Staff Spotlight

Carrie SilvermanCarrie Silverman is a software engineer with the Department of Medicine Information Technology (DOM-IT) Services. She partners with faculty and staff to help build web solutions that improve operational efficiencies.

She has been with the Department of Medicine for 23 years, most of which was spent in the Division of Gastroenterology. 

"I like to joke that I have had a ‘frying pan’ university education," she says. "I am not formally trained in my area of expertise; everything I know today I learned from my time with the GI Division.

Growth and innovation were not only fostered with faculty and fellows, but with staff, too. I was encouraged to follow my interests and apply them to my job.

This resulted in quite the career trajectory – from program assistant to program coordinator, web computing specialist to public information specialist, and now software engineer. She has worked on databases, websites, graphic design, marketing, and more. “I am so grateful for all the opportunities that have been afforded to me over the years.”

She says that the GI Division is – and always will be – her work family. Not only did they provide a caring and supportive work environment for her, they even saved her life!

Life-saving colleagues

In 2016, Carrie was struck down by a blood clot that nearly killed her. It shut down her kidneys, caused liver damage and the loss of most of her small intestine, resulting in a permanent medical condition called short bowel syndrome. She was hospitalized for three months and was not able to work for nearly nine months.

Suddenly the people I worked for became my caregivers. My teammates rallied around me, and the faculty took care of me.

At the time, she was living in the south end. When she was released from the hospital and referred to a local gastroenterology practice, they took one look at her nearly 80-page medical file and said they were sending her to UW. 

"I just smiled and said, ‘Of course you are!’ (they didn't know I worked for UWGI). The care here at UW is phenomenal and I could not be more grateful.”

Escape rooms

After many years with the GI division, Carrie joined the DOM IT group as a software engineer in 2019.

I love my job. However, it can sometimes be difficult to explain. Have you heard of "escape rooms?" My job is a bit like that. For every project I have on my schedule, I get to cooperatively work with a team of people to "discover clues" and "solve the puzzle" of their process in order to "escape the room" together. The escape, in this case, is a web-based tool that helps solve a problem or tedious inefficiency.

Her time at the UW has given Carrie a great breadth of knowledge to draw from in order to help solve the puzzles she is given. “Projects I work on can involve anything from grants and contracts to academic training to finance. I love the variety and the challenge of having to switch mental gears throughout my work day.”

DOM-IT Services was nominated for the UW Distinguished Staff award this past year. “I think it is rare for an IT group to be recognized in such a way and I am proud of this group’s accomplishments.”

"Carrie has been a joy to work with," said Christa Vardaro, director of business planning. "She is always responsive, has a positive attitude, and goes out of her way to help out the department. Carrie has extensive SharePoint knowledge that has resulted in a variety of project successes ranging from a Harborview Service Chief website to a department-wide agreements repository. She is someone that I always look forward to working with because of her collaborative nature and expertise. We are lucky to have her!”

Personal life

Mookie the cat
Mookie, aka "House Lion"
Carrie was born and raised in Washington state. She lived in Amsterdam for a bit - which allowed her to travel extensively throughout Europe - but she hasn’t strayed from the Pacific Northwest for long.

She played both the violin and viola in two chamber orchestras at The Northwest School and continued to play in the symphony during university.

When she’s not busy working and keeping up-to-date the with the technology in her life, she enjoys casual gaming, cooking, reading, live music, and traveling.

She shares her life with three beautiful cats. One is a big red tabby named Cheddar, and the other two are pure-bred Maine Coons, Tillamook (Mookie) and Fitz.

Mookie is my big guy and I call him my "House Lion". He will be two in March and already weighs over 18 pounds – and he’s still growing!

They have been keeping me busy and well-entertained during quarantine.