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10 CAS undergrads receive Carson, Auvil research awards

Ten students in the College of Arts & Sciences are among 27 WSU undergraduates at Pullman and Vancouver to receive two types of awards from the Office of Undergraduate Research, part of WSU Undergraduate Education.

Students in anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, environmental studies, and history received Carson and Auvil awards. They will work with faculty mentors throughout the 2017-18 academic year on research, scholarly, and creative projects that advance or create new knowledge in their specific fields.

“Awards are typically $1,000 and help to ease financial stress, so students can focus more on their research,” said Shelley Pressley, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

“We are fortunate to have generous alumni and friends whose gifts make these awards possible. Supporting undergraduates in their research also adds immeasurably to their educational experience at our top research university,” she said.

Awardees will present their research results at the seventh annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) on April 2, 2018.

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WSU chemist Aurora Clark named ACS Fellow

Aurora Clark
Aurora Clark

Aurora Clark, a WSU professor of chemistry, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

Clark received the prestigious award for her service to the nuclear/inorganic and computational chemistry communities and for her innovative research, including the pioneering use of computer algorithms and network analysis to understand the behavior of complex solutions and their interfaces.

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Five CAS faculty among 12 Smith Teaching and Learning award winners

Five College of Arts & Sciences faculty, from four departments and two campuses, are among 12 faculty University-wide whose projects aimed at enhancing undergraduate learning will be funded by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment.

The winning project proposals address teaching and learning issues and improvements, support WSU learning goals, such as critical thinking and communication, and reflect a commitment to resolve factors raised by recent degree assessments.

“Many of the projects detail teaching innovations designed to better support deep, life-long learning,” said Mary F. Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education. “Some tap into emerging or discipline-specific pedagogies. Others support further growth of unique projects already under way.”

The first impact of the grants will be felt by thousands of undergraduates as early as fall classes.

“As methods and results are shared with other WSU faculty and through academic publications, the ultimate impact of these WSU grants will be very far reaching,” Wack said.

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$1.7 million x-ray microscope to unleash WSU materials research

Aurora Clark
Aurora Clark

When it arrives on campus this October, a powerful new $1.7 million x-ray microscope will help Washington State University scientists develop specialized materials for technologies such as self-healing roads, printable batteries and super-efficient solar cells.

The unique microscope can create three-dimensional models of a material’s interior down to 50 nanometer resolution. Such precision will enable researchers across the university to design more efficient and powerful components for technologies ranging from batteries and solar cells to drug delivery methods that use nanoparticles to target cancerous tumors. It also will provide faculty a competitive advantage when applying for future research grants.

“In order to make high performance materials better or more versatile, you need to be able to characterize and control the arrangements of atoms inside them,” said Aurora Clark, professor of chemistry and principal investigator for the Xradia Ultra program. “Previously, WSU scientists had to go somewhere like the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago to do the kind of imaging we will now be able to do in-house.”

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Grad student awarded prestigious NIH research fellowship

Jacob Day

A Washington State University graduate student has been awarded a prestigious National Institutes of Health predoctoral fellowship.

Chemistry Ph.D. student Jacob Day is the recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for the accidental discovery and subsequent development of a compound that enables scientists to investigate the protective role that sulfur dioxide plays in the heart.

The highly selective fellowship is awarded annually to top U.S. graduate students in health science-related fields. It will provide Day $103,938 over the next three years to continue studying the poorly understood relationship between sulfur dioxide and heart disease. His work could eventually lead to the development of new drugs and medical therapies to address a wide range of cardiovascular problems.

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