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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Anthropology

Global instructor honored for teaching excellence

Jack McNassar.Anthropology instructor Jack McNassar is the recipient of this year’s Excellence in Online Teaching Award. The student-nominated honor, now in its fourth year, acknowledges WSU Global Campus faculty members who engage, inspire, support, and show care for their students.

“Professor McNassar continually inspired me and the other students in » More …

Interdisciplinary research on COVID-19 impact

Mother holding sleeping baby.Fifteen faculty and graduate student researchers from multiple colleges and campuses across the University recently joined forces to form the WSU COVID‑19 Infant, Maternal, and Family Health Research Collaborative.

Spanning a variety of disciplines, including biological sciences, anthropology, and psychology, the collective already has a half dozen studies lined up to address critical questions related to the impact of COVID‑19 on the health of mothers, babies, and families. » More …

Research opens a new approach to mental illness

Silhouette of someone on a bench with hands held to head.Some of the most common mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and PTSD, might not be disorders at all, according to a recent paper by WSU biological anthropologists.

The researchers propose a new approach to mental illness that would be informed by human evolution, noting that modern psychology, and in particular its use of drugs like antidepressants, has largely failed to reduce the prevalence of mental disorders. For example, the global prevalence of » More …

Too hot for habitation: archeology and climate change

The Sahara Desert.Areas of the planet home to one-third of humans will become as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, unless greenhouse gas emissions fall, according to research by scientists from China, United States (at WSU) and Europe The rapid heating would mean that 3.5 billion people would live outside the climate ‘niche’ in which humans have thrived for 6,000 years. » More …

New degree in human biology

A man and child with a bicycle in an open grassy field.Responding to the global need for more skilled professionals in health, social and environmental sciences, and public policy, the College of Arts and Sciences will launch an interdisciplinary degree in human biology this fall.

The new degree is designed for rigorous study in the natural and social sciences, and will be unique in Washington state and virtually the entire Pacific » More …

Where you live may influence your baby’s behavior

Babies lying down.Infants from rural families tend to display negative emotions such as anger and frustration more frequently than their urban counterparts, according to a recent study in the Journal of Community Psychology.

Babies born in big cities, on the other hand, typically are less fussy and not as bothered by limits set by their caregivers.

The study, led by WSU psychologist Maria Gartstein and » More …

Dr. Universe: How was popcorn discovered?

Dr. UniverseThere’s nothing quite like making popcorn: the snapping kernels, the warm buttery smell, and the knowledge that a delicious snack will be ready in minutes. It gives you some good time to think and wonder: how did humans first start doing this?

To find out where popcorn came from, I visited my friend Erin Thornton, an archaeologist at WSU. Archaeologists study how humans lived in the past—including the things they ate. To learn the story of popcorn, we have to trace the history of maize. » More …

Doctoral students pack years of research into three minutes

Three minute thesis contestants with Dean Jockers.Why people cannot regenerate lost appendages the way some frogs and other animals do is the question at the heart of Robyn Reeve’s doctoral research in biological sciences. Explaining her work clearly in a mere three minutes won her both first place and the “People’s Choice” award in the College of Arts and Sciences’ (CAS) recent qualifying event for WSU’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Contest of 2020.

For her presentation, “Leptin: integrator of immune response and regeneration,” Reeve will » More …

Seeding big-picture, interdisciplinary research

A detail of a classic Mayan polychrome vessel depicting a deer hunt.With support from Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation Seed (IRIS) grants, CAS faculty and graduate students in diverse areas are combining forces with colleagues across the university to tackle critical questions by integrating knowledge in a wide array of fields—criminology, biology, English, medicine, archaeology, nursing, and more.

“The IRIS grant program supports faculty efforts to build collaborative relationships and advance our interdisciplinary creative activities, scholarship, and » 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 …