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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 >>

 

 

Health of amphibians in oil sand fields area assessed

wood frog on hand from "nature north"The impact of pollutants from the world’s largest oil sand field on the health of amphibians marks the focus of a team of research biologists from Washington State University and Canada.

The scientists are studying the effects of development in the Athabasca oil sands region of Northern Alberta on the habitat, physiology, behavior and long-term health of wood frogs. » More …

What’s powering your devices?

Do Americans want to use more renewable energy?

Yes they do – regardless of whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, according to new research by Washington State University sociologists.

Christine Horne, professor of sociology, and Emily Kennedy, assistant professor of sociology, published a study in the journal Energy Policy » More …

Arts & Sciences recognizes top faculty, staff, students

group photo of awardeesFourteen faculty, six staff and six graduate students were honored for outstanding achievement at the 2017 College of Arts and Sciences Appreciation and Recognition Social in April.

Regents Professor Greg Yasinitsky, director of the School of Music and acclaimed saxophonist, received the college’s highest honor, the Distinguished Faculty award, in recognition of his 35-year career as an outstanding educator, world-class performer and prolific composer with more than 200 published original scores. » More …

Photographing the elusive, endangered lynx

Deep in the forests of Washington’s Kettle Mountains, Washington State University wildlife biologist Daniel Thornton searches for signs of a rare and elusive type of wild cat — the lynx.

An assistant professor in the School of Environmental Science, Thornton and environmental science graduate students Travis King and Arthur Scully are helping to lead the largest lynx camera survey ever done in the state this June-October.

The goal of the multiyear research project is to understand the distribution and abundance of Washington’s lynx in order to develop an informed plan for their conservation and recovery. The project is sponsored by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Fish and Wildlife, Conservation Northwest, Osprey Insights, Seattle City Light and the U.S. Forest Service. » More …

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 …

Time, Place, and the River

River and students-WSUVA research project led by scientists at WSU Vancouver is working to understand how increasing human activity affects the Columbia River, upstream and down. Called CRESCENDO, the Columbia River Scientific Education and Outreach program is a partnership between five Washington high schools along the river and WSU Vancouver that integrates scientific and educational research. CRESCENDO has received $213,496 for this two-year project from Washington Sea Grant, a state entity set up to manage funds from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Read more on page 19 in WSU Vancouver’s Crimson and Gray magazine >>

Plant inner workings point way to more nutritious crops

plant interior animation still imageAlmost every calorie that we eat at one time went through the veins of a plant. If a plant’s circulatory system could be rejiggered to make more nutrients available – through bigger seeds or sweeter tomatoes – the world’s farmers could feed more people.

Washington State University researchers have taken a major step in that direction by unveiling the way a plant’s nutrients get from the leaves, where they are produced through photosynthesis, to “sinks” that can include the fruits and seeds we eat and the branches we process for biofuels. The researchers found a unique and critical structure where the nutrients are offloaded, giving science a new focal point in efforts to improve plant efficiency and productivity. » More …

The matter of antimatter

Deep in the bowels of a large brick building on the WSU campus is a laboratory guarded by red flashing lights and warning signs. A tiny window in the door offers glimpses of stainless steel machinery while a low pulsating hum emanates through thick concrete walls.

Inside the W. M. Keck Antimatter Laboratory, a deuteron accelerator produces up to 120 billion positrons per second—about 10 trillion positrons per day, more than any other university or small laboratory in the nation.

Read the full story in Washington State Magazine >>