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Washington State University

Honors College names first Elma Ryan Bornander Chair

Honors College names first Elma Ryan Bornander Chair

Will HamlinWashington State University English Professor William M. Hamlin has been selected as the first faculty member to serve the Honors College as the Elma Ryan Bornander Honors Chair.

“Will is a scholar, author, researcher, and award-winning teacher and mentor who has served the university, his department, and the Honors College and its students for years in innovative and impactful ways,” said M. Grant Norton, Honors dean. “We are very pleased that our relationship with him will progress even further and more deeply over the next two years through this endowed chair position.”

Hamlin said he appreciates the Honors award deeply, and was delighted to be selected for the appointment. “I love teaching Honors classes. The students work hard and the administration is supportive and caring. I am dedicated to serving Honors and its students in significant ways in my new role.”

Teaching for Honors

Hamlin has been associated with Honors since 2014, and taught a seminar the past three years on “Twice-Told Tales: Biblical and Classical Narratives in Renaissance Retellings.” In his new appointment, he will teach one course per semester for two years, and work with Honors College students. He has already prepared his spring 2020 course aimed at junior-level students titled, “Global Shakespeare.” Hamlin said he plans to help students explore how the Bard’s works are understood and performed in different parts of world.

“It’s fascinating,” he said, “to investigate the ways in which different cultures make sense of Shakespeare. There are strong traditions of Shakespearean production in India, Japan, and Russia, for example. I’d like Honors students to consider how ‘Othello’ is played in South Africa or how Israelis tend to view the character Shylock.”

Research using computational linguistics

This new Honors chair will provide funding for Hamlin to employ Honors College student Emma Taylor to help with his research. One project will involve using computational linguistics to study ideological shifts in English-language use over large periods of time. This sort of study is now being made possible by the extensive digitization of early printed books.

Hamlin said he is interested in examining the balances between religious and secular language in the early modern era. A question to pursue could be, for example, “in what contexts does a word like ‘soul’—which has strong religious connotations—appear between the years 1500-1700 in English texts? How does it change over time? When and why does its meaning evolve? What are its collocates—the words used in close proximity? What do they tell us?” Hamlin said that corpus linguistics enables the detailed scrutiny of huge collections of texts—tens of thousands of books—as they shift over time in their ideological assumptions and implications.

Scholarly background

Hamlin was raised in nearby Moscow, Idaho. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. Before joining the WSU Dept. of English in 2001, he was an English professor at Idaho State Univ. in Pocatello, Idaho.

He specializes in English Renaissance literature and has taught many courses on Shakespeare, early modern drama and poetry, 16th century humanism, Greco-Roman myth and literature, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and other related works and topics. He has published three books and more than 60 essays and reviews, with two additional books forthcoming next year on Shakespeare and the French essayist Michel de Montaigne. Hamlin’s honors at WSU include the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award in 2018 in the category of research, scholarship, and the arts as well as the College of Arts and Sciences’ 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award. He has received grants to support his research from, among others, the J.S. Guggenheim Foundation, the British Academy, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He makes his home in Pullman with his wife Theresa Jordan, an award-winning history professor.

WSU’s first Marshall Scholar bound for U.K. graduate studies

WSU’s first Marshall Scholar bound for U.K. graduate studies

PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University chemical engineering senior Kristian Gubsch, a member of the Honors College, is headed in fall to the United Kingdom’s University of Sheffield as WSU’s first recipient of a Marshall Scholarship for graduate study.

He is one of 46 American students to receive the award nationally for 2020, and is the only recipient from Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

“We are extremely proud to have Kristian as our first Marshall Scholar,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz, who submitted an institutional endorsement letter. “He is a remarkable student, scientist, entrepreneur, and leader whose impactful research, national awards, and international collaborations lead to an obvious conclusion: He will play a significant role in developing clean-energy technology and will impact critical climate-change conversations. We are excited for this Cougar’s future and the impact he will have on the future of the world.”

“I have had an amazing set of experiences as an undergraduate, in classes and otherwise, but I wasn’t sure if I’d next go to graduate school or get a job in the CO2-utilization industry,” said Gubsch, a member of the WSU Honors College. “Receiving the Marshall made up my mind and sets the path for my immediate future. I’m really excited to head to England to study with another set of world-class scientists like those at WSU.”

The Marshall is Gubsch’s third distinguished scholarship received while an undergraduate. Those awards encompass a small set of prestigious and nationally competitive scholarships available to U.S. students. He is WSU’s first student to receive an Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2018, and for 2019-20 he was awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program award. He has also received numerous campus leadership awards and co-facilitates an Honors 198 course for first-year students.

Importance of the Marshall

The Marshall award was founded in 1953 by the British Parliament and named to honor former U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall and commemorate “the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan” following World War II. Each year, there may be up to 50 students awarded a Marshall. Applicants from eight regions of America are evaluated on academic merit and leadership and ambassadorial potential to improve U.K.-U.S. understanding. Scholars must have earned baccalaureate degrees in STEM, humanities, social sciences, and creative arts fields, and are funded by the Marshall to do graduate study with research at any of more than 150 British universities. Notable Marshall alumni include Pulitzer Prize winners, Academy Award nominees, Supreme Court justices, a NASA astronaut, and a Nobel Laureate.

Why the University of Sheffield

Gubsch carefully selected the University Sheffield, in Yorkshire, as his university of choice for the Marshall.  There he will seek a master’s degree in energy and environmental engineering working with faculty mentor Peter Styring. Styring is a world leader in techniques to utilize carbon dioxide and chair of the CO2 ChemNetwork, the largest global network of researchers, industry professionals, and policymakers involved in the utilization of carbon dioxide for the manufacture of chemicals, minerals, and fuels. The U.K. Centre for Carbon Dioxide Utilization is also located at Sheffield.

In his second year as a Marshall at Sheffield, Gubsch will pursue an international business degree focused on management. He believes it will further prepare him for his career by developing the skills necessary to begin global commercialization and implementation of technology to capture carbon dioxide from its sources. These gasses would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change; Gubsch envisions ways and means to convert it into valuable chemicals.

It was through use of his strategic leadership and networking skills that Gubsch found his way to the University of Sheffield with further plans for a doctoral degree back in the U.S.  He had visited California’s Silicon Valley as part of the Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute program in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. He shared his interest in carbon capture technology and was advised to contact faculty at Stony Brook University in New York. Conversations there led him to the Global CO2 Initiative at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, which led him to scientist Styring in the U.K.

As the University of Sheffield is a research partner with the University of Michigan’s Global CO2 Initiative—the only research initiative in the U.S. with a focus on CO2 utilization—Gubsch intends that his Marshall experience will help him return to the U.S. for his Ph.D. studies there in 2023.

Gubsch’s distinguished scholarship path

Gubsch set his sights on an education and career focused in improving global climate issues while still at Fife High School; his family in Edgewood, Wash., includes Derek and Deborah Reece, and brother Evan. He plans to enter the carbon-dioxide utilization industry and become a leader in the field “by applying (his) several years of experience developing the technology to the practical integration of the technology into our industrial framework.”

At WSU, the Honors College senior is co-facilitating a first-year course for Honors students and has pursued since his freshman year several undergraduate research opportunities with mentoring faculty members. His work has involved investigations of air quality as well as carbon capture and conversions from carbon dioxide to calcium formate. As part of his NOAA award, he spent a summer in South Carolina at the National Institute of Standards and Technology examining ocean acidification and its impact on coral.

Gubsch applied for the Marshall at the encouragement of Honors Dean M. Grant Norton, Honors Associate Dean Robin Bond, and Distinguished Scholarships Program Director April Seehafer. He said he was reluctant at first, since the Marshall is open to a large, diverse set of students from all fields and would be very competitive.

“I thought, ‘What chance do I have to compete against students from Ivy League schools?’ But one thing I’ve learned from applying for other awards I’ve won and opportunities I’ve reached out for is that I have to be open to all kinds of opportunities because I can’t be sure of what I’ll get. I have learned to be open to being vulnerable.

“I went to the regional interview in San Francisco pretty composed, having done practice interviews at WSU. I reminded myself to be as articulate as possible. I thought I did pretty well, but when I got word that I’d actually won the Marshall I was excited, but for many reasons, it’s all still sinking in. Mostly now, I’m just concerned with this semester’s schoolwork, group projects, and final exams. As chair of the student group of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, I’m also helping organize a regional spring conference here. I’ll think more about the Marshall and the many opportunities it opens up over winter break.”

A COP25 NGO Observer this month

December is an especially busy month for Gubsch. He’s one of a handful of students selected nationally to travel to Madrid, Spain, as a “student-professional correspondent” representing the American Chemical Society at the United Nations Climate Action Summit as an “NGO observer.” The students are charged with helping promote climate science literacy among college and university students, will share information from the conference via blogs and social media, will write a chapter on a topic for an upcoming book, and will present at an ACS conference this spring.

The global climate-change summit Gubsch will attend, COP25 (Conference of Parties), is predicted to be the largest UN-sponsored gathering of climate change experts and policymakers held throughout the world in 2019.  The COP is famous for negotiating the Paris Agreement in 2014, a plan to decrease global warming and deal with various impacts of greenhouse-gas emissions; the agreement is endorsed by nearly 200 nations worldwide.

Gubsch’s COP25-related blog entries are linked to from WSU’s Distinguished Scholarships website at

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Three WSU STEM undergraduates receive national Goldwater awards

Three WSU STEM undergraduates receive national Goldwater awards

Kristian Gubsch and Von Walden.
Kristian Gubsch and Von Walden make technical adjustments to a drone.

Two engineering and one science student at Washington State University have received prestigious, nationally competitive awards from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.

The students are seniors Courtney Klappenbach, a genetics and cellular biology and microbiology double major, and Kristian Gubsch, a chemical engineering major; and, junior Daniel Goto, the only student at WSU with a double major in electrical engineering and materials science engineering. » More …

Fulbright Summer Institute to the U.K. award takes WSU sophomore to Wales

Ava Beck

Fulbright Summer Institute to the U.K. award takes WSU sophomore to Wales

Ava Beck
Ava Beck will study at Aberystwyth University in Wales for three weeks this summer, thanks to a Fulbright Summer Institute to the U.K. award.

Washington State University linguistics major and Spokane native Ava Beck will study at Aberystwyth University in Wales for three weeks this summer, thanks to a Fulbright Summer Institute to the U.K. award.

Beck is one of around 60 U.S. students selected to undertake short academic and cultural programs at any of nine hosting institutions throughout the United Kingdom. At Aberystwyth, on that country’s western coast, Beck will join fellow Americans exploring contemporary issues in identity and nationhood “through the lens of Wales.” She will attend classes in the university’s Dept. of International Politics, explore the city, visit the National Library of Wales, and learn a bit of the Welsh language. » More …

Kim Andersen to receive WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award

Kim Andersen
Kim Andersen

Kim Andersen to receive WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award

Kim Andersen will receive the 2019 WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award during a 1 p.m. reception Wednesday, May 15, in the Terrell Library Atrium.

Andersen is a clinical professor in the Honors College. The award recognizes a non-library faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the WSU Libraries. » More …

WSU researchers see health effects across generations from popular weed killer

MIchael Skinner.
Skinner in his laboratory at WSU. (Photo by WSU Photo Services)

WSU researchers see health effects across generations from popular weed killer

Washington State University researchers have found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate, the world’s most popular weed killer. In the first study of its kind, the researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities.
» More …

Fulbright takes WSU pianist Garrett Snedeker to London

Garrett Snedeker sitting by a piano.Fulbright takes WSU pianist Garrett Snedeker to London

Washington State University senior Garrett Snedeker has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to London’s Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance to explore the topic “harnessing music’s ability for social change” in the coming year. » More …

Every brick tells a story

Image of historic Bryan Hall.Every brick tells a story

Like many WSU students, Abigail Shane, a master’s student in architecture, enjoyed the iconic buildings and landscapes of Pullman’s campus but knew little about their history or architectural significance.

As part of a historic preservation seminar led by associate professor Phil Gruen, Shane and her classmates dove into school archives and digital resources, weaving the information they collected into a narrative about WSU’s built environment. » More …

The Top Ten Senior Award Winners

The Top Ten Senior Award Winners

Top 10 Seniors Group PhotoThe Washington State University Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Ambassadors would like to thank you for submitting a nomination for the 2019 Top Ten Senior Awards. Because of your efforts, we received many impressive nominations for a number of incredibly accomplished and deserving students at our university. With so many qualified students being considered, narrowing the final selections down to only 10 recipients was a very tough process. » More …

Forty-six WSU undergraduates land 37 research awards at the SURCA 2019 poster event March 25

SURCA award winners group photo

Forty-six WSU undergraduates land 37 research awards at the SURCA 2019 poster event March 25

SURCA award winners group photo.Nearly a quarter of Washington State University students who delivered poster presentations won monetary awards at the eighth annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) on March 25 in Pullman.

SURCA is the unique WSU-wide venue for students from all majors, years in college, and from all WSU campuses. » More …