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College of Arts and Sciences Social Sciences

Archeology: days of future past

HousesRapid global cooling 13,000 years ago challenged early occupants of Alaska to adapt. People used to hunting mammoths and other megafauna with big stone tools suddenly found their weapons shattering in the cold. Access to the stone they used to make them got buried under snow.

As with any climactic change, the cold resulted in a shift in fauna, requiring new tools. Early Alaskans turned to microblade technology, a technique they’d kept alive for » More …

Faculty receive Office of Research Awards

Kim Christen, Tammy Barry, and Peter Reilly.The WSU Office of Research presented awards to three faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences for their outstanding achievements in research as part of opening ceremonies for WSU Research Week.

Read more about Kim Christen (English), Tammy Barry (psychology), and Peter Reilly (chemistry) >> » More …

AAAS Fellow honors for WSU faculty

Monica Johnson-KirkpatrickMonica Kirkpatrick Johnson, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, is one of three WSU faculty named as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The honor, bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers, recognizes Johnson for her “distinguished contributions to research on life course development focusing on how adolescents transitioning into adulthood is impacted by different social relationships and economic resources.”

She is a leading researcher in understanding well-being and achievement in adolescence and the transition to adulthood, serves on the editorial board for four » More …

McNair scholar bridges cultures in life, research

Lysandra PerezIt’s fall 2014. New freshman Lysandra Perez, the first in her family to attend college, sits on the bed in her Streit-Perham Hall dorm room. The emotional farewells are done, and her parents are driving back home to the small town of Moxee, near Yakima. Her roommates won’t be arriving for another few days.

She is all alone. “What do I do now?” she remembers thinking in a moment of panic.

Fortunately, the panic didn’t last long. “I had to remind myself that going to college » More …

The curation crisis

The Marmes RockshelterMore than 8,500 years ago, a group of people used a rock shelter at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers as a base camp. When rediscovered in the early 1950s, the shelter amazed scientists, including Washington State University archeologist Richard Daugherty, with its wealth of artifacts—and the age of its human remains. Named after the property owner at the time, the Marmes Rockshelter was soon inundated by waters from the recently closed Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake. Although a levee had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the shelter dry, the Corps neglected to take into account the layer of permeable gravel beneath the site. Within three days, it was all under water. » More …

Northwest Indians used tobacco long before European contact

David Gang, left, and Shannon Tushingham holding ancient tobacco pipes WSU researchers have determined that Nez Perce Indians grew and smoked tobacco at least 1,200 years ago, long before the arrival of traders and settlers from the eastern United States. Their finding upends a long-held view that indigenous people in this area of the interior Pacific Northwest smoked only kinnikinnick or bearberry before traders brought tobacco starting around 1790.

Shannon Tushingham, a WSU assistant professor and director of its Museum of Anthropology, made the discovery after teaming up with David Gang, a professor in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, to analyze pipes and » More …

Vancouver junior awarded National Udall Scholarship

student with WSU flag on a suspension footbridgeWSU Vancouver cultural anthropology major Emma Johnson has received a prestigious and nationally competitive Udall Undergraduate Scholarship in its tribal public policy category.

“The Udall (Scholarship) is incredibly important to me,” said Johnson. “Completing all the work to apply and then being successful, it’s a really huge deal. It is helping me complete my education.”

Johnson, 22 years old, is WSU’s fifth Udall recipient since 2015. The Udall Foundation, a federal agency, works both to strengthen » More …

Renewable energy offers common ground for Democrats, Republicans

Solor panel farm in the desertAs the battle lines are drawn for next month’s hotly contested midterm elections, some Americans may be comforted to know there is at least one area of common ground for Democrats and Republicans: regardless of political standing, age or gender, U.S. voters are in favor of renewable energy, according to research by Christine Horne, professor of sociology.

Horne and Emily Kennedy, a former WSU sociology professor now at the University of British Columbia, are the authors of a new study in the journal Environmental Politics that shows while conservatives and liberals tend to disagree » More …

Crimson Spirit Award: Sheryl DeShields

Sheryl DeShields.

Sheryl DeShields, secretary senior in the Department of Psychology, received the September 2018 Crimson Spirit Award. DeShields’ colleagues honored her for her noteworthy extra efforts and commitment to the unit. One nominator described her as “the heart and soul of our talented and close-knit department.” Another noted she is “outstanding in every way. I have had experience with at least twenty different secretaries in two different colleges, and Sheryl is the best that I have seen.”  » More …

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