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Virtual collections draw awards for WSU Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textile students

Students in WSU’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT) won awards in design, potential industry impact, leadership and service this spring, based on their senior ePortfolios and projects, showcased online.

In AMDT, WSU’s comprehensive four-year apparel and textiles program, students are challenged to understand all aspects of the textile, apparel, and fashion industry, from concept to consumer.

Senior Fashion Awards

Although this year’s Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show was canceled due to the need for social distancing amid COVID-19, students were able to share their designs using photographs, drawings, and mood boards, submitted electronically for virtual judging.

One of the highlights of the annual Fashion Show is a recognition of the work of student designers, as well as the efforts of students that occur less visibly to make the show a success.

“For our design judging process, we had a great panel of eight judges, four from the apparel industry, and each judge reviewed 20 seniors’ ePortfolios,” explained AMDT Assistant Professor Chanmi Hwang, who teaches the Senior Design capstone course. This year, four designers and three students working behind the scenes were recognized. For Senior Design Awards, judges weighed competitiveness, price, quality, and purpose. The ePortfolios showed conceptual drawings and images of progress on physical garments.

Drawing of a jacket on a figure.
Conceptual drawing by Jhon Dimaculangan.


Sovann Robinson was awarded Most Marketable/Ready to Wear. Michael Damaso took home Best Overall Collection Design, and Justin Janke was awarded Most Innovative Functional Design. Best Digital Product Development went to Jhon Dimaculangan.

The Leadership and Service Awards for Behind the Scene Fashion Show Production went to Bridgette Bacon, McKenzie Duquaine, and Tara Kelly.

Shanna Hiscock, academic and internship coordinator for AMDT, said it was difficult to select only three winners for the production crew.

“McKenzie stood out with her efforts, keeping our social media content fresh. Bridgette devoted hours focusing on the art for the show, and without Tara, we would not have had any photos or the amazing videos,” she said.

The challenge of social distancing led to creative solutions by students.

“In the past, we haven’t showcased these garments online,” said Hiscock, “I think that’s something that we can now start doing.” View the senior ePortfolios at

Case Studies and Community Impact

Every spring semester, AMDT partners with industry members in their senior merchandising capstone course, creating experiences for students working on real-world case studies.

The judges evaluated the projects based on seven criteria: visual concept, aesthetic impact, textiles and supporting materials, target market, technical sketches and illustrations, level of difficulty, visual presentation, and creativity.

This year, Bridgette Bacon, Brooke Carson, Camden Clark, Jhon Dimaculangan, Cali Flynn, and Haley Simmonds were awarded first place in the Cotton Case Study, awarded by Mark Messura of Cotton Incorporated for their team design CODDLE; a reuseable cotton diaper.

Yellow, grey, and black collage of different patterns.
Jhon Dimaculangan’s mood board for his collection, ATARAXY.

The second-place prize went to Jess Daher, Julianna Diaz, Justin Janke, Kaley Mozell, Eilish Rising, and Olivia Taylor for their design Toasty, a weatherproof parka for kids.

The KINONA Case Study, awarded by Dianna Jefferies Celuch, CEO and CO-Founder of KINONA SPORTS, awarded first place to Maddie Egberg, Tara Kelly, Kendra Kranc, Regina Pozzi, Jackie Sauvage, and Macayla White for their project featuring extended sizes. Ryan Falk, Mackenzie Hansen, Nicole Ilewicz, Emily Kazmark, and Yeburzing Mengistu were awarded second place as a team for their travel extension. Jennifer Jackman, Economic Developer Manager of the City of Pullman, Aziz A. Makhani of the Washington Small Business Development Center in Pullman, and Adam Jones of Pullman Marketing made up the judging committee.

First place was awarded to the Coug Store Team: Ariana Andino, Jeanette Arellano, Camilla Costa Goetz, Sophie Jacobs, Sarah Parchman, and Gisela Valderrama.

Second Place was awarded to the team representing Lily Bee’s Boutique, Bridal, and High-End Consignments: Hugo Barragan, Olga Berezyuk, Hailey Cribbs, Kyung Lee, Sydney McAvinew, and Donovan Moi.

Due to the challenges facing Pullman businesses regarding COVID 19, the winning teams chose to return the prizes donated by the businesses to show continuous support for the local community.

Judges appreciated the varied methods of online presentation and mixed media, despite not being able to see the actual garments in person, Hwang said.

“They felt the ePortfolio format is the way designers need to learn to express themselves and their ideas in a world of social media and technology, she said.

Learn more about the academic opportunities at WSU’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles by visiting

New guides from Extension: Food, water, energy; apples and pumpkins

Multitude of people at the entrance of the Public Market on Pike Place in Seattle.The latest guides from WSU Extension, available for free online, help Northwest farmers and orchardists, food importers, and agricultural stakeholders learn about new rules, improved practices, and changing conditions.

New publications include:

  • Economic Feasibility of Using Alternative Plastic Mulches: A Pumpkin Case Study in Western Washington (TB68E). Laid in the field for weed control, moisture conservation, soil warming, and improved yields, biodegradable mulches are an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional polyethylene mulch. This guide helps Washington growers estimate the physical and financial requirements of planting pumpkins on a more sustainable product. Authors include School of Economic Sciences faculty member and IMPACT Center Assistant Director Suzette Galinato, University of Tennessee Professor Margarita Velandia, and Shuresh Ghimire, assistant extension educator with the University of Connecticut.
  • Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP): An Overview (FS341E). By scientists Ewa Pietrysiak and Girish Ganjyal in the School of Food Science, this is an overview for the food industry on the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and its rules and terminology covering the importation of food products into the U.S.
  • 2019 Cost Estimates of Establishing, Producing, and Packing Honeycrisp Apples in Washington State (TB70E). This publication, by Karina Gallardo, School of Economic Sciences associate professor/Extension specialist and co-director of the IMPACT Center, and IMPACT Center Assistant Director Suzette Galinato, explores the physical and financial requirements of Honeycrisp production, packing, and establishment.
  • Perspectives from Stakeholders on the Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Metropolitan Seattle (TB69E). Climate change, population growth, urbanization, and dependence on international trade have all increased the demand for food, energy, and water resources, while raising the complexity of management decisions. This publication provides a snapshot of perspectives from stakeholders across the Pacific Northwest. Authors include Liz Allen, Douglas Collins, and Kirti Rajagopalan with the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources; Brad Gaolach with the WSU Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension; Kevan Moffett with the WSU School of the Environment; Michael Brady with the WSU School of Economics; Julie Padowski with the Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (CEREO) and State of Washington Water Research Center; and Sasha McLarty with the WSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

New from Extension: The economics of potato production

Potatoes in foreground, in a row. On a farm, farmworkers in the distance.Washington is the second largest producer of potatoes in the United States, growing more than 5 million tons annually.

Head shot of Galinato
Suzette Galinato

In the WSU Extension online bookstore, Suzette Galinato, economist with the School of Economic Sciences’ IMPACT Center, and co-author Carrie Wohleb, Potato, Vegetable & Seed Crops Extension Specialist, share a new, free guide to help growers explore the feasibility of potato production in Washington’s Columbia Basin.

This study helps growers create an economic budget to evaluate farm viability, providing a general guide to estimate the fixed, variable and opportunity costs of production.

You can download it from the bookstore here.

Find other Extension guides online.

Thoughts of campus during online education

CAHNRS faculty and students share their thoughts about online education

Summarizing the impact of WSU President Kirk Schulz’s announcement earlier this spring about moving from in person to online courses isn’t easy. From students to faculty, the response to online learning due to Covid-19 varied greatly and emotions ran high in the days that preceded spring break. During this time, students rushed to say goodbye to their friends, seniors tried to soak up the last few days on their beloved WSU campus, and faculty and staff worked tirelessly to adjust their classes for online learning and gave their best advice to their students one last time in person for the semester.

Now, with the end of the spring semester, there is a chance to look back on the last seven weeks and analyze just how online learning compares to in-person education, and how we reacted as a university, a family, and as individuals.

Chalk message "Congrats 2020 Grads" written on pavement on WSU campus.
Inspirational message on a near-empty WSU campus.

The student perspective

After the announcement of online learning, students had to make a variety of decisions. Some stayed in Pullman, others went home, others started full-time jobs early, and yet others began part-time jobs to support their families. The transition wasn’t always smooth and balancing these responsibilities became difficult for some.

“We had to create an entirely new schedule,” explains Hallie Galbreath, a Agricultural Food and Business Economics major who just graduated. “For me, it’s been interesting because now I’m at home working for my dad on the farm. Trying to work and fit in classes at certain times, sometimes that means sitting in the tractor on my class.”

The students had to adapt. Whether that was with their schedules or their learning styles, they had to figure out how to learn in different ways. They no longer had their classmates to learn with and many did not have as easy access to professors.

While it was tough for some students to adjust, they have been able to thrive once their schedules were adjusted and set. For many like Hallie, this meant working on a family farm while taking classes. For other others, this meant rising to the challenge and learning how to balance their various priorities.

For Luke Williams, senior Agricultural Economics major, he found success by constructing an entirely new schedule that fit in his work, classes, and extra free time. While he adjusted to this balance, he still missed his walk to campus and the structure that comes with in-person education but was excited about the prospect of setting his own timeline every day.

“It’s hard without a rigid schedule,” Williams says. “It’s nice because I am able to be more flexible in my personal life but it’s tougher because my focus is not 100% on school like it would be in a regular school year.”

Williams, who just graduated, understood the importance of staying focused and managed to do so even during tough stretches. He and Galbreath are excited to enter the workforce over this summer. This experience has shown them that they can adapt and push through the challenges that life may throw at them, a skill that will be invaluable during their future careers.

For younger students, this transition caused concern for their classes next semester. Julia Layland, freshman in Agricultural Education, said her welding class and lab were originally to help set her up for her advanced welding class next semester. Now, she does not know how she’ll do in the advanced class when she doesn’t have the basic skills normally taught in her current class.

“Several of my classes are so lab heavy that I have to go back and compound on those skills that were supposed to be learned,” Julia explains. “I think it’s going to be a big challenge.”

Sophomore Agricultural Education major Nicole Snyder shares Laylan’ds concerns, and agrees that the transition back to in-person education may be difficult in the fall. She has felt the loss throughout this semester in her Biology 107 class, where she was unable to perform experiments which are well known by students who have taken this class.

The largest impact felt by students falls with being unable to learn alongside classmates and friends.

“I am a super social learner and the social aspect of school is motivating to me,” Galbreath said. “I learn better from other people and not being able to have that has made it difficult to stay motivated, but also trying to relearn how to learn new information on my own has been tough.”

This lack of connection has been slightly lessened with the help of Zoom, Facetime, phone calls, texts, and other long-distance activities. For every student who misses their friends and classmates, there is another student to pick up the phone and call them. What this time has showed us is the importance of personal connection; the ability to bounce ideas off another person, the chance to ask questions in class, the opportunity to struggle through homework together, and the simple act of being in the same room as friends to learn about something. Regardless of distance, Cougs will find a way to still connect and thrive in whatever situation they find themselves in.

"Go Cougs" written in chalk on the Terrell Mall on campus.
More inspiration on campus.

From the faculty’s eyes

 Students are not the only ones who faced transition this spring, faculty had to adjust as well. After spending eight weeks teaching in classrooms, getting to know their students, and hosting office hours that were well used, faculty had all this taken away and felt the strain just as much as their students did.

“I love teaching, I love my students, I love my content – but teaching and learning in the middle of a global pandemic has been one of the most challenging aspects of my academic career,” said Caitlin Bletscher, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Human Development. “As faculty, this is the time when our rubrics, our grading, our assignments are not the bottom line: compassion, grace, and understanding is our bottom line.”

Bletscher was one of many faculty throughout CAHNRS who felt the shift in their teaching styles and in the way they helped their students. Holly Henning-Yeager, a clinical assistant professor in CAHNRS who teaches a senior capstone classes in Agricultural and Food Systems, saw a variety of successes and difficulties as she strove to serve her students.

“I had some anxiety about how to manage the technology, specifically helping students who are not able to join during class time,” Yeager said. “The transition to online teaching offered new challenges and a quick learning curve with the technology. It also offered new opportunities to work with each of the student teams to find ways to work remotely.”

Yeager taught her class of seniors to be adaptive with the changing situation and to stay focused at the tasks at hand. While Yeager worked directly with her students, CAHNRS Associate Dean of Academic Programs Rich Zack did his best to help students and faculty transition in this time and had a bird’s eye view of all that was happening within his department. He helped facilitate trainings for faculty and encouraged them to do their best.

“We have had to learn new ways of doing things and we have had to learn fast. For some, they had to change how they teach in ways that they never would have considered,” Zack said. “Most have risen to the challenge and have done a magnificent job at it.”

On a human level, regardless of success or failures with the transition, the one-on-one atmosphere and tight-knit community of WSU cannot be replaced over the internet. Faculty miss their students, and students miss their teachers. Overall, however, the situation has taught us how to be flexible, to communicate better, and to appreciate all that we have in front of us.

“I do think that this experience will make a lot of us stronger and will make us realize that life and our times together are very precious and should not be squandered,” Zack said.

Some things can’t be replaced

Despite the challenges, our Cougar nation has rose to the task at hand and, while there have been hardships, students have still been able to learn, and faculty have been able to teach. CAHNRS is proud of the way faculty and students have adjusted, and there are things both have learned this semester that can be implemented to better in-person education. There are, however, some things that simply cannot be replaced by online education.

For Layland, the simple ability to see people from around the world is something she cannot replace in her small logging community in western Washington. She loves walking across campus to her classes seeing people from around the world, from different cultures and different walks of life. This college has not only given her the chance to pursue a great major but has expanded her horizons in ways she never thought possible.

Through all these ups and downs, our faculty and staff has found ways to make it through. Communication about expectations has increased, students have learned how to prioritize their time, and faculty has gained invaluable skills that can be taken back to the classroom. Maybe this semester didn’t turn out as expected, but we have finished the school year stronger and more resilient than ever. If anything, our community has been brought closer together while being miles apart.

“Our students are strong, our faculty are strong, our staff are strong, Bletscher said. “We are resilient, Coug Nation – let us lift one another up in support, empower those who are struggling. For me, the end of the semester is not the time to stay silent, not the time to throw our hands up in the air and say ‘Thank God that’s over! Instead, it is the time to check up on our most vulnerable. Check in on your friends, colleagues, and peers. Check in on those living alone, check in on those who had to grab an extra job, check in on those that had to move home with their families, check in on those that lost a loved one. Now is our time to be proactive.”

Promising minds, strong hearts: 2020 student award winners named in CAHNRS

Award-winning students in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Science are changing the world.

Every year, CAHNRS recognizes outstanding students in a range of fields—from agriculture to family and consumer sciences, as well as promising undergraduates and clubs.

The College’s 2020 Student Award winners include students who are addressing agricultural, animal, and societal health, seizing opportunities for involvement on campus and across the state, and aspiring to make positive impacts in their future careers.

Selected students include:

Head and shoulders photo of Lochridge wearing graduate's sash.
Daniel Lochridge

Family and Consumer Scientist of the Year

Daniel Lochridge, senior from Missoula, Mont., is an economics major and business minor studying financial markets.

Involved in many organizations across WSU, including Student Affairs, ASWSU, the WSU Alumni Association, the WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Lochridge volunteered at the Pullman Food Bank, wrote for the Daily Evergreen, and helped lead a group of students in ASWSU’s Environmental Sustainability Alliance committee to teach children at Franklin Elementary School about local sustainable issues.

Lochridge was also a peer mentor for the Terry Sparks Entrepreneurship Program, helping fellow students get the most out of their college experience. He plans to attend law school and found his own legal consulting company for entrepreneurs.

“Daniel’s interest focuses on ways to improve societal functions, not just profits,” said Economics Professor Alan Love.  “With his ability to balance demanding course work, leadership experience, and motivation to give back to the community, Daniel is an outstanding candidate for this award.”

Head shot of Doonan
Katie Doonan

Aggie of the Year

Exploring how to keep people healthy through sound agricultural practices, 2020 Aggie of the Year Katie Doonan graduates this spring with a double degree from WSU’s Organic and Sustainable Agriculture program and in basic medical science, part of the university’s biology program.

A 13th generation farmer and rancher who can trace her lineage back to 1640, Katie Doonan works summers as a volunteer firefighter and EMT while helping her family with harvest.

“I aspire to be a physician and farmer that connects food production with long-term societal health,” Doonan says. “My goal is to create a cohesive system where sides aren’t pitted against each other.”

Working closely with Regents Professor John Reganold, director of WSU’s organic and sustainable agriculture systems program, she took part in research in his lab, and worked on the 30-acre Eggert Family Organic Farm. She most recently worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Crops & Soils, where she studied the effects of a fungal infestation on wheat growth and roots.

Doonan goes beyond the classroom, applying what she is learning to her family’s farm, Montgomery Creek Ranch in California. Here, she is working to expand the farm’s cropping systems of alfalfa and forage crops to small-grain and integrated livestock production.

“What’s most notable regarding Katie is the passion she exhibits in whatever she is doing,” commented Reganold. “Katie is one of the most conscientious students I have known. She is highly self-motivated, a diligent worker, and an independent thinker.”

Head shot of Nalbandian
Elizabeth Nalbandian

Outstanding Junior in Agricultural Sciences

Elizabeth Nalbandian, a Food Science major seeking a second degree in hospitality business management, hails from Jerusalem, Israel, and is fluent in four languages, Armenian, Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

She serves as lead chocolatier at Crimson Confections, teaching students about production and sparking interest in the world of chocolate. An active member of Food Science Club, Nalbandian was also part of her school’s food product development team, joining peers from diverse cultures in preparing an innovative idea in food. She helped develop Palouse Power Soup, a whey-based lentil and rice soup.

Last year, she had the chance to study in Italy and France, participating in a pastry class, furthering her knowledge of gastronomy, and learning about European cultures.

“I will use the knowledge and inspiration gained to create products containing diverse ingredients that help underprivileged populations with nutritional deficits,” she says.

Nalbandian plans to work in company research and development, producing food solutions for nutrition in developing countries.

Head shot of Taylor
Emma Taylor

Outstanding Junior in Human Sciences

Emma Taylor is an economic sciences major from Gig Harbor, Wash., minoring in mathematics and French. She plans to become a PhD economist.

Involved in student government, she served on ASWSU’s Issues and Forums Committee, helping provide educational programming around civic engagement, public policy literacy, and political communication. She assisted in hosting debates between campus political groups, and met with state lawmakers during Cougar Lobby Day in Olympia.

Taylor also worked as a teaching assistant for Prof. Vicki McCracken in the School of Economic sciences, helping students through lab assignments, while assisting Honors College faculty with translation of 16th century works.

“I am so passionate about education and student success, so the opportunity to help students succeed was so fulfilling,” she said.

Last year, Taylor interned with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in Olympia, managing the Washington Crop Weather survey and providing estimates for acreage in Washington and Idaho.

Taylor “has great potential to be successful in her graduate program, and have a successful career in research to inform policy makers,” said McCracken. “She is a committed leader who will finish what she starts.”

head shot of Prins
Abbi Prins

Emerging Undergraduate Leader in Agricultural Sciences

Abbi Prins, a sophomore from Tulare, Calif., exploring pre-veterinary studies in the Department of Animal Sciences and minoring in Agribusiness Economics, holds a 4.0 GPA at WSU and is an up-and-coming leader in dairy nutrition.

A new CAHNRS Ambassador team facilitator, she was part of the IGNITE student research program as a freshman, exploring dairy genomics with Professor Holly Neibergs. Prins is a member of the California Junior Holstein Association, and helps young people attend the association’s national convention, winning the National Dairy Bowl Champion title.

She aspires to help dairy producers make their animals more profitable, more efficient, and stronger genetically.

“I strive to encourage the next generation to get involved in agriculture, educate the public about where their food comes from, and why food grown by farmers has a stronger nutritional value,” says Prins in her award application.

“Food doesn’t appear in the grocery store,” she says. “A variety of people put in a lot of hard work for it to finally get to the grocery store and eventually to your home. As a leader, I have the opportunity to have some power in my words in why nutritional food is so important, and to explain how it is produced.”

Portrait photo of Sikora
Michelle Sikora

Emerging Undergraduate Leader in Human Sciences

Michelle Sikora, an economics major and political science minor from San Diego, Calif., is a CAHNRS Ambassador and teaching assistant in Human Development who is involved in many campus organizations. She holds a 4.0 GPA at WSU, and has engaged in undergraduate research on water laws in the west, mentored by Dr. Jon Yoder.

Passionate about the study of law, she loves being able to combine that study with economics and hopes to focus on corporate law in her career.

Sikora seeks to make significant impact in the world of human sciences.

“I hope to help corporations make smart, as well as ethical, decisions for their businesses and companies,” she said.

“In her time at WSU, Michelle has proven not only her academic potential, but also her leadership and willingness to be involved in university life,” commented School of Economic Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor Alex Prera.

Superior Club

The Horticulture Club provides opportunities for students to participate in plant production, plant sales, workshops, service activities, and social events. The group is advised by Horticulture Plant Growth Facilities Manager James Holden and Instructor Carol Kawula.

The club hosts work parties, a fall apple picking and cider pressing, a floral centerpiece workshop, an annual holiday party to recognize faculty in the Horticulture department, and many plant sales. The club also donates a tree to be planted by the WSU president in the campus arboretum.

From start to finish, students are responsible for success of the club, says Holden.

Every spring, students earn students earn scholarship credit hours by participating in weekly work parties involving all aspects of greenhouse crop production. In 2019, 39 members received $13,367 in scholarship funds raised through club activities.

Active members included Luke Benton, Drew Bowdish, Zeke Brazinton, Erin Chatel, Justene Deubel, Matt Donovan, Michael Dolieslager, Faith Ellsworth, Paola Flores, Alexa Hintze, Julie Justiano, Austin Lenssen, Caitlin Madden, Kaylee Perich, Morgan Riley, David Lay, and Thomas Synoground.


Outstanding Seniors

Agricultural Economics: Vanessa Giramata

Business Economics: Isabella Cristelli

Economics, Policy and Law: Ashley Knauf

International Economics and Development: Jaehun Jeong

Quantitative Economics: Owen Thompson

Agricultural and Food Business Economics: Gracie Dickerson

Viticulture and Enology: Bernadette Gagnier

Agricultural Biotechnology: Grace Murekatete

Landscape, Nursery and Greenhouse Management: Julie Justiniano

Animal Sciences: Jessica Guske

Environmental and Ecosystems Sciences: Brenden Campbell

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences: Eli Loftis

Earth Sciences: Keita Hasegawa

Forestry: Julia Behling

Human Development: Amelia Van Meter

Human Development: Leanna Totten

Apparel Design: Sara Liddy

Apparel Merchandising: Rachael Tang

Fermentation Science: Sarah Harkins

Financial Markets: Logan Dziuk

Food Science: Sullivan Nevada

Surprise ending on unconventional path to winemaking

WSU senior receives President’s Award after chasing his passion

By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Chris West had no idea he had been nominated for a WSU President’s Award for Leadership until he got a surprising email. His hard work in the classroom and efforts in extracurricular activities had not gone unnoticed, and he was shocked when he received the email saying so. Later, he was surprised to learn he had received the honor.

West stands behind a large vat full of grapes, holding a long cylinder in one hand and pours grape juice into it with the other.
Chris West building his knowledge of winemaking.

West is a graduating senior with a major in Viticulture and Enology. He is one of nine College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) students who received Presidents Awards this year. After a non-traditional path, West’s hard work and commitment to WSU and the Viticulture and Enology program were celebrated by the accomplishment.

Unconventional Beginnings

West arrived at WSU at 35 years old after serving 10 years in the military. It had been 18 years since he had stepped foot in a college classroom, but he was certain of his interest in wine making. He had visited wineries throughout California while stationed there and wanted to pursue this newfound passion. He quickly fell in love with not only the wine but the culture surrounding it as well. He packed up and decided to go back to school.

“That’s what inspired me,” West said. “I just loved talking about wine, I loved drinking wine, trying new wines, but I think mostly it was the social aspect of wine drinking.”

He was hesitant about going back to school, worried about the age-gap between him and his classmates, and doubts about his ability to perform academically. After being out of a classroom for so long, he was not sure if he would be able to adjust.

“I’m a non-traditional student and coming back to school was a big culture shock for me,” West said. “I didn’t know how to study, I didn’t know how to take notes. The first year was unpleasant just trying to get back into a mentality where I need to continue to produce effective results.”

He found a circle of friends who quickly accepted him. He developed the skill of asking questions when he needed help in classes and created a routine of visiting professors every three weeks. Through hard work and determination, West was able to reteach himself how to succeed in the classroom, which seeped into other parts of his life as well.

Outside the Classroom

When he arrived at WSU, West knew he wanted to get involved on campus. He stopped at the Daily Evergreen table while wandering the All-Campus Picnic in 2017 and shared his interest in writing. He was a certified professional wine taster and he was excited to illustrate the drinking culture in Pullman.

West stands with arms crossed in the stands at a football game.
Chris West at a WSU football game.

West then found the Viticulture and Enology club but was disappointed at the lack of action. While he enjoyed talking about wine, he wanted to make wine, he wanted to experience it. So, when he was elected president of the club, he did exactly that.

He arranged tours and trips throughout the eastern side of the state to visit countless wineries. His proudest moment, however, was the first wine the club ever made: 69 cases of a German Riesling sold at Merry Cellars.

Finally, West served as a CAHNRS Ambassador during his junior year where he was able to share his passion for learning and fun with the students and parents he encountered.

A Surprise Ending

Despite all the incredible work he did over the past four years, West was still very surprised to receive an email announcing his nomination. He had never done anything for the awards, he had simply done them because that is what he loved to do.

“I was so proud of myself that I called my parents,” says West. “And I said ‘Mom, you’re not going to believe this. I got nominated for a President’s Award.’ “

He was able to take a moment and reflect after receiving the email. He filled out the application to the best of his abilities and looked back over the last four years. He thought his work had gone unnoticed, but found that wasn’t the case.

“It was really flattering that I’ve made such a great name for myself that people feel that they can speak for me,” West said. “That’s humbling because I didn’t know I made that good of an impression on the people who I work with and learn from.”

West is humbled at the recognition of the influential people in his life and is grateful for the roles his professors and peers have played in his life.

Overall, West has had an incredible time at WSU and intends to someday return to the area. He dreams of pursuing a career in running a barrel program while being a cellar master and winemaker. Until then, he will remain humbly grateful for his time here at university while he enjoys a glass of 2015 Pepperidge Cabernet Franc with his friends.

Pierce County 4-H to hold Virtual Fun Fair during the month of May

Virtual Fun Fair to showcase Piece County 4-H youth projects completed during COVID-19

Youths in Pierce County 4-H will display creative projects they made at home during COVID-19 social distancing at a Virtual Fun Fair, May 1 through May 31, 2020.

Youth-created paper crafts, photography, and textiles will be visible via a virtual showcase through FairEntry, a web-based event platform.

4-H Program Coordinator Mike Seiber, one of the main organizers of the Virtual Fun Fair, said the projects will be judged on up to four photographs of each submitted by participants, and will be awarded virtual ribbons of blue, red or white.

“The judges will be able to see all the photos online,” said Seiber.

Once judges have entered their decisions into FairEntry, results will be available on a web page, where youth participants can find their virtual ribbons and awards.

An upside of going virtual allows participation from home, and allows members to try projects they are not enrolled in currently.

Handmade pink sweater with a zipper.
4-H members can submit projects to a variety of categories, such as textiles.

“They can send a link to grandparents, distant relatives, and friends, who can see all that they’ve done,” Seiber said. A results webpage has been part of the Fair for three years, but is more important now than ever.

Members do not need to be active 4-H members to submit exhibits. The Virtual Fun Fair has been opened to 4-H partner agencies in the Pierce Kitsap County YMCA Afterschool Child Care and National Guard and Military dependents at Camp Murray and Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Plans for the Pierce County Fair, held in August, are in progress, Seiber said.

“We’re not sure what the summer is going to give us,” said Seiber. In the contingency that the August fair goes virtual, Pierce County 4-H will be ready. “We’re proud of all of our 4-H members for adapting to the present challenges, and working together virtually.”

More information on the Pierce County Virtual Fun Fair is available at

WSU student explores agricultural policy at national conference

By Julia Layland, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Dianna Sanchez was one of 11 collegiate students chosen from all over the nation to participate in the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture conference. This year’s annual conference was held in February in Washington D.C. Dianna represented WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources (CAHNRS) and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) this year.

Large group of people in formal clothes in a large room.
Dianna Sanchez and the MANHRS team, pictured with Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh, Secretary Jeff Witte, Director Alexis Taylor, and Deputy Secretary Fred Strathmeyer.

“Being an advocate for the agricultural industry is very important at the governmental level, and I work with outside pest control and it has to be advocated by someone,” Dianna said.

The conference allowed her to explore her passion for agriculture and meet with the Directors, Secretaries and Commissioners from Washington State and those of our Western Region. The team discussed how the state departments advocate for agricultural policy and what different roles the state plays in creating federal policy. During this time, they also learned about policy making during meetings and how informative panels function to help make decisions regarding the policies.

Dianna is a WSU senior and CAHNRS Ambassador from Chelan, Washington and will graduate this spring from the Fruit and Vegetable Management program. Dianna and her fellow attendees were included in an Agriculture Policy Summit and met with the Western Regional Committee to discuss current issues affecting agriculture today. This included issues like soil health and how to prevent diseases of the soil while still moving toward sustainability. Dianna was able to advocate for these issues and add her own personal opinion while participating as a panelist. Participating in panels through the summit allows collegiate students to learn about policy making first-hand.

The summit allowed her to experience the importance of having advocates for all aspects of the agricultural industry in order to create policy that is productive and beneficial. However, combining different ideas and suggestions that will impact the nation isn’t an easy task.

“There are so many different perspectives that it makes it difficult to make decisions,” Diana said. “It is important to have diverse leaders and that the policy leaders should represent the population.”

Diana met and talked with many other panelists and was struck by the sincerity of the different officials.

“Every panelist was genuine and not afraid to share what they had to overcome to get where they are,” she said.

Dianna is looking forward to graduating from CAHNRS and pursuing her passion for agriculture. She will work at Stemilt Growers in Wenatchee after she finishes her degree in May.

Free from Extension: Guide to food import rules

Busy port with cargo ship sailing near cranes, freightEach month, scientists and educators with WSU Extension publish free guides helping business owners, growers, gardeners, and families stay informed about new research and best practices.

New for April is a free guide by scientists Ewa Pietrysiak and Girish Ganjyal in the School of Food Science, sharing an overview for the food industry on the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, and its rules and terminology covering the importation of food products into the U.S. With the globalization of the U.S. food supply, food safety has become increasingly important. The federal verification program helps ensure foreign suppliers produce food at the same level of public health protection as domestic suppliers. The Extension guide helps users understand the program regulation and what it does.

Find “Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP): An Overview” (FS341E) on the Extension bookstore.

CAHNRS faculty complete leadership development program

Scott Harper and Girish Ganjyal recently completed the LEAD21 leadership-development program. The LEAD21 program trains representatives from land-grant institutions around the country, with the goal of developing leaders who link research, academics, and extension.

Four men standing, the two in the middle hold diplomas or certificates.
From left: Mike O’Neill, LEAD21 Program Chair and University of Connecticut, Girish Ganjyal, Scott Harper, and Brian Kowalkowski, LEAD21 Board Chair and College of Menominee Nation

Harper and Ganjyal worked on the program with 90 peers, both in-person and virtually, from other land grants.

Harper, the director of the Clean Plant Center Northwest, said he learned that faculty across the U.S. are wrestling with similar issues. The course showed him he isn’t alone and gave him methods for working through those issues.

“I’m in a demanding leadership role at present, and I hadn’t taken leadership training before,” Harper said. “Faculty roles are evolving, with increased leadership roles outside of their traditional spheres. LEAD21 helped me grow.

The program helped Ganjyal, the Interim Director and an Associate Professor in the School of Food Science and an Extension Food Processing Specialist, move toward his goal of taking on more leadership roles at WSU.

“It is important to learn ways of leading a diverse team in advancing complex systems,” Ganjyal said. “This course showed me that it is up to leaders to bring out the exceptional abilities everyone has to impact society in positive ways.”

Harper and Ganjyal were nominated to take part in the program.

Learn more about the LEAD21 program.