Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Alumni

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 …

A writer in chief

 Bill Gardner.Bill Gardner grew up on Pullman’s College Hill and thought for sure he was on track to be a teacher when he graduated from WSU. His father was a soil physicist at the University from 1950 to 1983. “I was 11 before I realized there were professions other than being a professor,” he says. “If I stood out at the end of my driveway, every house I saw had a professor living there.”

Gardner (’88, ’01 MA English), chief of Washington State University Police (and a published author), got into police work almost on a whim. He drove to the campus station with a friend who wanted to apply and decided » More …

Consider the butterfly

Black and white band photo.Krist Novoselić, bass guitarist of the iconic grunge band Nirvana, was driving home one day “and there was a billboard. ‘Earn your degree in your pajamas.’ And I was like whoa, wait a minute. I had no idea. I looked at the website [for WSU Global Campus], and I was like oh man, yeah. I got accepted and I signed up for classes and I just started studying. I’d be backstage reading. I really got into it.”

But make no mistake: “Online school is no cakewalk,” Novoselić says. “It’s a lot of work. I’m very confident and happy with the skills I developed through WSU online—researching skills, critical thinking, writing, the scientific » More …

Dual major, dual career

Stephanie Schendel.Stephanie Schendel caught the journalism bug in college, spending two years on the staff of The Daily Evergreen and observing Pullman police officers as they responded to calls related to drunkenness, domestic disputes, overdoses—even a stabbing.

“I did maybe a half-dozen ride-alongs,” says Schendel (’12 Spanish, Comm). “They were very patient with me and answered all of my questions. It really impressed me. That was the beginning of it.”

Her real-time reporting experiments, or “tweetalongs,” were popular reads, and they helped launch her career—first as » More …

Mt. St. Helens: Lessons learned

Mount St. Helens.In the days after Mount St. Helens first erupted—sending some 540 million tons of ash over an area of 22,000 square miles—WSU ecology professor Richard “Dick” Mack was already thinking of its potential research value.

“It wasn’t research that I intended to do,” Mack says, “but there was a unique opportunity and it would be remiss of me to ignore it.” He and a group of graduate students spent the summer of 1980 doing field work between Pullman and Vantage, studying the effects of the ash on vegetation—particularly native plants, such as » More …

Crimson Spirit award: Cesar Munguia

Cesar Munguia.Cesar Munguia, student services coordinator/advisor for Cougs Rise,  received a 2020 Crimson Spirit recognition.

After earning his WSU undergraduate degree in sociology, Cesar joined the University as a full-time staff member in the Office of Academic Engagement. As a project coordinator for Cougs Rise, he is committed to providing support services to students with the highest need, specifically those from populations that WSU is working to recruit and » More …

Non-tobacco plant identified in ancient pipe for first time

Ancient smoking pipes.People in what is now Washington state were smoking Rhus glabra, a plant commonly known as smooth sumac, more than 1,400 years ago. The discovery, made by a team of WSU researchers, marks the first-time scientists have identified residue from a non-tobacco plant in an archeological pipe.

“The research casts doubt on the commonly held view that trade tobacco grown by Europeans overtook the use of natively-grown smoke plants after Euro-American contact,” said Shannon Tushingham, assistant professor of anthropology. » More …

Using photography to help combat racial, social injustice

Protesters march in a BLM demonstration.Sharing the complete picture of humanity, especially the hard topics, so that one day she can affect positive change.

That’s the reason photographer and WSU Tri-Cities alumna Madison Rosenbaum first picked up a camera. Shedding light on difficult social issues and providing a voice for the unheard is also what led her to document local protests following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. » More …

Find what motivates you

Steve Garl with his family.WSU has been a major part of Steve Garl’s life from when he began his college career to his working life today. Throughout those more than four decades, another force has also always been there: family.

“My mom and dad played a big role in encouraging me to get my degree. I also wanted to be a good example to my siblings. I got a lot of support from all of them, and that went a long way.” » More …

Math alumna: In the right place

Annalise Miller. Annalise Miller saw a worrisome trend among local youths in northern Namibia, where she’s been working to promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

“What I noticed is many lack the basic critical thinking and leadership skills that are vital in becoming successful entrepreneurs,” she says. “They are in an economic crisis so job creation is really important.”

To help build their skills, she and her colleagues developed a five-day Exploring Entrepreneurship Kids Camp. The goal: teach 12- to 16-year-olds the basics of » More …