UW Bothell Among Eight Universities Selected by EPA to Help Improve Public Health Data and Research

July 31, 2013

Contact: Laura Mansfield, 425-352-5406, lmans@uw.edu

Bothell, Wash – The University of Washington Bothell is among eight academic partners selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) University Challenge, a project designed to find innovative ways to increase public awareness of toxic chemical releases in their communities and around the country.
TRI provides communities with information about toxic chemical releases to the air, water, and land and helps industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and the public make more informed decisions to protect their health and environment.

At UW Bothell, Jason Pace, director of the university’s Digital Future Lab, co-directs   the project along with Gwen Ottinger, an assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. They aim to create an interactive experience integrated with an animated narrative that maps TRI releases onto race and other demographic characteristics. The ultimate goal is to allow users to explore how releases of toxic chemicals are distributed unevenly across American communities.

“What's most exciting about the experience we're creating is its potential to expand greatly the number of students--both at UW and elsewhere in the country--who graduate understanding environmental quality as a basic social justice issue that anyone interested in living in an equitable society needs to care about,” Ottinger says.

Scholars at the Digital Future Lab are particularly interested in using the power of interactive media to inspire, support and advance social justice missions, says Pace. “We’re excited for the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Ottinger and the EPA to develop an environmental justice project combining interactive data analysis with rich visual, sound, interaction and narrative design.”

While there is no financial award for this Challenge, academic partners will receive support from TRI Program staff and national recognition by being featured on the TRI website. In addition, partners will be encouraged to pursue opportunities to speak at relevant conferences and events.
The selected projects will begin in the fall of 2013 and are expected to conclude at the end of the academic school year in the summer of 2014.
More information about TRI: www.epa.gov/tri

Note: We are the University of Washington Bothell. Please use our full name on first reference.

About UW Bothell: With more than 30 degrees, options, certificates and concentrations, the university curriculum emphasizes close student-faculty interaction, and critical thinking. UW Bothell prepares students for leadership in the state of Washington and beyond. For more information, visit www.uwb.edu.