Skip to main content Skip to navigation
College of Arts and Sciences Published research/scholarship/creative work

Practical solutions to real crime issues

David MakinAfter leading police on a slippery, high-speed chase through snowy Spokane neighborhoods, running red lights and stop signs, driving through a resident’s yard, and slamming his stolen Subaru into a Jeep, a chronic car thief finally was caught, several minutes — and thousands of dollars in property damage — later.

Could anything have been done to prevent this crime spree?

A team of undergraduate researchers in David Makin’s Crime Prevention Strategies class would say yes, based on the in-depth study of vehicle theft prevention the students conducted » More …

Jazz CD receives bevy of national attention

Greg Yasinitsky YAZZBand Jazz Big Band.“YAZZ Band,” the recently released compact disc from Greg Yasinitsky, Regents Professor of music, has received significant national attention, including a feature in Down Beat magazine — the “Jazz Bible” — and on the Public Radio International show “Jazz After Hours.”

The disc also features WSU School of Music faculty members Sarah Miller, Brian Ward and David Jarvis, along with WSU alumni » More …

Grad student discovers oldest tattoo tool in western North America

Tattoo ArtifactWith a handle of skunkbush and a cactus‑spine business end, the tool was made around 2,000 years ago by the Ancestral Pueblo people of the Basketmaker II period in what is now southeastern Utah.

Andrew Gillreath‑Brown, an anthropology PhD candidate, chanced upon the pen‑sized instrument while taking an inventory of archaeological materials that had been sitting in storage for more than 40 years. » More …

WSU Fight Song, composed by students, turns 100

WSU Fight Song music and photos of original composersAs the patriotic fervor from World War I began to subside, students at then-Washington State College found themselves uninspired by the songs associated with the school. Two senior music students, Zella Melcher of Spokane, Wash., and Phyllis Sayles of Lapwai, Idaho, took on the task of writing new music to energize the student body.

“They debuted their creation to great acclaim on Feb. 20, 1919, at a student body meeting in Bryan Hall, and one century later their Fight Song still inspires WSU students,” said Mark O’English, university archivist.

The Evergreen claimed it “at once scored a hit,” and declared » More …

Public support for environmental spending hinges on White House

Infographic showing public support for environmental spending Leveraging the power of data analytics, WSU sociologist Erik Johnson teased apart the opinions of more than 20,000 people over more than four decades and found support for environmental spending consistently plummeted during the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Democrats all.

Johnson made his discovery using a statistical analysis that looked at poll respondents in terms of their age, the time period in which they were surveyed and » More …

Archeology: days of future past

HousesRapid global cooling 13,000 years ago challenged early occupants of Alaska to adapt. People used to hunting mammoths and other megafauna with big stone tools suddenly found their weapons shattering in the cold. Access to the stone they used to make them got buried under snow.

As with any climactic change, the cold resulted in a shift in fauna, requiring new tools. Early Alaskans turned to microblade technology, a technique they’d kept alive for » More …

Climate change affects breeding birds

White House Finch.The breeding seasons of wild house finches are shifting due to climate change, a Washington State University researcher has found.

The effect of climate change on the breeding season of birds has been documented before, but in a limited context. Heather Watts, an avian physiologist, reported her finding in Ibis, the International Journal of Avian Science. » 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 …

Genetic mutation drives tumor regression in Tasmanian devils

Tasmanian devil.Genes and other genetic variations that appear to be involved in cancerous tumors shrinking in Tasmanian devils have been discovered by Washington State University scientists.

The research is an important first step toward understanding what is causing devil facial tumor disease — a nearly 100 percent fatal and contagious form of cancer — to go away in a small percentage of Tasmanian devils. Indirectly, it could have implications for treating cancer in humans and other mammals as well. » More …

Washington State University