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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Graduate student

Can’t stop the music

Joel Lininger wears a mask while playing piano.A combination of innovative technology and careful use of practice and performance spaces will enable Washington State University musicians to play together virtually this fall.

The University’s music groups, including jazz bands, choir, orchestra and of course, the Cougar Marching Band, all plan on recording and sharing virtual performances with the Cougar community in place of live concerts and halftime shows. » More …

Styrofoam-eating mealworms could be safe for dinner

Mealworms in a wooden bowl.Brenden Campbell, a master’s student in the School of the Environment, won recognition from the Comparative Nutrition Society for virtually presenting research on a recently discovered ability in mealworms. In his WSU undergraduate honors research project, Campbell found that the larvae can safely eat polystyrene waste, discarded polymers better known by their trade name of Styrofoam.

At the society’s virtual conference in summer 2020, Campbell received the Best Poster Oral and Q&A Award for » More …

Bear butter: Studying tiny moths as a rich food source

Grizzly bear and cub.A team of international scientists led by a WSU graduate student are trekking the high peaks of the greater Glacier National Park ecosystem this summer to better understand a tiny but important food source for grizzly bears—the army cutworm moth.

Erik Peterson, a master’s student in the School of the Environment, partnered with WSU professor Daniel Thornton and seven colleagues to collect data, map, and model the alpine habitats where grizzlies forage on moths by the thousands, finding calorie-rich meals in » More …

Sniffing out patterns

Jaime Chambers.Dogs and humans have been inseparable for many millennia. Dogs eat, sleep, play, and work with us in relationships so intimate that we call them people, family members, and, as novelist Spencer Quinn puts it, members of “a nation within a nation.” Or so it would seem to your typical American dog owner.

In fact, says WSU anthropology graduate student Jaime Chambers, “the ways we interact with dogs are extremely varied” once you start looking at the relationship across cultures. » More …

Field work yields science and cultural understanding

Boersma and friends,Iridescent little fairywrens drew doctoral student Jordan Boersma to the grasslands of Papua New Guinea, but it was the unexpected generosity of the people that captured the researcher’s heart.

“I’ve traveled all over Asia and never experienced this level of hospitality. If you accept their culture, they’ll really take you in and look after you,” he says.

Hubert Schwabl, professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, says Boersma is one of the rare students who is able » More …

Compliance with CDC guidelines: what makes a difference?

Washing hands.Until there is a vaccine or effective treatments in place for COVID-19, public health experts are recommending preventative health behaviors such social distancing and wearing facial coverings in public to help stem the spread of the disease. But not everyone can or will enact these prevention behaviors.

Based on her lab’s prior work linking economic stressors (such as job insecurity and financial strain) with workplace safety behaviors, Tahira Probst, professor of psychology and an expert in occupational health » More …

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 …

Study indicates stereotypes can lead to workplace accidents

Pregnant woman.Fears of confirming stereotypes about pregnant workers as incompetent, weak or less committed to their job can drive pregnant employees to work extra hard, risking injury.

“The pregnancy stereotype is a silent stressor. It is not always visible, but it really impacts women in the workplace,” said Lindsey Lavaysse (’20 PhD), lead researcher for WSU recent study of pregnant women in physically demanding jobs. » More …

Flattening the curve with jazz

A screenshot of jazz musicians in a Zoom meeting.The WSU Jazz Big Band isn’t letting the global pandemic get in the way of delivering excellent big band entertainment. The award-winning group, directed by Regents Professor Greg Yasinitsky, put technology to the test to produce a video of the aptly titled composition, “Flatten That Curve.”

In addition to the quality of the music, what makes the performance fascinating to watch is » More …

Interdisciplinary research on COVID-19 impact

Mother holding sleeping baby.Fifteen faculty and graduate student researchers from multiple colleges and campuses across the University recently joined forces to form the WSU COVID‑19 Infant, Maternal, and Family Health Research Collaborative.

Spanning a variety of disciplines, including biological sciences, anthropology, and psychology, the collective already has a half dozen studies lined up to address critical questions related to the impact of COVID‑19 on the health of mothers, babies, and families. » More …