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Stepping up for students ‘just like me’

Forty-one years after being accepted to WSU — and after donating about $31 million to students in need of tuition help — Gary Rubens earns his degree in Pullman.

Gary Rubens first considered attending college in 1981 after he graduated from Issaquah (Wash.) High School, but even after being accepted to Washington State University he found the cost of the college education too much to afford.

Rubens instead chose to enter the workforce, where he would build a successful lighting supply company, ATG Stores, based in Kirkland, Wash., which he sold to the Lowe’s Corporation in 2011.

This sale got him thinking about what he wanted to do next.

“I thought back about what I wanted to do to help others and I just realized that I should really focus on helping people that are just like me, that have high potential but low opportunities,” Rubens said.

More than four decades after he graduated high school, Rubens walked across the stage at the Washington State University commencement ceremonies in Pullman to receive his degree in the social sciences with a focus on psychology and sociology.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News
WSU Insider

Q&A with Robert Michael Pyle

Throughout the better part of a decade, award-winning author, lecturer, and lepidopterist Robert Michael Pyle worked on a spoken-word album in which poetry about the natural world meets acoustic instruments played mostly by grunge icon Krist Novoselić (BA, Social Sciences ’16), founding member of and bassist for Nirvana.

Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole, released last fall, began with one “guitar-poem” written and arranged for a meeting at a southwest Washington Grange. The album was rounded out over the following decade while Pyle, winner of two National Outdoor Book Awards as well as a John Burroughs Medal and Guggenheim Fellowship, worked on other projects. He has two books—The Tidewater Reach and Nature Matrix: New & Selected Essays—slated for publication in 2020. Another, Where Bigfoot Walks, is being made into a movie.

Here, Pyle talks about how he and Novoselić met, what it was like to work together, whether they might work together again, and more.

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Washington State Magazine

‘Wonder Woman’ — Turning obstacles into opportunities

If life experience were an academic program, Natalie Ewing would already have her master’s degree.

Natalie Ewing.Like many other nontraditional students, Ewing encountered her share of detours and unexpected turns along the path to college. She grew up amid drugs, alcohol, physical and emotional abuse. Today, Ewing is a digital technology and culture, and social science major at WSU Vancouver. A scholarship helped her afford the college experience.

In 2015, she went back to school. It took three terms, many advising appointments and lots of tears to get her footing as a nontraditional college student. But Ewing was determined to have “a real college experience.”

She joined clubs, attended events and volunteered. “I never thought that I would be a true-blue college student, but here I am,” she said proudly.

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WSU Insider

Built off the legacy of her mother, a daughter earns two degrees

WSU graduate wants to change the world through policy.

Jessica DoJessica Do walked away from Washington State University on Saturday with two degrees, a hefty résumé and a couple of internships under her belt. And despite the multiple tries it took to find the right majors—sociology and political science—the 21-year-old graduated a semester early.

For Do, the motivation to succeed comes from several sources: her mentors, her breathing, her mother. In fact, it was her mother’s immigration to the U.S. from Vietnam that most inspired Do to make something great of her life.

“She just wanted a better life for all her children, and I just wanted to make her proud,” Do said. “I don’t want to disregard everything that she’s worked hard for to come to America, and not contribute to society.”

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

What’s powering your devices?

Christine Horne

Do Americans want to use more renewable energy?

Yes they do – regardless of whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, according to new research by Washington State University sociologists.

Christine Horne, professor of sociology, and Emily Kennedy, assistant professor of sociology, published a study in the journal Energy Policy that shows many Americans would prefer to power their homes with wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy if given the option.

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WSU News

NY Daily News

Bioenergy Insight Magazine

ScienceDaily

Science Newsline