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Alumni News
Summer 2016

Boxing day for Cougs

Hundreds of eager WSU seniors prepare to leave Pullman each spring after graduation. Some might be headed to new jobs or internships. Others will go to graduate school, the military, or the Peace Corps. Whatever the destination, almost all those Cougs have a common need: sturdy boxes.

As they pack their crimson sweatshirts, posters, and books, the graduating students will carry away another reminder of their college days: free WSU-themed packing boxes.

And they can thank Dave Wilson ’86 for his volunteer efforts in arranging delivery of about 1,500 of those boxes for the last eight years.

“The way the box is designed you don’t … » More …

Sweet solution to toxic waste
Spring 2016

Sweet solution to toxic waste

A jar of foul-smelling clay sits on the cluttered workbench. “I’d better not open it,” says environmental engineer Richard Watts. He grabs a smaller jar filled with liquid the color of a dirty mud puddle. “These are soil and groundwater samples from an industrial waste site in North Carolina.”

The repugnant samples arrived in comparatively pristine Pullman to be analyzed by Watts, who then advises the best ways to remedy the mess. In a twist, one of those methods involves the use of sugar.

Watts, a pioneer in oxidizing systems for the detoxification of polluted soil and groundwater and a professor of civil and environmental … » More …

Trip the light fantastic
Spring 2016

Trip the light fantastic

When physicist Mark Kuzyk throws a science soiree he doesn’t mess around. Out come the lasers, high-tech origami, ornate wire sculptures, and sticky-stretchy gel that’s fun to throw at the wall. But it’s all for a greater purpose.

The Washington State University Regents professor is developing a shape-changing, laser-guided electrode for the treatment of pain, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The ultra-thin electrode is designed for use in deep brain stimulation (DBS) and relies on optics and photomechanical materials to improve the precision and delicacy of the procedure. Sometimes known as the “brain pacemaker,” DBS holds promise for a wide range of conditions and may … » More …

Living Buddhism cover
Spring 2016

Living Buddhism—Mind, Self, and Emotion in a Thai Community

Living Buddhism cover

Julia Cassaniti

Cornell University Press: 2015

A scholarly work woven with human drama, the book treats readers to an engaging account of Buddhism as it occurs in the everyday lives of two extended families in rural Northern Thailand.

WSU assistant professor of cultural anthropology Julia Cassaniti spent 10 years observing life in the small mountainous community of Mae Jaeng. She formed close relationships with the villagers while helping in their shops, taking part … » More …

Green for all seasons
Spring 2016

Green for all seasons

The quirks of Pullman weather can make gardening tough. It was only a few years ago that it snowed in June. But in the greenhouses scattered around campus, researchers and students can keep growing and studying plants in adverse weather. Even visitors to campus can enjoy vegetables, holiday poinsettias, and flowers long before they’ll thrive on the Palouse.

The latest addition to the greenhouses on campus, a two-story building that resembles a glass apartment complex with glowing sodium lights, sits behind the Lewis Alumni Centre. The research facility allows scientists to raise up to three generations of wheat, barley, and other grains every year, says … » More …

The TUB
Spring 2015

Down “The Drain” in the TUB

In the 1950s Patty Ernst and Marian Baldy Kenedy would pass time between classes at the TUB. The former women’s gymnasium, built in 1901, became the Temporary Union Building while a new student union was being built. A structure of many uses, it had also served as an ROTC armory, a bookstore, a bowling alley, and temporary housing for a surplus of students just after World War II.

Playing on the bath-like name, the building even had “The Drain,” a basement café and hangout filled with booths and a jukebox. Friday and Saturday night dances there were very popular, with more than half the student … » More …

WSU Soccer Field
Spring 2015

A new field of dreams

In November under the lights of their newly renovated field, the WSU women’s soccer team competed in their fourth straight NCAA tournament, a first for the Cougars. They played tough against Seattle University in the polar chill, losing by one goal in double overtime.

The debuts of both the rebuilt Lower Soccer Field and head coach Steve Nugent came back in August with a 3-0 win versus Texas Christian University. Nugent and the team went 10–4–4 for the season, led by a group of seniors that boasts 48 victories, the most in school history during a four-year span.

Among them was goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, who … » More …

Faith Lutze
Spring 2015

Prisoner guardians

Criminal justice doesn’t end when the prison gate clangs shut behind the departing offender. Unseen, but of great value, are the officers who serve as guardians on the outside, watching over the former prisoners and guiding their integration back into society. While community corrections officers, generally known as parole and probation officers, help offenders transition from prison, they also safeguard the public.

The work of these officers in the criminal justice system only seems to come to light when an offender does something horrible. Considering that around 16,000 released prisoners are currently under supervision in Washington state, the many success stories of these officers usually … » More …

Caviar and sparkling wine
Winter 2014

Holiday sparklers and caviar

Holiday Sparklers

by Hannelore Sudermann

At Karma Vineyards, where grapevines pour down the hillside toward the southern shore of Lake Chelan, a 3,000-square-foot cave holds the next few years’ of sparkling wine.

Three different grapes from the 14 acres of vines go into the bubbly: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. They’re treated much the same way they would be in the Champagne region of France, where the complex and labor-intensive method of making sparkling wine was perfected.

“The méthode champenoise is worth the work,” says Julie Pittsinger ’06, who owns Karma with her husband Bret. They opened Karma’s doors in … » More …

Interfaith House
Winter 2014

A place for faith and support

For many, the Interfaith House was a home away from home, whether it was through the services offered by the Common Ministry, a place for meetings for student groups, or just as a hangout in the coffee shop.

The building on the northern edge of campus at 720 NE Thatuna has served the University and its students from the time it was built in 1925.

But time and circumstance bring change. Last spring the Presbyterian Synod put the building up for sale, and sold the Interfaith House to Washington State University for $1.2 million. Citing its location and connection to campus, the Board of Regents … » More …