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Political advertising expert Ridout tapped to lead PPPA

Travis Ridout.A national expert on political advertising and campaign finance, Travis Ridout will begin on July 15 a four-year term as director of the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs (PPPA).

Now the Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy, Ridout joined the WSU faculty in 2003. Since then, he has taught a wide range of courses, including American politics, elections, media and politics, political behavior, » More …

Pandemic makes teaching abroad ‘surreal experience’

Preston with Romanian psych students.Thomas Preston, a political science professor and expert in international security policy, had just begun a four-month, Fulbright-sponsored teaching stint in Constanta, Romania, when the entire country was placed in lockdown and martial law was declared.

It was early March, the coronavirus was threatening to become a global pandemic and the Romanian government was having as little of that as possible, so officials quickly imposed strict » More …

Ancient technology for today

Craft project.Long fascinated by early civilizations, Robert Ullerich signed up for a class in ancient art and culture at WSU this spring expecting to gain new insights to human history but not ancient skills – surely nothing he could apply in his 21st-century life.

But just finished with his bachelor’s degree and now preparing for graduate school, Ullerich is working in construction and landscaping this summer and using what he learned in his art history » More …

Outstanding Seniors exemplify dedication to learning, leadership, service

Outstanding Seniors medallion. In the College of Arts and Sciences, an Outstanding Senior is defined as one who has excelled in academic performance and in service to their department or school and to the University community.

This year, 23 students were selected to receive the honor by faculty in their respective Pullman campus degree programs and the leadership of their department or school. » More …

Songwriters share work at virtual roundtable

Zoom meeting screenshot of Joel Roeber with his guitar with faces of other Songwriters Roundtable participants in small frames.As many artists have done in the face of crisis, Joel Roeber, a songwriter and music student at WSU, turned to his art as a way to process his thoughts and feelings about the coronavirus pandemic and to help others cope.

Roeber’s new composition, “Crown of Fear,” is a gently unfolding instrumental jazz tune written in response to the anxiety and hardship brought by the virus. He also named the song in reference to the virus – “corona” means “crown” in Spanish and Latin.

“I’ve been working on it throughout this whole social distancing thing,” he said. “It’s meant to be a reflection of » More …

Creative collaborations connect arts, sciences, community

Linda RussoWalking along the soggy banks of the Palouse River near Pullman, Washington, Linda Russo listened to the squish of mud under her feet and felt the cool wetness seep into her shoes. As the water rose around her heels and toes, her mind was flooded with thoughts about the past, present, and future of the riverfront and other “wild edge” spaces.

“Almost 11 years ago, I went down to the muddy Palouse riverbank and my feet sunk in, setting a course,” Russo said about the genesis of EcoArts on the Palouse, her newest community project which brings together environmental history, ecology and creative expression. » More …

In a pandemic, why do people seek to help others?

Gloved fistbump, photo by Branimir Balogović/UnsplashHeartwarming examples of people across the country stepping up to help others in the face of a deadly disease raise the question of why people share resources and risk their own health and safety to help strangers. Craig Parks, professor of social psychology and WSU vice provost, provided insights about such “prosocial” behavior in a recent article by Galadriel Watson in The Washington Post.

“‘Prosocial’ means that when you have a choice between acting in your personal best interests or acting in the » More …

Dr. Universe: How do earthquakes happen?

Dr. UniverseWe’ve had a lot of earthquakes on our planet this year. Maybe you’ve learned about them from the news or felt one shaking up your own neighborhood. Earthquakes can happen in a few different ways.

First, it is important to know a bit about the Earth’s outer layer, or crust. The crust is made of seven big pieces called “plates.” They are about 60 miles thick and sort of float on the molten rock beneath them. That’s what I found out from my friend Sean Long, a WSU geology professor who knows a lot about earthquakes. » More …

Where you live may influence your baby’s behavior

Babies lying down.Infants from rural families tend to display negative emotions such as anger and frustration more frequently than their urban counterparts, according to a recent study in the Journal of Community Psychology.

Babies born in big cities, on the other hand, typically are less fussy and not as bothered by limits set by their caregivers.

The study, led by WSU psychologist Maria Gartstein and » More …

Dr. Universe: How was popcorn discovered?

Dr. UniverseThere’s nothing quite like making popcorn: the snapping kernels, the warm buttery smell, and the knowledge that a delicious snack will be ready in minutes. It gives you some good time to think and wonder: how did humans first start doing this?

To find out where popcorn came from, I visited my friend Erin Thornton, an archaeologist at WSU. Archaeologists study how humans lived in the past—including the things they ate. To learn the story of popcorn, we have to trace the history of maize. » More …