Skip to main content Skip to navigation
CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

With a few cups of water, scientists use eDNA to study reclusive, rare creatures off West Coast

Some critters in the ocean are reclusive, hiding from human probes and trawls. Other critters are rare, driven close to extinction from warming and increasingly acidic waters.

Studying rare and reclusive creatures has posed problems for scientists in the past. In recent years, environmental DNA, or eDNA, has helped. To isolate eDNA, scientists scoop water from the ocean.

Meghan Parsley.
Parsley

Meghan Parsley has collected eDNA samples for her doctoral work at WSU Pullman, one part of which involves using the quantity of eDNA to estimate the population size of wood frog tadpoles in Connecticut.

“This is where the magic happens,” Parsley said, walking into a sparse, clean lab at Washington State University.

Keeping unwanted DNA out of the lab is tough and involves a lot of bleach. “I have lots of bleach-stained clothes,” Parsley said.

Find out more

OPB.org

WSU Everett celebrates 10 years of STEM education in North Puget Sound

In 2012, 24 mechanical engineering students began their studies at Washington State University on the Everett Community College Campus. This year, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture celebrates 10 years of STEM education in the North Puget Sound region. Voiland College students, faculty, staff, and alumni from WSU Everett are making a difference from coast to coast.

Now, a decade since Voiland College made its debut at WSU Everett, the campus offers 10 bachelor’s degree programs through WSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, CAHNRS, Carson College of Business, and the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. They also operate in a 95,000-square-foot building filled with the state-of-the-art equipment students need to prepare for the workforce. “We are proud to make higher education accessible to students who need to be closer to home, work opportunities, and family,” said Chancellor Paul Pitre. “Our commitment to creating new programs and connecting students with rewarding careers has never been stronger.”

Find out more

WSU Insider

 

Future student-exchange to Germany explores resilient, high-yielding crops

Students from Washington State University will travel to Germany next summer for a new research exchange program exploring complex plant traits underlying resilience and yield.

Funded by a $300,000 award from the National Science Foundation’s International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) initiative, the 10-week program expands WSU’s partnership with Germany’s CEPLAS — the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences, which integrates the resources of the Universities of Cologne and Düsseldorf, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, and the Forschungszentrum Jülich research institute.

Mechthild Tegeder.
Tegeder

“Bridging the U.S. with Germany, this new program offers students an unmatched opportunity to learn how crop research advances happen through international cooperation,” added Mechthild Tegeder, co-lead and professor in WSU’s School of Biological Sciences. “The new perspectives our students will gain from this program will be critical to their future success in the increasingly global world of plant science.”

Knowledge gained by this fundamental research could pave the way for new crop plants that are more productive and robust against environmental challenges, leading to sustainable, efficient cultivation of crops for food, fodder, and energy.

Find out more

WSU Insider

Doctoral Training Is Ossified. Can We Reinvent It?

Lessons from the short-lived Next Generation Humanities Ph.D. program.

Todd Butler.
Butler

In 2016, Todd Butler, an English professor at Washington State University, joined a committee charged with exploring changes in graduate education. At first, the group’s planning sessions felt typical: the slow consensus-building, the circling conversations. But then something shifted. “Two months into our planning process, the dean of the grad school said to all of us who were assembled there, ‘Are we just going to talk about doing something, or are we going to do it?’” Butler perked up: “I was not interested in writing another internal white paper that would get read, be appreciated, and stall out somewhere.” He saw the work as vitally important — an opportunity not just to improve graduate education but to articulate the importance of the humanities to a rural, land-grant university like Washington State.

Butler and his colleagues had received a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities under a new grant program called the Next Generation Humanities Ph.D. Begun in 2015, its mandate was broad, offering funds for graduate institutions to rethink doctoral education in the humanities. The goal was to focus on what the NEH delicately called “disparities between graduate-student expectations for a career in academe and eventual career outcomes,” and to further the role of the humanities in public life. Colleges could apply for either a planning grant, with the NEH matching an institutional commitment of up to $25,000, or an implementation grant of $350,000, to further efforts already under way. In 2016, the NEH awarded an initial round of grants: 25 planning grants and three implementation grants. Grantees planned to study a host of possible changes in doctoral education: practicum internships, curricular reform, professionalization, changes in academic advising and mentoring, and even new dissertation formats.

And then, in 2017, the program was quietly canceled. What went wrong?

Find out more

Chronicle of Higher Education

WSU students awarded Gilman Scholarships to study abroad

Eight CAS students are among 13 WSU undergraduates who recently received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship toward study abroad programs of their choice. Cougs will use the funding to study in Austria, Italy, Japan, Portugal and Spain this summer and fall.

“The Gilman scholarship is a federally funded initiative and is the top study abroad award in higher education,” said Senior Advisor Tiffany Prizzi. “Besides looking great on a resume, this award is an open door to international opportunities and consideration for post-graduate awards, such as the Fulbright and Rhodes scholarships.

“The Gilman award also grants 12 months of federal job eligibility, meaning recipients can be considered for vacant federal government jobs with as little as an application, sidestepping what’s typically a lengthy process for consideration.”

CAS students receiving the award, their major, and their intended study abroad destination are Zoe Alamillo, Psychology (Sociology minor), Italy; Jesus Avina, Sociology (Human Development minor), Spain and Portugal; Makayla Daniels, International Business (Japanese minor), Japan; Emily Dickson, Pre-Pharmacy (Psychology minor), Spain; Milo Edwards, Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies (Queer Studies minor), Italy; Citlaly Gomez-Ledezma, Criminal Justice, Italy; Claudia Jacobo, Japanese (Business Administration and Digital Technology and Culture, minors), Japan; and Johan Luna, Biology and Pre-Dentistry.

Find out more

WSU Insider