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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Environment

Ask Dr. Universe: How do mountains form?

Dr. Universe. A cartoon cat in a lab coatWhen you walk around on land, you are walking on top of Earth’s rocky crust. Below the crust is another thick layer of rock. These layers form Earth’s tectonic plates and when those plates collide with each other, they often form mountains.

To find out about how mountains form, I visited my friend Julie Menard, a professor at Washington State University who is very curious about geology. » More …

Teaching the teachers

Writing with a fountain pen.Earlier this year, six CAS professors spent 12 weeks as learners themselves in the new WORD! Faculty Fellowship program. The experienced educators were challenged to think about how to help students write within the context of their various disciplines.

WORD! workshops help faculty understand “how writing can be the process through which students learn the content and [how to] inspire students to become better » More …

Making a difference

Lead Ceremony 2021. President's Awards.The 2021 WSU President’s Awards for Leadership and Engagement Award of Distinction (LEAD) recognized 17 CAS students and a faculty member for outstanding contributions across our diverse campus communities.

“This is a prestigious award that recognizes…the ways they give back to the community and empower others,” said Phillip Sinapati, ASWSU advisor and » More …

Measuring greenhouse gas emissions from water reservoirs

Artificial dam.A new study in Global Biogeochemical Cycles shows per-area greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s water reservoirs are around 29% higher than suggested by previous studies, but that practical measures could be taken to help reduce that impact.

According to the analysis by Washington State University and University of Quebec at Montreal scientists, much of the increase in » More …

Top Ten Seniors for 2021

Hobbs, Brandt, King-Shaw, Mederios, Kopta.Five of the WSU Top Ten Seniors are graduating with degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences: Dallas Hobbs, Brandt Fischer, Samantha King-Shaw, Kyle Kopta, and Ariel Medeiros.

For more than 80 years, WSU has recognized top seniors in each graduating class. These women and men represent the highest standards in specific aspects of the college experience: academics, athletics, campus involvement, community service, and visual and performing arts. » More …

Too much of a good thing?

Lake Vancouver.On most summer days, Vancouver Lake is a popular place for windsurfing, boating, and birdwatching. More and more, however, this picturesque place is closed to recreation for months at a time due to harmful algae blooms (HABs) that contain toxins which can cause sickness, or even death, in people, pets, fish, birds, and wild animals.

Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, associate professor in the School of the Environment and co-director of the WSU Aquatic Ecology Lab at WSU Vancouver, has spent more than a decade working to identify contributing factors and » More …

Eyes in the sky

A drone flies over the landscape.With the support of the Biologically Intensive Agriculture & Organic Farming grant program at WSU, environmental scientists are using satellites and drones to help local conservation districts monitor areas near rivers and streams to help improve agricultural sustainability.

“The state’s program is really a bottom-up approach, where the state encourages local stewardship to improve riparian areas and monitor them,” said Alexander Fremier, associate professor in » More …

Most-read research stories of 2020

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.In a year dominated by COVID-19, popular research news played on questions of how things could get worse, or how we might leave this troubled planet altogether. Overall, news stories about WSU research that did the best still had a focus on real world impact.

CAS faculty featured in five of the top 10 most popular stories, and were well-represented in the next 90-plus press releases tracked by WSU News.

» More …

New research in these interesting times

In March 2020, when the University moved to distance learning to comply with stay-at-home orders, some WSU Vancouver researchers who were unable to pursue their existing projects turned instead to look at how COVID-19 was affecting various communities.

The new projects are “a lot broader than what people might expect. We are not looking for better testing or a vaccine or methods of contact tracing, but rather the impacts of the pandemic on various communities,” said Christine Portfors,  vice chancellor for research and » More …