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College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Research

International internships, research inspire new direction

Collecting samples in Portland. Heading next to Switzerland in search of new insights about aquatic invasive species, world traveler and newly minted Ph.D. Eric Dexter is a late-blooming research success story.

Dexter was planning to become an acupuncturist when he inadvertently discovered a love for scientific research. » More …

Graduate students honored at Evening of Excellence

Steven Hobaica and Anne FullerTwelve College of Arts and Sciences graduate students in five different disciplines received scholarship awards at the WSU Graduate School at the fifth annual Evening of Excellence.

“I am grateful for the support that the award and the Graduate School have provided for graduate students to continue to serve their communities through research, scholarship, and public engagement,” said Tabitha Velasco, doctoral student in » More …

Motivation and opportunity: from prison to PhD

Noel VestNoel Vest’s goal was to go to community college to earn a degree as a chemical dependency counselor when he walked out the doors of a Nevada prison on June 28, 2009. Other than hard labor, it was the only career he thought was possible for a formerly incarcerated person.

Almost a decade later Vest is will graduate from Washington State University with a PhD in psychology and start the next chapter of his life as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. » More …

“Indians to Indians” researcher earns Fulbright award

portrait imageHistory doctoral student and future professor Ryan W. Booth has received a Fulbright U.S. Student award to spend nine months in India exploring socio‑cultural characteristics attributed to indigenous soldiers during the British Raj up to a century ago.

His work adds an international element to his dissertation, and may well lead to a new global thread of research in the area » More …

Dr. Universe: Why do we get phobias?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatWe all experience fear in our lives. It is a useful tool that helps humans and other animals survive. I happen to be afraid of dogs, thunderstorms, and water. But fears are quite different from phobias.

A phobia is an intense fear of an object or situation, often one that you actually don’t need to fear. It can create a lot of anxiety. It can cause your heart rate to speed up, make it hard to breathe, and trigger nervousness, vomiting, sweating, or dizziness.

Phobias usually fall into four groups. That’s what I found out from my friend Jake Zimmerman, who teaches abnormal psychology and is getting his Ph.D. at WSU. » More …

Doctoral students pack years of research into three minutes

11 faces and 3MT logoFrom creating voice-responsive materials, to enabling regrowth of lost fingers and limbs, to reducing stress on caregivers of autistic children, to unearthing cultural history in Puget Sound, a wide range of high-impact research topics were expeditiously explained in the recent CAS Three Minute Thesis contest.

Eleven Pullman-based doctoral students competed for valuable fellowship prizes by presenting their years of dissertation work in three minutes or less, using just one visual slide, and in language anyone could understand. » More …

Grad student discovers oldest tattoo tool in western North America

Tattoo ArtifactWith a handle of skunkbush and a cactus‑spine business end, the tool was made around 2,000 years ago by the Ancestral Pueblo people of the Basketmaker II period in what is now southeastern Utah.

Andrew Gillreath‑Brown, an anthropology PhD candidate, chanced upon the pen‑sized instrument while taking an inventory of archaeological materials that had been sitting in storage for more than 40 years. » More …

What’s at the core of a dark personality?

interconnected circles and linesDark personality traits such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy are socially aversive personality styles that are often confused because of their similarities.

Using a quantitative technique called network analysis, WSU psychologists David Marcus and Jonathan Preszler, along with their colleague Virgil Zeigler-Hill at Oakland University, are investigating the behaviors that make up the common core of dark personality traits. » More …

Master’s student blends overseas research, local outreach

Amanda TheilPassionate about plants and nearing graduation with a master’s in cultural anthropology, Amanda Thiel has traveled overseas for her research and educated elementary school children about botany.

Thiel went to rural Guatemala in the summer of 2016 to research ethnobotany, the study of how people use plants in their region. During her two-month stay, she interviewed Q’eqchi’ Maya villagers about the type of plants growing in their gardens, and used the information » More …