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Inequality examined: WSU welcomes professors around the nation for The Foley Institute’s lecturing series

Eight professors from across the country will present research related to inequality in a lecture series hosted online by Washington State University this fall.

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service hosts the distinguished lectures to “broaden the educational experience of WSU students and the surrounding community by bringing engaging and influential opinion leaders to campus in encourage thought-provoking discussions and ideas.”

Jennifer Sherman.

While The Foley Institute looks to host a diverse set of lecturers, Jennifer Sherman is taking a local look at systemic inequality. Sherman is a current WSU associate professor of sociology and will present her lecture, “The gentrification of Washington,” on Oct. 12 at noon.

“A lot of us have gone a year and half without seeing people in our departments and additional committees,” Sherman said. “To be around people who share the same interest and passion as you around the campuses is really exciting.”

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Yahoo! News

A California fisherman sails the choppy waters of climate change and drought

Along California’s economically distressed rural North Coast — where the future lies not in the fishing and logging jobs that once defined it but, increasingly, in tourism — climate change has forced those who live by the rod and the reel to consider their options.

For decades, many rural communities like Fort Bragg that once relied upon natural resource-based industries — like fishing, logging or mining — have tried to pivot to tourism, including plans to build a new marine science center on the site of the struggling lumber town’s last sawmill. It’s not an easy transition.

Jennifer Sherman.

“The jobs that tourism brings, large proportions are service-industry jobs, are seasonal or part time, and don’t lift a family above the poverty line,” said Jennifer Sherman, an associate professor of sociology at Washington State University who focuses on rural communities.

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Yahoo News

WSU receives $3 million for graduate research to improve Columbia River

With a new National Science Foundation grant, Washington State University will prepare graduate students to tackle a difficult problem that is more than 1,200 miles long: the Columbia River.

The five-year, $3 million award will fund a research training program focused on the relationships among rivers, watersheds, and communities. The program is intended to transform graduate science education, creating a diverse workforce that will not just conduct research but also first engage with the many communities that depend on the Columbia for clean water and food.

Dylan Bugden.
Erica Crespi.
Alex Fremier.

The training program will be run by WSU’s Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach or CEREO, which brings together hundreds of WSU faculty from multiple disciplines. CEREO’s interim director, Boll is a civil and environmental engineering professor, and his co-principal investigators on this project are Dylan Bugden in sociology, Erica Crespi from the School of Biological Sciences, Alexander Fremier from the School of Environment, and Zoe High Eagle Strong from the Nez Perce Tribe who directs the WSU Center for Native American Research and Collaboration.

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WSU Insider


As the delta variant grips Washington state, Latino population faces steep COVID risk

Teresa Bendito-Zepeda and a few companions went door to door during a summer morning last month, coaxing the farmworkers at this migrant housing complex to a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic in an empty apartment.

Anna Zamora-Kapoor.

Anna Zamora-Kapoor, an assistant professor in sociology and medical education and clinical sciences at Washington State University, said repeated nudges for people to embrace vaccination are important.

Latinos are not generally reluctant to be vaccinated and will do so if access is easy and they can ask questions of a Spanish-speaking provider, Zamora-Kapoor said.

“If I had to run a campaign to promote the COVID-19 vaccine, I would say something along the lines of, ‘the best gift for your family is to get vaccinated,’ ” she said. “The idea is to emphasize that the vaccine is protecting not just you, but also your family and those around you, those you love.”

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The Seattle Times

Professor Julie Kmec to chair sociology

Julie Kmec

An expert in work organizations and workplace diversity, Professor Julie Kmec will serve as chair of the Department of Sociology at Washington State University, effective Aug. 15, 2021.

“Bringing a wealth of skills and experience in teaching, research and leadership to her new post, Dr. Kmec is well equipped to build upon the sociology department’s long history of examining and engaging the challenges of our increasingly diverse and international society,” said Todd Butler, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Since the pandemic allowed us to reflect on our academic values, work habits and workloads, my vision for the department centers on utilizing these collective reflections to support and advance student engagement, graduate mentoring and faculty life,” Kmec said. She further envisions strengthening and expanding intra-departmental research collaborations and enabling more graduate and undergraduate students to be exposed to a wider range of career options.

Kmec succeeds Monica Johnson, who will return to the sociology faculty after four years as department chair.

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WSU Insider