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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Outstanding College of Arts and Sciences seniors excel in academics, leadership, service

Writers, researchers, scientists, musicians, athletes, activists, adventurers… the 23 students who received this year’s Outstanding Senior honors from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) excelled in academic performance and in service to their department or school and to the broader Washington State University community.

Sean Swalling.
Swalling

Outstanding Senior in mathematics and statistics, Sean Swalling is passionate about sharing knowledge with others and is already experienced in his chosen field of teaching. In addition to serving as a summer tutor and camp counselor, he has proven himself a leader in the classroom.

Samantha King-Shaw.
King-Shaw

Samantha King-Shaw, Outstanding Senior in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSS), is an accomplished student–athlete of color whose performance in the classroom, on the track, and in service to the community won great praise from WGSS faculty. “King-Shaw’s academic success and record of community service demonstrate an extraordinary ability apply what she learned as a women’s studies major,” they said.

Megan Wong.
Wong

Described by one of her professors as “bright, talented, motivated, collaborative and kind,” Megan Wong, Outstanding Senior for the School of Biological Sciences, packed into her college career not only stellar achievements in academics but also a host of extracurricular activities.

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WSU Insider

Data is interdisciplinary: Not a new concept but an essential practice

Tableau for Teaching is on a mission to create a data-literate world. At Tableau, we feel that data literacy is essential for everyday life. We consume data across all disciplines and subject areas. What used to be thought of as a specialized field, it has become apparent that more than ever, data literacy is a necessity for everyone.

Jan Dasgupta.
Dasgupta

Our first spotlight is Dr. Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta—Director of Data Analytics, Boeing Distinguished Professor of Math and Science Ed., Professor of Statistics at Washington State University.

“At WSU I am building on a foundation that is highly collaborative and brings together multiple units and disciplines. Engineering, mathematics, statistics, and the domain areas all have a role to play, and have people passionate about these issues—also reaching out to education, arts, communication, and economics,” Dasgupta said. “The idea is there are people, like me, who are passionate about these ideas—giving them a forum.”

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Tableau

Open source tool can help identify gerrymandering in voting maps

With state legislatures nationwide preparing for the once-a-decade redrawing of voting districts, a research team has developed a better computational method to help identify improper gerrymandering designed to favor specific candidates or political parties.

In an article in the Harvard Data Science Review, the researchers describe the improved mathematical methodology of an open source tool called GerryChain. The tool can help observers detect gerrymandering in a voting district plan by creating a pool, or ensemble, of alternate maps that also meet legal voting criteria. This map ensemble can show if the proposed plan is an extreme outlier—one that is very unusual from the norm of plans generated without bias, and therefore, likely to be drawn with partisan goals in mind.

Daryl DeFord.
DeFord

“We wanted to build an open-source software tool and make that available to people interested in reform, especially in states where there are skewed baselines,” said Daryl DeFord, assistant professor of mathematics at Washington State University and a co-lead author on the paper. “It can be an impactful way for people to get involved in this process, particularly going into this year’s redistricting cycle where there are going to be a lot of opportunities for pointing out less than optimal behavior.”

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Phys.org
Eurasia Review

 

15 CAS undergraduates win 10 SURCA research awards

More than a quarter of Washington State University students who delivered virtual presentations won monetary awards at the annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) on March 29 in Pullman.

SURCA is the unique WSU-wide venue for students from all majors, years in college, and from all WSU campuses. Nearly 150 students from the Pullman, Vancouver, Spokane, and Global campuses delivered presentations detailing their research, scholarship, and creative activities conducted with a mentor.

Faculty, postdoctoral students, and community experts used a common rubric to judge and score all presentations in nine SURCA categories that are designed to cover all disciplines at the university.

Fifteen CAS students won 10 different awards across seven categories at the 2021 event held online.

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WSU Police partner with student legal group on arrest data

The Student Legal Research Association will help evaluate arrest data from WSU’s police department as part of measures to address racial disparity in arrests on the Pullman campus. The campus police are also taking collaborating with university researchers to address implicit bias.

These actions are part of an effort to address disproportionate arrests of Black people by campus police, a problem identified by a Daily Evergreen article in fall 2019 and a following report by WSU Office of Compliance and Civil Rights (CCR) in May 2020. The term “arrest” in police data includes non-custody interactions such as issuing traffic citations.

David Makin.
Makin

The CBTSim program is just one that the WSU campus force will undertake, Gardner said.  The department is working on another project with WSU criminal justice professor David Makin and the Complex Social Interactions Lab where officers will review body camera footage in very specific ways to try to understand the effect their actions have.

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