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Professor writes book on success, wins award

Dissects writings by Baldwin, Morrison on black male protagonists

A WSU professor’s new book exploring the successes of black males in literature recently won the 2018 Award for Creative Scholarship, announced at the College Language Association (CLA) annual convention banquet.

Aaron Oforlea.

Aaron Oforlea, associate professor at WSU, published his book, “James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and the Rhetorics of Black Male Subjectivity,” in 2017.

The book is a dissection of multiple writings by prominent black authors James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, he said.

In his writing, he explored how the two writers conceptualized the challenges their black male characters navigated throughout their books, Oforlea said.

“I wanted to know, intellectual curiosity, I guess, what helps us be successful,” he said. “How black men, specifically how these fictional characters, are imagined to be successful by these authors.”

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Daily Evergreen

Vancouver junior, Cowlitz Tribe member awarded National Udall Scholarship

Emma R. Johnson.
Emma Johnson

WSU Vancouver cultural anthropology major Emma R. Johnson has received a prestigious and nationally competitive Udall Undergraduate Scholarship in its tribal public policy category.

“The Udall (Scholarship) is incredibly important to me,” said Johnson. “Completing all the work to apply and then being successful, it’s a really huge deal. It is helping me complete my education.”

Johnson is WSU’s fifth Udall recipient since 2015. The Udall Foundation, a federal agency, works both to strengthen the appreciation and stewardship of the environment, public lands and natural resources, and to strengthen Native Nations to facilitate their self-determination, governance and human capital goals.

The scholarship funds Johnson’s college tuition and fees for 2018-19, moving her closer to her career goal of serving the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, of which she is an enrolled member.

“My culture degree will come into play a lot in my future career working with both cultural and natural resources,” she said.

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WSU Insider

Why didn’t Kevin de León go after Dianne Feinstein?

Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, Calif., is running an online ad that consists of a TV commercial that his opponent, Steve Poizner, ran in 2010 when he was a Republican running for governor.

In the ad, Poizner promised to cut “taxpayer-funded benefits” for “illegal immigrants.”

But Poizner is now running as an independent and would prefer that voters not be reminded of views he held waaaaay back in 2010 — many of which he says he no longer holds.

Travis Ridout.
Travis Ridout

Political advertising expert Travis Ridout, a professor of political science at Washington State University and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, said he’s never seen a candidate do this before. He doubts it will be effective.

“The average viewer might be a bit confused,” he said. “They’re asking, ‘Why am I seeing an ad for governor?’ Maybe the (Lara) campaign is hoping that some people in the media write about it so more people can be reminded of (Poizner’s) former views.”

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San Francisco Chronicle

CAS faculty receive Office of Research awards

The WSU Office of Research presented awards to eight faculty members, including three in the College of Arts and Sciences, for their outstanding achievements in research, as part of opening ceremonies for WSU Research Week.

Kimberly Christen.
Kim Christen

The Creative Activity, Research and Scholarship Award went to Kim Christen, professor in the Department of English, director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program, director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, and director of Digital Initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Christen has generated more than $4 million in external funding, including WSU’s first institutional grant from the Mellon Foundation. She has leveraged this support to create and sustain interdisciplinary projects and workspaces, most prominently establishing with WSU Libraries the new Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.

She directs several digital humanities projects, including the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, a collaboratively curated site of Plateau cultural materials; Mukurtu CMS, a free and open source content management system and community digital archive aimed at the unique needs of indigenous communities; and the Sustainable Heritage Network, an online community of people dedicated to making the preservation and digitization of cultural heritage materials sustainable, simple, and secure.

Tammy Barry.
Tammy Barry

An Exceptional Service to the Office of Research Award went to Tammy Barry, professor in the Department of Psychology. Barry co-chairs the Research and Arts Committee & the Centers, Institutes, or Laboratories task force, and provides outstanding support for the many Office of Research initiatives.

Peter Reilly.
Peter Reilly

The awards included a prize for submitting the best idea to the National Science Foundation’s 2026 Idea Machine, a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and STEM education. The winner of this award is Peter Reilly, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, for his idea “Ultra-High Mass Spectrometry: The Next Frontier.”

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WSU Insider

Renewable energy offers common ground for Democrats, Republicans

As the battle lines are drawn for next month’s hotly contested midterm elections, some Americans may be comforted to know there is at least one area of common ground for Democrats and Republicans.

Christine Horne.

Regardless of political standing, age or gender, U.S. voters are in favor of renewable energy, according to research by Christine Horne, professor of sociology at Washington State University.

Horne and Emily Kennedy, a former WSU sociology professor now at the University of British Columbia, are the authors of a new study in the journalEnvironmental Politics that shows while conservatives and liberals tend to disagree on many environmental issues, they both view the development of solar power and other forms of renewable energy as financially savvy and a step towards self-sufficiency.

The research identifies an area where policymakers on both sides of the aisle could work together. It also could have important implications for utility companies and other businesses involved in the manufacture and sale of renewable energy technologies.

“I think anyone who is paying attention to our current political climate might be interested to see there is an area of common ground,” Horne said. “Marketing renewable energy as a way to be more self-sufficient is a message that would appeal to both liberals and conservatives.”

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WSU Insider