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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 

‘Their work will continue’: NBA players prioritizing social justice initiatives over symbolic protests next season

Amid uncertainty on when and how the next NBA season will start, the league’s players remain certain of one thing.

After spending the season restart addressing systemic racism with words and actions, they have no intentions of confining their activism to the bubble.

David Leonard.

“One will hope that no matter the outcome, the organizing and demands for change continue,” said David Leonard, a professor in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race at Washington State University who teaches classes on the politics of sports and is the author of After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness.

“There’s a danger that if Biden wins, there’s this belief that everything is going to change or everything will become perfect. But the issues surrounding criminal justice and police reforms, these are longstanding and institutionalized that transcend any single moment,” Leonard said. “Though the election clearly matters, what happens after the election is also important.”

Among the plans to continue the movement after Nov. 3, owners of all 30 NBA teams how vowed to contribute a total of $30 million each year for the next 10 years to the NBA Foundation. The NBA and NBPA plan to have ongoing talks on how teams can improve diversity among the coaching, front office and ownership ranks, as well as ensure greater inclusion of Black-owned and operated businesses at team events.

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USA Today