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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Sociology

From the verge of suicide to a life of purpose

James Donaldson stands in a park.People look up to former WSU and NBA basketball player James Donaldson (’79 Sociology) in more ways than one. That’s what his first book is about. Standing Above the Crowd explains his strategies for success in athletics, business, and more. A few years after its 2011 publication, though, a series of stressful events changed his outlook. “I looked OK. I seemed like I was fine. But,” Donaldson says, “I wasn’t my normal self anymore.”

Donaldson had nearly died, enduring four major surgeries in five years. His business began faltering. He owed back taxes. Money was running out. His wife » More …

Most-read research stories of 2021

Jamie Chambers and her dog.As the pandemic dragged into its second year, Washington State University research that grabbed the most media attention either provided some comfort and hope or warned of more dangers ahead.

CAS faculty featured in four of the top 10 most popular stories—including the number one spot—and were well-represented in the next 76 press releases tracked by WSU News. » More …

Findings contradict negative assumptions about universal payments

Hands spreading our hundred dollar bills.When given cash with no strings attached, low- and middle-income parents increased their spending on their children, according to research led by WSU sociologist Mariana Amorim.

The study, published in the journal Social Forces, also found that the additional funding had little impact on » More …

Humanities faculty present ways to bridge community divides

Helping to bridge divides of understanding within communities is at the heart of four free, public presentations by Washington State University professors to be hosted online in October.

Sociologist Jennifer Sherman will present “Diamonds in the Rough: The Gentrification of Rural Washington” and philosopher Michael Goldsby will present “Why Deny Science.” » More …

$3M grant supports transformative graduate student research

Dylan Bugden, Erica Crespi, and Alexander Fremier.Washington State University will soon be preparing graduate students to tackle a difficult, interdisciplinary problem that is more than 1,200 miles long: the Columbia River.

With the support of a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, WSU will develop a research training program focused on the relationships among rivers, watersheds, and communities. The program is intended to » More …

Meet the new faculty of fall 2021

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.Meet the college’s newest faculty, whose scholarly expertise and interests—from transnational geographies to transgender studies, culturally relevant music to immigration law, and mind and body awareness to fluids in the Earth’s crust—enrich and expand the arts and sciences at WSU. » More …

Testing arrest deferrals, early release amid the pandemic

County jail.Sociology professor Jennifer Sherman studies rural jails in eastern Washington. Together with fellow WSU sociologists Jennifer Schwartz and Clay Mosher, she investigates why rural jail populations are on the rise despite declines in urban and suburban jails.

“Our research began before the pandemic hit, so we did our best to adapt and used COVID as a natural experiment,” Sherman says. “We learned a lot about the resilience of our communities by » More …

Sociologist’s new book examines changing rural economics

Jennifer Sherman holding a book. Even before COVID-19 prompted thousands of city-dwellers to seek new lifestyles in the country, sociology professor Jennifer Sherman had been researching and writing about a remote place she calls “Paradise Valley,” where efforts to revitalize the local economy with an influx of restaurants, cafes, hotels, and souvenir shops dramatically changed the community.

Her new book, Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream tells the story of » More …