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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Ask Dr. Universe: How does hair grow?

My whole body is covered in thick, glossy cat fur. Humans look mostly furless. But people grow hair on every part of their bodies except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Most human hair is just super fine and hard to see.

That’s what my friend Edward Johnson told me. He teaches classes about the human body in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University.

He also told me hair grows from follicles. Those are special organs in the top layer of the skin. Everything you need to grow hair is inside the follicle.

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Ask Dr. Universe

Gerontechnology research provides undergraduate students opportunities

A multidisciplinary program at Washington State University funded by the National Institute of Aging is engaging undergraduate students in scientific research that may help older adults live independently longer.

The WSU Gerontechnology-Focused Student Undergraduate Research Experience (GSUR) connects students from complementary degree programs such as sociology, nursing, medicine, computer science, electrical engineering, and clinical psychology. It introduces them to faculty mentors and opens doors to a wide range of careers that support the world’s aging population.

Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe.

“The beauty of this opportunity is how it brings together students from varying degree programs and amplifies their future impact,” said Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe, co-PI for the multi-year grant and a Regents professor in the Department of Psychology. “For example, when students who have participated in GSUR take on projects in their chosen career field—say perhaps designing a community park—their awareness of what older adults require will likely influence their blueprint.”

Since GSUR’s inception in 2016, WSU has received $2.7 million in grant funding from the NIA to support student research fellowships and training in the growing field of gerontechnology, which blends the study of aging with the use of technology.

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WSU Insider

Expert in temperament development Maria Gartstein to chair psychology department

Maria "Masha" Gartstein.

Professor Maria “Masha” Gartstein, an expert in developmental psychology, has been appointed to serve as chair of the WSU Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) beginning Aug. 16, 2023.

Gartstein currently directs the Clinical Training Program in psychology and heads the Infant Temperament Laboratory while also teaching graduate and undergraduate courses and seminars.

“Dr. Gartstein’s extensive leadership experience, both within and outside WSU, have prepared her well to take on this role, and I am excited to work with her and her colleagues to advance the next stage of the department’s development,” said Todd Butler, CAS dean.

“As chair, I look forward to leveraging the WSU Psychology department’s many strengths in student success, scholarship, and community engagement to expand the visibility of our programs and training opportunities,” Gartstein said.

In addition to facilitating faculty connections across the WSU system and supporting the growth of interdisciplinary collaborations, she intends to focus on fostering “greater communication beyond typical academic channels and translating the transformative research under way in the department to showcase our work and its impact, particularly to our communities and stakeholders,” she said.

Since joining the psychology faculty in 2002, Gartstein has taught a variety of courses, from abnormal and developmental psychology to professional ethics and child and adolescent therapy. She has also published broadly from her research, much of it focused on the evaluation of early childhood temperament development.

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WSU Insider

Made to measure: how to ‘tailor’ your job applications

Customizing your job application documents for academic and industry roles will help you stand out as a candidate.

When an employer is searching for an ideal candidate, in addition to someone qualified they are also looking for someone who will excel in the role and thrive in their organization and team. As an applicant, you want to ensure the role reflects your interests and skills and aligns with your career goals. You also want to be sure that the organization’s core values resonate with you and your potential new manager and team’s dynamic are compatible with how you operate. While it is important to create readable, well-written job application documents, it is also imperative to tailor said documents to the potential employer. Let us tackle some ways of uncovering information and using it to personalize your job application. Please note that for North American job applications, resumes refer to a focused one to two-page document highlighting relevant qualifications and a curriculum vitae (CV) which is more typically used for faculty and research-oriented positions, is more comprehensive and is an exhaustive list of everything the jobseeker has achieved.

Applying for a faculty role in North America includes providing a CV that documents your overall experience, a cover letter demonstrating your fit and interest, a research statement outlining your current and future research program vision, a teaching statement and dossier, and a document outlining how you incorporate equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility (EDIA) principles in your research and teaching. A postdoctoral position requires sending a cover letter/email and CV.

Zachariah Heiden.

You should also highlight key aspects from your information search in your cover letter, strategically weaving in those details. For example, in a faculty position, one may choose to highlight their lived experience teaching international students when applying for a position where this is a key requirement. Zachariah Heiden, a scholarly associate professor of chemistry at Washington State University has written about some of these aspects using cover letters, teaching and research statements as examples. For humanities-related examples, the HR commons Academic Job Market Support Network group is a great resource.

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University Affairs/Affaires universitaires

Cordova Bay dig reveals signs of thriving First Nations village

Signs of a once-thriving village of the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples are emerging at Agate Lane Park in Cordova Bay.

It’s 8 a.m. and a cool breeze flows through a tiny park in Cordova Bay where Roger Charlie is digging into his ancestors’ past. He is lying flat on the ground on the edge of a hole. Layers of soil reveal ash and fire-cracked rocks, shells and animal bones — and a large piece of elk antler that Charlie believes might have been used as a tool to move hot rocks in a cooking pit.

Charlie can envision people around a cooking hearth sharing salmon and venison. Signs of ȾEL¸IȽĆE (pronounced Tel-eech) — a once-thriving village of the W̱SÁNEĆ and Lekwungen-speaking peoples dating back more than 1,000 years — are emerging from deep in the ground at Agate Lane Park as a University of Victoria-led archaeological field school draws to a close.

Charlie is feeling the presence of those who came before him as he gently picks and brushes the soil two feet down.

“I’m feeling very close to my ancestors,” said the 54-year-old father and grandfather. This week, he said, he had a dream of a woman about his own age who was wandering the site looking for something lost, a sign he believes is encouragement to keep uncovering the past of the Tsawout and other Indigenous people on the south Island.

All two dozen diggers — professors, graduate students and PhD candidates — have ochre smears under their eyes called TEMEL (pronounced Tem-uth) to protect them from bad spirits or feelings as they work, according to Coast Salish tradition. “Only when we are finished do we wash it away,” Charlie said.

The findings, which include slate fishing knives, fire pits, shell middens, sophisticated fish hooks, harpoon armaments and food remains such as sea lion, deer and elk bones, are evidence of a long-lasting village site that supported a large population.

A team from Washington State University used ground-­penetrating radar to map the Agate Lane site, determining the areas worth investigating. The teams also took advantage of early July’s low tides to look at the intertidal zone and found evidence of a large stone-wall fish trap in the area where Galey Brook spills into salt water to the south of the village.

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