NW Cougar Quarterly

March 2018 Issue

Table of contents

Cougar Business Alliance Spotlight

Taps Growler House

Kevin holding a large fish on a boatKevin Summers, owner of Taps Growler House, loves to visit his son Payton, a senior majoring in construction management at WSU Pullman. This father and son are die-hard Cougar football fans. Each fall they celebrate "Cougmas" (a holiday they invented) the day before the first game of the season. Summers and his wife, Kathryn, also have a 16-year-old son, Tyler. He looks forward to being a Coug and carrying on the family tradition.

Summers brings his Cougar pride to Vancouver by ensuring Cougar football is on the monitors for all to enjoy at Taps Growler House. Founded in December 2017, the bar combines Summers’s 20 years of management experience with his entrepreneurial dream. Taps Growler House offers a diverse selection of beer, cider and wine, and several large screens to catch a Cougar football game with friends. Summers believes in community and hopes Taps Growler House will become a neighborhood gathering place where anyone can feel welcome.

A Vancouver resident since 1998, Summers believes that WSU Vancouver is a tremendous asset to Southwest Washington and couldn't be situated in a more beautiful location. “We're lucky to have WSU Vancouver as part of our community," said Summers.

Taps Growler House logoSummers was so deeply affected by WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski's death that he is sponsoring a fundraiser at Taps Growler House. The event will raise money to address mental health and suicide awareness at WSU Vancouver. He hopes the community will join him in his effort to lift up students who may be suffering in silence. The event is tentatively scheduled for early June. Follow Taps Growler House on Facebook to be notified of this and other events.

Visit Taps Growler House at 1900 NE 162nd Avenue, Suite D112, Vancouver, WA 98684.

Alumni profile

Pauline Ramos ’14 Digital Technology and Culture

Tell us about becoming a WSU Vancouver Coug.

Pauline Ramos holding Cougar head flagI came to WSU Vancouver as a freshman in 2010 directly after graduating from Camas High School. I was born and raised in Southwest Washington and consider it a big part of my identity. I initially saw WSU Vancouver as a steppingstone and planned to transfer to the Pullman campus, but I fell head over heels in love with WSU Vancouver after getting involved with the Student Diversity Office, student government and the Creative Media and Digital Culture program. From the beginning it really felt like the WSU Vancouver community was invested in me. I couldn’t help but make it my home.

What are you doing now?

I do graphic design and project management for Fisher Investments, specifically supporting their business in the United Kingdom and Europe. The innovation, flexibility and creativity required of me is what excites me most about my job. Surprisingly, I love working at a big company like Fisher—being surrounded by people skilled in different areas than myself is so energizing! I love to travel and plan to do more of it each year. I’ve recently ventured to Japan, Italy, the U.K., Canada and Germany.

Where is the strangest place you met another Coug?

My first job out of college. I was hired into a company of more than 3,000 people and my mentor turned out to be a Coug from the Pullman campus who graduated from the same program as me—Digital Technology and Culture.

What was something you enjoyed about WSU Vancouver?

The campus is in a location that is so accessible, which helped me while working my way through college. Not only that, the staff and faculty truly challenged me to do my best and it really felt like they cared about my education and my future. Having that support was so huge.

How has WSU Vancouver changed since you were a student?

I recently visited the Associated Students of WSU Vancouver offices, only to have all the memories of my time there flooding back. I noticed the individuals in that building had definitely changed, but the Coug spirit was just as alive as I remember, and I love that.

How do you support WSU Vancouver as an alumna?

I’m currently serving on the WSU Vancouver Young Alumni committee aimed at connecting those of us in the area. I’ve served as an alumni speaker for the Student Diversity Office and recently participated in an alumni panel for the Creative Media and Digital Culture program. I was able to share with freshmen and sophomores where my degree has taken me career-wise. I’m also regularly referring fellow alumni to work with me at Fisher Investments.

How Coug are you?

The Cougs that I attended WSU Vancouver with are still like a second family to me. We have a tradition of getting together for Christmas Eve brunch every year. I was also ASWSUV vice president, so I am still very close with Shavey Winters, who served with me as ASWSUV president. I am flying to visit her in Washington, D.C., in May.

What is your advice for current or future Cougs?

Try everything—food, travel, classes, events. This time is the perfect opportunity to expand your horizons and discover what you are most passionate about. Try to worry a little less about what’s next and instead savor the moment you are in. You never know when you’re making a memory.

Upcoming events

Cougs in the Community

Join us at these upcoming Cougs in the Community events.

  • Spruce up the CDP Playground 9 a.m. – noon Saturday, March 24
    Join us on the WSU Vancouver campus to spruce up the Child Development Program playground. Help is needed for a variety of outdoor tasks—bring your garden gloves. Coffee and pastries will be provided.
  • Providence Academy Cleanup 9 a.m. – noon Saturday, April 28
    Help clean a historic attic, plant flowers and rake bark at The House of Providence (The Academy) in downtown Vancouver. Bring your spades, shovels, rakes, brooms and gloves. Pizza will be provided by The Blind Onion.
  • May Day Flowers Noon – 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 1
    Deliver flowers and a smile to golden grads on May Day. Volunteers needed to make floral arrangements and to deliver flowers.

Sign up online for one—or all—of the Cougs in the Community events. For more information, contact Jessica Wells at jessica.r.wells@wsu.edu.

Special thanks to our event sponsors: The Blind Onion and Yard ’n Garden Land

Strengthening Women’s Voices in the Workplace Workshop

Jane Cote8:30 a.m. – noon April 27 at The Artillery Barracks

Women: attend a workshop designed to give you tools to effectively voice your concerns in the workplace. WSU Vancouver Carson College of Business faculty members Jane Cote and Claire Latham will share a framework to help you voice your concerns in a way that is unique to your strengths and personal values.

Participants will:

  • Better understand their own personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Better understand how to navigate coworker interactions
  • Develop a strategy and process to deal with workplace issues

Register online today. For more information and to learn about additional sponsorships, contact Lisa Abrahamsson at labrahamsson@wsu.edu.

Event sponsor:

The Historic Trust logo

Presenting sponsor:

PointNorth Consulting, Inc. logo

Program and networking sponsor:

Community Foundation for Southwest Washington logo

Campus updates

Alumni Interest

WSU Vancouver alumna Kristine Kibbee’s young adult book series was inspired by Frankfort—a Wahkiakum County ghost town.

Master Plan Update

WSU Vancouver is updating the campus Master Plan, which was created in 1992 and updated in 2007. The latest changes will reflect LEED Silver state standards for capital construction, remove the agricultural research station relocation and add Vancouver Public School’s iTech Preparatory School. It will also propose the addition of on-campus housing for undergraduate students (graduate student housing was permitted in the 2007 update). Learn more and offer feedback at open houses to be held 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. March 27 and April 23 at WSU Vancouver in the Dengerink Administration Building, Room 129.

Tenure and Promotion

The following tenure and promotions were recently announced. Do you see your favorite professor on the list? Reach out and say congrats.

Promoted to professor:

  • Linda Eddy, College of Nursing
  • John Harrison, School of the Environment
  • Elizabeth Soliday, Human Development

Tenured and promoted to associate professor:

  • Allison Coffin, Integrated Physiology and Neuroscience
  • Marc Kramer, School of the Environment
  • Kristin Lesseig, Education
  • Anthony Lopez, Public Affairs
  • Renee Magnan, Psychology
  • Nikolay Strigul, Math
  • Xinghui Zhao, Computer Science

From the colleges

Carson College of Business

Michael Curry, assistant clinical professor of management information systems, hosted the SQLSaturday conference Oct. 28. The event offered free training for Microsoft Data Platform professionals and those who want to learn about SQL servers, business intelligence and analytics. Fifty-five students, invited for the first time, had the opportunity to network with more than 350 data professionals from 10 countries. “I was surprised by how friendly and supportive the SQL community was” said Kulvir Brar, a senior and president of the Society for Information Management club.

College of Arts and Sciences

Creative Media and Digital Culture

Seniors in the Creative Media and Digital Culture program are leading the digital marketing initiative for a virtual reality story, “Perpetual Nomads,” produced by the international partnership of The BradField Company (Canada), Mez Breeze Design (Australia), Canada Media Fund, Australian Government and Screen Australia.


John Harkness, postdoctoral researcher, was awarded a Commercialization Gap Fund for the second year in a row. The grant will fund continued development of artificial intelligence to help neuroscientists analyze chemical signals in the brain. The software, called PIPSQUEAK, was created as a way to standardize and automate analysis of perineuronal nets in the brains. Since 2016, PIPSQUEAK has been implemented by hundreds of labs in more than 13 countries. Learn more about WSU's efforts to bring artificial intelligence to the forefront of biomedical research at ai.RewireNeuro.com and at labs.wsu.edu/sorg.

Allison Coffin, assistant professor of neuroscience, was named co-chair of Science Talk ’18. The two-day conference, held March 1 – 2 at the Oregon Convention Center, united scientists, science communicators, journalists, students and trainees to learn how to talk science to nonscientists and those in different disciplines. Take a look at photos from the event.

College of Education

Kristen Pratt, instructor and 2017 doctoral graduate, has won the 2018 American Educational Research Association Second Language Research Special Interest Group Outstanding Dissertation Award. AERA is the top research professional organization in the field of education.

College of Nursing

Andra Davis, assistant professor, was named an End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium Award Winner for 2017.

Connie Nguyen-Truong, assistant professor, was honored as the 2017 Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization success story.

The WSU Vancouver College of Nursing was recognized as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. Congratulations to Renee Hoeksel who was also inducted into the National League of Nursing Academy.