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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Graduate student

Transcending borders

Agana Bay, Guam.Tabitha Espina (’20 PhD English) is fascinated with language and the power of words, along with their ability to shape identity and sense of belonging. She grew up on the tiny island of Guam and moved an ocean away to earn her doctoral degree at WSU.

Now an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at Eastern Oregon University, she reflects on her experiences and draws parallels between rural life and island life. » More …

Cannabis reduces OCD symptoms in the short term

Cannabis.People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, report that the severity of their symptoms was reduced by about half within four hours of smoking cannabis, according to a Washington State University study.

“The results overall indicate that cannabis may have some beneficial short-term but not really long-term effects on obsessive-compulsive disorder,” said Carrie Cuttler, WSU assistant professor of psychology and the study’s corresponding author. “To me, the CBD findings are really promising because » More …

Art as language

Ashley "Q" Quast.Surrounded by piles of art in her studio, MFA student Ashley “Q” Quast wondered what else she could make as she prepared for the Palouse Performance Showcase. She typically uses different materials in her art to express varied concepts and explains concepts by implementing humor.

“Q is hilarious. She is quite dynamic in how she applies a creative lens to » More …

Family, career, and an educational journey

Samantha Edgerton.Before she decided to pursue a graduate degree in history, Samantha Edgerton worked in the disability and insurance industry for 18 years.

“I was hesitant to start a master’s program because of my age,” Edgerton said, “but my adviser encouraged me to not let that prevent me. It has been a dream of mine to finish my degree and to actually be able to call myself a historian,” Edgerton said. “While it has been incredibly difficult, so many people encouraged me not to quit.” » More …

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 …