Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Washington State Magazine

First Words
Summer 2017

Left turns

I recently learned that drivers for UPS make 90 percent of their turns to the right. Since 2004, the package delivery company has had a policy to avoid left turns. They save millions of gallons of fuel and dollars each year because there’s less idling.

While I applaud the UPS effort to save gas and reduce emissions, there’s still something adventurous about the left turn, the unexpected veer in a new direction. We often refer to a left turn as a complete shift in our lives. Some of us even change our entire careers, such as Washington State University alumni Berenice Burdet, Richard Larsen, and … » More …

rollable electronics
Summer 2017

Organic electronics on a roll

In the near future, your local hardware store could include a “green electronics” counter where friendly clerks unspool sheets of plastic film and print devices while you wait.

Need a few more solar panels? No problem.

How about a flexible LED lighting strip? This roll over here.

Computer? Loudspeaker? Or maybe transparent, energy-producing panels for your greenhouse? On sale today!

Though the scene is hypothetical, the emerging technology for organic, thin-film polymer plastics is up and running in laboratories around the world, including those of the Collins Research Group at Washington State University.

Led by assistant professor of physics Brian Collins, the enthusiastic … » More …

NASA plant habitat
Summer 2017

Space farming

Surviving the challenges of deep space exploration could rely as much on botany as astrophysics.

NASA sees plants not only as potential food sources aboard future spacecraft but as natural oxygen producers. The space agency is preparing for its first in-depth study of how growth and development of plants is affected by gravity, or more specifically the lack of it.

“The overall significance is what it could mean for space exploration,” says Norman G. Lewis, a Regents professor at Washington State University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry and principal investigator for the NASA-funded study. “Whether it’s colonizing planets, establishing a station, … » More …

Monarch butterfly
Summer 2017

Very well off the beaten path

“There he is!” I look up as tattered orange wings flutter above the sunflowers. A lone male monarch butterfly hovers near the milkweed patch, gallantly hoping, says wildlife ecologist Rod Sayler, for the arrival of a female.

The scene took place early last August at the Washington State University Arboretum and Wildlife Center, where for the first time in 25 years, Sayler documented the iconic butterflies living and breeding on campus. Weeks earlier, to his astonishment, he’d found a handful of monarch caterpillars devouring the leaves of recently restored showy milkweed plants.

“The monarchs were a big surprise for me,” he says. “It’s the first … » More …

green tea cup & teapot
Summer 2017

Reading the benefits of tea leaves

Much of what is known, scientifically, about the arthritis-fighting benefits of green tea has in one way or another come from Salah-uddin Ahmed and his research group.

It was Ahmed who helped establish that a phytochemical found in green tea essentially halts the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in lab rats.

It also was Ahmed who helped pinpoint where in the disease’s progression that the phytochemical, known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate or simply EGCG for short, is able to combat further degradation without blocking other cellular functions.

Now, with scientific evidence supporting green tea’s health benefits continuing to pile up, Ahmed hopes the research he and his … » More …

SafeShot device
Summer 2017

Healthy innovators

A safe and sterile needle seems to be a basic idea when preventing infections. But how that needle is sterilized, especially in places where reuse is a common practice, spurred a good idea for a pair of Washington State University student entrepreneurs.

Emily Willard and Katherine Brandenstein came up with the idea of SafeShot, a lid that sterilizes a needle each time it enters the vial of medicine, as part of an entrepreneurship class. The two students started a company, won a health business contest last spring, and headed to Tanzania early this year to research how their product could be used in a real … » More …

WSU women's rugby team in England
Summer 2017

Play across the big pond

The Washington State University women’s rugby players returned from their historic March trip to London with some bumps and bruises, but it’s the memories of competing against some of the world’s best club teams, seeing famous landmarks, and building camaraderie that they’ll remember the most.

After months of planning, fundraising, and training, the team—ranked seventh nationally in the most recent Division I poll—became the first WSU sport club in over 30 years to compete internationally.

During spring break, WSU took on the Blackheath Football Club at Rectory Field in Charlton, South London. Founded in 1858, Blackheath is the oldest open (without restricted membership) rugby club … » More …

Summer 2017

We’re number one

My name is Krystle Lyric Arnold and I am a first-generation college student.

To nearly 70 percent of the college population nationwide, those words mean little, but to those of us who are the first in our immediate families to pursue a college degree, the description carries weight, and for good reason.

Nearly 90 percent of first-gen students fail to obtain their college degrees. The majority of first-gen students are also low-income and the U.S. Department of Education says only 9 percent of students from the lowest income brackets graduate with a four-year degree, whether or not they are first-gen.

While everyone has their own … » More …

Disappointed football fan
Summer 2017

3 cheers for the losers

Cheering fans are as ubiquitous to competitive sports as coaches and clipboards.

And something about that had always puzzled Yong-chae Rhee, an assistant professor in Washington State University’s sports management program.

After all, far more teams fall short of the ultimate goal each season than achieve it. There’s just one Super Bowl champion, for example, and 31 franchises that end up promising a better season next year. Only one of the 30 Major League Baseball teams wins the World Series. Of the 351 NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs, just 68 advance to March Madness and only one claims the title.

“This was … » More …