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College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary

Innovative murals created for local elementary school

About 20 WSU students along with faculty project leaders and Kamiak Elementary principal Evan Hecker stand in front of 2 murals depicting the molecular vision of thermochromatic pigment.Imagine a large, outdoor painting that changes colors when warmed by the sun or by the touch of child’s hand and shifts hues again in cool rain and winter’s chill.

Two such temperature-sensitive paintings are among four vibrant murals created this fall at Kamiak Elementary School in Pullman through a unique collaboration between WSU artists and chemists. » More …

Interdisciplinary research to save amphibians worldwide

small frog sits on a person's fingerA diverse group of WSU scientists share a common, critial goal: to prevent the occurrence of a second fungal pandemic—an explosive threat looming just over the horizon.

Their collective efforts have put WSU in the national spotlight as an emerging center for amphibian research. » More …

Grizzlies show remarkable gene control before and during hibernation

Researchers conduct a cardiac ultrasound on a groggy bear during hybernation.Being a human couch potato can greatly increase fat accumulation, hasten the onset of Type II diabetes symptoms, result in detrimental blood chemistry and cardiovascular changes, and eventually, bring about one’s death.

Large hibernators such as bears however have evolved to adapt to and reverse similar metabolic stressors they face each year before and during hibernation to essentially become immune to these » More …

Amazon Catalyst grants advance projects with global impact

Two people sitting in front of a wall covered in sticky notes. One person wearing a VR headset sits next to another person pointing off screen.The Amazon Catalyst Program at WSU awarded nearly $20,000 to two teams comprised of research faculty and students from varied disciplines and locations.

Team Cross-Cultural Optics, led by Julie Kmec, professor of sociology, was awarded a grant to develop a virtual reality environment that enables female engineers based in the U.S. to explore engineering spaces » More …

Textbook learning issues, literally

Anne Marie GuerrettazA Spencer Foundation grant for $50,000 is funding research into textbooks for Spanish-language classes and how those may help or hinder student learners.

Anne Marie Guerrettaz, assistant professor of language, literacy, and technology in the College of Education, is the principal investigator, with co-PIs Nancy Bell from the Department of English, and Nausica Marcos Miguel from Denison University’s modern languages program.

“I have discovered over the past year that 90 percent of English-speaking American kids that study a foreign language » More …

Plant science relationship growing across the Atlantic

Rachael DeTar, Alexander Aleman, and Stanislav Kopriva.WSU’s growing collaboration with Germany’s interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS) is adding a global perspective to the University’s work to advance agricultural science and develop sustainable methods of food production.

Earlier this summer, a WSU delegation of seven graduate students attended the annual International CEPLAS Summer School near Cologne and brought home awards for best oral and best poster presentations.

Five WSU faculty also presented their work during the week‑long event and continued discussions to establish research interactions that will benefit faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and » More …

A point of reference

A waterway at Meyer's Point“There are oysters out there,” says Ed Bassett, “and they are good.”

Out there are the mudflats of Henderson Inlet where a thriving community shellfish garden supplies delicacies for neighborhood parties and celebrations. Bassett (’89 Ed.) is standing in the eelgrass on the shoreline of WSU’s Meyer’s Point Environmental Field Station. He’s a science teacher at nearby Olympia High School (OHS), and he, his students in the OHS Earth Corps, and Meyer’s Point facilities manager Chuck Cody (’84 MS Hort.) have been planting native trees here since » More …

Criminal justice, Spanish student selected to carry CAS gonfalon

Jordan SykesOutstanding senior in criminal justice and criminology Jordan Sykes will carry the College of Arts and Sciences gonfalon during all three WSU Pullman commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 4, in Beasley Coliseum.

“Attending WSU has been the best the decision that I have made in my life, and I am beyond proud to be a Coug,” Sykes said. “I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities that are available for students to grow.”

The honor of being selected as the » More …

Data analysis, text mining drives literary research

outdoor portraitEnglish major Matthew Jockers wasn’t always a computer whiz. The new dean of the WSU College of Arts and Sciences recalls a class in high school in which he struggled to program a mainframe to print out his name. “It was that tricky,” he says.

A love of reading, writing, and literature led him to become a very good coder indeed. Jockers is an expert in R, a programming language he uses to write the pattern-detecting algorithms at the heart of his research. Jockers uses it to analyze texts—lots and lots of text. One wag wrote that Jockers may be the only literature professor to assign 1,200 novels in a single class. » More …

Undergraduate curates exhibit for Black History Month

Sidney Murphy discussing work on display in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.Anthropology senior Sidney Murphy thinks it’s important that people of all ethnicities connect with art and that art can help us celebrate culture.

Murphy, who is also earning a minor in exhibition studies, selected works of four prominent black artists from the collections of Jordan Schnitzer and his family foundation for a special six-week “Social Space” exhibit at WSU’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

“Black artists and ethnic artists are the lowest-represented at art museums — and especially black women,” Murphy said. The four featured artists–– » More …