Washington State Magazine has won a gold medal in the 2007 Circle of Excellence awards program of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, an international organization that promotes excellence in educational advancement through alumni relations, communications, marketing, and fund raising.

WSM was one of 53 competitors in the category of periodical staff writing for external audiences and, along with Tufts Dental Medicine (Tufts University), was one of two gold award winners.  Silver and bronze medalists were Johns Hopkins Magazine, Stanford Magazine, University of Chicago Magazine, and Pitt Magazine (University of Pittsburgh). WSM was bested only by the University of Wisconsin’s On Wisconsin, which won a Grand Gold, the highest award in this category.

The award was granted for five articles culled from all four issues of the magazine published in 2006.

According to the judges, “Washington State Magazine featured a nice range of stories characterized by ‘lovely’ and ‘lively’ writing; we felt that the articles did a fine job of fulfilling the magazine’s mission to be ‘the state’s magazine.’  Singled out for praise was Cherie Winner’s eloquent profile of bird biologist Paul Johnsgard, an article that would feel at home in Smithsonian or Audubon, and Tim Steury’s clear, detailed, and quirky look at local environmental preservation, ‘Eating Well to Save the Sound.’ We also liked the way Hannelore Sudermann put together the traditional ‘alum does good’ article-this one about WSU grads involved in a school district retooling to meet the needs of immigrants-in a way that was compelling, instructive, and refreshingly unsaccharine.”

“Eating Well to Save the Sound” also won a bronze award in the competition’s “Best Articles of the Year” category. Said the judges,  “A well-written scientific article of interest to the general reader, it portrays the complexity of the oyster’s ecosystem and how human activities affect it. The article is a call to action to save Puget Sound-an environmental message of general importance today.”

All five articles are listed below. Click on any title and read at will.

“Bridging Two Cultures,” by Hannelore Sudermann, assistant editor/senior writer (Spring 2006). Over the last decade, the Bridgeport School District student body transformed from mostly white to mostly migrant Hispanic. Low test scores and soaring dropout rates plagued the district-but only for a short while. This year, every student in the freshman class plans to graduate.

“Eating Well to Save the Sound,” by Tim Steury, editor (Summer 2006). The Puget Sound region’s 3.8 million population is expected to increase to 5.2 million within the next 15 years. If Puget Sound is to survive that growth, we must change our lives. That, and eat more shellfish.

“Rare Bird,” by Cherie Winner, science writer (Fall 2006). Audubon himself would have trouble keeping up with this dynamo. Artist, author, and photographer Paul Johnsgard ’55 gives us a glimpse into his lifelong obsession with birds.

“An Equation for Beauty,” by Hannelore Sudermann (Winter 2006-07).  “He may be alone in his studio, but in his head he shares the company of Euclid, Albrecht Dürer, and Galileo, translating their ideas into color and form in paint.”

“The Science Shop,” by Cherie Winner (Winter 2006-07). So what made faculty member Peter Engels think he could make Bose-Einstein condensate, a rare form of matter that could someday make today’s computers seem as inefficient as cutting notches on a stick? First, he had experience: he got his doctorate in one of the three German labs that had done it, and then worked with one of the scientists who won the Nobel Prize for discovering BEC. Second, he’d met George Henry and seen the Instrument Shop.