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College of Arts and Sciences CAS Story Hub

Former Cougar Crew members share life lessons

1973 WSU Cougar Crew on a dock.Out here, among the rolling hills of the Palouse, generations of rowers have pulled hard. They’ve learned life lessons on the Snake River, where conditions can change instantaneously and team work is essential. They’ve forged lifelong friendships. They’ve made memories.

As the Cougar Crew prepares to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversay, a few former WSU oarsmen, including three CAS alumni, shared their stories with » More …

Data analytics expert to lead degree program

Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta.A highly successful educator and researcher committed to interdisciplinary collaboration and problem solving, Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta has been named director of the Program in Data Analytics at Washington State University.

Dasgupta is the Boeing Science/Math Education Distinguished Professor in Mathematics and Statistics at WSU and an expert and practitioner in data analytics, the science of examining large volumes of raw data to extract useful information, such as patterns, correlations, and trends. She has been » More …

International call to halt massive insect decline

Monarch butterfly.From bees to butterflies, ants to wasps, insect populations of all kinds are at risk, according to a growing scientific consensus. Their decline also threatens the many ecosystem services that depend on them, including food production.

“It’s clear that we’re experiencing massive insect declines both in species and in abundance,” said WSU Vancouver conservation biologist Cheryl Schultz. “We are becoming increasingly aware that species that were once common across the landscape are now rare.”

To avert this potential disaster, Schultz recently joined more than 70 scientists from 21 countries in » More …

A funding boost to develop rice for the future

Rice fields.WSU is part of an international effort involving seven institutions to revolutionize rice production. Led by co-principal investigator Asaph Cousins, a professor in WSU’s School of Biological Sciences, and colleagues at University of Oxford, the “C4 Rice Project” recently earned a five‑year, $15 million grant renewal from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project aims to develop rice strains that are not only more productive but also more resilient. The long‑term effort, which was first conceived in the 1990s, earned its first Gates Foundation grant in 2008 and is now entering its fourth phase. » More …

Dr. Universe: Do babies have ways of communicating?

Dr. UniverseHumans come into the world crying, but that’s actually a good thing. In a way, babies start communicating from the moment they are born. Of course, it can be hard for their caregivers to know exactly what they mean with all those cries.

I learned a lot about how babies use emotion to communicate from my friend Masha Gartstein, a professor of psychology at Washington State University. She told me that crying is just one way babies communicate. After two or three months, babies » More …

International acclaim for music faculty

Book cover - Feng Pan Pacific Ensemble.The Pan Pacific Ensemble’s debut album “Feng” has been listed as one of the top 10 classical recordings of 2019 by The Daffodil Perspective.

Washington State University School of Music faculty members Martin King (horn), Keri E. McCarthy (oboe), Shannon Scott (clarinet), and Sophia Tegart (flute) make up the Pan Pacific Ensemble along with bassoonist Michael Garza (Principal Bassoon, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra). » More …

Searching for La Belle Dame

Joan Grenier-Winther.Where in the world had the Clumber Park Chartier disappeared to? Joan Grenier-Winther, the Marianna M. and Donald S. Matteson Distinguished Professor of French at Washington State University Vancouver, really needed to examine the fifteenth-century collection of poems by Alain Chartier and others.

After all, her critical edition and translation of an unusual poem of the era was about to be published, and the Clumber Park manuscript had a version she hadn’t yet seen. » More …

Quite a crew

WSU rowers in action under a colorful sunset.Cougar Crew, one of WSU’s most successful club sports, is gearing up to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary. Organizers hope to see 1,000 alumni, family, friends, and other supporters at their gala on March 21, 2020. The dinner and auction are part of the team’s annual Cougar Crew Days, which features a reunion, boat race, and opportunities to support the long, proud, and scrappy tradition of Cougar Crew.

“It was totally grassroots,” says former WSU rower Dave Arnold (’88 History). “It was grit and perseverance and scrappiness. People sacrificed to do it.”

They helped build their own boathouse. And when a windstorm blew it down, they helped build it back up. They also built their own dock, hit white caps » More …

DTC senior selected for Pollart Scholarship

Aracely Mendoza.One of the 2019 Pollart Scholarships for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities has been awarded to senior Aracely Mendoza.

“The scholarship is meant to highlight the work of students that are crossing boundaries and doing innovative things that show the way that arts and humanities will move forward,” said Todd Butler, director of the WSU Center for Arts and Humanities and associate dean of faculty for the College » More …