News & Events


January 16, 2014

The Diversity Research Institute Brown Bag Lecture Series: Dr. Stephanie A. Fryberg

Dr. Stephanie A. Fryberg (Tulalip Tribes) visited the University of Washington on November 13, 2013, to present “Culturally Grounded Interventions to Enhance Academic Performance,” research on the powerful impact of culturally grounded messages on Native American and first generation college students in academia. In the two studies she presented, Dr. Fryberg examined the mismatch between the dominant educational culture, which primarily focuses on the development of an independent self, and Native American culture, which is influenced by an interdependent model of self.

The first set of studies examined the sources and consequences of student success associated with a cultural match or mismatch between the students’ model of self and the dominant educational culture. The second set of studies examined how culturally grounded interventions, by way of a simple reframing of the dominant educational culture, positively influences motivation and performance. Dr. Fryberg presented examples from Admissions brochures and acceptance letters.  Her examples showed how a few changes to college communications could make students from cultures that emphasize interdependence feel more welcomed and accepted, and thus position them for success in college. Dr. Fryberg also shared her own experiences as a professor and tribal member to illustrate her argument.

In addition to holding the positions of Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Affiliate Faculty member in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, Stephanie Fryberg is the Director of Cultural Competency, Learning Improvement, and Tulalip Community Development for the Marysville School District, Washington. Dr. Fryberg’s presentation was sponsored by the Diversity Research Institute, Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, at the University of Washington.