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College of Arts and Sciences Alumni

Motivation and opportunity: from prison to PhD

Noel VestNoel Vest’s goal was to go to community college to earn a degree as a chemical dependency counselor when he walked out the doors of a Nevada prison on June 28, 2009. Other than hard labor, it was the only career he thought was possible for a formerly incarcerated person.

Almost a decade later Vest is will graduate from Washington State University with a PhD in psychology and start the next chapter of his life as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. » More …

Making the difference

“The fact that I’m a teacher now is just the greatest turn of events—my old high school teachers would be shocked,” says Kerry Clark (’11 Hum., ’14 MA English). He’s sharing his improbable story as we tour Saint George’s School, a private K–12 preparatory institute nestled in the woods along the Little Spokane River.

Clark teaches English and history classes for the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at Saint George’s and is also a college counselor. On top of that, he coaches soccer, basketball, and baseball. The notable achievement is made more impressive when you learn » More …

Shaking hands with the past

Nathan OroscoFor artist Nathan Orosco (’02 MFA), the process of making art is an art in itself. From sculpting clays to melting bronze, “you’re collaborating with raw materials. You’re shaking hands with the past and the historic ways humans have traditionally dealt with those materials. And then I add in the content of my own personal identity.”

Cast bronze, fused glass, ceramics, textiles, wood, and other media take shape in Orosco’s art that speaks of his social, political, and » More …

Jazz CD receives bevy of national attention

Greg Yasinitsky YAZZBand Jazz Big Band.“YAZZ Band,” the recently released compact disc from Greg Yasinitsky, Regents Professor of music, has received significant national attention, including a feature in Down Beat magazine — the “Jazz Bible” — and on the Public Radio International show “Jazz After Hours.”

The disc also features WSU School of Music faculty members Sarah Miller, Brian Ward and David Jarvis, along with WSU alumni » More …

Power of words

Sandra Williams and a stack of Black Lens newspapers.When Sandy Williams (’83 psych.) was in the eighth grade, she discovered that only boys were allowed to take shop class, while girls had to take home economics. To Williams, this was unfair.

Instead of standing idly by, she wrote a persuasive essay calling for a change. Thanks to Williams, girls like her who had no interest in home economics could take shop if they wanted to. » More …

Foreign language study leads to success

Student and instructor printing Chinese characters with ink.Kevin Simeon (’17 Chinese) has traveled to distant continents, made many new friends, and established an international business based around his knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. He attributes his success to enrolling in Chinese 101 at WSU.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year on the Palouse when I decided to take on the daunting challenge of learning Mandarin Chinese. It would later become one of the best decisions of my life. » More …

WSU Fight Song, composed by students, turns 100

WSU Fight Song music and photos of original composersAs the patriotic fervor from World War I began to subside, students at then-Washington State College found themselves uninspired by the songs associated with the school. Two senior music students, Zella Melcher of Spokane, Wash., and Phyllis Sayles of Lapwai, Idaho, took on the task of writing new music to energize the student body.

“They debuted their creation to great acclaim on Feb. 20, 1919, at a student body meeting in Bryan Hall, and one century later their Fight Song still inspires WSU students,” said Mark O’English, university archivist.

The Evergreen claimed it “at once scored a hit,” and declared » More …

A story of one student

James WhitbreadJames Whitbread, one of WSU’s 2018 Top Ten Seniors, is now attending Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Medical school is everything I ever hoped it would be and more than I ever expected,” he shared in a post on the Department of Mathematics and Statistics website. Read on to learn more about his journey. >>  » More …

Mock Trial team powered by real courtroom experience

Group photoFrom the probing plaintiff’s attorney to the deft defense counsel, students in Mock Trial at Washington State University play a variety of roles and gain valuable experience in preparing for careers in law. Adding powerful authenticity to their experience, this year’s Mock Trial team recently got the rare opportunity to practice their skills in an authentic courtroom and to meet with real-life judges, lawyers and other legal professionals where they work. » More …

‘Venn Pirouettes’ exhibition blends art and science

MIchael SchultheisWSU alumnus Michael Schultheis finds dynamic synergies between the languages of mathematics and art. He employs analytical formula within his luminous paintings and sculptures. His works bend mathematical precision into imperfect visions, creating room for metaphors and storytelling.

Raised on a rural family farm near the Snake River in southeast Washington, Schultheis was awarded a bachelor’s degree in honors economics » More …