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New leadership for WSU undergraduate research efforts

Jeremy Lessmann.An experienced researcher, instructor, and student advisor and mentor, Jeremy Lessmann has been appointed as the director of the WSU Office of Undergraduate Research.

Faculty-mentored research activities benefits students in all majors and helps them engage deeply in their education. In any field, research can take the form of seeking resolutions to contested questions, creating original work, making empirical observations, using cutting-edge technologies, and more. » More …

Shaping imagination and examining issues

Io Palmer and Manal Alharthi.“In the classroom, incredible things and conversations can happen around the making of art. The process opens your soul,” said Io Palmer, WSU associate professor of fine arts.

“My background set the stage for me to pursue something that brings me a lot of fulfillment, and I want to facilitate that experience for others,” Palmer said. “I want to show students art can be life-affirming and also be a deep, rich vehicle for expression.” » More …

Increasing trend of concurrent wildfire air pollution and severe heat

Orange skyline resulting from wildfiresLarge wildfires and severe heat events are happening more often at the same time, worsening air pollution across the western United States, a study led by Washington State University researchers has found. In 2020, more than 68% of the western U.S.—representing about 43 million people—were affected in one day by the resulting harmful-levels of air pollution, the highest number in 20 years.

“We have seen an increasing trend in » More …

Scouting for a forgotten few

Man standing with white car.WSU Vancouver teaching assistant Ryan Booth (’21 PhD history) spent last summer traveling the American West with a cooler loaded with smoked salmon and Cougar Gold cheese, a stack of Pendleton blankets with the price tags removed, and a suitcase full of every possible academic tool needed.

His research focuses on the Northern Cheyenne and White Mountain Apache who served as scouts for the US Army from » More …

Helping students succeed

A chemists hands holding liquid chemistry experiment.Senior zoology major Cassandra McElroen became a Chemistry 105 teaching assistant because she enjoys helping people and wants to provide students with a better understanding of the material.

Her role as a TA includes holding office hours once a week, where students can ask questions about anything chemistry-related. She also runs a lab section, where she helps her students run experiments and then » More …

PhD research program leads to national laboratory

Electric car charging it's batter.Batteries developed by Shuo Feng could someday revolutionize the nation’s power grid and help electric vehicles go further on one charge than ever before.

Feng is one of five doctoral students who completed their doctorate program through the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Washington State University Distinguished Graduate Research Program (DGRP) in 2021. » More …

Big gaps in quest to sequence genomes of all animals

Microscopic view of DNA strands and silhouettes of various insects and mammals.In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from WSU and Brigham Young University warn that current efforts to sequence the genomes of the world’s animals are overlooking huge swathes of diversity and opportunity.

“With genome assemblies accumulating rapidly, we want to think about where we are putting our efforts. It’s not being spread evenly across the animal tree of life,” said lead author Scott » More …

Concurrent heat waves becoming more frequent

Bright orange sunset silhouetting water tower on WSU Pullman campus. In a study of climate data from 1979 to 2019, WSU environmental researchers found the number of large-area heatwaves occurring simultaneously in the mid- to high-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere was seven times greater in the 2010s than in the 1980s.

On average, there were concurrent heatwaves on 143 days each year of the 2010s—almost every day of the 153 days of the warm months of May through » More …

Radiocarbon dating adds a millennium to Sakaro Sodo stelae

Sakaro Sado pictured in 2014.Rising as high as 20 feet, ancient stone monoliths in southern Ethiopia are 1,000 years older than scientists previously thought, according to a new study in the Journal of African Archaeology led by Ashenafi Zena (’19 PhD).

“This is one of the most understudied archaeological sites in the world, and we wanted to change that,” said Zena, who is now at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. » More …