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Washington State University

Meet Our Prevention Science Graduates

Ashley Beck, PhD

Senior Research Scientist

Spokane Regional Health District


2016 WSU Prevention Science Graduate

Dissertation Title: An Integrated Approach to Program Development: A Case Study of a Family-Based Obesity Prevention Program

Primary Advisor: Thomas Power (Human Development)

Committee Members: Laura Hill (Human Development), Louise Parker (Human Development), Sarah Ullrich-French (College of Education) , Brittany Cooper (Human Development)

What is your current job title?

Senior Research Scientist

What organization do you work for?

Spokane Regional Health District

What do you do in your current job?

In my role I lead complex program evaluations and assessments for an array of programs and public health initiatives. I help people to identify risk and protective factors related to their topic of focus and support development of programs targeting those factors and evaluation of that work. I provide technical oversight on evaluation and planning methodologies, and help programs to incorporate research into their planning. I serve as a content expert on several topics for my agency, and the Spokane community, frequently discussing the following with colleagues, partners, service providers, and the public: child and human development, prevention science, community-based research, parenting, child abuse and neglect, suicide, and homelessness.

How did WSU’s Prevention Science Graduate Program prepare you for this work?

 The Prevention Science Graduate Program was instrumental in preparing me for this work. I apply the prevention science framework and language (i.e. the understanding of risk and protective factors and the concepts of prevention) that were core to my education, daily. This language and the constructs that are woven into each Prevention Science class, provided me with not only the language, but years of experience applying the concepts to a variety of topics, in applied ways. The hands on experience that I received in the program were key to building my work experience in the field, and not only qualified me for my position, but set me apart from others by giving me a unique and valued perspective.

What words of wisdom do you have for future WSU Prevention Science students?

Make the most of each opportunity to gain experience in applying what you are learning. Whether it be through class projects, research, opportunities to collaborate with faculty, these opportunities provide valuable hands on experience and critical feedback from experienced faculty. Innovate–the world needs prevention and its up to us to show them just how much.