Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight Spring, 2024

Dr. Marlene Gaynair 
Assistant Professor, Department of History 



About Dr. Gaynair

Marlene Gaynair is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. Joining WSU in 2022, Gaynair brings expertise as a scholar of the social and cultural history of the modern Black Atlantic, focusing in particular on the histories of the US, Canada, and British Caribbean during the long twentieth century. Gaynair’s research additionally explores popular culture, immigration, transnational studies, and urban histories and spaces. She is currently at work on her book manuscript, “Jamaicans in the North: Re/Creating Identities, Cultures, and Communities in Urban Canada and the United States,” for which she has also created an ongoing digital exhibit that recreates Black cultural and special identities in Toronto. Gaynair’s article, “A Riot is the Language of the Unheard: Centering Black Caribbean Voices in Crown Heights” is forthcoming in the Journal of American Ethnic History. She is a recent recipient of a WSU New Faculty Seed Grant (2023-2024) which will support the research and writing of her manuscript.

Experience with ADVANCE

Gaynair won an External Mentor Grant through ADVANCE at WSU in academic year 2022-2023. During that year, Gaynair reports that she received ongoing mentorship from Dr. Saje Mathieu, Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. Mathieu’s areas of specialization in African American and African Canadian histories, labor history, social history, and transborder studies promise to support Gaynair’s research and scholarly activities. During the grant period, Gaynair’s mentor visited Pullman to observe Gaynair’s classes and provide advice and feedback on her manuscript. “Her painstaking review of my scholarship and teaching,” Gaynair explained, provided a solid “foundation to improve my role as an educator and researcher.” Ultimately, the External Mentor Grant will help her complete her book manuscript and move her one crucial step closer to promotion.

Faculty Spotlight Fall, 2023


Dr. Carolyn Ross
Professor, School of Food Science
Affiliate Professor, WSU School of Medicine
Director of the WSU Sensory Science Center


About Dr. Ross

Carolyn Ross is a Professor in the School of Food Science at Washington State University (WSU), Affiliate Professor in the WSU School of Medicine, and Director of the WSU Sensory Science Center. Since starting at WSU in 2004, Dr. Ross has established her lab and the WSU Sensory Science Center as a center for graduate student training in the areas of sensory science and analytical chemistry. Specifically, the overall objectives of Dr. Ross’ research and graduate education program are to understand the theoretical basis underpinning the sensory perception of foods and wines and correlate these attributes with quantifiable characteristics. Dr. Ross has also expanded her research to explore food texture perception in children. She has published over 130 research articles and presented at national and international conferences.  Dr. Ross has three-times been awarded the Institute of Food Technologists Tanner Award for most‐cited article in the Journal of Food Science (sensory and food quality section).  Dr. Ross was also recently awarded the WSU Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction and is currently a Fulbright-Australia Scholar at Deakin University in Melbourne (2023).

Experience with ADVANCE

Over the past few years, I had increasing interest to shift some of my research efforts into an area of food science which, while very important and I had a great deal of interest in, I had less experience with.  I energetically embarked on a journey of reading and researching but what I thought would be even more beneficial is to develop a relationship with someone who had the expertise and knowledge that I was interested in learning.  I found about the ADVANCE External Mentor program and thought that this was a great fit for what I wanted to accomplish.  While I wasn’t a new researcher, I was in a new research area and would benefit having a more extended visit with someone in the field.  I applied and received funding through the ADVANCE External Mentor program in 2019.  I travelled to Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia for a one-week visit.  During my visit, I met and chatted with my external mentor and this collaboration yielded a peer-reviewed research publication.  My mentor also organized a symposium in the research area and through my presenting there, I met others in the research field.  In 2022, I leveraged this collaboration in my application to the Fulbright Australia Scholar program.  I could point toward the research publication with my external mentor as evidence of our productive research collaboration.  This was made possible by the ADVANCE External Mentor grant as it provided the key first step in developing this relationship with the research group at Deakin University.  I was awarded this Fulbright Award and am now (2023) at Deakin University in Melbourne continuing this research.  If you have any questions or want to talk more about my experience, feel free to reach out – Carolyn Ross at cfross@wsu.edu

Nominate a Faculty Member!

We are actively seeking nominations. A candidate will be featured in August and in January.