News & Events


June 23, 2016

Native Master’s & Ph.D. Graduates


In this section, we wish to honor the incredible accomplishments of three Native students who are connected to IWRI and received Master’s or Ph.D. degrees from the UW this year. They are role models who will be missed by up-and-coming graduate students, as well as the IWRI family.

Graduate_Emma Elliott

Emma Elliott, Ph.D. (Cowichan Tribes, Vancouver Island)
Emma capped her Ph.D. achievement with the honor of being selected as the UW College of Education Graduate Student Commencement Speaker on June 11, 2016.
Emma’s life journey began in the mountains of Vancouver Island, where her parents raised her in a sustenance lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and harvesting without running water or electricity. Her political activist father instilled in Emma a commitment to the importance of maintaining Indigenous self-determination through cultural continuance.
She received her Master’s in Education from the UW in 2011, another Master’s in Social Work from the UW in February 2016, and a Ph.D. from the UW’s School of Education in June 2016, specializing in Learning Sciences and Human Development.

Her hobbies include weightlifting, cedar weaving, hot yoga, and meditation. The day before she graduated, Emma married Michael Warren Groves on June 10, 2016! In the near future, Emma will be looking for a position in academia that enables her to develop grant writing skills and publish dissertation chapters.
Graduate_TiaTia Gehlhausen, MSW (Yakama)
I am a native Seattleite, raised in both Seattle and Everett. I received my B.A. from the UW in 2010 double-majoring in American Indian Studies and Cultural Anthropology.
During 2010 there was an alarming number of suicides in a short period of time on the Yakama Reservation and I knew then that I had to do something to help our community heal, which is when I began to consider an MSW. As I continued to work with Yakama, other Native American and other underrepresented youth and their parents when I worked for the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, my passion to pursue social work grew as I learned more about how I wanted to contribute to our communities.

My concentration in the MSW program here at the UW was Health Practice. I loved my Graduate Student Assistantship with the School of Social Work, Office of Admissions. As Student Information Specialist I met one-on-one with prospective students, as well as with groups, and I provided MSW information sessions, admissions advising, essay and resume feedback, as well as annual admissions essay writing workshops. Aside from working with great colleagues and friends, what I loved most about my role was supporting underrepresented prospective students (like me) in achieving their goals. I believe it is crucial to recruit underrepresented students to the School of Social Work so that our voices, experiences and creativity is at the table when we are planning how to lift up our communities, create change within systems and institutions, and create research that will benefit our own families and communities.

I love connecting with people at community events, like Pow Wows. I love to dance and spend time with my family, especially my nephew Carter who is almost two. I’m also on an outrigger canoe team, Hui Va’a O Puget Sound, with the Hawai’i Club of Everett and now that school is out, I can’t wait to get back on the water! Indigenous solidarity is important to me and one place I find it is in the canoe and on the water.
Near term, I am going to Costa Rica, and when I return from my vacation I’ll begin my job search. I’d like to find a position that will allow me to continue to build on the skills that I’ve gained while earning my MSW, so that I can contribute to our communities in supportive and healing ways.

Graduate_KatieKatie Schultz, Ph.D. (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)
A beloved 11-year veteran of IWRI, Katie will soon depart for Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis for a post-doctoral program. Katie received her Master’s in Social Work here at the UW in 2002 and started work at IWRI as a research coordinator and administrator in 2005. After five years of work at IWRI, she went back to UW-SSW to embark on her five-year Ph.D. program specializing in violence against Native American women, graduating in June 2016.

Katie is enrolled in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, but was born and raised in Cordova, Alaska. She is Alaskan through and through, having spent many summers as a commercial fisher and fish cannery worker; she is also quite capable of shoveling tons of snow.
Besides her penchant for changing her hair color every few weeks, Katie enjoys rafting our rivers, fishing, listening to live music, cooking and going out for good food.

Katie promises to visit IWRI often, especially on her flight layovers between St. Louis and Alaska. We will miss her greatly, but know she will thrive, make a name for herself, and perhaps eventually return to Seattle or Alaska for the long term.