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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary

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 …

‘Venn Pirouettes’ exhibition blends art and science

MIchael SchultheisWSU alumnus Michael Schultheis finds dynamic synergies between the languages of mathematics and art. He employs analytical formula within his luminous paintings and sculptures. His works bend mathematical precision into imperfect visions, creating room for metaphors and storytelling.

Raised on a rural family farm near the Snake River in southeast Washington, Schultheis was awarded a bachelor’s degree in honors economics » More …

WSU smart home tests first elder care robot

Nisha Raghunath demonstrates the interactions between a human and a helper robot.A robot created by Washington State University scientists could help elderly people with dementia and other limitations live independently in their own homes.

The Robot Activity Support System, or RAS, uses sensors embedded in a WSU smart home to determine where its residents are, what they are doing and when they need assistance with daily activities. » More …

Interdisciplinary research reveals valuable pine resin possibilities

Light shining through pine trees in forest.WSU researchers have reverse engineered the way a pine tree produces a resin, which could serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to a range of fossil‑fuel based products worth billions of dollars.

Colleagues in the Institute for Biological Chemistry literally dissected the machinery by which loblolly pine produces oleoresin. Key aspects of their work utilized WSU’s Franceschi Microscopy and Imaging Center in the School of Biological Sciences.

Before the arrival of petroleum-derived alternatives in the 1960s, the sticky, fragrant oil‑resin mixture was central to » More …

The fabric of Washington

Woman’s dentalia cape.Stories, photos, paintings, and belongings like baskets and tools tell the rich history of Plateau tribes of the inland Pacific Northwest, a history now shared online.

The Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, a gateway to those cultural materials, is maintained by Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC) in partnership with WSU’s Native American Programs.

The materials have been chosen and curated by » More …

English, history alumni making a difference in K-12 education

CAS alumnus with young studentsDamien Pattenaude went back to his old school in Renton when there was a need. Now he wants to see even more kids return to Renton classrooms as teachers, just as he did.

It has become an even more urgent concern for Pattenaude (English ’99, education ’05 MA, ’16 EdD) now that he is superintendent of the growing Renton School District. Like other school administrators across Washington and the country, he faces a teacher shortage, especially in special education, math, and » More …