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College of Arts and Sciences CAS Story Hub

Gonfalon honor goes to political science, history double major

Student with CAS deanCasey McNicholas, a U.S. Army officer and senior in political science and history (pictured, left, with Daryll DeWald, CAS dean), has been selected to carry the College of Arts and Sciences gonfalon during Saturday’s commencement ceremony in Beasley Coliseum.

Gonfalons are the shield-shaped banners that represent WSU’s 11 colleges during the commencement ceremony. Being selected as a college’s gonfalon bearer is a prestigious recognition given to a graduate with a record of outstanding achievement.

McNicholas, a 4.0 student with a minor in military science in addition to his double major, » More …

WSU freshman displays grit, glamour, community spirit

Washington State University freshman Emily Durr will have little time this summer between donning her goalie’s helmet and gear to compete in the national lacrosse championships and donning her sparkling crown and gown to compete in the International Junior Miss (IJM) pageant.

The lively and lovely 19-year-old from Tacoma is Washington’s reigning IJM teen queen and a fierce defensive player on WSU’s women’s club lacrosse team. Durr is also a an energetic champion for curing type 1 diabetes, and on May 6 she will lead a team in the JDRF “Walk for a Cure” at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. » 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 …

‘Negative mass’ created at WSU

partial figure from published paperWashington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like. Push it, and unlike every physical object in the world we know, it doesn’t accelerate in the direction it was pushed. It accelerates backwards.

The phenomenon is rarely created in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. The research appears today in the journal Physical Review Letters, where it is featured as an “Editor’s Suggestion.”

» More …

Bob Smawley: “Mr. WSU”

1950s ticket officeBob Smawley, “Mr. WSU,” embodied what it meant to be a Cougar for generations of Washington State University students, staff, and alumni, through his selfless service to the University, his caring nature, and his deep knowledge of WSU history, all delivered with a dry sense of humor and true compassion.

For over six decades, Smawley (’52 General Studies) worked under six WSU presidents in several departments, volunteered and led in the Alumni Association, taught many the history of WSU through engaging slideshows, and mentored thousands of students.

“He was the heart of WSU,” says Malia Martine Karlinsky ’92. “Bob had a magical way of making you feel valued and welcome.”

» 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 >>