Penguins Inspire a Second Grader's Philanthropy

Back to All Perspectives Stories
Nancy Joseph 12/16/2016 December 2016 Perspectives

“I love penguins!” That’s how Viola Miller, age 8, began her note to penguin researcher Dee Boersma, UW professor of biology and Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science.  Accompanying the note was a $6 donation toward Boersma’s work. Viola made the donation earlier this month, proving that it’s never too early to start giving.

Viola Miller, 8, got an early start on supporting UW research. 

“After a lesson about compassion at school, Viola came to me with three dollars from her piggy bank and said she wanted to give to something in nature,” recalls Jessica Balsam, Viola’s mother. Jessica’s job is all about private support to the UW—she works on prospect management for University Advancement—so she suggested a few options, including Boersma’s research.  “Viola really lit up when I mentioned the penguin research,” says Jessica. “Then she went to her room and got three more dollars and wrote a note to send along with it.”

If only all donors would double their gifts that quickly!

Learn more about Dee Boersma's penguin research

More Stories

Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West on the UW campus.

How's Your BS Detector?

Frustrated to see misleading information published as fact, professors Carl Bergstrom (Biology) and Jevin West (Information School) created a wildly popular UW course and book, Calling Bullshit." 

High school teachers conducting a physics experiment at the UW.

High School Teachers Get Schooled in Physics

High school teachers spent four weeks at the UW Summer Institute in Physics and Physical Science to improve their understanding and teaching of physics. 

Illustration of floating books with words in English and Persian above.

A Novel Prize for Persian Translation

The Mo Habib Translation Prize is bringing the work of Persian writers — and translators of Persian — to an English-language audience. 

Explore Stories Across Arts & Sciences Departments