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College of Arts and Sciences Alumni

Sociology department newsletter, October 2017

Screen shot image of sociology newsletterFall is here—and WSU sociology has seen some exciting changes. We begin this issue with a letter from new department chair Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson. She shares her goals for the department, including implementation of a new strategic plan.

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Blending music, art, children’s theater

Cain-Kellogg, (c) News TribuneWhat do the ABC’s have in common with a treble clef? How about a children’s theater production and creative problem-solving? These questions are not riddles, says Becky Cain-Kellogg ’91, owner of the Puyallup Children’s Theater and Music Academy.

Cain-Kellogg opened the theater in Puyallup seven years ago, although she has taught music and theater for nearly 30 years. During that time, Cain-Kellogg also worked as an arts integration specialist, combining music and the arts with subjects such as math and history in schools.

Research says that children who are involved with music and theater early on gain lifelong skills—in part because there are so many aspects involved with learning and performing. » More …

The people’s plants

hat woven from long leavesThe Dominican boy had a leaf draped over his head, secured with a length of vine. Anthropologist Marsha Quinlan was intrigued.

“I asked him, ‘Is that a hat?’” she recalls. “And he explained that, no, he woke up with a headache and the leaf makes your head feel better. And I thought that was so cool!”

Quinlan was a graduate student at the time, on her first trip to the Caribbean island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). And that was the moment she realized she had to delve further into ethnobotany. » More …

Where the trouble began

book cover and author portrait image“Fiction is a document of trouble,” says novelist James Thayer ’71. The trouble began for Thayer as a teenager reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula on his father’s wheat farm in Almira.

“The narrator sees the Count leap to a window frame—and then crawl down the exterior of the castle wall like a lizard!” Thayer exclaims. “That scene scared me to death! It was a revelation as to the power of fiction.”

Now, decades later, the Seattle-based author of 14 novels teaches fiction writing through the University of Washington’s continuing education program. » More …

Exodus: Climate and the movement of the people

footprints sandVast swaths of forests in western North America are dead or dying, killed by pine bark beetle. The beetles have been there all along, but prolonged droughts reduced the trees’ ability to defend themselves from the inner bark-munching bugs.

The western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range in California have been especially hard hit by the depredation, just as people who made money in Silicon Valley sought to move their families out of the choked cities and up into the beautiful mountain forests. Now, to mitigate risk of catastrophic fire and the further spread of pests such as bark beetle, landowners must cut down dying and dead trees—the forests that were the very reason they moved there in the first place. » More …

Innovative WSU approach ignites survey industry, earns national award

Winners holding plaqueWSU researchers received a national award for designing a new survey method that is now used in censuses around the world.

WSU Regents Professor Don Dillman and a team of former graduate students were honored with the Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research. The last award was granted in 2015 to Nate Silver, creator of FiveThirtyEight , the statistics-based news site.

The WSU team’s innovation is overcoming the negative effects that modern communication trends have on public opinion survey results by turning to an old-school source: postal mail.  » More …

Surgery, trauma expert Don Trunkey receives Alumni Achievement Award

Alumnus receiving awardDon Trunkey (’59), a professor emeritus of surgery at the Oregon Health Science University, received the WSU Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his influential career and contributions to medical education, surgical methods and trauma care. » More …

History department newsletter, June 2017

Screen shot image of history newsletter2017 has been a year of growth and accolades for the Department of History. The summer newsletter highlights the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program, directed by Professors Jesse Spohnholz and Clif Stratton, which has become a center for transformative learning across the University, plus curriculum innovations, faculty and student awards, alumni updates, and more.

Read the full newsletter on the Department of History website >>

 

 

Ensemble premieres ‘Drive’ in honor of WSU president

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble premiered “Drive” at a campus concert April 13, music written to honor the appointment of Kirk Schulz as WSU’s 11th president.

Greg Yasinitsky, Regents professor and director of the WSU School of Music, composed “Drive” to capture the optimism of the university community about the beginning of Schulz’s presidency. » More …