In the Media
“I think that Mace is right that the Republican Party right now as it stands, their anti-abortion stances, are not in line with Republican women and Republican-leaning independent women,” said Catherine Wineinger, an expert on gender and politics at Western Washington University. “And, I also think that she’s right that in the current climate, the continual push by the Republican Party on these anti-abortion measures could definitely turn off [these women voters], and they also will mobilize Democratic women and women on the left.”
When Katryne Potts was 10 years old she knew she wanted to either be an astronaut or a police officer. Then, she watched the space shuttle Challenger explode.
Years later, she walked into her hometown police department in Elgin, Illinois, and applied to be a police officer. Twenty years later, she retired and moved to Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia, where she served as a training lieutenant and a captain. Now, Potts is continuing her career at Western Washington University as chief of the university police.
One never knows how simple acts can shape a life.
Trumpet and flugelhorn player Kevin Woods, who’s been director of jazz studies at Western Washington University since 2015, remembers making family road trips with music as an important passenger.
“We only owned two cassette tapes,” he said, “and both were compilation recordings of Louis Armstrong. My dad would buy us Dubble Bubble bubble gum, then he’d give me his comb and I’d make a makeshift kazoo out of the Dubble Bubble wax paper wrapper and the comb. I’d sing and play along to all of the melodies and solos on those tapes.”
(click the link at right to read the story)
The Salish Sea is truly a wonder. On a daily basis, we see orcas, salmon, eagles and many other species travel up and down its coasts, taking advantage of the remaining healthy habitats for feeding and refuge. None of them take notice of the international boundary running through the middle of the sea and the different governments managing these waters. Just as these species travel freely across the border, so does the water and any pollutants they may be carrying.
(op-ed co-written by Ginny Broadhurst, director of WWU's Salish Sean Institute; click the link at right to read the entire article)
Fossilized bones help tell the story of what human beings and our predecessors were doing hundreds of thousands of years ago. But how can you learn about important parts of our ancestors’ life cycle – like pregnancy or gestation – that leave no obvious trace in the fossil record?
The large brains, relative to overall body size, that are a defining characteristic of our species make pregnancy and gestation particularly interesting to paleoanthropologists like me. Homo sapiens’ big skulls contribute to our difficult labor and delivery. But the big brains inside are what let our species really take off.
My colleagues and I especially wanted to know how fast our ancestors’ brains grew before birth. Was it comparable to fetal brain growth today? Investigating when prenatal growth and pregnancy became humanlike can help reveal when and how our ancestors’ brains became more like ours than like our ape relatives’.
(click the link at right to read the entire article in The Conversation written by WWU's Tesla Monson)
People associate libraries with books, of course, but they are increasingly known for much more than just what lines their shelves. Take a peek inside Western Washington University Libraries Special Collections and learn how and why staff and faculty help make the unusual available to the public.
Sylvia Tag recently gave me a tour of the library. A librarian and faculty member, she takes on multiple roles at Western Libraries; one is to curate the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection, housed on the library’s fourth floor. She and I first stop by the circulating collection where historic photos ring the space, showing the campus’ former on-site school.
Sylvia explains that the WWU collection supports research and scholarship. “Distinct from a public library or school library, our collection contains a wide range of publications that reflect the breadth, depth, controversy, continuing evolution, and complexity of literature written for children and young adults.”
Last month a professor at Weber State University in Utah asked a new artificial-intelligence chatbot to write a tweet in his voice.
Within a few minutes the application, called ChatGPT, had spit out a dozen messages that captured Alex Lawrence’s tone and personality. His first reaction: “Holy Cow!” His second: “This is the greatest cheating tool ever invented.”
Rep. Rick Larsen secured an additional $450,000 in federal funding for Western Washington University to use for its planned Coast Salish-style Longhouse. University President Sabah Randhawa said they plan to use the funding to build a kitchen in the House of Healing.
"The kitchen for the longhouse both will provide the opportunity for tribes to share culture, but also to practice what's called food sovereignty — that is the ability to create those recipes and eat those foods that have historically been a staple of the local, Indigenous people's diets," Larsen said.
<click the link at right to read the full article>
Some government agencies and universities in Washington state continue to hold the remains of Indigenous people, despite a 1990 law that requires them to work to return those remains to tribes.
By the numbers: According to ProPublica's database, 10 institutions in Washington state still had the remains of Indigenous people in their possession as of December.
- Of those, some have made the vast majority available to tribes for repatriation. For instance, the University of Washington had only one Indigenous person's remains, after making the remains of 281 others available for return to tribes, according to ProPublica's data. UW didn't provide details about why that last set of remains was still in its collection.
Meanwhile, Western Washington University had returned only 3 sets of Indigenous remains, while 89 remained in its collection, per the database.
Western Washington University has a new chief of police, as Katryne Potts was sworn in this week, WWU said in its email newsletter, Western Today. Potts is a 22-year veteran of law enforcement, WWU said. She takes over from former Bellingham Police Department Chief Cliff Cook, who was the campus interim chief during a national search after former WWU Chief Darin Rasmussen was named WWU’s assistant vice president for risk, ethics, safety and resilience.