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College of Arts and Sciences Graduate student

2018 CAS awards honor faculty, staff, grad students

Fourteen faculty, three staff, and five graduate students were honored for outstanding achievement at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Appreciation and Recognition Social last week.

Regents Professor Kerry W. Hipps, an international leader in chemistry, and Barry Hewlett, a veteran anthropologist with a global reputation, received the top two faculty awards. Patricia Thorsten-Mickelson, a financial and personnel manager with more than three decades of experience at WSU, was honored with the outstanding staff career award.

“Our annual awards recognize individual achievement and are a wonderful opportunity to bring the college community together to celebrate » More …

NEH grant to create national humanities education model at WSU

NEH Announces Next Generation Humanities PhD Grant RecipientsA new National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant catalyzes a year of discussion and planning at Washington State University aimed at creating a national model for connecting graduate education in the humanities to rural and underserved populations.

Funded by the NEH’s NextGen Ph.D. program, the grant will bring together more than 20 faculty, staff, graduate students, and recent graduate alumni from across WSU to consider how graduate education in the humanities can better support the university’s land-grant mission of improving access, inclusivity, and » More …

New Schnitzer Museum hosts MFA exhibit

Crimson building at WSUSeven fine arts graduate students are among the first to have their work on display in the newly opened Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU.

The Master’s of Fine Arts Exhibition opened in early April and includes pieces some students have been working on for years.

Jared Boorn, whose art is on display, was inspired » More …

Grad student selected as AAAS Congressional Science Fellow

Kathryn Harris Kathryn Harris, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, has received an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship for the 2018-19 year.

Fellows are provided a transformative career opportunity within the federal policy arena that includes not only hands-on work with policymaking, but also a series of trainings and » More …

eDNA: An early warning system for deadly pathogen

A mountain yellow-legged frog. Photo credit: Michael Hernandez A new technology being developed at Washington State University could help save amphibians around the world from deadly pathogens like Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a particularly nasty type of fungus that attacks the skin of frogs and salamanders.

The new tool, know as environmental DNA, or eDNA, detects telltale bits of genetic material that living creatures shed into their environment, and enables wildlife scientists to confirm the presence of a wide variety of aquatic organisms without the hassle of finding them. » More …

Nicotine identified in ancient dental plaque

A 1945 picture of a Yokuts Native American woman smoking a pipeA team of scientists including researchers from Washington State University has shown for the first time that nicotine residue can be extracted from plaque, also known as “dental calculus”, on the teeth of ancient tobacco users.

Their research provides a new method for determining who was consuming tobacco in the ancient world and could help trace the use of tobacco and other intoxicating plants further back into prehistory.

“The ability to identify nicotine and other plant-based drugs in ancient dental plaque could help us answer longstanding questions about the consumption of intoxicants by » More …

To catch a cat

TTravis King travels through a Costa Rican swamp at Tortuguero National Park in 2014, with a team from Panthera and local guides.rekking through one of the largest unexplored rainforests in the world, La Mosquitia in Honduras, Travis King set up traps last spring to catch jaguars—or whatever other animal came into range of the cameras.

King, a WSU environmental science graduate student, was one of 12 biologists conducting the first biological survey of the area known as La Ciudad Blanca or the Lost City of the Monkey God, astounding ruins first identified in 2012.

It was already familiar work for King, who has used remote-sensing camera traps and other methods to identify the behavior and distribution of elusive big cats from Costa Rica, Honduras, and Belize all the way to central Washington. » More …

Learning Náhuatl

Miriam FernandezDoctoral student Miriam Fernandez discovers a new direction through language.

In August of 1521, Spanish and indigenous soldiers conquered Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec Empire. Historians believe nearly a quarter million Tenochtitlán citizens died in the conquest, and all of the majestic temples, palaces, pyramids, and artifacts were destroyed. But the Aztec culture and its language— Náhuatl —survived, dominating much of central and eastern Mexico in the following centuries in spite of King Charles of Spain’s decree in 1560 that all Mexican natives were to be taught in Spanish. » More …

Wine industry history project earns Boeing graduate fellowship

vineyardFour years ago, on his way home to Walla Walla from school in Arizona, Taylor Hermsen was thumbing through an in-flight magazine when he was struck by an idea for his doctoral research.

“The magazine was all about wine,” Hermsen said. “Being a native of the Inland Northwest, I thought I knew a lot about my home, but the fact that many people visiting eastern Washington are doing so because of the wine industry had never really occurred to me before. I started wondering how it all got going, and the project kind of snowballed from there.” » More …

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