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Education, Academic

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 …

Winter 2016

Welcome Back, Kotter—and George

George Hollingbery ’76 studied education at an interesting time, as the profession underwent significant change in the 1970s. Teachers began asking where the classroom began and ended, and how could they better reach and help students who learn in different ways.

During that time, Hollingbery says they all faithfully watched the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Set in a Brooklyn remedial high school class, the show offered a glimpse into how “difficult” students could defy expectations.

Hollingbery, a fourth-generation Coug and grandson of legendary WSU football coach Babe Hollingbery, started teaching high school sociology and other classes in Lacey. Although he had all kinds … » More …

Fall 2016

Kids solving the unsolvable

Imagine Tomorrow

Flushing the toilet stirred up a good idea in four young women from Walla Walla High School. They recognized that families use hundreds of gallons of water per day, a real problem in places faced with water shortages. To ease that, Karen Maldonado, Edlyn Carvajal, Sandra Escobedo de la Cruz, and Ruth Garcia developed a trapping system using an inexpensive charcoal filter to recycle wastewater back to the toilet tank.

The Walla Walla teens took their plan to the Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow competition, an annual problem-solving challenge at Washington State University that encourages high school students to propose and present ideas … » More …

Fall 2016

The music of life

In Yakima’s Garfield Elementary School, Principal Alan Matsumoto ’75 is hearing music ring through the halls after school. With 100 percent of the students facing poverty, the afterschool Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA) gives them the opportunity to transcend their circumstances with instruments.

YAMA, based on a Venezuelan program called El Sistema, brings professional musicians to the school to teach Garfield students how to play violins, cellos, and other instruments in ensemble groups.

The program launched four years ago with just seven students. Matsumoto says he first heard about El Sistema from Stephanie Hsu, who had recently graduated from training and now leads YAMA. … » More …

Kim Reykdal thumb
Summer 2016

Kim Reykdal ’94

High school counselor Kim Reykdal ’94 doesn’t wait around for students to make appointments. She searches them out.

Whether it’s scholarship applications, information about opportunities with the U.S. military, or the latest on specialty or technical colleges, Reykdal is known to work the lunchroom, if necessary, to get students setting goals for life after high school.

That commitment to student achievement earned Reykdal a trip to Washington, D.C. in January as one of four 2016 national Counselor of the Year finalists, where first lady Michelle Obama praised her efforts in a White House ceremony. The recipients also met with lawmakers and attended a congressional … » More …

Amy Eveskcige, Courtesy The News Tribune
Winter 2015

Dream maker

“My earliest memories of school were full of hope,” says Amy Eveskcige ’13 EDD, the new superintendent of Chief Leschi Schools and the first Puyallup Tribe member to hold the position. She’s eager to instill that same hope to the kids attending her schools. Chief Leschi Schools, operated by the Puyallup Tribe, is one of the largest Bureau of Indian Education schools in the nation. That she even became superintendent took support of her own teachers.

As a child, her hopes were slim. Her dreams, muted. Her father died when she was three. Her mother was an X-ray technician but spent most of her time … » More …

Pam Nolan-Beasley and class
Fall 2014

Pam Nolan-Beasley ’88—Physics for five-year-olds

“People don’t realize how much you can teach science at a kindergarten age,” says Pam Nolan-Beasley, a teacher at Waitsburg Elementary. But these kids are inquisitive little sponges, ever curious and energetic, she adds: “It’s a perfect time for science.”

Nolan-Beasley’s success at getting five- and six-year-olds—and their families—interested in science recently garnered her the Presidential Award in Mathematics and Science Teaching, an honor for the nation’s top math and science teachers provided through the National Science Foundation. One of two teachers in Washington to earn the honor, she was nominated by her superintendent who also credited her with convincing the school board to make … » More …