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Washington State University

Dean’s Welcome

Dear Honors College alumni and friends,

As we begin the 2022-23 academic year, we are excited to welcome our first-year class along with hundreds of returning Honors students. A new year represents a time of renewal, new opportunities, and a chance for students to enjoy that unmatched experience of being a Coug. As we prepare for what may likely be the largest incoming class in the history of the Honors College, I am grateful for the many faculty who teach our classes, mentor our students in research and other creative activities, and offer amazing study-abroad programs.

Honors faculty and students have amazing accomplishments. Here are a few recent highlights:

Curriculum Highlights

This semester Professor Colin Criss will teach Honors 280: Contextual Understanding in the Arts and Humanities (Creating Writing: The Contemporary Sonnet). By the end of the semester, students will have written and revised a short collection of sonnets. While these may not rival the works of William Shakespeare, they will be unmistakably each student’s personal best, and for many perhaps their first experience with creative writing.

Under Professor Criss’s leadership, there are many excellent examples of student writing and other forms of creativity in The Palouse Review, our online literary arts journal. It was started as a means of publishing work by WSU Honors College students but has grown to include contributions from the entire western region. The current issue alone has contributions from honors students in eight states.

Once again, Associate Dean and Professor David Shier will teach his very popular Honors College class, Honors 280: Contextual Understanding in the Arts and Humanities (The Good Life). Using writings from ancient Greek and Roman philosophers all the way up to contemporary thinkers, and blending in popular culture such as NBC’s fantasy comedy television show “The Good Place,” students will refine their own views of what it means to live “the good life.”

This class is just one of the many offerings that qualifies as credit for the Honors MESI Certificate in mindfulness-based emotional and social intelligence. The MESI Certificate helps equip students with the skills to address their wellbeing through self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and compassion. It is just one example of how the WSU Honors College is leading the way in developing innovative programs for the 21st century land-grant university graduate.

Your support of the MESI Fund provides us with the resources to award scholarships to MESI students and facilitators, host MESI workshops and attend conferences, and enable students to pursue local and global service-learning activities. To learn more about how you can support the MESI Certificate, visit MESI in Honors.

Student Highlights

Goldwater Scholar and Honors College junior John Bussey, a material science and engineering major with minors in environmental and resource economics and mathematics, has been working with Professor John McCloy, in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, on an area of critical importance for future energy production: how to safely immobilize nuclear waste. Bussey’s research involves designing, synthesizing, and characterizing novel materials for safe storage of nuclear waste to safeguard human health and the environment into the distant future. John will present his research findings at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Annual Conference in Dallas this fall. You can read his story on our website.

Honors student and chemical engineering major Aline Uwase will also present her research at the NCHC meeting. With her advisor Professor Su Ha, of the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, Aline is investigating the effects of electric fields on chemical reactions. Aline is looking at how the use of applied electric fields can lower energy demand and reduce costs of certain important catalytic reactions. The goal of researcher work is to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Inspired by her research, Aline is planning to pursue a career in carbon dioxide capture and utilization. To read more about Aline’s research and the work of other Honors students, visit our Honors College Research Brochure.

Students like John and Aline receive financial support from the Dean’s Notable Achievement Fund in Honors to engage in transformative research and pursue distinguished scholarship awards. Consider investing in the Dean’s Notable Achievement Fund’s matching campaign! Every dollar donated will be matched up to $125,000 by Dan (’80) and Kathy Harmon! To learn more about how you can support the Dean’s Notable Achievement Fund visit;

Left, John Bussey (’24), and right, Aline Uwase (’23)

Honors College Faculty and Staff

I am fortunate to have a team in the Honors College who give their undivided attention to ensuring that our students are receiving transformational opportunities that prepare them for current and post-graduate plans. I am thankful to each of them for their professionalism and commitment to excellence. Professor Kim Andersen, who taught for more than three decades, recently retired from Washington State University. We are grateful for Kim’s service as a teacher and study-abroad leader for so many of our Honors students, past and present.

Professor Kim Andersen on a study-abroad trip to Scandinavia, 2019

Alumni Engagement – Upcoming Events

Alumni engagement helps move the needle in Honors. With your involvement, the college can recruit and retain high-achieving students and provide them with the resources needed to excel in their studies, engage in global research opportunities, and enhance their leadership skills.

  • Make sure to follow us on social media and visit our website at
  • Complete the alumni engagement form to get involved with the Honors College! Alumni Engagement Form
  • Register today for upcoming events in Honors
    • LEAP! Networking event, Fri., Sept. 16, 4:00-6:00 p.m., Elmina White Honors Hall, WSU Pullman. LEAP! is an opportunity for Honors students to engage with alumni and industry leaders to practice their networking and communication skills in preparation for post-graduation plans. Sign up to be an industry leader at
    • Honors College Alumni Reception, Sat., Oct. 8, 4:00-6:00 p.m., WSU Everett. Join Honors College leadership, faculty, students, and board members for an afternoon of engagement and conversation! Register here.

Your commitment to our faculty, students, and programs enables the WSU Honors College to provide transformational experiences both inside the classroom and beyond. I look forward to seeing you this year either in Pullman or your hometown. Thank you for your support and as always – Go Cougs!

M. Grant Norton