Washington State University students and faculty recently returned from a 10-day volunteer effort to help assess whether a health project designed to increase iron levels in the blood of rural Guatemalan people has been successful.
WSU participants worked hand in hand with Hearts in Motion (HIM), a nonprofit organization, on the medical service project.
“After my first year participating in HIM, I realized Guatemalan diets are primarily starch-based,” said Kathy Beerman, a WSU professor in the School of Biological Sciences and a veteran HIM volunteer. “This caused me to believe that many Guatemalans are probably faced with a lack of iron in their diets, and therefore at increased risk for iron deficiency anemia. That is when we started our research.”
Twelve-year-old Joan Stiven of Zacapa, Guatemala, is the newest niño welcomed into the WSU Cougar family since 25 Washington State University students recently stood before a room filled with fellow humanitarian volunteers and announced they were sponsoring a year of local schooling for him. Stiven is one of many children that the international nonprofit organization Hearts in Motion (HIM) identified in need of educational sponsorship.
“For these students to voluntarily pay for a child’s education out of their own pockets shows the tremendous heart that travels with Cougars every time they embrace the Hearts in Motion purpose,” said Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi, program director, associate professor of foreign languages and cultures, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU.
The 25 students who collectively took on Stiven’s need will provide funding for uniforms, shoes, a backpack, school supplies, access to medical and dental care, and nutritious meals. Throughout the year HIM will also closely monitor Stiven’s scholastic progress by meeting with his teachers and parents.
For 10 years running, WSU students have joined in a medical service trip with HIM, providing free services such as dental work and cleft palate reconstruction. This was the first year WSU students decided to sponsor a child, and they hope future groups continue to do the same.
Washington State University Vancouver will present its 2017 awards for research, student achievement and teaching at this year’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6. The following three individuals in the College of Arts and Sciences will each receive a Chancellor’s Medallion:
Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence–Candice Goucher, professor of history
Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement– Julian Rivas, B.A., social sciences, with a concentration in human resources administration and a certificate in case management
Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence– Enrique Brouwer, instructor of psychology, and foreign languages and cultures.
Editor’s note: Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a major divide between Muslims and other religions in the United States. Much of it is caused by misunderstanding and ignorance, which is why we applauded Washington State University in this April 23, 2007, editorial for offering a class exploring Middle Eastern traditions, geography and history. The class is still being offered, and it is still clearly needed.
Our country’s foreseeable future is linked to that of the Middle East, and not just because of the ongoing war in Iraq. America is tied to the region through oil and business interests that are vital to our economy.
Furthering those interests—and helping restore peace—will be made easier if we are better able to understand Middle Eastern cultures and its dynamics.
A new class at Washington State University will help some college students toward that end.
Arabic 101 is being offered for the first time this summer through the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures at WSU. The idea for the class came from Saad Alshahrani, a Saudi who arrived in the United States two years ago.
Alshahrani, who is seeking his doctorate in economics, isn’t teaching the class for the money—he won’t be getting paid. Instead, he’s using it as a venue to teach language, and Middle Eastern traditions, geography, history, sports, business and current events as well.
Washington State University recently was recognized among colleges and universities nationwide for its pioneering approach to teaching foreign languages.
TheBestColleges.org, a national reviewer of online education, lists WSU among the 10 Most Innovative Colleges for Foreign Language Study. Schools were chosen on the basis of “offering students a chance to learn rare languages, immerse themselves in a new culture and language, or even blend language learning with dormitory life.”
“This national recognition underscores the high quality of our teaching program and the unique opportunities we offer students, such as our language for the professions second major,” said Jolyon Hughes, professor of German and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures. “The WSU DFLC approach is to look differently at language and culture and create study and outreach programs that prepare our students to enter the global society confidently and capably.”
Students in the language for professions track may couple studies in any other major area with a second major in a language and culture that complements their primary interests. Additional specialized programs are tailored to students in business, social and natural sciences, engineering and veterinary medicine.