leadership Tag

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University Tri-Cities will honor 13 individuals as part of its first women of distinction class during a gallery exhibition opening and reception at 5:30 p.m. on April 13 in the entrance to the East Building on campus.

The program recognizes WSU Tri-Cities female students, staff, faculty, alumnae and community members who have made notable contributions to the campus and community through service, teaching or involvement.

“This is a way to honor our female leaders within the WSU Tri-Cities community who have gone above and beyond to improve access to educational opportunities, driven momentous initiatives within their respective professions and have given generously of their free time in dedication to service and volunteerism,” said Chris Meiers, vice chancellor for enrollment management and student services.

Those being honored as WSU Tri-Cities’ 2017 Women of Distinction include:

  • Amber Eubanks – WSU Tri-Cities community engagement specialist
  • Anna King – news correspondent for the Northwest News Network and Northwest Public Radio
  • Cindy Bruckner-Lea – project manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Dana Parmenter – WSU Tri-Cities junior in digital technology and culture
  • Elizabeth Hernandez-Osorio – WSU Tri-Cities master’s student in educational leadership
  • Jana Kay Lunstad – WSU Tri-Cities academic affairs coordinator
  • Katherine Banks – WSU Tri-Cities instructor of political science in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs
  • Kay Olson – WSU Tri-Cities clinical nursing instructor
  • Lisa Godwin – executive director of Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity
  • Lura Powell – chair of the WSU Board of Regents
  • Michele Acker-Hocevar – WSU Tri-Cities interim vice chancellor of academic affairs
  • Selene Torres-Medrano – WSU Tri-Cities senior in biological sciences
  • Shawnta DiFalco – commanding officer in the Washington National Guard and secondary school administrator

Photos of the Women of Distinction and their biographies will be on display in the hallway nearest The Bookie, WSU Tri-Cities’ student bookstore, through May 12.

For more information, visit https://tricities.wsu.edu/wsu-tri-cities-women-of-distinction-program.

By Maegan Murray

Ryan Wagstaff struggled to find his path in high school.

He felt ahead of his fellow classmates mentally and intellectually and was ready for an academic experience that was more challenging.

“I wanted to get more involved and wanted more opportunities to network and meet new people,” he said.

30569074280_af920d22e2_zAs a high school sophomore, one of his friends mentioned running start as an option. Shortly after, he found out about the program at Washington State University Tri-Cities, which welcomes high school juniors and seniors to take university courses at no cost.

“I found it put me at ease,” he said. “It has been a really good fit for me. I’ve gotten a lot more involved, I’ve taken on leadership roles and I’ve put my best foot forward as a future professional.”

Wagstaff, now a high school senior and in his second year of the running start program at WSU Tri-Cities, is well on his way of pursuing a degree in psychology. He takes on a full course-load while working as the student manager of the campus’ Hospitality Café, in addition to leading up other developments around campus.

Wagstaff and classmates Yesenia Alcaraz and Madison Stredwick founded the Queer and Allies Club, which provides resources and support for those who associate with and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He is also a member of the psychology club on campus, which provides resources for students based in psychological methods, as well as networking connections and resources for students studying psychology. Additionally, Wagstaff has spoken as part of several student panels for various events, as well as serving as one of the speakers for the running start program’s one-year anniversary at WSU Tri-Cities last year.

“It has been a great platform to really develop myself as a professional,” he said. “Being a running start student, at first you have this perception that people will treat you differently as a high school student, but no one really knows that. I’ve had a really great experience with the program.”

Wagstaff said the professors take the time to get to know their students and provide every resource they can for ensuring students are successful and that they have every opportunity to develop their leadership potential.27240104466_401d9c4bb3_z

“The people here are like my number one thing,” he said. “The professors are all kind and accepting people. Working at the café, I have the flexibility and affordability to interact with my classmates and professors here on campus while on the job. I also get to go to all these cool events, meet new people and generally grow as a person in a mature environment.”

Wagstaff said the program, however, has rigorous standards that interested students must take into account. He said the program is geared towards students who are college-ready, with the academic and social skills to keep up with the rigorous college lifestyle.

“It’s a step up from regular high school classes, for sure,” he said. “I recommend it for students who are diligent, prepared and are performing at least a 3.5 grade-point average in high school.”

Looking toward the future, Wagstaff said he has already applied to WSU Tri-Cities as a possible choice for the remainder of his bachelor’s degree. His ultimate goal, he said, is to become a psychiatrist so that he can help a wide variety of people through medicine.