Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Teaching

Winter 2016

Welcome Back, Kotter—and George

George Hollingbery ’76 studied education at an interesting time, as the profession underwent significant change in the 1970s. Teachers began asking where the classroom began and ended, and how could they better reach and help students who learn in different ways.

During that time, Hollingbery says they all faithfully watched the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Set in a Brooklyn remedial high school class, the show offered a glimpse into how “difficult” students could defy expectations.

Hollingbery, a fourth-generation Coug and grandson of legendary WSU football coach Babe Hollingbery, started teaching high school sociology and other classes in Lacey. Although he had all kinds … » More …

Fall 2011

Rhonda Kromm ’86, ’05

Rhonda Kromm wouldn’t let car problems keep her from going to college. Since her old vehicle wouldn’t make the drive from Moses Lake, she hitchhiked to Spokane and hiked up the hill to Spokane Community College to enroll. Then she hiked back down the hill to find another ride home.

She wouldn’t let money hold her back, either. With an AA degree completed, Kromm took a year off from school to save up. Then she moved to Colfax, spent mornings taking classes at WSU’s Pullman campus and afternoons coaching at Jennings Elementary. She finished her degree in education in 1986 and that summer moved with … » More …

Fall 2011

Some of the most important things your science teacher taught you are wrong

There’s the science most of us learned as kids. Then there’s the science that scientists actually do.

The K-12 variety is more like a cooking class, but with chemicals, goggles, an occasional Erlenmeyer flask, the unforgettable smell of formaldehyde, and nothing you would want to eat. There, the scientific method is reduced to the formula of a lab report: hypothesize, test, gather data, evaluate, conclude, generally along the lines the teacher told you to expect.

Outside the classroom, science has over the centuries spawned revolutionary advances in knowledge and well-being. But in the classroom it’s, what? Predictable. Formulaic. Boring. All of the above.

Judy Morrison, … » More …

Winter 2008

Joey Nelson – What he saw

In the rough-hewn world at Columbia Vista Corp.’s lumber mill near Vancouver, the sight of Joseph “Joey” Nelson ’00 pushing spectacles into place might invoke visions of Clark Kent there among the conveyor belts and screeching saws.

But if the workers around him knew that it’s Nelson’s laser-scanning equipment–technology he started developing as a high school kid–enabling their mill to convert raw logs into perfect lumber within seconds, they’d recognize a technological Superman in their midst.
Nelson founded his company, JoeScan, from his dorm room in Washington State University’s Streit Hall in 1999, the year before earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

A … » More …

Spring 2006

Cell phones help students and parents stay close—Sometimes too close

Michael Johnston (’08 Bus. Admin.) switched his cell-phone plan in October. And the incentive wasn’t just the free, high-tech phone or the low text-messaging fees.

“I can get those mobile-to-mobile minutes with my family now,” says Johnston. “Now I don’t have to worry as much about the minutes I use with them.”

Johnston says he talks to either his mom or dad each day, for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

He’s not the only one. He’s part of the millennial generation for whom there is no typical, mandatory Sunday evening phone call home.

Now parents are getting the 9 a.m. Saturday call, the … » More …