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College of Arts and Sciences Faculty

Future math teachers instruct, learn from rural school children

Middleschoolers working with a hands-on project.Giddy at the end of another school year, middle schoolers in Nespelem, Washington, will charge into summer with a new way of viewing even their oldest and most familiar things, thanks to a WSU mathematics professor and her students.

Clinical Associate Professor Kimberly Vincent and a small group of aspiring math teachers visited the sixth through eighth graders at their school last fall and used some of the youngsters’ prized possessions—from spiraled seashells to a violin—to teach them about ratios and how to calculate proportions. » More …

Dark sky advocate

Night sky outside Stanley, Idaho (via WS Magazine)For billions of years, Earthly life has flourished in a reassuring 24-hour cycle of light and darkness. Over the past century, however, urban skies have grown increasingly clouded with light pollution. The excess light disrupts circadian rhythms, poses safety and health risks, wastes energy, and exacts a sad aesthetic toll as well.

For humans, the stars have long provided a primal connection to the cosmos, inspiring the imagination of artists, philosophers, and scientists throughout history. Today, residents of the Pacific Northwest remain among the few who » More …

Statistician to aid international whale conservation research

Gray WhaleLeslie New, a WSU Vancouver assistant professor of statistics who specializes in the impacts of humans on wildlife, has been named to a scientific panel studying endangered whales found off the coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island.

New will spend three years on the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, an independent scientific advisory body to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. She and her fellow panelists will look for ways to assess and manage the impacts of the region’s oil, gas and fishing industries, evaluate ways to monitor » More …

Dr. Universe: What can I do to help stop ocean pollution?

Dr. UniverseOne of the most important things we can do to prevent more pollution is to keep our garbage, especially plastic, out of the ocean. That’s what I found out from my friend Richelle Tanner, a marine biologist and researcher at WSU.

Tanner said it’s a lot easier to keep plastic out of the ocean than to get it out of the water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates the amount of garbage humans put into the ocean every year is equal to about 90 aircraft carriers, those big ships » More …

A look at research in two SBS laboratories

Five people standing in front of shelvingVice President for Research Chris Keane, along with Mike Kluzik, director of the Office of Research Assurances, recently toured the Kelley and Cornejo laboratories in the School of Biological Sciences.

Research in the Kelley Laboratory focuses on evolutionary genomics and adaptation to extreme environments. The lab is interested in understanding how populations diverge and adapt to the environments they encounter. To identify and characterize specific genes » More …

Study shows generational toxicology of popular weed killer

molecular structureIn the first study of its kind, WSU researchers found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate, the world’s most popular weed killer. The researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities.

Michael Skinner, professor of biological sciences, and his colleagues call this phenomenon “generational toxicology” and they’ve seen it over the years in fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, the plastics compound bisphenol A, the insect repellant DEET and » More …

Annual awards honor faculty, staff, student achievement

group photo on the stageSixteen faculty, six staff, and six graduate students were honored for outstanding achievement at the 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Appreciation and Recognition Social earlier this month.

Professor Mechthild Tegedar, an international leader in plant biology, and Gary Collins, a pioneer in the study of material defects, received the top two faculty awards. Chuck Cody and Paul Wheeler, both in » More …

People of the Palouse: a passion for writing, teaching

Peter ChilsonIn the 21 years English professor and author Peter Chilson has been at WSU, he has published four books and numerous journal articles. He’s also helped build a creative writing program that now includes a campus literary arts journal called “LandEscapes.”

Back in 1998, Chilson noticed an opening at WSU for a creative writing instructor specializing in creative non-fiction and applied for the job.

“I also happen to love teaching, so it’s been a very, very good fit for me,” Chilson said. » More …

Medical Big Data

illustrationCurrently, there is a shortage of data wranglers and analysts. Just in time to meet the needs of what could be a revolution in healthcare, WSU is bringing up to speed one of the few data analytics programs in the country. Under the direction of entrepreneur-scientist Nella Ludlow, WSU’s new data analytics program is training the bioinformaticists who will be the genetic counselors and consultants of the future.

Just in its second year—paralleling the new WSU MD program in Spokane—Ludlow’s students are getting jobs as fast as they can get their degrees. She mentions a couple of juniors who got internships with a company that analyzes low-altitude aerial photography for » More …

Scientists seek causes, better predictions for South Asia’s changing monsoon

Deepti Singh, assistant professor in the School of the Environment, is trying to understand how and why the South Asian summer monsoon is changing.

Weather patterns in the region are becoming harder to predict, with rain falling in unusual amounts and locations, putting billions of lives and livelihoods at risk.

Working with colleagues in the U.S. and India, Singh has authored a new review exploring » More …