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Education, Academic

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 …

Fall 2018

Returns on education

Damien Pattenaude went back to his old school in Renton when there was a need. Now he wants to see even more kids return to Renton classrooms as teachers, just as he did.

It has become an even more urgent concern for Pattenaude (’99, ’05 MA, ’16 EdD) now that he is superintendent of the growing Renton School District. Like other school administrators across Washington and the country, he faces a teacher shortage, especially in special education, math, and sciences. Schools also need more diversity among teachers, to better represent the state’s changing population.

Although teacher shortages are not new, the problem is accelerating» 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 …

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 …