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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Alumni

How Chinese pioneers helped build the Pacific Northwest

Polly Bemis sitting outside a cabin in Warren, IdahoThough often surprising to people today, Chinese immigrants once had a thriving population in the Inland Pacific Northwest. From their earliest days searching for gold to their later work constructing the Northern Pacific Railway, the Chinese endured discrimination and, in many cases, extreme brutality.

How it began

When word came that gold had been discovered in central California in 1849, many Chinese headed to » More …

Full circle

Painting by David Patterson. Following a successful career as a methods analyst with Boeing, David Patterson (’76 fine arts) returned to his childhood hometown of Pullman and the community that fostered his lifelong love of creating art.

A prolific pastel painter and photographer, he was first inspired by his mother Maxine (Weeks) Patterson (’46 fine arts). She specialized in oil paintings and watercolors and was represented by a Pullman gallery. She was still sketching into her late » More …

Where math and poetry intersect

James Owusu Asare.As a seven-year-old, James Owusu Asare developed an unusual hobby: he would sit quietly at home in Accra, Ghana, writing lines of poetry. By age 15, he realized he had a special ability and began to take it more seriously. But when it came time to go to university, Asare decided to study math even though it was his weakest subject as a child. » More …

Book review: Warrior Generation

Book cover: Warrior Generation, 1865-1885, by Richard Fulton.“For lower-class young men,” in Victorian Britain, Richard Fulton (’75 PhD English) writes, “life was pretty much black and white. There were survivors and there were losers.”

Life was a struggle with sickness, the weather, other boys, parents, teachers, policemen, bosses, and simply getting something to eat. Tough guys prevailed. And, Fulton notes, they were admired. “They grew up in a culture that accepted physical force as » More …

Book review: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall

Book cover: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall, by Mahlon E. Kriebel.Influenced by real events of fall 1998 to spring 1999, when the Makah harvested their first whale in seven decades and made headlines worldwide, Mahlon Kriebel (’58 zoology) blends fact with fiction and explores the history of the whale hunt as well as complex cultural issues and tensions past and present. He provides historical context peppered with references to Native works of art, fiction, films, museum exhibits, and more. » More …

Finding his voice

Brandt Fisher playing a saxophone.During recess, most third graders go outside to play. Some, however, play the marimba with their fellow students. Brandt Fisher was one of those recess marimba players.

“When I joined the marimba band in third grade, we learned music by ear,” Brandt said. “This taught me how to truly listen to music and the musicians I played with. And, playing during recess was so much fun.” » More …

Q&A with alumnus Edward Felt

Edward Felt.A biology and organizational communication double major, Edward Felt (’09) is the north American sales manager for VMRD, Inc., a Pullman-based company that develops and manufactures veterinary diagnostic test kits and reagents for distribution in more than 77 countries, as well as performing specialized testing for the global serum, veterinary, and pharmaceutical industries. » More …

Q&A with alumna Michelle McArthur Allman

Michelle McArthur Allman.A high school teacher earlier in her career, Michelle McArthur Allman (’98 English & Secondary Education) currently is the Director of Special Education for the Laurel School District in Laurel, Delaware. Her department serves students from preschool through 12th grade and ages 3 through 21 who have an IEP or a 504 plan, as well as coordinating summer programming for the Extended School Year, 12-Month Services, and Gifted and Talented programs. » More …

Pilots for the presidents

Jeff Tontini and Dan Ircink.Their brotherhood took off from the Sigma Nu chapter house in Pullman to careers as Marine Corps helicopter pilots flying two presidents of the United States.

Alumni Jeff “Cliffy” Tontini (’89 History) and Dan “Dano” Ircink (’89 English) were pledge brothers to Sigma Nu fraternity as freshmen at Washington State University in 1985, but they couldn’t foresee that their parallel paths would take them to the skies and around the world. » More …