In the Media

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - Scientific American

The new study, published recently in Aquatic Microbial Ecology, found that mixotrophic species made up a larger percentage of the plankton in the Gulf of Alaska during two major heat waves (from 2014 to 2016 and in 2019) than in years with average ocean temperatures. And even among the mixotrophs, the more generalist species—those able to feed on and form relationships with a wider range of phytoplankton—survived the heat waves better than more specialized ones. “Having more than one way to live in your back pocket is probably extremely advantageous in a highly variable environment,” says Suzanne Strom, senior marine scientist at Western Washington University and the paper’s lead author.

Friday, April 12, 2024 - Cascadia Daily News

Indigenous leaders, students and faculty gathered on the site of the to-be-built House of Healing longhouse on Thursday, April 11 for a blessing and ground-turning ceremony. 

The first longhouse in the City of Bellingham, the event was a long time coming for many in attendance. It was the result of a 2016 letter penned by three Indigenous students to Western’s leadership asking for more support. One of the five requests was for a longhouse on campus. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 - Cascadia Daily News

Construction for Western Washington University’s House of Healing longhouse is set to begin this summer, with an anticipated opening date of summer 2025. 

Bellingham City Council approved a ground lease and amended interlocal agreement at its meeting Monday night, April 8, allowing the university to rent 2 acres at the south end of the Sehome Hill Arboretum, for a rental price of $1 a year. The city is also providing Western with $600,000 in transportation funds for offsite pedestrian and street improvements. 

The House of Healing will be the first longhouse constructed in the City of Bellingham, according to city documents. 

Funding for the project came together more quickly than Western’s Tribal Liaison Laural Ballew expected, she said on Friday, April 5.  

“I’m just so excited …” she said. “I never dreamed that this would happen during my tenure here.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 - Seattle Times

Young people, including college and university students, are pelted with bad news about the world they will inherit.

Vitally important fields such as ecology and environmental science paint a picture of the planet’s natural and physical systems under stress, and the negative impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly widespread, frequent, and irrefutable.

Worldwide, the energy sector — particularly the penchant for burning fossil fuels to produce heat and electricity — is the greatest contributor to climate-altering emissions. In the United States, the transportation sector outweighs the energy sector in terms of overall emissions, but not by much. It is no surprise that many young people suffer from climate anxiety and struggle to find hope for the future.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 - Puget Sound Institute

Hormones such as estrogens that humans create in their own bodies are entering Puget Sound through wastewater, raising concerns about their effects on fish and other wildlife. We spoke with Puget Sound Institute scientist Maya Faber about how environmental exposure to human-derived estrogen can alter the reproductive cycles of male and female fish. The effects have been shown among English sole in Puget Sound but scientists wonder if endangered Chinook are also at risk.

We spoke with Puget Sound Institute scientist Maya Faber about this research and the reasons behind ongoing concerns about the impacts of fish exposures to estrogens and other hormones. 


Thursday, March 28, 2024 - Cascadia Daily News

As for those less-than-dramatic pollution results, Angela Strecker, Western Washington University’s director of the Institute for Watershed Studies, explained that measures of phosphorus, dissolved oxygen and algae blooms were more or less stable, although phosphorus appeared to be declining from a peak around 2010.

Dissolved oxygen went up significantly in 2023, but Stecker cautioned that one year does not make a trend.

“It is promising to see kind of this bump up of oxygen over time, and so that’s something that we’ll be keeping an eye on in the years to come,” Strecker said.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 - KGMI Radio

Researchers at Western Washington University (WWU) are teaming up across the border to analyze COVID-19’s impact on travel.

WWU’s Border Policy Research Institute postdoctoral fellow Andréanne Bissonnette says that their next project will be done in conjunction with Simon Fraser University’s Pandemics and Borders Team.

“We’re focusing on equity and travel measures,” said Bissonnette. “The aim of [this] specific project with Simon Fraser University is to give decision makers real data and a real understanding of what’s been going on along the US/Canada border. There’s an absence in either country of a willingness to do a ‘lessons learned from’ this issue.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 - Cascadia Daily News

Western Washington University will receive an additional $2.07 million from the state Legislature to expand programming and increase academic outreach, among other smaller expenditures.

The largest buckets of funding from the state’s operating budget went to expand the electrical and computer engineering program ($445,000) and for academic access and outreach programming ($400,000). Western also received $500,000 from the state’s capital budget.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

The innovations produced in the pressure cooker of Taiwan’s industrializing economy were shaped by the unique demands of Taiwanese culture at the time, according to Shih-Fen Chen, a business professor at Western Washington University who has conducted extensive case studies of Taiwanese businesses. He sums up the differences between American and Taiwanese 7-Elevens with another aphorism:

“In the U.S. you don’t need 7-Eleven to have a good life,” Chen said. “In Taiwan you cannot have a good life without 7-Eleven.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 - The Guardian (U.K.)

When Cameron Whitley was diagnosed with kidney failure seven years ago, the news came as a shock. But the situation was about to get worse. His doctor decided the diagnosis meant Whitley’s hormone therapy had to stop.

As a transgender man, now 42, who had taken testosterone for 10 years, the impact was brutal.

“Not only was I struggling with this new diagnosis that I’m in stage four kidney failure, now I’m being told that I can no longer have hormones,” said Whitley, an associate professor in the department of sociology at Western Washington University. “I cannot describe how horrible that moment was.”