Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Education

EduCoug

Johanna Thomas Zapata wins award and scholarship

It’s been a great spring for doctoral student Johanna Thomas Zapata. In addition to moving one step closer to finishing her doctorate in mathematics education, Johanna was the recipient of a WSU Chancellor’s Award for Leadership, as well as the Virginia E. Thomas Endowed Scholarship ($2,500). She was also given the he Richard R. and Constance M. Albrecht Scholarship ($1,500) from the WSU Graduate School.

The Chancellor’s Awards started in 1996 as the “President’s Award for Leadership” but was recently renamed under the auspices of the chancellor. The awards recognize individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership and service to the WSU Pullman and surrounding community, as well as those who support leadership development in WSU Pullman students. The leadership experienced and qualities relate to:

  • Inquiry and Innovation
  • Excellence
  • Character and Integrity
  • Stewardship

To be considered for the Thomas endowment, nominees have to first be considered for the chancellor’s awards.

Virginia Thomas was the director of WSU’s Leadership Center from 1995-2003, serving the university and students in a variety of ways. About Thomas, WSU said: “As an advisor to the Associated Students’ officers and other organizations, Virginia demanded excellence, modeled integrity, and encouraged discovery and innovation. Virginia was a true servant leader to students, bringing passion, courage, and perspective to her work of student development. We honor her legacy with this award.”

Watch the 2024 ceremony

First WSU Everett doctoral grad

The College of Education celebrates milestone with WSU Everett’s first doctoral graduate
May 10, 2024

Everett, WA – Washington State University, Everett will mark a significant milestone in its history as it awards its first doctoral degree during the campus’ commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11, 2024. The campus will honor Jason P. Smith, the first-ever graduate receiving an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, a testament to WSU’s commitment to expanding its advanced educational offerings across the state.

Jason P. Smith to become the first WSU Everett doctoral graduate.

Jason P. Smith’s dissertation, “Understanding the Lived Experiences of Black Male Community College Student Veterans,” addresses a critical and underexplored area in educational research pertaining to Black veterans’ sense of belonging on Washington community colleges. Under the guidance of Assistant Professor Shannon Calderone, Smith’s work provides valuable insights into the unique challenges and perspectives of a significant subset of the veteran population, offering guidance for policymakers and educational institutional leaders aiming to better support these students.

“Jason’s achievement paves the way for future doctoral candidates at our campus and highlights the caliber of students and programs at WSU Everett,” said Dr. Calderone. “His work not only contributes to our understanding of the community college student experience but also underscores our university’s role in fostering research that impacts real-world issues.”

This graduation not only celebrates an academic achievement but also reflects WSU Everett’s growing role in contributing to the scholarly community and addressing diverse educational needs across Washington and beyond.

Department tandem wins AFW awards

By C. Brandon Chapman

Two College of Education students have been recognized for their exceptionalism by Washington State University’s Association for Faculty Women (AFW).

The duo includes Educational Psychology doctoral candidate Thao Vo and Kinesiology master’s student Sara Thompson, both part of the Kinesiology and Educational Psychology Department.

From left: Sarah Ullrich-French; Sara Thompson; Thao Vo; Brian French
Thao Vo

The Harriett B. Rigas Award, which is given each year to outstanding doctoral and professional students, was presented to Thao Vo, who successfully defended her dissertation on April 03.

Thao’s research has focused on addressing bias, equity, and fairness in test scores.

In the nomination, her advisor and nominator Brian French wrote that Thao was recognized as a dedicated scholar whose exemplary work in educational psychology, measurement, and research methods warrants recognition.

“I nominated Thao for the award because she has strong and unwavering passion to show how we use measurement in the behavioral and social sciences for positive change and addressing fairness,” French said after the award was given. “Thao is an excellent leader who leverages her methodological and applied skills to influence systems to critically consider equity issues.”

Additionally, the nomination cited: “Thao’s dedication to equity and inclusion extends beyond her research endeavors; she actively engages in service activities at both the local and national levels, advocating for diversity and inclusivity within the educational measurement profession.

Sara Thompson

The AFW Founders Award, which is given each year to outstanding master’s degree students, was presented to Sara Thompson, a rising star in Kinesiology who has been accepted into a prestigious doctoral program at the University of Toronto.

Sara’s journey saw her spend more than 400 hours collaborating with a diverse team on an experimental study exploring exercise experiences.

In her nomination, her advisor and nominator Sarah Ullrich-French wrote that in addition to her passion for research, Sara secured a highly competitive teaching assistantship, oversaw multiple sections, and earned positive evaluations for her instructional skills.

I nominated Sara for her contributions that span research, teaching, leadership, and service,” Ullrich-French said. “Her thesis study was ambitious and contributes significantly to the exercise science literature.

“Sara has the passion, growth mindset, and skills to conduct rigorous science, but she is also a leader who creates positive and supportive mentorship formally in the classroom and research lab and informally with her peers.”

Additionally, the nomination cited: “Sara’s commitment to service is evident in her representation of the department at conferences and her active involvement in the Graduate Executive Committee, and she was selected to serve as a student ambassador at the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) annual conference.”

About AFW

Founded in 1975, the AFW is a broadly inclusive group that promotes successful and satisfying careers for women and other marginalized genders by creating opportunities for members to connect in environments that are welcoming, supportive, and empowering.

In order to better support camaraderie, advocacy and professional growth across the WSU system, each year, AFW organizes events and awards to foster collaboration and recognize excellence.

###

College receives $1.7 million endowment

PULLMAN – The College of Education is pleased to announce it is the beneficiary of a $1.7 million endowment from the Glenn and Anna Powell Estate, making it the largest gift ever realized by the College of Education.

The gift will go to student scholarships for those pursuing a degree in education with the intent of teaching.

Glenn received his undergraduate degree from the college in 1948, with his master’s degree in 1952. He and Anna met while teaching together in Tekoa, married, and then taught together in Colfax for 20 years before moving to Prosser where they finished their careers and retired. He died in 2010 and she before that.

“This gift is just one example of the impact that the college and our faculty have on students when they’re here, and the reputation that college has once they’re gone,” college dean Mike Trevisan said. “The college, and our students, are the beneficiaries of those who made such a positive impact on Glenn dating back to 1948.”

Jose Altamirano, a secondary education student (English) from the rural Washington town of Mabton, received a scholarship for this past academic year and thinks this new endowment will really help preservice teachers.

“Had it not been for the scholarship I was awarded, I would not have been able to sustain myself financially during this time,” he said. “I feel this new announcement will greatly support future teacher candidates and propel them forward as they navigate their journey to become a certified educator.

“Not only will this help our student candidates financially, but it will be a testament to their hard work and dedication, offering visibility and validity to their experiences.”

Jose Altamirano in graduate gown.

Just as Altamirano, the college’s Teaching and Learning Department chair Tariq Akmal said this gift makes college and becoming a teacher a much more realizable dream.

“With higher numbers of first-generation students entering our programs, being able to minimize the debt accumulated through four years of college puts our students a step ahead as they enter the teaching profession,” he said. “The likelihood of being able to live off a teacher’s salary with minimal or no student loan payments is greatly increased through the generosity of donors like Glenn and Anna Powell. I put myself through college back in the 80’s and to be able to have this type of support rather than loans would have been a great start to my working life.”

Cougs All Nine

Since Baseball games are dictated by outs and not time, in theory, a game could last forever. For some people, that’s what makes the game so theoretically romantic.

For others, even nine innings is simply too long.

As part of assistant professor Alex Gang‘s Sport in American Society class, 10 students initiated a social campaign to encourage those in the WSU community to attend a Coug baseball game and then stay until the end of the game.

The game they chose was Friday, April 12, against California.

The students had roughly a month to design and execute the campaign and their tasks included:

  • Come up with a catchphrase that conveyed the purpose of the campaign.
  • Develop promotional strategies (both online and offline) to disseminate information to the WSU community.
  • Incentivize staying until the end of the game.

The group included 10 students and named the campaign Cougs All Nine.

Sport Management student Hyrum Futrelle said the group decided to focus on baseball because it was a main sport during spring.

“We were also aware of the problem of people not showing up to baseball games in large numbers and also not staying throughout the whole game,” Hyrum says. “This is a problem in all our sports, but it does seem to be a bit worse in baseball.”

To prepare, the group launched an Instagram page, appropriately named @CougsAllNine. At the game, they gave out stickers to attract spectator attention, as well as host a table with information. The big draw was a raffle where three people drawn would win a baseball signed by the WSU players.

And, like peanuts and a cold one, nothing says baseball like a hot dog. The group worked with WSU Concessions and handed out half-off coupons for hot dogs for the next game people went to, but fans couldn’t get those until after the 8th inning.

The effectiveness was put to the test immediately, because while temperatures at first pitch hovered in the low 60s and comfortable, the forecast called for rain to roll in around the seventh-inning stretch.

And rain it did.

But in a close game that saw the winning run on base for the Cougs (they’d ultimately lose 4-3), fans stuck around. Yet three fans were delighted to win baseballs. Won of those was WSU ROAR scholar Richard Roloff.

Hyrum says the part that was the most fun for him was seeing people get excited about these giveaways, and just the ability to talk to them when they entered the ballpark.

Because this was associated with a Sport Management class, and there needs to be learning, Dr. Gang says the group is going through its evaluation process of the social campaign.

Hyrum says the evaluation was pretty evident to him.

“If we were to do this again, I would like to start the campaign before the season to give us time to reach more people and further develop our ideas,” he says. “We could also measure our success over a few different games at different points in the season.”

Oh, by the way, total game time was only two hours and 39 minutes.

###

#ThrowbackThursday: Sam Graff

Sam Graff – Athletic Training

 

Tell us a little about your background.
My name is Sam and I was born and raised in Tri-Cities, Washington, more specifically Pasco! Both of my parents are recently retired educators. My mom taught elementary and then moved into reading recovery and LLI and my dad was at the high school teaching weight training, PE and health and was also the head football coach. I have three younger brothers who all played multiple sports so there was lots of competition growing up. I pretty much grew up in a family that revolved around athletics so we kept my parents very busy. We spent many off days in our mom’s classrooms and PE gyms, at our dad’s school in the basketball gyms and out on the fields. My dad was a high school football coach my whole upbringing and into adulthood and for much of that time I can’t remember a Friday or Saturday in the fall that didn’t involve a football game. My grandpa was a college basketball coach for many years and my uncle is a current college basketball coach so we spent many holidays traveling to support when we could! The only way we were able to all get together and take a family vacation was if we had a tournament or post-season game to go to! Athletics and education have always been a huge part of my life!

What did you study at WSU? Did you always know you wanted to study that?
While at WSU I received my Bachelors in Athletic Training and became a Certified Athletic Trainer after completing the Board of Certification Exam. As I mentioned I’ve grown up around sports and coaches but more specifically around football and basketball and knew that I wanted to be involved in that in some capacity. During my first semester of college I went home one weekend in the fall and went to watch one of my dad/brothers football games. At the time I was still trying to figure out what degree I wanted to pursue. I was watching their athletic trainer during the game when I realized that athletic training was something I might be interested in. There was the athletics portion of that but more importantly an opportunity to take care of people. From then I went back to Pullman and started looking into the athletic training program. I reached out to the program and was able to get more information/requirements on how to apply. Long story short I am now in my 11th year of being an athletic trainer at the collegiate level.

What has been your favorite thing about WSU, as well as the College of Education?
Although to me at the time, WSU felt like it was such a HUGE school, there has always been that family atmosphere and a sense of a home away from home. No matter what, I always felt like I had people to go to and confide in during my time there. Whether it was within athletics or within the athletic training program, the faculty and staff made us as students feel cared about. I love keeping in touch with everyone I’ve crossed paths with there and always love returning to visit and catch up.

Is there a memory you have from WSU that stands out in your mind as unforgettable, transformative, etc.?
When approaching the end of my time at WSU there were many discussions about what I wanted to do next. Those conversations and the decision to go to graduate school was pivotal in contributing to my career now. I remember it being a very stressful time because I knew I needed a master’s degree if I wanted to work at the collegiate level but the thought of it was so intimidating. I was a home body and thought that moving to Pullman was a huge accomplishment. I also struggled in school at times so the thought of moving even further and getting a master’s degree was daunting and I really did not think I was capable. I would have stayed at WSU forever, if I had it my way. The mentors I had at WSU are the reason I was able to get out of my comfort zone and further my education. Our Director of Athletic Training and Head Football Athletic Trainer at the time and Athletic Training Program Director and Clinical Coordinator were my biggest supporters. If I didn’t have them I would never be where I am today. I remember talking to each of them about my next steps and feeling that they had all the confidence in me to be successful. All of these mentors are people I still confide in and keep in touch with. I am forever grateful for them.

What has your career path been since you left WSU? What do you currently do? Tell us about your NOW life!
After graduating I stayed at WSU another year and was an Intern Athletic Trainer for the football program. After that I went to grad school at the University of Wyoming where I was a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer. After that I actually came back to WSU as a temporary assistant for football and filled in as someone had left right before the season. I then went onto work another internship at Stanford University as an Intern Athletic Trainer for the football program there. After that I finally landed my first full-time job at the University of Montana as an Assistant Athletic Trainer with the football program. I grew to LOVE Montana and would have loved to stay with the Griz. I spent 4 years there but eventually it was time for me to look into what the next step would be for me. An opportunity to be a head football athletic trainer kind of fell in my lap and it was the next step that I needed to take in order to further my career. I am now at New Mexico State University as the Head Football Athletic Trainer and in the fall of 2024, it will be the start of my 3rd season with the Aggies.

What makes you an agent of change?
I hope to be a positive influence on the next generation and hope that they can learn from me in a way that will help prepare them for the next stages in their life after college. Many life lessons have been learned throughout my time and I’m sure there are many more to come. I think that as a young adult I can offer some great advice to young athletic trainers and young athletes who are pursuing any type of leadership role within their profession. Times are changing but I think it’s important to remember that life isn’t always fair and its not about what hand you’re dealt but how you handle it. Work hard and treat those how you would want to be treated. It goes a long way.


Favorites

Food: BBQ or Mexican (the southwest spin on Mexican food does hit different)

Restaurant in Pullman: Feeling “fancy” South Fork or Sella’s, but Cougar Country was always our go-to

Band/song:Don’t really have a favorite song or band cause I have many. Big country music fan but also love my fair share of rap, pop, hip hop and R&B. Anything with a good message or a good beat, I’ll listen.

Movie: Remember the Titans

TV show:Pretty much any reality TV on Bravo but I’m also very competitive so The Challenge is also one of my favorites

Favorite Coug sport: Football obviously but also love seeing Coug basketball make a run in the NCAA Tourney! Will always be pulling for the Cougs no matter what sport it is!

#ThrowbackThursday: Josh Therrien

Josh Therrien – Kinesiology (Athletic Training)

What did you study at WSU?
I graduated in 2007 with my Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Athletic Training.

What has been a career highlight of yours?
Making a positive impact working with countless student athletes, coaches and athletics support staff. The professional opportunity to be part of medical teams at multiple college football bowl games, the College World Series, two Final Fours, and winning a Gold Medal with USA Baseball in the U18 World Championships in Korea.

Tell us about your NOW life!
I’m currently the Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Health and Performance at Gonzaga University. I oversee the Sports Medicine, Sports Performance, and Nutrition areas for the athletic department.

What makes you an agent of change?
Working sports medicine in collegiate athletics is an amazing opportunity to have impact on the lives of our student athletes. Making that impact helps to change the lives of future generations as our athletes go on to be successful athletes, citizens, people


Favorites

Food: Asian

Restaurant in Pullman: Cougar Country and New Garden

Band: Eric Church

Song: Drowning Man, by Eric Church

Movie: Bull Durham

TV show: The Sopranos

Favorite Coug sport: Football

Favorite spot on campus (when you were a student): The Summit and Martin Stadium

Hobby: Golf; pickleball; spending time with my wife, Jill, and our two sons, Abel and Olin

Place to visit (you’ve been to): Priest Lake (Idaho) and Barcelona

Dream vacation spot (you haven’t been to): Mediterranean

#ThrowbackThursday: Matthew Rinaldi

Matthew Rinaldi – Athletic Training

 

Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Moscow, ID and grew up in Spokane. Growing up coming down to Pullman for football and basketball games was a regular occurrence so I’ve always been a Coug at heart.

What did you study at WSU? Did you always know you wanted to study that?
At WSU I studied athletic training. When I was young I helped my mom study while she was going through massage therapy school.  Early on that cultivated an interest in medicine for me. I had further exposure to athletic trainers and physical therapists through playing sports and always had such great experiences with them and saw how much they helped us all. So, going into college I knew iI had an interest in the medical field and wanted to have a profession that put me in a position to help people so athletic training was a natural fit.

What has been your favorite thing about WSU, as well as the College of Education?
The sense of community around WSU is truly incredible and I have been fortunate to experience that community for most of my life. Whether that’s the random “go cougs” in an airport, a flag flying on TV, or a professional connection, it is alway easy to find support of a coug somewhere. Within the College of Education, the professors are what made it feel special. Professors who frequently went the extra mile to ensure success of the student.

Is there a memory you have from WSU that stands out in your mind as unforgettable, transformative, etc.?
So many fond memories that stand out in different ways. As part of the athletic training program I had the great experience to work alongside all of the athletic teams including spending my senior year with the football team. Being able to travel with the team was an incredible experience both for my education and professional experience, but also just a lot of fun being able to travel to other stadiums and have great times with co-workers and classmates. Another memory that has been transformative for me probably seemed like just another day in the classroom. I had a professor, Dr. Hildenbrand, who shared with us a quote: “attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal.” While I’m sure this is not an original quote to her, but how she presented it that day made a large impact and is a quote I come back to very frequently, sometimes daily, to help guide how I approach challenges.

What has your career path been since you left WSU? What do you currently do? Tell us about your NOW life!
After leaving WSU I went to EWU for physical therapy school. From there I worked in a physical therapy clinic in Spokane and worked to establish athletic training coverage at a local high school. My wife and I then moved to Denver for 3 years where I worked as a physical therapist and took on a new job, DAD! During that time we had our two lovely daughters and have since moved back to Pullman this last July where I work for Summit PT as a PT and help educate current WSU athletic training and kinesiology students in the clinic.

What makes you an agent of change?
Professionally, I strive to be an agent of change in each patient I interact with. My goal is to inspire and curate in themselves skills and habits that will help improve their quality of life, whether that be reducing pain, getting back to work, or being able to run 10 miles. Outside of work, I see myself as an agent of change each day to my daughters, hoping to instill in them qualities I feel allow me to facilitate change: kindness, optimism, patience, responsibility, and open-mindedness.


Favorites

Food: Peanut Butter 

Restaurant in Pullman: Sella’s

Band: No favorite, just love good music in all genres.

Song: Currently, Achilles Come Down, by Gang of Youths

Movie: Saving Private Ryan / O Brother, Where Art Thou?

TV show: LOST

Favorite Coug sport: Football

Favorite spot on campus (when you were a student): Kimbrough Hall… roof.

Hobby: Board Games!

Place to visit (you’ve been to): Manarola, Italy

Dream vacation spot (you haven’t been to): Cuneo, Italy

College of Education alumna Lane Salvig receives Fulbright Award

In the heart of Kelso, Washington, stands Lane Salvig, an alumna of the WSU College of Education. Lane has dedicated the past eight years to shaping young minds as a high school math and social studies teacher. Her commitment to fostering global understanding and cross-cultural collaboration recently earned her a prestigious recognition: a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program award.

Lane’s award comes with a journey. She will go to Morocco in April, where she will collaborate with educators from the Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (MACECE). Her mission? To explore how students from different cultures can learn from each other and work together.

The Fulbright Program, managed by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, is all about international educational exchange. For over 75 years, it has provided countless individuals with opportunities to learn, teach, and connect across borders.

Lane’s selection for the Fulbright award highlights her passion for global learning and teaching innovation. Through the Teachers for Global Classrooms Program, she hopes to not only share her knowledge but also build meaningful connections that span continents.

As Lane embarks on this journey, the College of Education is honored to have her represent Cougs, demonstrating the profound impact educators can make in fostering understanding and collaboration across diverse communities. She encourages her colleagues and peers to embrace the spirit of international exchange. By sharing her experiences when she returns, Lane hopes to inspire others to explore the world, learn from different cultures, and foster connections that transcend boundaries.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, please visit, https://eca.state.gov/fulbright.

In case you missed it…

We recently invited Lane to join us on Education Eclipse. We had a great chat and want to share that with you.

Art Integration: Students visit JSMOA.

On a brisk February day on the Palouse, education students at WSU in the K-8 Art Methods Integration class visited the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMOA) to learn the effectiveness of art in the classroom.

TchLrn 390 equips future educators with the tools to seamlessly integrate art into the curriculum. This course operates on the belief that learning through the arts enriches experiences, extends learning, and deepens understanding across subjects. During the museum tour, students engaged with art and exhibits firsthand, guided by Kristen Becker, Curator of Education at JSMOA. The tour provided practical examples and resources for integrating art into the classroom, emphasizing its potential to enhance learning outcomes across various subjects.

In a landscape of standardized testing, classes like TchLrn 390 emphasize non-traditional learning experiences. Art isn’t just another subject; it’s a tool for fostering creativity, critical thinking, and empathy among students.

As educators, we must recognize the profound impact of art integration in education. Initiatives like TchLrn 390 class inspire future educators to embrace the transformative power of the arts.

The College of Education remains committed to providing students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to become visionary education leaders. We actively advocate for the integration of art into teaching and learning through initiatives like TchLrn 390 and partnerships with institutions like the JSMOA.