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College of Arts and Sciences Research

Statistician to aid international whale conservation research

Gray WhaleLeslie New, a WSU Vancouver assistant professor of statistics who specializes in the impacts of humans on wildlife, has been named to a scientific panel studying endangered whales found off the coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island.

New will spend three years on the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, an independent scientific advisory body to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. She and her fellow panelists will look for ways to assess and manage the impacts of the region’s oil, gas and fishing industries, evaluate ways to monitor » More …

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 …

Study shows generational toxicology of popular weed killer

molecular structureIn the first study of its kind, WSU researchers found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate, the world’s most popular weed killer. The researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities.

Michael Skinner, professor of biological sciences, and his colleagues call this phenomenon “generational toxicology” and they’ve seen it over the years in fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, the plastics compound bisphenol A, the insect repellant DEET and » More …

Undergraduates’ data analysis, proposals could help reduce impaired driving

highway road and driver seen from back seat of carWhen Savanna Obernberger, a junior studying criminal justice, learned that drunk and drug-impaired drivers in the state kill nearly 200 people a year, she wanted to help solve the problem but didn’t know where to start.

A few months later, Obernberger and four classmates presented to the state Traffic Safety Commission a set of four innovative ways to tackle the problem of impaired driving. Their proposed solutions ranged from insurance cost incentives for safe driving to a smart phone app that helps » More …

The puzzle of pediatric pain

A subject in the Fales lab viewing the “pain scale".Early in her academic career, Jessica Fales realized that hardly anyone had studied what she most wanted to learn about—the relationship between chronic pain and social development in children and adolescents. There was little research and a wide-open field.

“The main thread that ties my research together is trying to understand why rates of chronic pain increase in adolescence, why girls are disproportionately affected, and how to prevent them from turning into adults with chronic pain. And for those with chronic pain, how can we » More …

Virginia Woolf scholar receives Legacy of Excellence award

Portrait of Dianne Gillespie and Sketch of Virginia Woolf.As the recipient of the 2019 Emeritus Society Legacy of Excellence award, Virginia Woolf scholar and professor emerita Diane Gillespie was honored for her sustained contributions to academia, continued service to the university and community, and personal accomplishments in retirement.

Her Legacy of Excellence lecture, titled “What’s Left to Say about Virginia Woolf?,” was part of WSU Showcase, the annual celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence. » 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 …