Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Message from CSDE Director, Sara Curran

Posted: 6/11/2021 (CSDE Seminar Series)

Congratulations to everyone upon the completion of this very long academic year! All of us at CSDE are sending a loud and cheerful shout-out of great appreciation to our entire community of affiliates, staff, and students. Our weekly seminars on Zoom have reassured all of us, in a small way, just by knowing that you’re still doing okay and able to participate in that vital aspect of scientific communality.

We have a few departures to mention. Our CSDE Evans School RA, Veda Patwardhan, is moving onwards to a wonderful postdoctoral position with CSDE Affiliate Emmanuela Gakidou and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. CSDE Affiliate Maria Bleil is stepping down from chairing CSDE’s seminar program, because she has wonderful new grants that were just awarded. Thank you to you both!

We welcome a few new people to the CSDE team, including Katy Bachman who is serving as CSDE’s Graduate Certificate Advisor. Dr. Jessica Beyer will be joining our Research Science staff and to provide consultations on qualitative methods. Jessica Godwin will be joining our science team and leading this summer’s Population Health Initiative Applied Research Program. Professor David Takeuchi will be joining CSDE’s Executive Committee. Tyler McCormick will be joining as the Science Core PI. Among other initiatives, Tyler will be growing our ‘lunch and learn’ program, which aims to link UW’s innovative methodologists with other scientists seeking to learn and collaborate.  Tyler hosted this week’s very informative pilot program focused on sampling hard to reach populations.  Welcome to all of you!

Additionally, let me take a bit more space to acknowledge a few people and organizations without whom this year really would not have been as functional as it was. Thank you to Scott Kelly, Belinda Sachs, Angie Thai and Gianna Cannataro – they are CSDE’s Administrative team and they are masters of a most amazing juggling act of responsibilities and activities. From grant submissions to grants award management, budget reconciliation and projections, endless amounts of hiring, many events and programs, website updates and quality communications, evaluations and assessments, development and management of organization and information systems, etc… – you name it, they do it with grace and kindness!

Thank you to our computing core team – Matt Weatherford, Alan Li, Moris Vrachovski, and Emily Lust who have accomplished so much this year from remote locations including all of the help desk services to re-hauling and upgrading our systems, renewing licenses, bringing our computing environment up to the highest grade of security, building new virtual servers, and more! 90% of CSDE’s research community depends on the high-quality services they provide and we are extraordinarily grateful for their cutting-edge and reliable systems. Thank you to our amazing scientific staff (Matt Dunbar, Ellie Brindle, Deven Hamilton, Phil Hurvitz, and Christine Leibbrand) who provide top-flight consulting, research services, and infrastructure support (such as our workshops and the UW Data Collaborative).

Thank you to our stalwart faculty leadership team.  This begins with Steve Goodreau who ably manages a highly productive summer grants program, an early career investigator year-long workshop, and our seed grant program.  This year, we’ve benefitted greatly from Zack Almquist’s thoughtful leadership as the Training Core PI.  With Ellie Brindle, Melanie Martin’s co-direction of the Biodemography Lab has transformed that resource and forged new ties across campus. Huge thank you to Maria Bleil for her leadership of the seminar series this year!  It was a flawless program and reached hundreds of researchers.  We are indebted to the service of the Primary Research Area Chairs who organized panels and supported working groups, they include Ann Bostrom, Anjum Hajat, Heather Hill, Nathalie Williams and Mark Ellis, and Zack Almquist and Adrian Raftery.  Additionally, members of our Executive Committee always seem to be there for us and we’re so grateful; they include Kyle Crowder, India Ornelas, Jon Wakefield, Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Melissa Martinson, Sarah Stone, Tyler McCormick, and Thaisa Way.  None of our communication would be possible without the great, great work of CSDE’s Evans School RA – Veda Patwardhan!  Thank you, Veda!

CSDE’s capacity to support your research requires important resources, including valuable center grant support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research infrastructure grant, P2C HD042828. This support is complemented by invaluable resources from UW’s College of Arts & Sciences, College of Built Environment, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, School of Public Health, School of Social Work, the Population Health Initiative, eSciences Institute, Urban@UW, and the Office of Research. Our trainees have benefitted greatly from the resources associated with a Schmidt Endowment, a Shanahan Endowment Fellowship and a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development training grant, T32 HD101442-01.

Finally, none of this could happen without all of you – the members of the CSDE community who are pursuing great ideas and answering important research questions with innovative methods and data!  Thank you!


On behalf of us all, I wish you a very good and restorative summer!


~ Sara Curran, Director


P.S. keep the news coming throughout the summer to  – please don’t forget to share newly, or soon to be, published research, any mentions in the news media, new grant awards, reports, honors, and other accomplishments – not only do we want to know, but so do your colleagues!

P.P.S. BTW, CSDE e-news will move to a bi-weekly schedule for the summer.