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Washington State University

We’re about people!

Brick-and-mortar is all well and good. But it’s people that really matter.

Welcome to our features section, where we can go more in-depth than a mere news release. These are stories that inspire us to do better and be better.

Barry Warren: Back to his roots

Aug. 23, 2019 - By C. Brandon Chapman
Some kids want to grow up to play baseball or soccer, to be a doctor or lawyer, to be a police officer or firefighter. Not many folks are like Barry Warren. He always knew he wanted to be a school principal.

And now he is. But the road wasn’t always easy; it certainly didn’t happen quickly. That’s just what happens. In accomplishing career goals, sometimes it takes longer for some than for others.

Student Mothers: A Balancing Acts

Aug. 23, 2019 - By Hannah Schneider
Three student mothers from the College of Education shared their experiences raising a child while going to school. Between balancing classes, relationships, and raising a child, student mothers are unstoppable.
Micah sitting in bicycle front cart

Micah’s Miles: One mile at a time

Feb. 12, 2018 - By Kara McMurray
Micah Snell is just 8 years old. He’s completed more than 20 marathons.

And he’s never even taken a step.

Micah was born to Jeff and Suzie Snell seven-and-a-half weeks prematurely on Dec. 1, 2009, with cerebral palsy. Though he is unable to walk or talk, his impact is being felt in a big way.

Margarita Magaña: A positive equation

June 22, 2017 - By C. Brandon Chapman
Margarita Magaña totally struggled at math as a kid. And now she’s a math teacher.

That’s irony enough. But the story doesn’t actually end there.

It’s probably her early math struggles that helped her get through one of life’s hardest, scariest ordeals: finding out there was a huge mathematical certainty of your soon-to-be bundle of joy dying.

Tom Salsbury: Making An Impact

February 1, 2017 - By Kyla Emme
In a previous story, we spoke with three Libyan friends named Eman, Riema and Ibtesam. After receiving their Ph.Ds together, they told us about Tom Salsbury, the advisor they credit for getting them through the dissertation process in one piece.

Tom is not just an advisor, though. You can find him teaching in multiple College of Education area. He’s a jack of all trades. And a master of them all, too.

An Unbreakable Bond

December 14, 2016 - By Kyla Emme
There are three of them, and unlike the “Best Friend Forever” bracelets that supposedly signifies the unbreakable bond of youthful friendship, these BFF’s have something that transcends the inanimate objects.

They’re Ph.D. recipients. They’re teachers. They’re Cougs. They’re also immigrants from a Libyan city you may have heard of – Benghazi. And their story is one that spans almost 20 years – you’ll get a taste of it within minutes.

Kathy Nitta: Never done learning. Never done teaching.

September 26, 2016 - By C. Brandon Chapman
Kelp may be the new kale, and orange may be the new black, but if you want the snowclone that Kathy Nitta obviously believes in, it’s this: when it comes to age, apparently 50 is the new 20.

That’s because even though Kathy is in the third age bracket, she’s attending classes at WSU, a feat usually undertaken by Millennials who were in diapers at the same time as Kathy’s own children.
Nicholas Yap secondary photo

Nicholas Yap: Destined to succeed

June 13, 2016 - C. Brandon Chapman
A guy can speak five languages, yet lets his hands do most of the talking.

Nope, this is not a riddle. This is Nicholas Yap.
Korsak (364)

David Korsak: Student-teaching experience comes full circle

May 18, 2016 - By Dustin VandeHoef
The student has become the student teacher for the student teacher who taught him as a student. Read it again. We promise it makes sense.

The curious coincidence of Erik deVeer and David Korsak began in the sixth grade when fresh-faced deVeer walked in as the new student teacher. A young Korsak was a student in the class, unaware he was catching a glimpse of his own future.
Kevin Takisaki

The Martinez Foundation: Greater than homers and doubles

May 4, 2015 - By Trevor Havard
Edgar Martinez hit .312 lifetime and had more than 300 career home runs and is well loved by the city of Seattle. So much so that he has a street named after him. While his famous double down the left-field line in 1995 is one of the most iconic moments in Seattle sports history, it’s what he’s doing now that is making the biggest difference in people’s lives. In a cruel twist of fate, most of those who remember doing the Edgar chant at Mariner games don’t even know what he’s currently doing.

But WSU graduate Kevin Takisaki sure does.
Sola Adesope

Sola Adesope: Professor finds joy in education

August 25, 2014 - By C. Brandon Chapman
When you’re on an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean, you have plenty of opportunity to think about both life and livelihood.

It’s exactly where Sola Adesope found himself in the late 1990s, working for Chevron Nigeria Limited. The country is one of the biggest oil-producing countries in the world and is a vital part of Chevron’s U.S. business, in terms of exploration, production, and manufacturing.

It was big money. And Sola was part of it. He had a degree in computer science and was working as a network analyst.

“We made money, but something was missing,” Sola says. “I’m a people person, but I was working more with cables than with people. I was working more on computers. I was working more on programming routers to work efficiently. I asked myself ‘is this really what I want to do?’”

It wasn’t. If you could fast forward almost 15 years, to the present day, you’d find Sola as a Washington State University assistant professor in the College of Education’s educational psychology program.
Carly MacKinnon

Carly MacKinnon: A Fire Within

May 20, 2014 - By C. Brandon Chapman

Go ahead, make a snide remark about rugby. Carly MacKinnon will then knock your teeth in!

That may be an exaggeration. Or not. She's pretty friendly and down-to-earth. But at the same time, she's pretty darned serious about rugby; crazy about it.

Yes, you may recognize Carly from an advertisement just inside the front cover of the Spring 2014 Washington State Magazine. Through that, you’ve seen part of her story.

Here’s a little more. Both the good and the bad.
Maren Talcott

Maren Talcott: An awesome work in an awesome place

February 20, 2014 - By C. Brandon Chapman

Not a single place in Washington state has it been warm this winter. But Maren Talcott just couldn’t care less, because she’s not in Washington – she’s in Guatemala. And it’s, like, 75 degrees every day. And the sun is shining. And she’s right on Lake Atitlan. And she has a bunch of new friends. Life, you could say, is pretty decent.

Maren graduated in December with a degree in elementary education and a minor in Spanish. She’s always been interested in both those things. And now she’s combining them, teaching at La Casa Opalo, a Montessori on a 70-acre farm. It’s also right on Lake Atitlan, the deepest lake in Central America, surrounded by seven volcanoes.