Membership & Programs

ARCS Members, their guests, and ARCS Fellows participate in a variety of academic and social events that showcase programs at the UW and WSU, and allow members, fellows, and university constituents to develop friendships and explore shared interests. 

Learn more about membership in ARCS Foundation Seattle Chapter with our membership brochure and rack card.

Past Seattle Chapter Programs

March 2022 The Burke Museum, University of Washington

ARCS Seattle Chapter's members and significant supporters enjoyed a beautiful evening in March at the Burke Musuem of Natural History and Culture. UW Professor of Biology and Burke Museum Curator, Adam Leache', invited us to dig deeper into the historic specimens housed withing the newly renovated facility.

Leache's Lab is focused on topics including phylogenetics and species tree inference, statistical phylogeography, species delimitation, and comparative biology. They utilize molecular genetic data to estimate phylogentic relationships and infer current and historical population processes. 

March 2021 The Last Stargazers

Dr. Emily Levesque,  ARCS Alumna (Hawaii), Associate Professor
University of Washington, Astronomy
Presenting on her research & new book: The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers

Dr. Emily Levesque is a professor in the University of Washington’s Astronomy department. Her research program is focused on improving our overall understanding of how massive stars evolve and die. Dr. Levesque’s first popular science book, The Last Stargazers, shares the tales and experiences of astronomical observing. She has also written two academic books: a professional text on red supergiants and a graduate textbook on stellar interiors and evolution written with co-author Henny J. G. L. M. Lamers.

Dr. Levesque is the recipient of the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce prize and the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon award from the American Astronomical Society. She is also a 2019 Cottrell Scholar and a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. From 2010 to 2015 Dr. Levesque was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was an ARCS scholar at the University of Hawaii in 2010 where she earned her PhD in Astronomy, and she holds a S.B. in Physics from MIT.

December 2020 Honey & Bread for the Holidays

Seattle Chapter Meeting and Program, featuring presentations from ARCS WSU Fellows Merri Metcalfe (pictured) and Kiersten Ritchie, including introductions by their academic mentors, Dr. Stephen Jones and Dr. Steven Shepard, respectively.

Merri Metcalfe, Crop and Soil Sciences, WSU Bread Lab, Washington State University 2018-2021, Debbie Girdler & Dave Cutler Fellow (2nd)
Merri’s research at the WSU Bread Lab focuses on the accessibility, quality, and affordability of grain-based products from Western Washington and the importance of making nutritious food more available within our communities.

Kiersten Ritchie, Entomology, Washington State University 2019-2022, Eve & Chap Alvord Fellow (20th)
Kiersten is researching pollinator biology, including ways to protect honeybees from Colony Collapse Disorder. She will also address recent developments in tracking down the Asian giant hornet.

September 2020 Virtual Fall Kick-Off

Virtual celebration to kick-off another year with a special presentation by 2020 Dorothy L. Simpson Leadership Award Recipient Ryan McGee, Biology, University of Washington, 2015-2018 Rosa Ayer ARCS Endowment (7th) Fellow

Ryan McGee graduated from the University of Southern California in 2013 with a BA in Neuroscience and a BS in Computer Science. In September 2015, he joined the University of Washington’s Department of Biology and eScience Institute as an ARCS Fellow. Ryan expects to graduate with a PhD in Biology and Advanced Data Science in June 2021.

Ryan’s brilliant interdisciplinary thesis spanning evolutionary theory, computer science, microbiology, and neuroscience allows him to form collaborations across campus dedicated to building up an understanding of biological information processing. Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan quickly developed an open-source framework for modeling the spread of COVID-19 in a network context ( These models have informed COVID-19 management in communities ranging from workplaces to the US Air Force Academy. His leadership and ability to retool in this new area will save the lives and livelihoods of many. Ryan has the perfect combination of impressive intellectual prowess, strong drive, and a deep work ethic. Congratulations, Ryan!

December 2019 Holiday Luncheon

Dr. Thomas May—“The Implications of Ancestry Genetic Testing”.

Thomas May, Ph.D., is the Floyd and Judy Rogers Endowed Professor, Elson S Floyd School of Medicine, WSU, Vancouver, WA. He is also a research faculty investigator at The HudsonAlpha Institute for biotechnology,  a nonprofit institute where scientists, educators, and entrepreneurs translate the power of genomics into real world results. Previous positions held include the Ursula Von Der Ruhr Endowed Chair, Medical College of Wisconsin and Director, Clinical Ethics Center, Memorial Medical Center and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

September 2019 Fall Kick-Off Dinner

Jason Yeatman, PhD, “The virtuous cycle between neuroscience and education: Neural plasticity in children with dyslexia”. Dr Yeatman will begin with an overview of how literacy develops in the brain. He will share his new lab data demonstrating how educational intervention programs shape the development of specialized literacy brain circuits. Using brain imaging data, one can learn more about human brain plasticity and with that information, better understand learning differences. In the long run, the goal will be to develop intervention programs that are personalized to an individual’s unique pattern of brain maturation.

May 2019 Annual Luncheon

ARCS Scholar & Alumni and 2019 Dottie Simpson Award Recipient–Rachel Shaffer on “Food additives and health”. Rachel Shaffer, MPH studying Environmental Health at the University of Washington. Rachel was the 2015-2018 ARCS Terry Keegan Memorial Fellow and is grateful to the ARCS community for their support over the course of her graduate studies.

December 2018 Holiday Luncheon

Dr. Katie Kuehl, WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, teaching WSU students at Seattle Humane with 3rd year WSU Fellow Michael Crowley, studying Vet Microbiology & Pathology.


September 2018 Kick-Off Dinner

Members and guests enjoyed a presentation by Dr. David Montgomery, PhD MacArthur Fellow, Earth & Space Sciences Professor,
Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

May 2018 Annual Luncheon

Members and guests enjoyed a presentation by Dr. Atom Lesiak. Dr. Atom J. Lesiak, Ph.D. in Neuroscience, is a postdoctoral fellow and neuroscientist at the University of Washington. Dr. Lesiak’s research seeks to understand the cellular, molecular, and genetic mechanisms underlying chronic stree and depression. Outside the laboratory, Atom is a Science Communication Fellow with the Pacific Science Center, sharing their research adn a love of science with the public. Additionally, Atom isa Facilitator and Board Member at Ingersoll Gender Center, a local non-profit organization supporting the transgender community. Dr. Lesiak is especially appreciative of ARCS Foundation and their donors Eve and Chap Alvord for supporting them throughout their graduate education at Washington State University.

November 2017 Benaroya Research Institute Panel & Tour–Leaders in Autoimmune Disease Research

September 2017 Chapter Program & Dinner

Members and guests enjoyed a presentation by Dr. Dimitri Christakis: “Digital Addiction: A 21st Century Public health Crisis”

Children today spend more time with screens than any activity. Professor Christakis discussed the cognitive and social implications of a growing and underappreciated epidemic of digital addictions.  He summarized existing evidence from international science as well as his laboratory, shedding light on this important issue we face as a society today.

Our members gathered to socialize and hear presentations from two outstanding ARCS Fellows.
May Annual Luncheon 2017

“From Star Stuff to Life

Kristen Garofali, University of Washington, Astronomy, 2012-2015, Nancy & Doug Norberg ARCS Endowment (2nd) Fellow

Kristen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Astronomy, where she studies high-energy astronomy. In her research, she is interested in studying the evolution of massive stars by observing populations of objects like high-mass X-ray binaries and supernova remnants, using both the Chandra and Hubble Space Telescopes. Originally from Michigan, Kristen received a Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics and Physics from Michigan State University before joining the Department of Astronomy in2012. In addition to her research, she was previously an instructor at the Robinson Center for Young Scholars as part of their Saturday Enrichment Program, and was an instructor for the Pre-MAP seminar in the fall of 2015. Kristen is also a co-organizer for Astronomy on Tap Seattle and the coordinator for the UW Planetarium.

Timing is Everything: Circadian Disruption Across the Lifespan”

Naomi K. Wallace, Washington State University, Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, 2015-2018 ARCS Foundation Seattle Fellow

Naomi is a second year student working on her PhD in Neuroscience. She earned her BS in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Denver. Naomi completed an undergraduate senior thesis on the relationships among socioeconomic status, sleep problems and mental health in 8- to 10-year-old children. Today, she studies the effects of circadian disruption on metabolism, working memory, and neurodevelopment. After she completes her PhD, Naomi hopes to continue working in research and communicating science to the general public. In her free time, Naomi enjoys cooking and playing musical instruments.

Holiday Luncheon 2016

Our members enjoyed this year’s presentation: Starting a New Medical School: Developing Future Scholars in the Workplace, Dean John Tomkowiak, WSU Elson S Floyd College of Medicine.The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine was created to address physician shortages in communities across the state. It attracts talented students from rural and underserved communities. These students train within their communities, increasing the likelihood that they will remain there to practice medicine.


A Deep Dive Into Autism

November 14, 2016

An informational program conducted at the University of Washington for the members of ARCS Foundation Seattle Chapter

The University of Washington, in partnership with Seattle Children’s Autism Center, is a national leader in researching and developing groundbreaking treatments and therapies. Over 40 ARCS Foundation Seattle Chapter members took advantage of this unique opportunity to explore the research and clinical programs at the University of Washington which are unlocking the mysteries of autism. Faculty presentations and the closing panel discussion addressed: the genetic causes of autism and personalized medicine, early detection and intervention, and adult transition programs. Thank you to our speakers: Mike Halperin, MD; Jurgen Unutzer, MD, MPH, MA; Raphael Bernier, PhD; Annette Estes, PhD; Wendy Stone, PhD;Gary Stobbe, MD; Ilene Schwartz, PhD.


2016 Fall Meeting & Dinner


2016 May Annual Luncheon

Boeing Plant Tour

The April 11th visit to the Future of Flight was a fascinating experience. We were delighted to have 40 attendees join us for a guided tour of the Everett Boeing Plant.

Applied Math Tour

Nearly 60 ARCS members and guests mingle with faculty and fellows during a behind-the-scenes view of the University of Washington Applied Mathematics Department, ranked first among Applied Math programs in the US. The department provides an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach to science, technology and medical research. Guests enjoyed presentations on “Modeling tsunamis, earthquakes, and other waves,” delved into “Data-driven discovery and science” and pondered the question, “What is math telling us about the brain?”


Fellowship Donor Event

Potluck for Members and 2nd Year Fellows

2015 Holiday Luncheon

ARCS Members visit the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington

At the forefront of solar technology, the Clean Energy Institute (CEI) is driving science, technology and people forward by focusing on solar generation, energy storage and systems integration. New technology seeks to harness two hours of sun to be stored, distributed and utilized by people when needed for an entire year. An important addition to the UW campus in 2013, and led by Daniel T. Schwartz, the Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering, the Institute’s faculty has attracted more than $30 million dollars and has the key support of Governor Jay Inslee and a range of diverse funding sources including core state funds, private gifts and industry and federal grants.

ARCS Annual Fundraising Luncheon

Over 600 ARCS Foundation Seattle members, guests and fellows celebrated the work of ARCS Foundation at the 37th Annual Luncheon on October 5, 2015, at the Sheraton. This year’s video highlights our fellows and faculty whose groundbreaking research and remarkable careers are changing our world. Our heartfelt thanks goes to every member who helped make the luncheon a success.


Annual Convocation for WSU ARCS Fellows

On the eve of the October 5th fundraising luncheon, Lynn and Mikal Thomsen once again opened their home to our WSU ARCS Fellows, faculty and our donors. This gathering was eagerly anticipated by our continuing Fellows, who knew what a great time they would have. The convocation is one of the rare opportunities our WSU Fellows have to mingle with their donors on the west side of the mountains. We are very grateful for the Thomsens’ continuing commitment to all these young people.

2015 Reception for First-Year UW ARCS Fellows

Nearly all of this year’s class of UW ARCS Scholars turned out to meet ARCS members, donors and each other at the Northwest African American Museum the evening of September 27, 2015. Each Fellow spoke briefly about their background and hopes and plans for research opportunities. Before the evening ended it was obvious that the students were already making cross-disciplinary connections based on shared interests in music, cooking, hiking and other extracurricular activities.

ARCS Member visit Washington State University Campus in Pullman

ARCS Foundation members had an enlightening visit to the WSU campus on September 23-24, 2015. We stopped in Spokane first to “drive” a car while being “sleep-deprived” at the Sleep and Performance Simulation Lab and then toured the lab of Dr. Weichang Chai in the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Building. Our traditional dinner at the WSU president’s house with Interim President Bernardo was delicious, and seeing the Vet Med clinic teeming with dogs and horses filled out our educational agenda.

ARCS 2015 Auction Gala at MOHAI

September 2015 Chapter Meeting