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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Undergraduate researchers tackle important questions in sciences, humanities

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, relieving chronic pain, understanding protest behavior and conserving wildlife are among the goals of eight faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects funded this spring by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students from across the college—in mathematicschemistryforeign languages and politicalpsychologicalenvironmental and biological sciences—are working with faculty researchers to solve questions as diverse as what are a book’s chances of becoming a best seller and which food sources threatened butterflies prefer.

Courtney Meehan.

“The College of Arts and Sciences enthusiastically supports our students’ intellectual curiosity and the wide range of exciting and impactful research they conduct,” said Courtney Meehan, CAS associate dean for research and graduate studies. “Providing funds for these projects, and many more, advances the college’s ongoing commitment to support undergraduate students’ participation in an array of innovative research, scholarship and creative activities.”

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WSU Insider

Medical student overcomes fear of needles to become doctor

Lars Neuenschwander.

Lars Neuenschwander has been a Coug from the day he took his first breath.

A WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine student, Neuenschwander was born at Pullman Memorial Hospital. Eighteen years later, he returned to attend Washington State University. In 2019, he achieved a double degree in Spanish and Bioengineering and will graduate from the College of Medicine in 2024.

“I didn’t grow up with a passion for medicine or think a medical career was for me,” he said. “In fact, I had a terrible phobia of needles and wondered if I could get past it.”

Neuenschwander knew certain attributes were essential to the career he would choose. He was committed to making a positive impact by helping others. Though still apprehensive about his fears, Neuenschwander began to consider a medical profession and started volunteering for medical organizations. One of those opportunities, at a hospital in Costa Rica, propelled him into a passion for medicine.

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WSU Insider

Jennifer Lopez bridges gap between Puerto Rico and Washington

Jennifer Lopez finished her performance of Woody Guthrie’s protest anthem “This Land is Your Land” Wednesday morning by paying homage to her Hispanic identity. “One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all,” Lopez said in Spanish to the small crowd gathered on the west side of the Capitol to witness President Joe Biden take the oath of office.

Carmen Lugo-Lugo.

Many politicians in Washington still need to be educated on Puerto Rican demands, said Carmen Lugo-Lugo, a professor of comparative ethnic studies at Washington State University who is Puerto Rican. After years of researching congressional hearings on Puerto Rico, she found that the island “was invisible to those who were directly and indirectly making decisions about it and on its behalf.”

“If people in Congress have no idea what Puerto Rico is in relation to them, or the U.S., we can’t expect the general population to know any better,” Lugo-Lugo said. “So any time anyone raises awareness about Puerto Rico… it is a good thing. The medium is irrelevant.”

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Medill News Service


Art for Social Change Competition welcomes community’s creative work

Recognizing the important role of art in advancing social justice, the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race (SLCR) in the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University is seeking submissions for its annual Art for Social Change Competition.

Carmen Lugo-Lugo.

The competition and later exhibition encourage creation and sharing of art that provokes, challenges and inspires, said SLCR director Carmen Lugo-Lugo. “Art can simultaneously expose and contest social inequalities while compelling those who are looking at, experiencing and/or enjoying it to reflect on and even work on changing those conditions,” she said.

Art for Social Change organizers welcome work from WSU students, faculty and staff as well as students and educators in the broader community before midnight on Friday, Jan. 29. “It is a significant way for people within WSU and the surrounding community to talk to each other about these difficult topics,” Lugo-Lugo said.

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WSU Insider

Cluster hire program addresses racism and social inequality

Five new WSU faculty positions have been created to help promote equity and diversity across the Washington State University System.

Elizabeth Chilton.

The new positions are an integral part of the University’s Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas cluster hire program which was initiated by Provost and Executive Vice President and Professor of Anthropology, Elizabeth Chilton to demonstrate WSU’s commitment to inclusive excellence. The program is designed to address the urgent need for faculty specializing in interdisciplinary research topics associated with equity and diversity.

The following proposals were accepted:

  • African Diasporas in the Americas (Department of History)
  • Indigenous Knowledge, Data Sovereignty, and Decolonization (Digital Technology and Culture Program and WSU Tri-Cities)
  • Music of Black Americans/Music and Social Justice (School of Music)
  • Racialized Justice in America (Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology)
  • Social and Environmental Justice (School of Design and Construction)
Lisa Guerrero.

Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies, Lisa Guerrero, associate vice provost for inclusive excellence, will manage the cluster hire program as one of her first initiatives in her new position.

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WSU Insider