing outdoors through hiking and biking, and she loves to get creative with the arts!

Josh Blazen is currently pursuing a PhD is school psychology and has a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan. Before graduate school, he worked as a preschool teacher and camp counselor. Josh is interested in how children learn social skills at school, and how social skills in early childhood relate to mental health and academic outcomes. He spent his childhood playing with his three siblings in the woods, and can usually still be found spending time outside today.

Kayla Polk is a school psychology graduate student pursuing a PhD at the University of Washington. Kayla earned a Masters degree in research psychology, and she has researched school readiness skills of children in preschool settings. Kayla is interested in children’s developing early math skills, and the provision of effective educational environments that foster strong academic and behavioral skills for long-term success. Kayla grew up in the Southeast region of the U.S., and she spent time using her imagination while playing in the woods.

Rachele Gentry   is a graduate student at the University of Washington pursuing an Educational Specialist degree in school psychology. Rachele obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and family and child sciences from Florida State University, where her passion for working with children experiencing academic difficulties began. She intends to base her career on increasing educational equity across races and socioeconomic statuses, creating a school system that allows everyone to achieve! Growing up in Florida, Rachele spent most of her time at the beach, in the pool, or hanging out at Disney World. Now, she is embracing all the Pacific Northwest has to offer, whether it be hiking, sightseeing, or playing in the rain!

Swee Harrison   is a graduate student at the University of Washington pursuing her Ed.S in School Psychology. Swee obtained her undergraduate degrees in Economics and Creative Writing from Macalester College in 2019. She is interested in early and elementary education, disability, and studying influencing factors on children’s academic and developmental progress. Outside of academics, Swee spends her time venturing outdoors, painting, cooking, and spending time with friends and loved ones. Swee grew up all throughout the California Bay Area and currently enjoys exploring all that Seattle (and the PNW) has to offer! 

Kristen Missall, PhD, is a professor of school psychology at the University of Washington. Kristen has been a professor for 15 years, and before that, she worked in early childhood programs and elementary schools. She researches how children age 3 to 8 develop literacy, math and prosocial skills, and is also interested in the role of child development, educational supports and parenting in children’s school success. Kristen has a wonderful family including her supportive husband (Robb), three children (Meggie [15], Max [12], Alex [8]), one happy golden retriever (Finn), one chubby guinea pig (Bean), and 8-12 fish (give or take). At all ages Kristen has loved playing and creating with art supplies – bring on the markers, colored paper, shape scissors, glue and glitter!