Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Covid-19

History alumnus leads virtual vacations from Bolivia

Llama Me!Derren Patterson (’07 History) wanted to see the world.

After stops in China and Korea, he landed in Bolivia—and made the landlocked South American country his home. The ecotourism adventurer has been sharing his passion for the place—part mountain range, part desert, part rainforest—for twelve years now.

“I’ve guided Hollywood movie stars, princes and princesses, backpackers, even my mom,” he says. “I’ve done all sorts of crazy stuff. But one of my favorite things » More …

Can’t stop the music

Joel Lininger wears a mask while playing piano.A combination of innovative technology and careful use of practice and performance spaces will enable Washington State University musicians to play together virtually this fall.

The University’s music groups, including jazz bands, choir, orchestra and of course, the Cougar Marching Band, all plan on recording and sharing virtual performances with the Cougar community in place of live concerts and halftime shows. » More …

Pandemic makes teaching abroad ‘surreal experience’

Preston with Romanian psych students.Thomas Preston, a political science professor and expert in international security policy, had just begun a four-month, Fulbright-sponsored teaching stint in Constanta, Romania, when the entire country was placed in lockdown and martial law was declared.

It was early March, the coronavirus was threatening to become a global pandemic and the Romanian government was having as little of that as possible, so officials quickly imposed strict » More …

Flattening the curve with jazz

A screenshot of jazz musicians in a Zoom meeting.The WSU Jazz Big Band isn’t letting the global pandemic get in the way of delivering excellent big band entertainment. The award-winning group, directed by Regents Professor Greg Yasinitsky, put technology to the test to produce a video of the aptly titled composition, “Flatten That Curve.”

In addition to the quality of the music, what makes the performance fascinating to watch is » More …

Interdisciplinary research on COVID-19 impact

Mother holding sleeping baby.Fifteen faculty and graduate student researchers from multiple colleges and campuses across the University recently joined forces to form the WSU COVID‑19 Infant, Maternal, and Family Health Research Collaborative.

Spanning a variety of disciplines, including biological sciences, anthropology, and psychology, the collective already has a half dozen studies lined up to address critical questions related to the impact of COVID‑19 on the health of mothers, babies, and families. » More …

Chemistry at-home lab kits keep students on track

To help chemistry students complete hands-on lab requirements while transitioned to remote instruction due to COVID-19, the Department of Chemistry will provide home lab kits to students taking selected undergraduate chemistry courses during the Summer 2020 term.

“Given the current ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order in Washington state, we revisited the idea of lab kits as an alternative for in-person labs. Today’s kits have increased in sophistication and are able to » More …

Songwriters share work at virtual roundtable

Zoom meeting screenshot of Joel Roeber with his guitar with faces of other Songwriters Roundtable participants in small frames.As many artists have done in the face of crisis, Joel Roeber, a songwriter and music student at WSU, turned to his art as a way to process his thoughts and feelings about the coronavirus pandemic and to help others cope.

Roeber’s new composition, “Crown of Fear,” is a gently unfolding instrumental jazz tune written in response to the anxiety and hardship brought by the virus. He also named the song in reference to the virus – “corona” means “crown” in Spanish and Latin.

“I’ve been working on it throughout this whole social distancing thing,” he said. “It’s meant to be a reflection of » More …

In a pandemic, why do people seek to help others?

Gloved fistbump, photo by Branimir Balogović/UnsplashHeartwarming examples of people across the country stepping up to help others in the face of a deadly disease raise the question of why people share resources and risk their own health and safety to help strangers. Craig Parks, professor of social psychology and WSU vice provost, provided insights about such “prosocial” behavior in a recent article by Galadriel Watson in The Washington Post.

“‘Prosocial’ means that when you have a choice between acting in your personal best interests or acting in the » More …