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Area studies

Summer 2011

Somewhere in France

The latest posting on our Coordinates website is from Margrit von Braun ’89 PhD, who writes from Nigeria. Margrit and her husband, Ian von Lindern, founded TerraGraphics, an environmental engineering company, in the 1980s. They have since developed an expertise in remediation of sites contaminated with heavy metals and are currently working to clean up lead contamination resulting from gold mining in Nigeria’s Zamfara State.

Over 400 children have died from the contamination. With no other income as lucrative as gold mining, the residents of Zamfara brought ore into family compounds, where women, many of whom are not allowed to leave the compound, processed … » More …

Spring 2006

Faith and imagination transform a Pullman landmark

Faith and imagination came into play last spring when Jillian Potts (’06 Pol. Sci./Pre-Law) signed an agreement to lease a unit at the Greystone Church Apartments sight unseen. Not there was anything to see. It was months before the walls of her apartment would even be built.

Still, with just the blueprints as a guide, Potts committed to one of the most exciting projects Pullman has seen of late.

Greystone Church, a long-neglected century-old landmark on College Hill, found new life last fall as an apartment house for 47 tenants, the majority of them Washington State University students.

The challenge for the new owners—Glenn Petry, … » More …

Fall 2003

Rodeo Queens and the American Dream

Whether we meet them in a pasture, at a burger joint, or in a comfortable kitchen, the women in Joan Burbick’s Rodeo Queens and the American Dream take us beyond the dust and glitter of the rodeo that for one season made them royal. Burbick, an American studies professor at Washington State University, began her engrossing study by wondering, Where are the former rodeo queens whose pictures appear annually in local newspapers? How have their lives turned out? Talking with the women yielded much tougher questions.

More than a series of interviews, Rodeo Queens explores rodeo as an American “cultural ritual.” Without losing sight of … » More …

Spring 2006

Cool,Soothing,Lucrative Mint

If you drive through Central Washington’s mint-growing country in mid-summer, you’re likely to be overwhelmed by the scent of mint rising like an exhalation—at once delightful and inescapable—from the surrounding fields. In fact, your senses might deceive you into believing that not much has changed in the last 30 years or so. But during that time Rod Croteau, professor at the Institute for Biological Chemistry at Washington State University, has been doing research that has helped make Washington mint plants produce more and better peppermint.

Peppermint plants produce menthol, which is a terpene, as are all the other compounds Croteau researches. Terpenes are chemicals put … » More …