Dr. Allyson Washburn

College of Letters and Sciences

Dr. Allyson Washburn received her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and has conducted applied research with diverse populations for over 25 years. Her early research examined novice mental models of computers (dissertation research using qualitative methods), acupuncture heroin detoxification, acupuncture treatment of cocaine dependence, and retention in substance abuse treatment. The drug treatment research was conducted primarily at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Washburn has been principal investigator on grants from the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association. Much of her early aging research was conducted at the Jewish Home in San Francisco, where she also directed evaluations of innovative programs to enhance quality of life for residents and staff.

Dr. Washburn’s current research and scholarly interests include personal and social transformation in aging societies, civic and social engagement, social cognition in normal aging and dementia, personhood in dementia, and person-centered therapy and care. On-going empirical work includes the study of person perception in older adults, the phenomenology of becoming and being an older adult, and existential concerns of older persons.

About 15 years ago, Dr. Washburn returned to her first career—teaching at the college level at Saybrook University and the California Institute for Integral Studies. She began teaching as an adjunct faculty member at National University seven years ago. In 2010, she was appointed associate professor in the Psychology Department and continues to teach in both the MA in Human Behavior and the BA in Psychology programs—and now in the new MA in Gerontology program, which she developed. Dr. Washburn has extensive experience in both quantitative and qualitative methods as a researcher, and has taught statistics and research methods for the past 15 years at various universities. In addition, she has served on numerous dissertation committees and chaired several dissertations.

A San Franciscan for over 30 years, Dr. Washburn has long been active in civic life and has served as president of the League of Women Voters of San Francisco, the YWCA of San Francisco-Marin, and OWL (Older Women’s League) San Francisco. She currently chairs the San Francisco commission that oversees enforcement of open government laws. In her spare time, Dr. Washburn most enjoys spending time with her family—especially her three granddaughters, Raya, Olivia, and Alyx—and friends. In addition to following the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors,  she also enjoys walks with her labradoodle, Maggie Mousse, life drawing—the human face and figure, the family pets—and the rich cultural offerings of the Bay Area.

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College of Letters and Sciences