In the Media

Monday, February 6, 2023 - 9:31am - KUOW

The plants sterilize sewage and remove solids and organic materials from it. But they were never designed to remove things like antibiotics, cosmetics, hormones, pharmaceuticals, and other consumer products that wash down household drains.

“The latest estimate of the number of chemicals that are used in commerce is 350,000. That doesn't include degradation products and metabolites that may also be in the environment,” said Western Washington University environmental toxicologist Ruth Sofield.

“The work that we're doing, we're looking at chemicals in the low hundreds,” she told the Puget Sound Partnership’s Science Panel on Wednesday.

Sofield and other scientists are trying to help the state agency identify and prioritize the most harmful substances in the dilute chemical broth that is wastewater.

“We know that we're missing the large universe of chemicals,” Sofield said.

Monday, February 6, 2023 - 9:00am - KING 5 TV

"I would say the number of chemicals that are in the environment are of concern," said Ruth Sofield, a professor of environmental toxicology at Western Washington University.

The Puget Sound is too often a dumping ground for hundreds of chemicals, according to researchers like Sofield.

Chemicals are making their way, "into wildlife, whether it's orcas or lower-trophic level organisms," Sofield said.


Click the link at right to read the entire story.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 - 9:24am - The 19th

“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.”

Monday, January 30, 2023 - 10:07am - Cascadia Daily News

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. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 11:07am - Cascadia Daily News

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)

Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 10:51am - The Province (B.C.)

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)

Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 9:31am - The Conversation

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 meHomo 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)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 10:23am - Whatcom Talk

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.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 10:12am - Wall Street Journal

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.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 - 12:00pm - Cascadia Daily News

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>