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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Six WSU faculty named new members of Washington State Academy of Sciences

Mechthild Tegeder.
Tahira Probst.
Jan Dasgupta.

Three members of CAS faculty are among six WSU professors recently elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS): Nairanjana Dasgupta, in mathematics and statistics and data analytics; Tahira Probst in psychology; and Mechthild Tegeder in biological sciences.

They are part of the 29-member class of 2023 inductees who join the nonprofit organization with a mission to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington.

“WSAS is proud to elevate these exceptional individuals for the many ways in which they have advanced scientific and engineering excellence,” said John Roll, WSAS president and WSU professor and vice dean of research at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. “We look forward to engaging them in addressing complex societal challenges not only for the benefit of the citizens of Washington state but for all citizens of the world.”

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WSU hosts Data Literacy Playshops program

Seven-year-old George wants to design computer games. Five-year-old Erik hopes to become a policeman. Fourteen-year-old Jaime finds archaeology and history fascinating.

These youngsters and dozens of their peers recently took an important step toward achieving their dreams by participating in the Data Literacy Playshops program hosted by Washington State University data scholars. The youth and family-oriented playshop events introduce K–8 students to ways of recognizing, synthesizing, and utilizing data as a “fourth dimension of literacy.”

Nairanjan 'Jan' Dasgupta.

“As data culture becomes the norm, data literacy needs to be part of basic education from an early age,” said Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta, WSU Boeing distinguished professor of science/math education who conceived and created the data playshops. “Increasing children’s level of comfort and understanding about using data helps them recognize the many ways they can and already do make data-based decisions in their daily lives.”

Engaging youth and their families in age-appropriate, data-immersive activities can start conversations, create awareness, and pique positive interest in data — before they might be affected by negative attitudes toward math, Dasgupta said.

The lighthearted and fun hands-on activities focus on storytelling, visualization, and using the word “data” frequently. Participants and their families learn ways to collect and evaluate data and how data can be both used and misused.

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Dasgupta receives excellence in teaching international students award

Director and Professor of Data Analytics Narianjana (Jan) Dasgupta has been awarded the 2023 Yang Liu Award for Excellence in Teaching International Students.

Dasgupta is the Boeing Distinguished Professor of Science and Mathematics and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. She also directs the Data Analytics program.

Nominator Zhiyuan (Freeman) Chen wrote, “Professor Jan is an exceptional teacher who goes above and beyond to support and engage international students in their learning.

Jan Dasgupta

“As a volunteer in four data camps led by Professor Nairanjana Dasgupta, I witnessed her deep understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusivity in teaching. …Through these camps, Professor Jan demonstrated a solid commitment to creating a welcoming environment that encourages students from diverse backgrounds to participate and engage.”

In receiving the honor, Dasgupta said, “I was an international student myself and I can relate to how strange it can be to learn, even the basics, in a different cultural environment. When I came here years ago, I remember I was bewildered, confused, and everything seemed different. I received a lot of “kindness from strangers” and my professors as I settled in. My aim is to pay that forward with my international students. My everyday life mantra is what I call “K4,” i.e. “candor, kindness and confidence and candy.” I am very open and candid with my students and strive to instill confidence in them. I try to always be kind, and if all fails, my students know I always have candy with me.”

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Ten seniors recognized for excellence

Each year, 10 graduating seniors from Washington State University are recognized for excellence in several areas: academics, athletics, campus involvement, community service, and visual and performing arts. Six students in CAS are among WSU’s top 10 of 2022.

The WSU Alumni Association and Student Alumni Ambassadors coordinate the 80-year tradition of honoring these outstanding students, who are nominated from across WSU’s six campuses.

A selection committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students chose the winners based on criteria that fit each category.

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WSU Features

Women of Distinction Awards presented

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.

Jan Dasgupta.

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.

Amanda Westbrook.

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.

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