Welcoming new cohorts of freshmen to the UW

To get a jump on their college education, incoming uw students can take a 5-credit course through early fall start. A lucky few will enroll in The Impact of Food on Our Brain & Behavior and meet Sheri Mizumori.

Serving as an early mentor, someone who students can always come back to with questions even after class is over, keeps me involved and loving it.

Sheri Mizumori

Early Fall Start (EFS) helps new students get ahead of the pack and make a smooth transition to life at the University of Washington. With EFS, incoming first-year students can enroll in a UW course about a month before the start of autumn quarter to get comfortable with college life and launch their academic career with a special 5-credit course.

Students can take English language and writing sections that prepare them for college-level writing or a wide array of special discovery seminars, which cover numerous unique, engaging topics in a small setting with a UW professor like Sheri Mizumori, who teaches the EFS course The Impact of Food on Our Brain & Behavior.

Sheri Mizumori has years of experience teaching in the classroom, but transitioning to teaching in front of a screen was an adjustment.

“I don’t do gaming; I don’t do social media,” Sheri said. “I just had to jump in the deep end of the pool and go for it.”

After upgrading her home setup and getting comfortable with teaching via Zoom during spring term, Sheri was ready to teach her Early Fall Start class — and her students were ready to learn.

 “A lot of the students told me that they wanted to take the class because they were so tired of being cooped up with nothing to do,” Sheri said. “They really took advantage of the opportunity to exchange and interact with each other as incoming freshmen.”

Through the Canvas class portal, discussion boards, email and weekly office hours, Sheri and her students were able to connect consistently and keep a classroom feel in a remote setting.

“I could see the total support they had for each other,” she said. “Someone would say, ‘Oh, this is kind of a stupid question,’ and their classmates would say, ‘No, that’s not a stupid question’ and help them answer it.”

Sheri values the opportunity to welcome new cohorts of freshmen to UW — whether on campus or virtually. 

“I love teaching in Early Fall Start and being the first kind of contact they have with UW, to help them learn the ins and outs,” she said. “Serving as an early mentor, someone who students can always come back to with questions even after class is over, keeps me involved and loving it.”