DAESA STAR: Summer 2022 Issue

DAESA STAR enewsletter: Summer 2022 issue. Brought to you by the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement at Washington State University.
Official enewsletter of the WSU Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA).

Rebirth, Renewal, and Boundless Potential

Message from William B. “Bill” Davis, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Greetings from Pullman! As I looked out the window today, I noted that all the signs of Spring are surrounding us–budding and flowering trees and flowers, green agricultural fields on the Palouse, fresh mulch around the green spaces on the Pullman Campus, and students out snapping pictures in their Commencement regalia as they prepare to transition to the next phase of their lives. This brought on other thoughts about the many Bill Davis. world stories associated with Spring as a time of rebirth, renewal, and boundless potential.

Boundless potential frames our Summer edition of the STAR since the units in DAESA were recently able to honor the accomplishments of the students, staff, and faculty making critical contributions to undergraduate education at WSU. DAESA celebrated this excellence on April 14 when we hosted our annual DAESA awards ceremony in-person at the Lewis Alumni Centre. Through the support of our dedicated IT and communications staff in DAESA, we were also able to welcome and celebrate guests from across the WSU system and even across the U.S. via Zoom. That afternoon we had the privilege of recognizing more than two dozen outstanding individuals–some for their current or past contributions and others for the future contributions that they will achieve via new investments that the university is making in their ideas for transforming education.

In terms of rebirth and renewal, I reflect on the fact that despite the past two years of a global pandemic, WSU has much to celebrate. It is easy sometimes to only focus on the constant stream of change and uncertainty that the pandemic catalyzed. However, the pandemic has also brought forth opportunities for new thinking and opportunities for people to excel in their efforts to support the success of students, staff, and faculty at WSU. Some of these achievements of note include our first face-to-face SURCA undergraduate research event in two years; three new Goldwater Scholars, four Fulbright recipients, and a second award for a Udall Scholar so far in 2022; a hybrid Career Expo; a very successful spring Pacific Northwest LSAMP hybrid conference that WSU hosted for students at 10 universities and colleges; and our inaugural cohorts of faculty Core-to-Career and WORD Fellows.

I am very proud of the work and dedication that every individual within DAESA has put forward this year in collaboration with our university and external partners. I look forward to being able to celebrate many more accomplishments at the DAESA awards ceremony in Spring 2023!

Signature of Bill Davis, Ph.D.


Meet Our People

Mary Sánchez Lanier

Mary Sánchez Lanier is an award-winning teacher, advisor, mentor, researcher, and administrator. She also dedicates time and energy to WSU and national organizations and projects that serve students and support their success. Why? She paraphrases the Stephen Grellet quote as it aligns with a core value system that inspires her every day:

“‘I will go this way but once, and if there’s some good that I can do, let me do it.’ Plus,” she adds, “I simply enjoy working on projects that are fun and that have positive impacts on students and others at our university.”

One of her most recent rewarding endeavors was co-authoring applications for two NIH grants valued at $2 million that benefit WSU STEM undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds. The resulting ESTEEMED MIRA program supports those planning to major in biomedical science and engineering fields, and the MARC-WSU program supports students engaging in scientific research, leadership development, and preparing for graduate school. Both programs are about to enroll their second cohorts of students.

The daughter of a lawyer/district judge and an industrial chemist/homemaker/teacher, Sánchez Lanier earned a B.S. in biology and Ph.D. in medical sciences at the University of New Mexico. She did research at the Centers for Disease Control in Georgia before coming to WSU in 1990. Today, she is a professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences, teaching a 400/500-level virology course each spring; as assistant vice provost since 2011, she manages DAESA’s Office of Undergraduate Research with its annual SURCA poster showcase, the Distinguished Scholarships Program, the WSU Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, and the First-year Experience suite, which includes the Common Reading Program, the First-Year Success Seminar (UNIV 104), and First-year Focus. She serves on the WSU Showcase team, chairs committees for the American Society of Microbiology and represents it on the steering committee for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and, among other activities, serves on review panels for the NSF and the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship.

She lives in Moscow with her husband, Glen, and enjoys visiting their children Suzanne, Michael, and Sarah, their spouses, grandsons, and granddaughter in Idaho, Montana, and California.


A Round of Applause

Lindsey Brown.

Lindsey Brown, data analyst in the Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness (ACE), received a 2022 Crimson Spirit Award from Human Resource Services. She applies creative problem-solving to support faculty and administrators involved in student-learning outcomes assessments. A nominator said that she “brings insights and creative skills to collaborate on the design of assessment measures and tools, customizing the approach and technology to fit faculty needs in widely different departments and disciplines.

Brown anticipates technical needs and potential issues and develops creative, workable solutions and continually improves processes and analysis. She (’09 B.S. Food Science and Human Nutrition, ’11 M.S. Food Science) is a proud WSU alum.

Nayomi Mendez-Andrade received the President’s Award for Leadership 2022. She is an undergraduate student majoring in political science who serves as a peer advisor in the Invest in Cougs and Crimson Community Grants programs in OAE. The award recognizes students and others who demonstrate exceptional leadership and service to the university and community.

Hellos and Farewells

Waylon Safranski, director of the Transfer Center for Policy and Resources, took a position as marketing director in community workforce/economic development with Emsi Burning Glass in Moscow, Idaho. A WSU alum (’05, B.A. Social Sciences, ’13 M.Ed. Higher Education), he worked full-time at the university for 15 years in Admissions & Recruitment, Financial Aid (SFS), Murrow College (academic advising), Alumni Association, and Transfer Center since 2015. He says, “I’m grateful for everything WSU has provided to me and the many lifelong connections that have been made!”

Jaclyn Gotch joined the Office of Undergraduate Research as the program assistant. She came to her position from the University of Idaho where she was the administrative coordinator for the Dept. of Mathematics and Statistical Science. Her B.S. in psychology is from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), and her M.Ed. in higher education administration is from WSU. She volunteers on the board of the Friends of Neill Public Library in Pullman.

Ricky Thai (Hieu Trung Thai) is the Academic Success and Career Center’s (ASCC) new coordinator of student employment as of June 21. He worked for the center as a tutor and front-desk assistant while earning his B.S. in economics; as a graduate student in applied economics, he worked as ASCC’s lead tutor, academic coach, and a UNIV 250 course instructor.

Jamille Andres (’21 Biology) is a new program assistant in OAE, having previously served as an advisor there to student veterans and instructed a peer leadership course. During her undergraduate program, she volunteered at Pullman Regional Hospital (PRH), the Montessori School of Pullman, and WSU Cougar Safe Rides. She worked at Whitman Health and Rehabilitation Center, Palouse Medical, and PRH.



Be sure to check DAESA’s calendar page for more on 2022 programming:


News Briefs


Support Our Needs

During April’s WSU-wide Cougs Give annual-gift fundraising campaign, the Office of Academic Engagement advanced six funds and raised nearly $4,000 from 34 gifts. The funds include: Foster Youth and Formerly Homeless Student Academic Support Fund, Invest in Cougs, Cougs Rise Excellence Fund, College Success Programs, Crimson Community Grants, and College Success Foundation Achievers. Interested investors can still contribute to the OAE effort and make a difference for programs and communities supporting academic opportunity and success for hundreds of current and prospective WSU students.


Every gift makes a difference. Thank you for your support!