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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

International workshop aims to boost number, success of women in STEM

A free, online event on Tuesday, Nov. 17 aims to increase the participation and success of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Presented by Washington State University faculty, “Remedying the Leaky Pipeline for Women in STEM” is a workshop and mentoring/networking event that will bring together mentors and trainees from across the globe in real time. Participants will discuss the barriers women and other underrepresented groups face in pursuing STEM careers and ways of overcoming those hurdles. The event will run 6–9 p.m. PT. Registration is free but required.

Elissa Schwartz.
Schwartz

The three-part, interactive forum will feature live mentoring by women scientists and mathematicians as well as scholars in WSU’s Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). The keynote address will be presented by Seema Nanda, a mathematician and founder of the nonprofit Leora Trust, which promotes the empowerment of women in India through education.

“The story of Dr. Nanda’s career journey and the obstacles she overcame to become a mathematician and start her educational nonprofit foundation is deeply inspiring,” said workshop organizer and WGSS affiliate Elissa Schwartz, an associate professor in both the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

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WSU Insider

The Evangelical Vote

With the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the president is hoping to fill the seat with a more ideologically conservative justice. And evangelical Christians, who’ve become a powerful conservative voting bloc, have been waiting for this moment. But how and when did this religious group become so intertwined with today’s political issues, especially abortion?

In this episode of Throughline, what it means to be an evangelical today and how that has changed over time.

Matthew Avery Sutton.
Sutton

Throughline revisited a previous broadcast featuring Matthew Sutton, a professor of history at Washington State University and expert on the intersection of U.S. political history and evangelicalism.

National Public Radio

 

Study to explore risks and benefits of breastfeeding during COVID-19

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? Science has long supported that “breast is best,” but COVID-19 has brought with it new questions related to the benefits and/or potential risks of breastfeeding during this pandemic.

Is the SARS-COV2 virus present in breast milk and could it be transmitted from mom to baby? Could antibodies found in breast milk actually help protect babies from the SARS-COV2 virus?

Researchers at Washington State University are part of a new nationwide study on COVID-19 and infant feeding to help answer these questions. Their work could ultimately help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects the health and immune responses of mothers and babies and whether infant feeding practices play a role.

Courtney Meehan.
Meehan

“We don’t have the answers right now,” said Courtney Meehan, professor of anthropology in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences who has studied human milk composition and maternal-infant health in populations around the world.

The limited research conducted on this topic so far, she said, has yielded mixed results.

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News Medical
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KIMA TV
Spokesman-Review

Spokesman-Review

The Daily Chronicle

Nine CAS undergraduate researchers earn WSU fellowships

The Office of Undergraduate Research at Washington State University has named 32 students, including nine in the College of Arts and Sciences, as recipients of nearly $50,000 in awards in support of their mentored research, scholarship and creative activities for the 2020-21 academic year.

Students received 10 Auvil Scholars Fellowship awards, three Scott and Linda Carson Undergraduate Research awards, four WSU LSAMP Research awards, and 15 general undergraduate research awards. All are students at WSU Pullman with around 20 majors across STEM and non-STEM fields. Awardees include five sophomores, 13 juniors, and 14 seniors; 18 females and 14 males; and, nine first-generation students. Thirteen recipients are members of the WSU Honors College.

The fellowship award-winning students majoring in CAS disciplines are:

  • Annie Lu, a senior mathematics major mentored by Nikolaos Voulgarakis
  • Lucas Blevins, a sophomore music composition major mentored by Gregory Yasinitsky
  • Christopher Huong, a senior psychology and sports science major mentored by Sarah Ullrich-French
  • Tabitha McCoard, a senior fine arts major mentored by Hallie Meredith
  • Georgie Rosales, a senior English and psychology major in the Honors College mentored by Rebecca Craft
  • Olivia Willis, a junior neuroscience and psychology major in the Honors College mentored by Cheryl Reed
  • Jesús Mendoza, a senior zoology major mentored by Douglas Call
  • Marcelo Ruiz, a senior mathematics and mechanical engineering major mentored by Jacob Leachman
  • Krista Brutman, a senior mathematics major in the Honors College mentored by Bertrand Tanner

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WSU Insider

Researchers call for new approach to some mental disorders

Some of the most common mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and PTSD, might not be disorders at all, according to a recent paper by Washington State University biological anthropologists.

In the paper, published in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, the researchers propose a new approach to mental illness that would be informed by human evolution, noting that modern psychology, and in particular its use of drugs like antidepressants, has largely failed to reduce the prevalence of mental disorders. (This paper was made available online on Nov. 28, 2019 ahead of final publication in the issue on April 28, 2020). For example, the global prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders remained steady at 4.4% and 4% respectively from 1990 to 2010.

Kristen Syme.
Syme

The authors also theorize that depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder may be primarily responses to adversity; therefore, only treating the “psychic pain” of these issues with drugs will not solve the underlying problem. Kristen Syme, the first author on the paper and recent WSU Ph.D. graduate, compared it to medicating someone for a broken bone without setting the bone itself.

“The pain is not the disease; the pain is the function that is telling you there is a problem,” said Syme. “Depression, anxiety and PTSD often involve a threat or exposure to violence, which are predictable sources for these things that we call mental diseases. Instead, they look more like sociocultural phenomena, so the solution is not necessarily fixing a dysfunction in the person’s brain but fixing dysfunctions in the social world.”

Ed Hagen.
Hagen

Syme and co-author Edward Hagen advocate for biological anthropologists to enter the study of the “diseases of the mind,” to help find effective solutions, particularly for some problems that may be social instead of mental.

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Eurekalert
Psychology Today
Big Think
WSU Vancouver