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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Alumni

History first-gen grad honored for excellence

Jordan Frost.Washington educator Jordan Frost received the University’s inaugural First-Generation Alumni Excellence Award, presented by the Office of Academic Engagement (OAE). Frost earned two degrees at WSU—a BA in history in 2018, and a master’s in teaching in 2019. While an undergraduate in Pullman, he was elected and served as head of the Associated Students of Washington State University; as a graduate student, he was selected to serve on the WSU Board of Regents. » More …

Tasmanian devils may survive their own pandemic

Tasmanian devilAmid the global COVID-19 crisis, there is some good news about a wildlife pandemic—which may also help scientists better understand how other emerging diseases evolve.

WSU researchers have found strong evidence that a transmissible cancer that has decimated Tasmanian devil populations likely won’t spell their doom. » More …

Football-loving states slow to enact youth concussion laws

Youth wearing a football helmet looks out across a field.States with college teams in strong conferences, in particular the Southeastern Conference (SEC), were among the last to take up regulations on youth concussions, according to a recent study by WSU sociologists. The research, which investigated the association between youth sport participation and passage of concussion legislation, uncovered the importance of SEC affiliation, and found a similar connection in states with high » More …

A new, simple way to classify marine biomes

Coral reef.WSU scientists have developed a new way to classify the ocean’s diverse environments, shedding new light on how marine biomes are defined and changed by nature and humans.

Research by Alli Cramer (’20 PhD environment) and WSU Professor Stephen Katz revealed a new approach which sorts biomes based on their life-supporting potential and stability of the sea floor. » More …

The power of symbiosis

Stephanie Porter.“Understanding the complex and often positive role the microbiome plays in the health of plants and animals has precipitated a real renaissance in biology,” says microbiologist Stephanie Porter, who studies the evolution of cooperation and plant–microbe symbiosis. “There’s been a blossoming of ideas due to new genomic tools for understanding this microbiome—the set of all microbes that live in and on plants and animals.”

“But there’s also been a shift in our thinking about microbes. We’ve moved from microbes being viewed strictly as the cause of diseases or that they are at best harmless, to thinking they have » More …

Cougs who serve

Troy Moya.The world-wide reach of WSU’s Global Campus has given rise to a unique community of students who are actively serving in the United States military. The convenience and flexibility of asynchronous learning is an ideal option for active duty soldiers and sailors who live and work in locations around the globe.

“Earning my degree was essential for increasing my analytical capabilities,” said Troy Moya, an enlisted Air Force imagery intelligence analyst and a recent WSU psychology graduate. “It has helped me to express my thoughts in an informed way that » More …

Preserving a nearly⁠-lost legacy

US marine corps war memorial.Following a talk about the Fallen Cougars Project in Pullman last Veterans Day, Kathy Aiken (’80 PhD history) shared a faded newspaper clipping with the speakers. The obituary for her father’s friend noted that he had—like Aiken’s dad— attended Washington State College for a year and a half before joining the United States Army to fight in World War II.

“Samantha and Ray looked at it, and said, ‘We don’t have this guy in our project.’ And it started us on this odyssey,” says Aiken, a professor emerita and » More …

Transcending borders

Agana Bay, Guam.Tabitha Espina (’20 PhD English) is fascinated with language and the power of words, along with their ability to shape identity and sense of belonging. She grew up on the tiny island of Guam and moved an ocean away to earn her doctoral degree at WSU.

Now an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at Eastern Oregon University, she reflects on her experiences and draws parallels between rural life and island life. » More …

GEAR UP grants support student success

Maria Yepez Perez.For students who are the first in their family to attend college, the WSU GEAR UP program provides opportunities to further their education in ways they might never have imagined.

“GEAR UP not only set me up for success for college, but I was able to grow as a leader,” said Maria Yepez Perez (’20 Spanish). “Within the program, I was able to take on leadership roles, which helped me increase » More …

History alumnus leads virtual vacations from Bolivia

Llama Me!Derren Patterson (’07 History) wanted to see the world.

After stops in China and Korea, he landed in Bolivia—and made the landlocked South American country his home. The ecotourism adventurer has been sharing his passion for the place—part mountain range, part desert, part rainforest—for twelve years now.

“I’ve guided Hollywood movie stars, princes and princesses, backpackers, even my mom,” he says. “I’ve done all sorts of crazy stuff. But one of my favorite things » More …