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College of Arts and Sciences Alumni

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 …

Alumni recall Peace Corps experience

Tanzania_wikipedia imageIn all, more than 235,000 Americans have served in 141 countries since Peace Corps’ inception in 1961. The Corps has three main aims: help meet the needs of interested countries, help promote a better understanding of people in other countries, and help promote a better understanding of Americans.

Nearly 10,000 volunteers have come from the state of Washington. Of those, about a tenth—1,008 volunteers, to be exact—is made up of WSU alumni, including Zoë Campbell (’09 biology) and Diane Kelly-Riley (’95 MA English, ’06 PhD Ed. Psych.), recently recalled their experiences in » More …

I, scientist

Hypatia illustration.Angela Jones (’94 English) is the CEO of Washington STEM, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with communities, businesses, and educators to ensure youth have equitable access to STEM education. They work with ten regional STEM networks across the state to help direct resources and scale successful programs that aim to ensure that there is cradle to career support for STEM skills. This means working to strengthen math skills for the state’s youngest students so they can start » More …

Rockin’ the stars

Dean Karr.During his thirty-year career, Dean Karr (’88 fine arts) has worked with some of the biggest names in the music business and collected all kinds of keepsakes—from VIP passes and platinum records to props and guitars signed by the likes of Judas Priest and Slayer’s Kerry King. Exploring Karr’s 1926  Spanish-style home in the Hollywood Hills is like walking through a museum of rock-and-roll’s recent history. From his first-floor studio to his upstairs office, souvenirs tell the story of his work, which he sums up simply:  “I just like making cool stuff.” » More …

Music review: Giants in the Trees

Cover of CD - Volume 2 by Giants in the Trees.In their simply titled sophomore offering, Giants in the Trees have established their stride. Jillian Raye, Erik Friend, Ray Prestegard, and Krist Novoselić (’16 Soc. Sci.) have spent more than two years honing their sound—from the old creamery building where they practice to last year’s inaugural Thing festival in Port Townsend. Their second album—heavier, stronger, and tighter than their debut—features 39 minutes of ten varied tracks of moody, melodic, and modern Americana, punctuated with whimsy and, at times, trippy, psychedelic pop. » More …

Dr. Universe: Why won’t sea turtles lay eggs in the ocean?

Dr. UniverseSea turtles spend almost their entire lives in the ocean. Even as babies, sea turtles’ bodies have special traits for living at sea, helping them glide and paddle through the water. After emerging from their eggs, baby sea turtles (called “hatchlings”) scramble to the ocean to live the rest of their lives. Only female sea turtles return to land as adults, to lay eggs and begin the cycle again.

I talked with my friend Frank Paladino to learn more about sea turtles. He completed his Ph.D. at » More …

Increasing student and faculty engagement

Students in a large classroom.Teaching Psychology 230 – Human Sexuality – puts Blythe Duell in front of up to 500 undergraduate students each class session. It’s a massive crowd compared to her previous teaching job at a small college in the south. She was intimidated upon returning to WSU in 2018 – where she’d earned a PhD a decade prior – to be assigned a class with a large enrollment and very diverse students.

Duell wanted to ensure she was doing everything in her power to make sure students were engaged and » More …