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A Message from the Director:


Each new academic year begins with a sense of possibility and promise. This feels especially true in 2022, as we move hopefully back to a new sense of normalcy following an unprecedented set of changes brought about by COVID. Over these past two years, faculty have been called upon to transform their teaching, alter their research plans, and adjust to working from home and online. While WSU faculty, staff, and administrators rose to these challenges, I know we all look forward to returning to our classrooms, our labs, our archives, and to in-person collaborations and networking opportunities. The opportunities to work together, to share resources, to mentor and be mentored have been true losses for many of us over these past few years. The coming year promises to be a time to restore and repair those losses.

I am eager to begin this new year with ADVANCE at WSU and to continue its signature programs, supported by the WSU Provost’s Office. This funding has allowed ADVANCE at WSU to substantively expand its mission by supporting all historically underrepresented tenure and tenure track faculty in all disciplines at WSU, regardless of gender identity. These goals, of course, align neatly with the goals and priorities of the Provost’s Equity and Diversity Initiatives.

As in past years, ADVANCE at WSU will oversee a variety of grant opportunities, including the External Mentor Program which supports faculty in identifying faculty members at outside institutions who can serve as mentors and academic role models. The External Mentor-Pilot Extension Program is available to previous recipients of the External Mentor Program and supports faculty in conducting preliminary research that will make them more competitive for external grants and funding. The Leadership Training Program offers support for faculty wishing to participate in leadership trainings and other leadership opportunities. ADVANCE’s Transitions Program grant offers assistance to faculty navigating work or life changes while also maintaining excellence in their work.  The Travel Assistance Award supports historically underrepresented faculty in career development by offering funding for dependent’s conference travel. To learn more, visit our “Grants Opportunities and Programs” page.

I also look forward to partnering with existing groups across WSU’s campuses to continue to support and mentor WSU’s top-tier faculty. The kinds of workshops, trainings, networking, and other events I have envisioned for the coming year represent a continuation of the foundational work of Masha Garstein who has been ADVANCE at WSU’s Director since 2015. I am grateful for her leadership and for sharing her wealth of knowledge with me.

ADVANCE at WSU has many exciting things in store for the year ahead, so please keep your eyes open for news about upcoming events and share with your departments and colleagues.







Jennifer Thigpen

Associate Professor of History

Director of ADVANCE at WSU

Interesting Read

“Can Rubrics Combat Gender Bias in Faculty Hiring?”
By Mary Blair-Loy, Olga V. Mayorova, Pamela C. Cosman, and Stephanie I. Fraley 

Learn how to effectively use rubrics to hire the best job candidate without gender bias!

Click HERE to read the article!

Faculty Spotlight








Dr. Samantha Gizerian (Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience) 

Associate Professor and CO-PI of the Enhancing Science, Technology, EnginEering, and Math Educational Diversity (ESTEEMED) Grant

Samantha S. Gizerian, Clinical Assistant Professor, earned a B.S. degree in Biology from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1999, and a Ph.D. degree in Neurobiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005.  She then moved to a faculty position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Science and Health at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, CA.  In 2011 she became a faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University as well as the advisor for all neuroscience undergraduates.

Brain development is a complex and prolonged process that is not complete until adulthood in most mammals, including humans, and therefore the events that may contribute to altered functional outcome are as varied as the human experience and may occur at any time between gestation and adulthood. The goal of Dr. Gizerian’s research is to look at discrete changes in the environment (both internal and external) during brain development and evaluate their relevance to altered structural and functional outcome, such as in mental illness, autism, or developmental delay.  In particular, her lab focuses on schizophrenia, which, although long considered a developmental disorder, is usually diagnosed in younger adults.  Her lab utilizes a rodent model to investigate the purported link between of early life stress and later diagnosis with schizophrenia.

Science is a part of every moment of modern life, yet the majority of adults have very little understanding of how science shapes the world they live in, or how technology protects and provides for them.  Despite society’s increasing reliance on science and technology, misperceptions about scientists and the practice of science, decreased emphasis on science education at all levels, and the idea that science is “hard” have all contributed to a marked contrast in science literacy between scientists and laypersons. Dr. Gizerian is also interested in exploring questions of public science literacy, through education, outreach, and better communication by scientists.

Dr. Gizerian, along with her CO-PIs PIs Mary Sanchez Lanier and Alla Kostyukova, recently received funding for the Motivating Innovation and Research Achievement (MIRA) program at WSU. MIRA will equip high achieving freshman and sophomores from groups underrepresented in STEM with the skills needed to complete their undergraduate degrees, matriculate into a graduate program, and pursue a career in biomedical research.  The MIRA program will take an innovative approach in building a cohort of students who will build their skills and knowledge in STEM through a summer bridge program, research skills courses, and mentored laboratory research.  MIRA Scholars will also receive financial support from the program to allow them to focus on their academic and research obligations without having to find additional sources of income. MIRA is funded by a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) R25 Enhancing Science, Technology, EnginEering, and Math Educational Diversity (ESTEEMED) grant. You can read more about the MIRA program here.

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



ADVANCE at WSU Lighty Building, Room 190F  P.O. Box 641061 Pullman, WA 99164-1061

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