Two CAS women are among six Washington State University women who were honored for their professional accomplishments and contributions to their communities at the Women* of Distinction Awards in April.
Boeing Distinguished Professor of Math and Sciences Nairanjana (Jan) Dasgupta was named Woman of the Year for her tireless work in advancing statistics and increasing opportunities for women in the field. Dasgupta has an impressive professional record: she is a fellow in the American Statistical Association, has co-authored more than 60 papers, organized WSU’s Center for Interdisciplinary Statistical Education and Research (CISER), serves as the director of WSU’s multidisciplinary and multi-campus Data Analytics program, and has advised more than 70 graduate students in her career – more than half of whom are women.
As a WSU Global Campus student, Undergraduate Woman of Distinction Amanda Westbrook balances school, work, and a host of extracurricular activities aimed at enhancing the student experience. Westbrook is an anthropology student who maintains a 4.0 GPA while working full-time in the travel industry and serving as the ASWSUG director of communications and compliance. In that role, she creates content for the weekly Global Campus student newsletters, keeping students informed about campus issues and activities.
Anna Jordan from the College of Arts and Sciences is among three doctoral students who received dissertation fellowship awards from the Washington State University Graduate School.
Jordan is pursuing her doctorate in cultural anthropology, focusing on exploring psychological anthropology, as it relates to post-imprisonment life.
Jordan’s dissertation delves into the everyday experiences of formerly incarcerated adults living in Los Angeles. Her goal is to explore and understand ethical dilemmas rooted in post-prison life as they pertain to a changing political and social environment.
“It is a wonderful honor to be selected as a recipient,” she said. “I am deeply grateful for the support and recognition of what I believe is important research.”
Communities on the frontlines of climate change want to take the lead in choosing their own adaptive strategies.
Anne Pisor, WSU assistant professor of anthropology, and an international team of researchers propose a bottom-up approach to climate change adaptation where communities on the front lines play a leading role in the decision-making process.
“Currently most governments and other organizations involved in addressing climate change prefer to fund initiatives where decisions are made about what to do at a higher level and then these decisions are passed down to local communities, like towns or neighborhoods, to implement,” Pisor said. “The issue with this is that what seems like a good strategy to these organizations may not actually work on the ground.”
Much of the study of how people transitioned away from a lifestyle based mostly on food collected from the wild to one based on cultivated crops has focused on Europe, where the shift to agriculture, or “Neolithic transition,” concluded thousands of years ago. Based largely on genetic studies, the prevailing view is that the transition occurred mainly by population replacement rather than cultural change, said first author Shyamalika Gopalan, a graduate student at the time of the work advised by Brenna Henn, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis.
The team, led by Henn and Barry Hewlett at Washington State University, Vancouver, collected DNA samples from five groups of people in the southwest highlands: the hunter-gatherer Chabu; the Majang, who practice small-scale cultivation of crops; and the Shekkacho, Bench and Sheko, who practice more intensive farming. The goals were to assess both the genetic ancestry of the different groups and demographic trends in the recent past.
The United Nation’s latest climate change report forecasts bad news for a host of issues from rising food insecurity to increasing social inequality in North America unless steps are taken now to reduce global carbon emissions.
There is perhaps no one in the Inland Northwest who understands the dire consequences laid out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report better than Tim Kohler, a Washington State University emeritus professor of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology.
“One of the things archaeologists see that most other IPCC authors do not is that the changes are going to come more rapidly than we have ever seen in the past,” Kohler said. “Contributing to the report is really a small breakthrough for archaeology and shows that the IPCC is starting to take longer sweeps of history into account when assessing the significance of the coming climate changes.”