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First-ever WSU faculty regent appointed

Washington State University has its first-ever faculty regent.

Judy McDonald.

Judi McDonald, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was chosen by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee as a voting member of the WSU Board of Regents from a pool of candidates submitted by the WSU Faculty Senate.

“I know all of us who were nominated were excited to do the job, and I had confidence that any others chosen would do a phenomenal job,” McDonald said. “We all really value this role as something important for faculty with shared governance experience to do.”

During her time at WSU, McDonald has accumulated more than a decade of university governance experience. She’s previously chaired the Faculty Affairs Committee of the WSU Faculty Senate, a representative body that she has also served as chair-elect, chair and past chair. As chair, McDonald advocated for adding a faculty representative to the Board of Regents, which was done in 2018. She was the first person at WSU to serve in the role.

Earlier this year, the Washington State Legislature’s amended state law to add an empowered faculty regent to the governing boards of WSU as well as the University of Washington.

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WSU students land three Goldwater Awards to support STEM research

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has announced that Washington State University students John Bussey, Kalli Stephens, and Thomas Ballinger have received $7,500 awards to support their education.

Prestigious, nationally competitive Goldwater distinguished scholarships are given to high-achieving undergraduates intending to pursue careers in math, the natural sciences, or engineering (STEM). These latest awardees bring WSU’s total number of Goldwater recipients to 48 since the first in 1990.

John Bussey

Bussey, a sophomore from Olympia, is an Honors College student majoring in materials science and engineering, minoring in environmental and resource economics and mathematics, and seeking a nuclear materials certificate.

Ballinger, a junior from Reno, Nevada, is majoring in genetics and cell biology as well as music. He is in SMB’s Students Targeted Toward Advanced Research Studies (STARS) program, which allows undergraduates to earn an accelerated Bachelor of Science degree in three years—including research rotations and mentorship–and move into a doctorate path. He envisions a career investigating aging as well as synthetic biology.

A National Merit Scholar, he said he chose WSU for his education because of its genetics and cell biology program, the SMB STARS program, and the music program in piano.

Thomas Ballinger

His mentors include SMB’s Cynthia Hazeltine, Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement William B. Davis, the Institute of Biological Chemistry’s Philip D. Bates, the School of  Music’s Yoon-Wha (Yuna) Roh, and his Reno piano teacher Jeff DePaoli.

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Big Country News

Math undergrads from four states meet to solve real‑world problems

How human and animal diseases spread, how trees move in wind, and how confined fluids flow are among topics of research conducted by undergraduate mathematicians from across the Pacific Northwest who met recently at Washington State University to discuss their work.

Students and faculty from six universities in Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Washington joined dozens of WSU peers at the 2022 Pacific Inland Mathematics Undergraduate Conference (PiMUC) to present their research in both applied and theoretical mathematics and to learn about using math skills to solve real-world problems.

“This year’s PiMUC conference saw a number of very impressive presentations in many diverse and interdisciplinary areas, ranging from pure mathematics to applications in public health and computer science,” said Sergey Lapin, a career-track professor of mathematics who co-organized the conference on the WSU Pullman campus.

“Despite being somewhat isolated geographically, colleges and universities in our Pacific inland region have brilliant undergraduate students doing interesting and important research,” said fellow organizer Will Hall, WSU assistant professor of math. “The conference enabled undergraduate students from across the region to network with one another as well as with faculty and WSU graduate students also currently engaged in research.”

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Krishnamoorthy named first recipient of Yang ‘Wendy’ Liu Award

Bala Krishnamoorthy.

Bala Krishnamoorthy, PhD, professor of mathematics and statistics at WSU Vancouver, has been named the first recipient of the Yang “Wendy” Liu Award for Excellence in Teaching International Students.

Krishnamoorthy received the award at the International Students’ graduation gala on May 6. In a videotaped acceptance, he said, “I am incredibly honored to accept the Yang Liu award from International Programs. Wendy set a really high standard for teaching international students well. It is a great honor for me to even be considered for filling the shoes that she left.”

In nominating Krishnamoorthy for the award, PhD student James Asare noted, “In all three of Bala’s classes I took, what struck me the most was his careful approach in recognizing his classroom mix of international and local students and leveraging well-thought-out pedagogies to create a space that was expressive of understanding through active engagement.”

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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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