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Notable Alumni

Ana Cabrera
Fall 2017

Live from New York . . .

When Ana Cabrera ’04 first set foot on Washington State University’s Pullman campus in 2000, she had no idea she’d be live on national television in 17 years.

She didn’t know she’d go on to work as a weekend anchor for CNN and live in New York City. She was unaware that she’d cover major stories like riots in Ferguson, marijuana legalization, and immigration—or that her life would soon be at the 24/7 mercy of the “news gods.” And she certainly couldn’t predict that the president of the United States would call her and her fellow journalists the “enemy.”

What she did know was … » More …

Fall 2017

Bear watching

The headlines paint a dire picture: By the 2030s, global warming could completely melt Arctic sea ice, imperiling the 19 known polar bear populations that range across the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.

Could, as some fear, the trend spell extinction for Ursus martimus?

For two of the country’s premiere polar bear researchers—wildlife biologists KARYN RODE ’99 MS, ’05 PhD, and DAVID C. DOUGLAS ’86 MS, both of whom work for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center—the answer is a decided “No.”

But neither is the future rosy for the animals, according to Douglas, who uses satellite tracking to monitor their … » More …

Fall 2017

Where the trouble began

“Fiction is a document of trouble,” says novelist James Thayer ’71. The trouble began for Thayer as a teenager reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula on his father’s wheat farm in Almira.

“The narrator sees the Count leap to a window frame—and then crawl down the exterior of the castle wall like a lizard!” Thayer exclaims. “That scene scared me to death! It was a revelation as to the power of fiction.”

Now, decades later, the Seattle-based author of 14 novels teaches fiction writing through the University of Washington’s continuing education program.

“The main thing that keeps people from writing a novel is that it … » More …

Stephen B. Smart
Fall 2017

The accidental novelist

What began as a way to avoid going stir crazy while recuperating from a nearly fatal equestrian accident has become an award-winning western genre trilogy that blends suspenseful mystery and the allure of lost fortunes with good old-fashioned frontier fortitude.

Landscape architect STEPHEN B. SMART ’75 calls himself an unlikely novelist. He’s spent most of his life outdoors, designing everything from elaborate gardens and water features to a driveway gate cleverly concealed to appear as a fallen ponderosa pine. And in his free time, he’s more likely to be found atop a favorite mule exploring the Pacific Northwest backcountry than sitting at a keyboard … » More …

Fall 2017

James Thayer on the craft of the novel

James Thayer reads from The Boxer and the Poet

James Thayer ‘71 reads the first chapter of his romantic comedy, The Boxer and the Poet.

 

 

Tips and Techniques

Thayer started teaching the craft of the novel about ten years ago as a creative writing instructor at the University of Washington. He’s also a regular contributor to Author magazine.

Thayer, a natural storyteller, absorbed his craft through his lifelong voracious reading habit. When he first got the teaching job, he realized he didn’t have enough to say to fill a 90-hour, year-long course. So, as is his wont, he read a bunch of books. … » More …

Fall 2017

Steve Smart reads from Whispers of the Greybull

Steve Smart ’75 had spent much of the hot summer day making the rounds of the various landscaping and construction projects his company had underway throughout the Inland Northwest.

Back at his office atop a commercial nursery just outside Spokane, he agreed to take a break and read a selection from his first novel, Whispers of the Greybull. He’d have preferred to stay out on the work sites but got cleaned up and took a seat.

The novel, which Smart wrote while recovering from a near-fatal accident, is set in the Depression-era Midwest and was a recipient of a Will Rogers Medallion for inspirational … » More …

Jennifer Eskil
Fall 2017

Jennifer Eskil ’81

After 30 years of shepherding environmental and energy efficiency projects around the Northwest, Jennifer Eskil ’81 retired last spring with accolades.

Her employer, the Bonneville Power Administration, certainly recognized her achievements. BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer presented the Walla Walla resident with the agency’s highest honor, the BPA Meritorious Service Award.

Eskil received the distinction during the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 awards program in March. The award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to BPA’s mission through excellence in their chosen field for 10 years or more. Eskil was the industrial and agriculture sector lead in energy efficiency.

“Eskil is regarded as … » More …

Book - Briefly Noted
Fall 2017

Briefly noted for Fall 2017

The Positive Leader: Five Leadership Strategies for Attaining Extraordinary Results

Howard Gauthier ’81

Sports Leadership Publishing Company: 2016

Through a series of parables, this book gives leadership strategies designed to build successful teams in the workplace, on the playing field, or in the boardroom. Gauthier is a former college basketball coach and athletic director, and is currently an associate professor of sports science at Idaho State University-Meridian.

 

Midwives and Mothers: Medicalization of Childbirth on a Guatemalan Plantation

Sheila Cosminsky ’64 MA

University of Texas Press: 2016

In this exploration of birth, illness, death, and survival on a Guatemalan sugar and coffee plantation, Cosminsky looks … » More …

Fall 2017

Exodus: Climate and the movement of the people

Vast swaths of forests in western North America are dead or dying, killed by pine bark beetle. The beetles have been there all along, but prolonged droughts reduced the trees’ ability to defend themselves from the inner bark-munching bugs.

The western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range in California have been especially hard hit by the depredation, just as people who made money in Silicon Valley sought to move their families out of the choked cities and up into the beautiful mountain forests. Now, to mitigate risk of catastrophic fire and the further spread of pests such as bark beetle, landowners must cut down … » More …