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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Alumni

Transfer student finds community on both sides of the river

Kyle Kopta.When deciding what four-year university he wanted to attend, affordability and proximity to family were primary factors for first-generation student Kyle Kopta (’21). He discovered WSU Tri-Cities, located just 40 minutes from his hometown of Hermiston, Oregon, had a digital technology and culture program. that would allow him to apply his passion for photography, video, graphic design and fine arts as part of a well-rounded degree that had eventual outlets for a variety of career paths. » More …

Plastic waste has some economic benefit for developing countries

Plastic waste in shrink wrapped bags.For decades, wealthy nations have transported plastic trash, and the environmental problems that go with it, to poorer countries, but WSU sociology researchers have found a potential bright side to this seemingly unequal trade: plastic waste may provide an economic boon for the lower-income countries.

Yikang Bai (’15 MA, ’19 MS, ’20 PhD) and Jennifer Givens (now with Utah State University) analyzed 11 years of data on the global plastics trade against economic measures for 85 countries. » More …

Music review: Random Perfect Plan

Album cover: Random Perfect Plan.Richard Tillinghast (’11 psych) found his way to WSU Vancouver after he learned he was going to become a father. He commuted to campus several days a week for two years from his home near White Salmon. Years before, he had started college on the East Coast, but family tragedy and the itch to travel took him overseas. He wandered the world, making a living through music, kayaking, and » More …

History prof recognized for excellence in teaching

Aaron Whelchel, associate professor of history at WSU Vancouver and WSU Global, is the winner of the 2020-21 Excellence in Online Teaching Award, an annual student-nominated award sponsored by Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI).

“Dr. Whelchel has an obvious enthusiasm for the material. He gathered wonderfully thought-provoking content, often primary sources, that encouraged me to challenge what I thought I knew about » More …

Making her own way

A fan watches Cougar sports.Carly Ellingsen (’16 BS zoology) comes from a long line of Cougars. She’s named after her great-grandfather, Carl “Tuffy” Ellingsen, who kicked, ran and threw the Cougars to their second Rose Bowl in 1931.

Her grandfather, Don Ellingsen, another Washington State University Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, still ranks seventh all-time in receptions among other WSU football greats. » More …

Essay: How history offers comfort

Alumna Nikki Brueggeman (’13) reflects on how the field she loves can help us through the pandemic and beyond.

After college and graduate school, I wandered away from studying history. My life became filled with employment, relationships, and other distractions. My history books sat on shelves, ignored. Then, a virus began to spread across the world, and I found myself reaching for my books once again. » More …

Dr. Universe: If snakes smell with their tongues, what do they do with their noses?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatSnakes have an amazing sense of smell. They can use their tongues to pick up on all kinds of scents in the air.

Whenever we smell something in the air, we are actually sniffing tiny building blocks called molecules. These molecules are what make up the scents of everything around us—things like baked bread, fresh-cut grass, and warm cookies. » More …

Women of Distinction honored for accomplishments, service

Ramirez, Lee, Peters, Crespi, Thepvongsa, and Hurt.Six CAS women were honored for their accomplishments, service, and commitment to student success at the 15th annual WSU Women of Distinction awards ceremonies this spring.

“It is amazing to see what all of these women accomplished over the past year, and we are truly in awe of their dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Davi Kallman, Women of Distinction co-chair and » More …

Researchers create, measure hexagonal diamonds

Diamonds.For the first time, researchers have hard evidence that human-made hexagonal diamonds are stiffer than the common cubic diamonds found in nature and often used in jewelry.

Named for their six-sided crystal structure, hexagonal diamonds have been found at some meteorite impact sites, and others have been made briefly in labs, but these were either too small or had too short of an existence to be measured. » More …

Alumnus recognized for superconductor advancements

Ranga Dias.A breakthrough in superconductivity has landed a WSU physics graduate in the latest Time Magazine list of top innovators.

Ranga Dias (’13 PhD) has been named one of 19 innovation leaders in the 2021 Time100 Next list, which highlights emerging leaders shaping the future. His work to develop a room temperature superconductor represents a significant advancement in the field, with wide-ranging applications from transportation to medical imaging, and even hover boards. » More …