WSU Tri-Cities Tag

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – Specially scheduled tours of the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus will incorporate stops and routes allowing prospective students to view campus while collecting and battling their favorite Pokémon.

“Those attending the tours will be able to explore all of the innovative programs, technology and facilities that students experience at WSU Tri-Cities,” said Seanna Coleman, lead WSU Tri-Cities student ambassador. “The tours will also incorporate unique opportunities to catch some Pokémon.”

A tour includes main campus buildings, laboratories, classrooms, recreation centers and more. Additionally, it will feature Pokéstops, Pokémon gyms and extra time to hunt for a Pikachu, Charmander or other characters in the game.

Hour-long tours run Monday-Friday at 9 and 10 a.m. and 2 and 3 p.m. To schedule and get more information, visit https://tricities.wsu.edu/admissions/visit-campus/ or call 509-372-7250.

WSU Tri-Cities has two Pokémon gyms and more than 15 Pokéstops, as indicated in the mobile application game.

“We thought this would be a fun way to incorporate an additional digital element in the tour, while allowing prospective students and their families to view our beautiful university campus along the Columbia River,” said Coleman.

To learn more about WSU Tri-Cities and its commitment to dynamic student engagement, dynamic research experiences and dynamic community engagement based in a polytechnic approach to learning, visit http://tricities.wsu.edu.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Four Washington State University professors are pairing up with high school teachers in the Tri-Cities this summer to complete research in viticulture and enology, bioproducts engineering, plant pathology and biological sciences through the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust’s Partners in Science Program.

MJ Murdock Charitable Trust is providing $13,000 to each high school teacher participating, which may go toward research, professional development and other educational resources.  Each team will also receive $2,000 to cover the costs of lab supplies during summer research opportunities in WSU laboratories.

The goal of the program is to bring knowledge from the research lab into the high school science classroom, promoting hands-on science education. The WSU professors will serve as mentors to each of the high school teachers as they complete the research throughout the course of two summers.

Viticulture and enology

WSU Tri-Cities newsThomas Collins, a WSU Tri-Cities assistant professor of viticulture and enology, is working with Frederick Burke, a science teacher at Chiawana High School, to characterize different grape varieties by region, utilizing a process known as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.

“The process allows us to identify specific chemical profiles in each grape type, which will be used to identify markers associated with the various grape varieties.” Collins said. “The markers will be incorporated into statistical models that would be used to predict the grape varieties used to produce an independent set of Washington state wine samples.”

Biological sciences

WSU Tri-Cities newsElly Sweet, a WSU Tri-Cities clinical assistant professor of biological sciences, and Jim Cooper, a WSU Tri-Cities assistant professor of biological sciences, is working with Amy Verderber, a teacher at Kamiakin High School, to study the impact of thyroid hormone on zebrafish jaw development.

The team is performing development shape analyses of the skull and record and analyze high-speed video footage of fish feeding, in addition to zebrafish husbandry, specimen collection, specimen preparation and photomicroscopy.

“This study is strongly relevant to human health, since there are a large number of human craniofacial disorders associated with alterations of thyroid hormone in blood levels,” Sweet said.

Bioproducts engineering

WSU Tri-Cities newsXiao Zhang, a WSU Tri-Cities associate professor of chemical and bioengineering, is working with Robert Edrington, a science teacher at Southridge High School, to synthesize new functional materials from cellulose, the largest renewable polymer on earth.

Zhang said there is large interest in the application of cellulose nanocrystallites (CNC), which are the elementary units that construct crystalline cellulose from plants.

“My group has previously synthesized a new biocomposite material from CNC for small-diameter replacement vascular graft application,” he said. “The objective of this research is to synthesize new functional materials from CNC.”

Plant pathology

WSU Tri-Cities newsNaidu Rayapati, an associate professor of plant pathology at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, is working with Emily Jordan, a science teacher at Chiawana High School, to study the gene sequencing and genome diversity of economically important grapevine viruses.

“The teacher will gain hands-on experience in molecular biology and state-of-the-art gene sequencing and bioinformatics technologies to elucidate genome diversity of the viruses for practical applications in vineyards,” Rayapati said.

“The experience will help the teacher introduce new concepts of scientific inquiry in the classroom to inspire students interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields,” he said. “We hope to pursue innovative strategies with the K-12 school systems in the Yakima Valley for strengthening higher education in STEM fields.”

Classroom application

The WSU professors are also working with the high school teachers to develop lesson plans, potential course projects and more based in the research they conduct at WSU.

“This partnership will strengthen both the high school program, as well as the research and college science program, by adding a new perspective to the research teach and new tools to use in the classroom,” Cooper said.

Six Washington State University Tri-Cities students sat in a conference room, anxiously waiting for their meeting with a group of AREVA’s engineering and project management officials to begin.

Many of the students didn’t know what to expect, as they had never worked on a project of this magnitude before. This was also their first time at AREVA’s Richland nuclear fuel manufacturing facility.

WSU Tri-Cities newsAs part of their senior mechanical engineering capstone course, the team, which consisted of seniors Jared Beauchene, Jose Chavez, Juan Mejia, Travis Lewis, Alex Schwarz and Manuel Bustos Ramirez, learned they would re-design the AREVA’s current cart used to transport uranium pellets from one building, where they are pressed into shape, to a different building, where they are sintered at a high temperature into their final form.

AREVA Plant Operations Manager Barry Tilden said the problems with the facility’s current pellet transfer cart is that it poses several safety concerns. There are several potential finger pinch points and ergonomic challenges posed when loading the small but heavy trays of uranium pellets, also known as “boats,” he said.

In addition to overcoming those safety elements, the new cart design would have to ensure a safe transport of the delicate pellets before sintering and contain the pellets if it were to tip over during transport. The cart would also have to provide protection from weather during the short trip from building to building and interface well with the existing equipment in two separate pellet production shops.WSU Tri-Cities news

The team spent the next seven months on the new design, balancing their time on the project with a full course load at WSU Tri-Cities.

“It’s was difficult,” Chavez said. “We knew this project would come with expectations and responsibilities. But as we worked through the design challenges, the project has been very rewarding and has given us great experience as we start looking for jobs after graduation.”

Tilden said the team truly embraced the challenges of the design while working through many obstacles and business requirements.

“The team did a great job and can be proud of their work developing and producing a new pellet cart design,” he said.

The team documented their progress through a series of posts on AREVA’s blog site. The entries provide insights into the different stages of the project and the struggles the team overcame along the way.

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – Members of the community are invited to become part of Washington State University Tri-Cities’ new student union building by buying a brick, bench or patio planter.

WSU Tri-Cities newsThrough the “Buy a Brick” program, participants may purchase:
• A 4×8-inch red brick with black block lettering – $100
• An 8×8-inch gray brick with black block lettering – $250
• A wood and iron rail bench with nameplate – $1,000
• A patio planter with nameplate – $1,000
• An array of bricks can be ordered with a minimum of $1,000

Each item would display the name, organization or insignia of the participant and would become a permanent part of the new building.

To buy a brick, bench or patio planter, visit https://tricities.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/buyAbrick.pdf.

“The student union was made possible entirely by students,” said Ken Fincher, WSU Tri-Cities assistant vice chancellor for advancement and community engagement. “They voted to assess a fee on themselves to raise the funds to construct the facility, which will include a lounge area, student office space, restrooms, a meeting room and more.

“This is the WSU community’s opportunity to become a part of the students’ mission, as well as support student success for years to come,” he said.

WSU Tri-Cities broke ground on the 6,250-square-foot, $5.73 million facility in May. It is scheduled to open in fall 2017.

For more information, contact Fincher at 509-372-7398 or ken.fincher@tricity.wsu.edu.

 

Contacts:
Ken Fincher, WSU Tri-Cities advancement and community engagement, 509-372-7398,ken.fincher@tricity.wsu.edu
Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities public relations, 509-372-7333,maegan.murray@tricity.wsu.edu