UW Graduate School

GO-MAP Alumni Story


September 25, 2019

Explore GO-MAP’s History

Welcome to the start of the GO-MAP story! We are so proud of our history, our struggles, our achievements, and, especially, our alumni.  As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, we produced a timeline that incorporates profiles of our alumni from the past five decades. We hope these profiles give you a sense of the…


Michelle (Mimi) Acosta, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology, 1980-1989 Every year in the Department of Psychology, there was one graduate student of color who was charged with supporting students of color within the program. This official departmental position was funded by a fellowship from GO-MAP. I was one of the graduate students who held this position in the 1980’s.  The…


Jason Wooden, Ph.D.

Department of Genetics, 1996 Wooden works in the Seattle area and is a full-time entrepreneur, with a number of projects in health and biomedical sciences. Wooden recalls how GO-MAP functions helped him get out of the lab and make connections across disciplines.  Graduate school can be very arduous for people. It can be a long…


Tyrone Caldwell Howard, Ph.D.

College of Education, 1998 Dr. Howard came to the UW after teaching in elementary school classrooms in Compton, California. Advised by Professor James Banks (the “Father of Multicultural Education), Howard studied multicultural education, academic achievement among African Americans, and equity in the classroom. Howard has continued onto an impressive career as a professor of education…


Jessica Yellin, Ph.D.

Mechanical Engineering BSME – 1989 MSME – 1996 Ph.D. – 2004 For Jessica Yellin, Ph.D., ‘04, GO-MAP provided emotional support and community as she tackled a challenging graduate school program and cared for her family.  Yellin describes herself as “a local yocal and kind of a lifer.” Having grown up in the Seattle area, she…


Morris Johnson, Ph.D.

School of Environmental & Forest Services, 2008 “I’m quite sure if it wasn’t for GO-MAP, I wouldn’t be in my position now,” says Morris Johnson, a research fire ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service and a UW affiliate professor. “I would not have gone to graduate school, would not have gotten the Gates Millennium Scholarship to…


Audra Gray-Dowdy, M.Ed., Ph.D.

College of EducationM.Ed. – 1999Ph.D. – 2011 As a student, Audra Gray-Dowdy formed an informal network of peers of color to help her navigate graduate school. GO-MAP helped to formalize these networks and expand their reach beyond her department.  Through conversations in the GO-MAP office and GO-MAP social events, Gray-Dowdy made connections that showed her…


Naomi Campa, M.A., Ph.D.

Department of Classics, 2014 I received a GO-MAP supplemental grant and later a dissertation fellowship during my time at UW. The fellowship was quite unexpected for me and came at a moment when I was debating whether I would be able to finish my dissertation at all.  The award had the practical effect of making…


Erica Sanchez, Ph.D.

Molecular & Cellular Biology, 2016 First year of graduate school was a tough transition year for me. While I got along well with my classmates, I was still searching to build community in Seattle. Throughout my first year, GO-MAP continued to invite me to events, but in the haze of classes and lab, I failed…


Tamiko Nimura, Ph.D.

English, 2004 For Tamiko Nimura, Dr. Johnnella Butler’s classes felt like a sanctuary.  Butler was director of the Minority Education Division (renamed GO-MAP during her tenure) from 2000–2006. “Dr. Butler not only taught classes that provided community for students of color,” says Nimura, “she was a mainstay support for us.”  During Nimura’s first year in…



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