Washington State University’s Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors and the Palouse Discovery Science Center’s May Science Pub talk will address water as the essential element to human life and how to better understand how to use water. The talk entitled, “The Language of Water: How it Supports Us and What It’s Telling Us,” will take place from 6-7 p.m., on Tuesday, May 7, at Paradise Creek Brewery in downtown Pullman.
Julie Padowski, assistant director for the Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach (CEREO) at WSU and a clinical assistant professor with the State of Washington Water Research Center, and Debbie Lee, WSU Regents professor of English, will help connect the language of water and how it can be heard and interpreted.
“Water has the ability to deeply influence human connection and human storytelling. It has a language that can be heard and interpreted,” Lee said.
Water serves as the essential element to human life. Over millennia, humans have developed increasingly efficient ways to collect, store, and access water. Today, water is available at any time. The convenience of water’s availability leaves us disconnected from the environment and from each other.
“People who spend a lot of time living near wild rivers and lakes have a different connection to water than those of us who access it through our kitchen faucets,” Padowski said. “They understand that water is capable of agency and action.”
Padowski is a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (NSF-IGERT) graduate fellow, receiving her doctoral degree in soil and water science from the University of Florida. She was a post-doctoral scholar with the Woods Institute for the Environment at Standard University. Her interdisciplinary training allows her to integrate hydrological and human dimensions to understand patterns in and consequences of human development of water sources, including the physical, social, economic, and institutional drivers. Her work has been funded by the NSF, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Lee directs the Visiting Writers Program. She received her master’s in fine arts degree in creative nonfiction and fiction and a doctoral degree in 19thcentury literature. She is an author and editor of eight books on environmental, oral history, poetry, and travel literature. Lee serves as the director of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness History Project, receiving a four-year National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant and an Idaho Humanities Grant. She also serves as a board member at-large for the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Wilderness Foundation. Lee is a recipient of the Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, and the Arctic Circle Artists Residency.
Science Pubs was established to share science and research expertise at WSU with the local community. The partnership between WSU’s Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors and the Palouse Discovery Science Center also strengthens ties between university researchers and the public at large.
A donation of $5 is suggested, but not required to attend. All proceeds will go to support the Palouse Discovery Science Center. Paradise Creek Brewery is located at 245 S.E. Paradise St., in Pullman.