Letter From the Director

Director Joe Lott

Dear Brotherhood Initiative Supporters,

2022-2023 was a terrific year for the UW Brotherhood Initiative. Our students engaged in learning experiences that spanned the University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, and Rome, Italy. Through close partnerships with the Foster School of Business, Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, and UW CoMotion, we continued to offer unique, interdisciplinary, and project-based experiential learning. Innovations like our study abroad trip and the Positive Social Change Challenge are part of our holistic theory of action, where “high impact practices”, in addition to traditional coursework, play a critical role in helping historically underserved populations achieve positive academic and career outcomes. These innovations are funded through generous donors like you, and you can read more about them through this year’s Impact Report.

Beyond the students we serve through our cohort activities, the Brotherhood Initiative is committed to scaling our promising practices across the UW and the country. We take seriously our mission to improve graduation and persistence rates for men of color, and we hope to see our impact reflected in the graduation and persistence rates for the UW and other predominantly white institutions (PWIs). On behalf of the entire Brotherhood Initiative project team, we are grateful to work in collaboration with you and our educational partners to create equitable outcomes for all. Thank you for being part of our community!

With gratitude,
Dr. Joe Lott
Faculty Director

Note: This is a new format for our Annual Report – we hope this will make it easier for you to read and share with others.

BI Scholars Race and Ethnicity

  • 27% Hispanic or Latino
  • 4% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • 9% Two or more races
  • 1% American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 11% Southeast Asian
  • 48% Black or African American

The Brotherhood Initiative serves a diverse community of men, including first-generation, low-income students from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Impact in Action

Brotherhood Initiative mentors

BI Peer Mentoring

In fall 2022, the BI formally launched our Peer Mentor Program. The Peer Mentors work directly with first-year BI students, collaborating with lead supervisors to provide support and foster community among students through critical mentoring. They engage first-year students in learning to navigate the UW by helping to lead the BI freshman orientation, the new scholars retreat, and assisting in the first-year seminar class. Additionally, they create a sense of belonging through regular communication and interactions at BI-organized events and programs. As we embark on our third year of this program, your support sustains these empowering mentors and enriching scholar experiences.

student abroad cohort

Study Abroad in Rome

The BI has seen a transformative impact through its partnership with the Office of Global Affairs, particularly with the Education Rome program. This three-week study abroad experience focuses on gender, multiculturalism, and education in Italy. Over the four years of the program, participation from Black, Latinx, Native American, and Pacific Islander students has grown significantly from 6 to 20 per cohort. This growth underscores the accessibility and support that cohort-based programs offer, enabling historically underserved students to engage in high-impact practices like study abroad while building a strong community network.

Impact in Numbers

By year 7, the graduation rate for BI students surpassed the rate for all other groups of male students.

BI 66% vs. Comparison 51% vs. All URM Men* 61% vs. Non-URM Men* 75%
BI 81% vs. Comparison 56% vs. All URM Men* 75% vs. Non-URM Men* 85%
BI 93% vs. Comparison 75% vs. All URM Men* 78% vs. Non-URM Men* 87%

*Source: UW Profile

The BI aims to narrow the graduation gap for men of color and support scholar retention at UW until degree completion. Our first three cohorts show promising progress, with Cohort 1 outcomes surpassing all men at UW, driven by our focus on student persistence.

BI students had higher retention rates than all other groups of male students in the 2022-23 academic year

BI: 97% vs. Comparison: 81% vs. All URM Men: 82% vs Non-URM Men: 88%
Cohort 4: 3 years past entry
BI: 100% vs. Comparison: 91% vs. All URM Men: 86% vs Non-URM Men: 91%
Cohort 5: 2 years past entry
BI: 98% vs. Comparison: 92% vs. All URM Men: 93% vs Non-URM Men: 95%
Cohort 6: 1 year past entry

Alumni Spotlight: Jefferson Nguyen

Meet Jefferson Nguyen, a BI alumnus from Cohort 1, whose journey through academia and medicine is intertwined with a deep sense of community and purpose. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of Washington (UW) in 2020, Jefferson has been working as a clinical research coordinator at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past several years, and will begin pursuing his M.D. at the UW School of Medicine this fall.                      

Hailing from Seattle with roots tracing back to Vietnam, Jefferson’s upbringing is a testament to perseverance. Despite economic hardships, his family found strength in their community, instilling in Jefferson values of compassion and service that would shape his future endeavors. As an undergraduate, he was initially drawn to journalism and photography, until he ultimately discovered his calling in medicine. The BI served as a key foundation for Jefferson’s academic journey by providing mentorship and belonging. As a first-generation student, he was able to form bonds with fellow BI members who shared similar struggles, and create a strong network of support.   

Reflecting on the impact of the BI, Jefferson shares, “Going to college with other motivated people is really valuable. I know that every single member of my cohort is contributing in their own unique way, and actively making a difference in our community right now. Supporting the Brotherhood Initiative expands those opportunities, helping students like me who are eager to make a meaningful contribution.” 

As Jefferson navigates his path in medicine, his dedication to serving marginalized communities and promoting mental health awareness remains unwavering. With his commitment to making a difference, Jefferson guides the way for future generations to forge transformative change. 

Annual Reports

The Brotherhood Initiative Annual Reports provide a summary of our events and activities of the year, an overview of program outcomes, and highlights of student accomplishments. Copies of our previous Annual Reports are available for download: