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Education, Academic

illustration of girl writing math equations on chalkboard
Spring 2020

How to encourage a girl: Improving diversity in STEM

“Your daughter is obviously good at math,” the teacher says to the girl’s parents at a fourth-grade parent-teacher meeting.

The parents have noticed this, too, and suggest to the fourth grader that she study physics, astronomy, maybe engineering or another math-intensive field. As she gets older, she remains interested in all those things, but she’s also picking up messages that are telling her something quite different.

She and her family are avid Big Bang Theory fans. They’ve watched every episode. So even as her parents and teachers are saying, “You’re good at this!” and “Follow your passion!” she’s seeing portrayals of men in gendered professions, … » More …

First Words
Fall 2018

Influence

Abraham Lincoln, when nominated for president in 1860, apologized for his lack of formal education. No apology was necessary from the articulate orator and voracious reader whose desire to learn and improve himself continued into his adulthood. Even without school, Lincoln had teachers, people who influenced his education. He moved to New Salem, Illinois, in his early 20s and studied grammar and debate under the tutelage of his mentor, remarkably named Mentor Graham, who wrote about Lincoln: “No one ever surpassed him in rapidly, quickly and well acquiring the rudiments and rules of English grammar.”

Gladys Cooper Jennings ’48 similarly served as a mentor … » More …

Twitter bird illustration
Spring 2018

Truth or consequences

Fake news nearly started a war between Qatar and its neighbors in 2017. In Pakistan, a highly placed official bought into a fake news story warning that Israel was going to destroy Pakistan, and tweeted a warning at Israel that his country, too, was a nuclear power. And in Washington, D.C., an armed vigilante burst into a pizzeria and fired three shots, thinking he was bringing down a sex-slave ring.

While news has never been neutral, something has changed: Information has become weaponized. What’s changed, says Washington State University communications professor Doug Hindman, is that the marketplace of ideas has broken down under the … » More …

Freedom Siyam
Spring 2018

Freedom Siyam ’00

It’s not easy being an educator of America’s future. “I work with over 150 adults every day who go home exhausted, because they are doing everything they can to reach and teach children,” says Freedom Siyam ’00.

Siyam is the principal of Balboa High School in San Francisco’s Excelsior district. “This area is the last bastion of the working class family in the city,” he says. All over the Bay Area, rents and home prices have skyrocketed as Silicon Valley has swollen and high-paid tech workers price people out of their neighborhoods.

“Regardless of what district, our families are educationally underserved,” Siyam says. “There’s … » More …

Spring 2017

Learning that’s virtually fun

Graceful tropical fish circle around me as a sea turtle glides overhead. Slowly and steadily, hundreds of pink jellyfish swarm from behind and a curious striped creature moves in for a better look at what I assume is my virtual reality headset. In awe, I blindly reach out and it pulls away with alarm. The scene is so realistic I’m speechless.

Don McMahon is laughing. “You look pretty engaged right now,” says the director of the Washington State University Neurodiversity Lab located in the College of Education. “Fun is engaging and engaged students learn,” he’s been intoning, seemingly miles away in the background.

McMahon … » More …

Book - Briefly Noted
Winter 2016

Briefly noted

 

Light in the Trees

Gail Folkins ’85

Texas Tech University Press: 2016 

Folkins draws on her experiences growing up in rural western Washington to weave a coming of age tale for both the narrator and the place. The memoir, touching on everything from serial killers and Northwest volcanoes to Sasquatch myths and runaway livestock, glides through past and present while exploring cultural and environmental topics illustrating the changing American West.

 

The Expanding Universe: A Primer on Relativistic Cosmology

William D. Heacox ’72 MA

Cambridge University Press: 2015

Cosmology, the science of the universe, has seen a renaissance in recent decades. This textbook by … » More …