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Washington State Magazine

Allison Helfen
Summer 2014

Allison Helfen ’89—A crush on local wine

While sweet Riesling and Merlot were once the foundation of Washington’s wine, you can tell, just by cruising the wood racks of The Wine Alley shop in Renton, that this is a whole new scene.

Our state’s offerings were already intriguing when Allison Helfen ’89 and her husband Scott started the shop nine years ago. “When we first opened, the hot thing was viognier. And Syrahs were everywhere,” says Allison Helfen. Today the shelves are even more diverse. “They have to be. People get bored,” she says. That’s why her stock has shifted to include inky Malbecs, sprightly Sangioveses, and rich Barberas.

The Helfens’ shop … » More …

Cori Dantini at work
Summer 2014

Cori Dantini ’93—Art and whimsy

Boxes filled with vintage paper, new paper, old books, fabrics, and other precious odds and ends neatly fill Cori Dantini’s home art studio. Over the years she has collected thousands of items, knowing someday they would come in handy. “If you don’t have it, you can’t use it,” she says with a smile.

That “use it” moment came in 2008. Over a long weekend with her husband Liam and son Henry away and an art show on the horizon, Dantini began to layer vintage papers and words. She sketched a pencil drawing over the paper and added ink and color. A month later, her first … » More …

Tim Hills
Summer 2014

Tim Hills ’93—Hotels and history

The bodyguards standing sentry outside James Brown’s dressing room were as tall as the ceiling—an impossible 20 feet or so, remembers Tim Hills ’93 MA. But maybe it was his nerves.

After a long wait, the door opened and the historian was granted entry. Reclining on a sofa in Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, decked out in a blue leather suit, surrounded by his large entourage, the Godfather of Soul was prepared to entertain Hills’ questions for the next hour.

How did an unassuming public historian who once worked for the Congressional Information Service before earning a graduate degree in history from WSU end up interviewing one … » More …

Tom Norwalk
Summer 2014

Tom Norwalk ’75—Visit Seattle

Tom Norwalk’s office sits high above the Washington Convention Center and looks directly across the street to the guest rooms of the Seattle Sheraton. From another angle, Norwalk can see the two round towers of the Westin and the classic red brick Roosevelt then, just a bit to the left, the Hyatt. For the president and CEO of the city’s private nonprofit visitor marketing association, seeing those rooms in use every day is a good reminder of his job. Visit Seattle, supported by the convention center, hotel room surcharges, the mayor’s office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and a number of other sources, draws new … » More …

Summer 2014

Machine in the Classroom

New tech tools engage young scientists

In a familiar classroom scene, lab partners take turns squinting into a microscope. They spy a wriggling paramecium, if the organism doesn’t swim away from the field of view. These days they also peer into an iPad to watch videos and access digital textbooks. Engineer and entrepreneur Jeff Stewart sees a happy marriage between these old and new technologies in science classrooms.

Stewart and his colleagues at Exo Labs have enhanced that connection with an accessory that connects any microscope to an iPad, where students and teachers can take pictures and videos, measure objects, and quickly share … » More …

Volleyball team
Summer 2014

Summer Spikes

The Washington State University volleyball offices just off Bohler Gym are a lively place, even on an off-season Tuesday in mid-winter. The far office is buzzing with the voices of coaches planning the afternoon practice, the phone rings and rings again, and an athlete studying on a couch greets another sweeping through between classes and the weight room.

The team’s last public game was in November, but recruitment is in full swing, there is some light training, and coaches and staff are planning for a series of summer camps for nearly 300 grade school, middle school, and high school girls. Several other WSU sports programs, … » More …

WSU Bookie
Summer 2014

100 years of the Bookie

For a hundred years the Washington State University student-owned bookstore, affectionately known as “the Bookie,” has served as a social hub, a source of funds for the student body and, of course, the place to get textbooks and supplies.

Since it opened in 1914, the Bookie has had several homes and sold thousands of books, baseball caps, fancy fountain pens, and frozen treats. But many former students remember best those iconic Bookie bags, the Cougar gear, and the coffee. Even though the bookstore doesn’t hand them out any longer, many also remember those crisp Bookie bucks that filled their wallets at the end of … » More …

Bruce Lee v. Chuck Norris
Summer 2014

Consider the dragon

With his fierce gaze and swift, powerful muscles, Chinese American martial artist and actor Bruce Lee inspired John Wong and a generation of Chinese people in the early 1970s. Lee embodied a new and potent physicality as an Asian man on film, one who would transcend traditional kung fu forms, influence fitness, and stand toe-to-toe against stereotypes.

“He had a quality that people admired and almost worshiped,” says Wong, associate professor in the Washington State University College of Education and sports historian. “Even people who were born after Lee died see his influence as a pioneer.”

In a recent article for Sports History Review, Wong … » More …

John Florio
Summer 2014

The time in between

England came late to the Renaissance. But by the time it arrived, its greatest contribution would be literary. John Donne, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson served a literate aristocracy eager to be informed and entertained.

Into the late sixteenth century comes the observant figure of Michel de Montaigne, a French statesman and prolific essayist who wrote about nearly everything his mind encountered, “from cannibals to codpieces, suicide to faith,” as Will Hamlin, WSU’s English literature and Renaissance scholar, puts it. For most English readers of the time, Montaigne’s French Essais were made accessible by a translation undertaken by his contemporary John Florio, a language teacher … » More …

Chinese cannabis text
Summer 2014

Sex, drugs, and differences

After decades of researching gender differences in the effects of drugs, Rebecca Craft has found that females using marijuana are likelier than men to become dependent on the drug and suffer more severe withdrawals.

At the same time, females seem to be more sensitive to the drug’s pain-relieving qualities.

Craft, a Washington State University psychology professor who studies the effects of psychoactive drugs on rats, has reported these findings most recently in journals such as Life Sciences and Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Her work, funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, focuses on the medical side of cannabinoids, the class of drugs … » More …