WSU News

Association for Faculty Women honors graduate students

PULLMAN, Wash. – Annual graduate student awards were presented by the WSU Association for Faculty Women (AFW) April 11. Honorees are:
 
* Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, anthropology, first place in the Harriett B. Rigas Award for doctoral students. As the only Sherpa anthropologist studying her own Sherpa people of Nepal, she believes she has an advantage in contributing with a native’s perspective.
  
 
Under the direction of John Bodley, Regents professor of anthropology, Sherpa’s dissertation work examines the Sherpa perception about climate change in the Himalayan region around Mount Everest. She is studying the consequences that climate change is having on governmental issues and is expected to have on many aspects of Sherpa life.
 
* Joyce Parker, entomology, second place in the Harriett B. Rigas Award for doctoral students. She is interested in finding solutions to pest problems that are scientifically sound, environmentally sustainable and sensitive to the economic and social realities of the world. She has a deep commitment to agriculture outreach and education that extend beyond scientific organizations and is skilled at explaining technical information in a direct and jargon-free manor.
 
Under the guidance of William Synder, associate professor of entomology, Parker’s research has explored sustainable pest management strategies for the crucifer flea beetle. She has developed effective trap cropping and companion-planting techniques that examine how to “ecologically engineer” broccoli fields to discourage pests and encourage beneficial insects.
 
* Araceli Frias, teaching and learning, third place in the Harriett B. Rigas Award for doctoral students. She has developed a culturally relevant curriculum for graduate school preparation and piloted it with underrepresented students committed to pursuing a doctoral degree. The innovative nature of the curriculum comes from using the published narratives written by doctoral students of color who discuss the multifaceted obstacles they encountered and the strategies they used to successfully complete their degrees. 
 
Working with Dawn Shinew, associate professor of teaching and learning, Frias was able to make sense of the psychosociocultural struggles associated with students of color becoming scholars. Her plans are to develop her Spanish speaking proficiency and apply to the Peace Corps.
 
* Leen Kawas, veterinary and comparative anatomy, pharmacology and physiology, and Season Hoard, political science, who tied for honorable mention for the Harriett B. Rigas Award for doctoral students.
 
If the anti-cancer activity exhibited by compounds in Kawas’ research can be shown to work in humans, her work could have a major impact on cancer treatment worldwide. These compounds are waiting for further evaluation.
 
Under the guidance of Joe Harding, professor in veterinary and comparative anatomy, pharmacology and physiology, Kawas’ research has focused on a group of modified angiotensin-based peptides, their effects on the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor system, and their potential use as anti-cancer or anti-dementia agents. 
 
With faculty guidance from Amy Mazur, professor in politics, philosophy and public affairs, Hoard’s dissertation examines the impact of gender expertise in public policy. More specifically, she analyzes which actions and policies lead to more women in politics and to greater representation of women’s interests within public policy.
 
Not only has Hoard’s work attracted the notice of prominent individuals within her discipline, but those within the United Nations and UN Women have expressed interest in her research. She intends to become a prominent researcher and effective teacher and mentor. 
 
* Amber Heckelman, environmental science/anthropology, and Lisa Pearson, veterinary clinical sciences, who tied for first place for the 2012 Founders Award master’s degree student.
 
While participating in an education and cultural exchange in the Philippines, Heckelman saw the depth of the problems facing that country’s peasants. In 2009, she began pursuing two master’s degrees at WSU – an M.A. in cultural anthropology and an M.S. in environmental science. She also is completing a graduate certificate in sustainable agriculture. 
 
With faculty guidance from M. Jahi Chappell, assistant professor in environmental science and justice at WSU Vancouver, Heckelman hopes to illustrate that small-scale sustainable agriculture has the potential to maintain and/or promote biodiversity.
 
Under the guidance of Ahmed Tibary, professor of veterinary clinical sciences, Pearson’s research has focused on complications in male horses and alpacas when testicular biopsies are not properly performed. Reproductive medicine and surgery compose about 60 percent of the work of large animal veterinarians, and she believes instruction should be from specialists.
 
Pearson plans to get her Ph.D., teach and do research as a professor of theriogenology, the branch of veterinary medicine concerned with reproduction.
* Stefani Crabtree, anthropology, and Teri Garza, accounting, who tied for second place for the Founder’s Award master’s student.
 
Crabtree worked for five years helping people in low socioeconomic status in the U.S. and other countries. Her research concerns a village ecodynamics project whose goal is to understand the non-market exchange in Puebloan societies.
With encouragement from faculty mentor Tim Kohler, WSU Regents professor of anthropology, and others, Crabtree has become the first woman in her family to be admitted to a Ph.D. program, which she plans to begin after this semester. 
 
Garza re-started her academic career in January 2009 after many years dedicated to raising her four children. She entered graduate school in May 2011 to work under the direction of Debra Sanders, professor of accounting at WSU Vancouver.
 
Garza plans to sit for the CPA examine in May and begin her career in a public accounting firm in July.  Her goal is to obtain her certified public accountant (CPA) and certified fraud examiner (CFE) certifications.