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Alejandra Cardoso, a recent graduate of Washington State University Tri-Cities, was chosen as one of three representatives from Washington state to participate in the Council for Opportunity in Education’s National Policy Seminar March 19-22 in Washington, D.C.

The seminar affords the TRIO and GEAR UP communities the opportunity to help educate members of Congress, congressional staff and the president’s administration officials about the history and success of the programs, while giving the participants a chance to represent the interests and desires of low-income and first-generation students, veterans, adult learners and students with disabilities in the policy arena.

“It is really an honor,” Cardoso said. “What I’m looking forward to most about the conference is the opportunities to develop myself as a leader, as well as the opportunity to connect with other students with both similar and different backgrounds.”

Cardoso said she hopes to use the experience to share her own story of how the TRIO program at WSU Tri-Cities helped her be successful in her academics, which led her to successfully obtaining a position as a crime victim advocate with the Support, Advocacy and Resource Center in Kennewick, Wash., immediately following graduation last spring.

Cardoso said she was raised in an environment where school wasn’t considered valuable. She said she dropped out of school her junior year of high school, and that it wasn’t until after she had her first child at 17 that she considered going back to school to complete her high school diploma. The TRIO program, both at the community college level, as well as at WSU Tri-Cities, helped ensure her success in obtaining a bachelor’s in psychology.

“I never really saw myself as a college student,” she said. “What really got me interested in going when when I first worked at my first job at WorkSource. Seeing the social workers there inspire me to drive for my own success in that field. The TRIO program at WSU Tri-Cities kept me on track toward obtaining that goal.”

After transferring from Yakima Valley College to WSU Tri-Cities, Cardoso said she got really involved in the TRIO program, which provided her with support services ranging from tutoring, to counseling about academic and person-related issues and much more.

“The TRIO staff always try to help you as best as they can,” she said. “Just knowing that there was someone out there looking out for me and willing to help me, as long as I was willing to help myself, was crucial.”

In her current role as a crime victim advocate for SARC, Cardoso is fulfilling her dream of helping individuals get out of their despairing situations in order to live a better and more prosperous life. Specifically, she helps victims of harassment, assault, child abuse, identity theft and more.

“I’m the first person in my family to graduate from high school, let alone a university,” she said. “Now, I’m working on my master’s, which will allow me to further help individuals suffering with dangerous and undesirable situations. TRIO and WSU Tri-Cities helped me get to where I’m at now. I’m excited to share my story with others at the national policy seminar and I hope that I can help inspire positive change at the national level.”

For more information on the national policy seminar, visit http://www.coenet.org/policy_seminar.shtml.

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – Pacific Northwest wineries and vineyards are exploring a new, specific way to promote their wines: “terroir tourism.”

Marketing terroir – an area’s environmental characteristics such as soil, topography, climate and farming practice – has increased in states like Washington and Oregon, said Byron Marlowe, instructor of hospitality and wine business management at Washington State University Tri-Cities. It presents a new and growing opportunity that can further the Northwest’s name and brand as a wine destination for the world.WSU Tri-Cities news

Marlowe recently completed a literature review regarding terroir tourism for Oregon wine publications. He presented his paper at the International Terroir Congress, which for the first time was held in the United States.

Locations ideal for best wine grapes

Locations in Washington and Oregon present ideal conditions for Vitis vinifera grape varieties, which encompass many preferred and prominent grape types in the western United States wine market and in most of the world, Marlowe said.

“The terroir in the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically the mid-Columbia region, is a major reason for the quality of wines you see across the state,” he said. “Great wine starts in the vineyard, and you can’t have a great vineyard without the ideal soil, climate amount of sunshine and geology.”

Much like producers in California’s Napa Valley and locations in France and Italy, Washington and Oregon wineries are starting to promote these conditions as elemental to the region’s generally high quality wines.

“It would make sense that terroir would be a determining factor in wine tourism in the Northwest,” Marlowe said.

Wineries promote AVA differences

Two examples of producers using terroir to market their wines are Badger Mountain Vineyard/Powers Winery and Dubrul Vineyard/Côte Bonneville.

More tourists are seeking out wine that is grown in particular American viticulture areas (AVAs) in the Northwest, said Mickey Dunne, owner and sales director for Badger Mountain Vineyard and Powers Winery in Kennewick, Wash.

WSU Tri-Cities news“There is growing knowledge of some of the smaller and newer AVAs,” he said. “We have crafted our reserve wine program around single vineyard cabernet sauvignon from four different AVAs, giving us an opportunity to show consumers a mini-tour of Washington terroir.”

Côte Bonneville, in Sunnyside, Wash., produces and promotes wines based on the vineyard’s farming practices, climate and unique soil elements, said Kathy Shiels, owner of Côte Bonneville and DuBrul Vineyard.

“Our vision was a classic Burgundian model, where small areas of the estate were bottled separately to showcase the terroir,” she said. “It has become much more common in the industry today to differentiate yourself by a sense of place.”

Organic and state line distinctives

Marlowe said in Oregon, particularly, the popularity of organic wine has increased, with wine enthusiasts focusing more on farming practices. Nearly 50 percent of Oregon vineyards are sustainable or organic, according to Oregon Organic Wine.

“Oregon has been able to recognize and attract the wine tourist who has high levels of place attachment to its unique terroir through sustainable and organic growing practices,” he said.

Badger Mountain in Washington realized the value of an organic wine operation when it created the state’s first organic vineyard and winery in 1990 and 1996, respectively.

“With the climate in Washington so conducive to low input, I think we have a substantial advantage over many, if not most, growing regions,” Dunne said.

Marlowe is working with regional organizations to generate additional interest in terroir tourism, as well as examining whether it may lead to wine enthusiasts crossing state lines.

“Vines don’t recognize state borders and neither do geographical features, soil types and climate,” he said. “What I’m looking into is whether these state borders have an impact on terroir tourism and whether state lines matter when wine enthusiasts visit wineries in a particular region.”