Health Sciences Administration

April 3, 2017

2017-2018 Magnuson Scholars Announced

On behalf of the University of Washington six Health Sciences Schools and the Magnuson Scholar Program, I am pleased to announce the 2017 – 2018 Magnuson Scholars. Each scholar was nominated by their respective Health Sciences School on the basis of outstanding academic performance and potential contributions to research in the health sciences. We appreciate your support of these scholars and our efforts to fully recognize their achievements while acknowledging Warren G. Magnuson’s extraordinary public service career.

David M. Anderson, DVM
Executive Director
Health Sciences Administration

The 2017-2018 Magnuson Scholars are:

Jonathan An
School of Dentistry

Travis Roark
School of Medicine

Afnan Hamad Alswyan
School of Nursing

Dennis Goulet
School of Pharmacy

Erica Lokken
School of Public Health

Sarah Jen
School of Social Work


Scholar Profiles

Jonathan An
School of Dentistry

Jonathan An is currently pursuing both a DDS and PhD degree at the University of Washington. His goal throughout his research experience and dental school has been to learn and help people. His current studies and experiences have strengthened his desire to become a dentist-scientist. Jonathan’s research interest in dentistry began in an oral biology lab, where his focus was on the innate immune response of the oral gingival epithelial cells.

During PhD training in Dr. Matt Kaeberlein’s lab Jonathan has been developing a greater understanding of biological aging. This presents a unique environment which approaches the study of aging using model organisms, from single-celled budding yeast to large mammals including dogs. Dr. Matt Kaeberlein notes, “Jonathan is an outstanding DDS/PhD student who is committed to becoming a dentist scientist. The initiative and confidence is truly reflective of Jonathan’s capabilities and commitment as both a clinician and a researcher.”

Travis Roark
School of Medicine

Travis Roark is a second year medical student who is actively engaged in a career pathway relating to diabetes research. As an undergraduate student Travis had the opportunity to work in a basic science research lab studying enzyme catalysis, protein engineering and developing novel in vitro applications. As part of his research Travis has been collaborating with Dr. Ian de Boer in a retrospective study of kidney biopsies from patients with diabetes. He received funding for this project from the NIDDK and presented his work at a symposium at Vanderbilt University this past August. Travis is drawn to a career in academic medicine because it is on the forefront of medical innovation. He hopes to participate in advancing the practice and science of medicine as well as providing the most current, evidenced based medicine for my patients.

Associate Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Ian de Boer states, that Travis “demonstrated exceptional knowledge, drive, and dedication to academic research working with me last summer on a project examining diabetic nephropathy. Based on this experience, I can confidently claim that Travis is a rising young star in academic medicine.”

Afnan Hamad Alswyan
School of Nursing

Afnan Hamad Alswyan is a PhD student at the University of Washington’s School of Nursing with a research interest in improving recovery outcomes of vulnerable populations. She was inspired in part by some of her own experiences with poor discharge care. One of Afnan’s long term research goals is to bring evidence-based post-care therapies among long-term survivors of acute and\or chronic illness in the United State and Saudi Arabia (SA). She is planning to incorporate rehabilitation programs into patient care plans and implement evidence-based therapies for those with acute and chronic illnesses, with the aim of preventing complications from these illnesses, delaying decline, maintaining self-care, and achieving the highest possible quality of life.

The Chair of Afnan’s supervisory committee, Cynthia M. Dougherty, ARNP, PhD, FAAN, states that, “I am impressed by her enthusiasm and engagement with this topic especially as it relates to physiological and psychological patient outcomes…Afnan has familiarized herself with a substantial body of scientific knowledge related to complex cardiac arrhythmias, and has formulated a sound innovative research plan.”

Dennis Goulet
School of Pharmacy

Dennis Goulet is a PhD student at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy. Dennis is pursuing a career in pharmaceutical research to investigate improved approaches to the treatment of human disease. He hopes that through his studies and research the lives of others can be improved through the pursuit of scientific understanding. Ultimately Dennis plans to use the knowledge he has gained in biochemistry and biophysics to engineer the next class of protein therapeutics that are structurally optimized to be as safe and efficacious as possible.

Dennis’ Thesis Advisor Dr. William M. Atkins observes that, “Dennis joined my lab for his thesis research in 2014 and his accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary… Dennis is liked and highly respected throughout our department. Students seek him out for advice and scientific discussion. Faculty members engage Dennis with a level of respect that is reserved for the most highly accomplished students.”

Erica Lokken
School of Public Health

Erica Lokken is a Ph.D. student in Epidemiology through the School of Public Health. Erica’s immediate goal is to complete her PhD degree and in doing so gain analytical and study coordination skills that will prepare her to be a successful researcher. Her long-term career objective is to conduct epidemiological research that informs data-driven best practices for improving women’s health. Her goal is to become an independent investigator, contributing to improved sexual and reproductive health for women through cutting-edge epidemiological research. I aim to design multidisciplinary studies that leverage collaborations with microbiologists, biostatisticians, obstetricians and gynecologists to improve our understanding of the impact of the vaginal microbiota on key reproductive health outcomes.

The Chair of Erica’s PhD dissertation committee, R. Scott McClelland, MD, MPH, notes, “Erica is bright, motivated, enthusiastic, and driven by a desire to make a difference in women’s reproductive health research. Her creativity, aptitude, diligence, and great educational attitude combine to give her the means to succeed in achieving her long term goal of an academic career in STD research.”

Sarah Jen
School of Social Work

Sarah Jen is a doctoral student at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. Sarah’s ultimate career goal is to obtain a position as a research faculty member at a prestigious university and to pursue federal funding for mixed-methods research on LGBT midlife and older adults as well as teaching classes on aging, theory development, research methods, and social work history. Her dissertation research takes an important step forward in understanding how bisexual identities are experienced and constructed by older women, entailing a detailed discourse analysis of in-depth interviews with bisexual women age 45 and older living in the Seattle area, overseen by a committee of Social Work and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies faculty. Additionally, as a Washington State resident Sarah is well positioned to have a direct and meaningful impact on the local community.

Karen Fredricksen-Golsen, PhD, Professor of Social Work and Director of Healthy Generations: Hartford Center of Excellence at the University of Washington, has worked closely with Sarah for six years and believes that, “As a talented and developing scholar, [Sarah] will greatly benefit from the support and recognition provided by the scholarship. I have no doubt that she will make significant contributions to the health sciences, with an emphasis on addressing the needs of diverse and historically disadvantaged communities. “