DAESA STAR: Winter 2022 Issue

DAESA STAR enewsletter: Winter 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).

Supporting WSU students and faculty

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

DAESA: Preparing WSU undergraduate students academically, from pre-matriculation to beyond graduation, for life-long achievement and success.

Bill Davis. I am honored to serve WSU in my role as Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement. Building on the 15 years of accomplishments by retired Vice Provost Mary F. Wack, I endeavor to strengthen WSU through DAESA’s programs. Its directors and staff work diligently to ensure that every student who walks through the doors of our university has a fighting chance to reach their dreams of obtaining a degree and a future career of distinction. DAESA also continues to support faculty members as they navigate the myriad of opportunities and challenges that every academic year poses.

DAESA’s programs and people engage in transformative work that those outside of DAESA may not associate with our organization.  We, for example:

  • Support undergraduates engaged in mentored research and pursuing distinguished scholarships that are nationally competitive
  • Offer outstanding academic advising and career services
  • Provide programs that offer financial and academic support to students in all disciplines who are from first-generation and other non-privileged backgrounds
  • Foster broadly educated graduates through the UCORE general education program and Writing Program
  • Provide targeted support to special populations in STEM disciplines
  • Deliver top-notch first-year programs and build learning communities among students and faculty
  • Commit to transfer student success
  • Assess student learning to improve undergraduate-degree programs
  • Provide faculty development programs to enhance their teaching pedagogy
  • And much more.

We can be successful because we place a high value on our relationships with our constituents and we collaborate extensively with affiliated WSU programs. Faculty members, we invite you to reach out to, and partner with, us as you navigate the challenges and opportunities that 2021-2022 presents. Students, we pledge to reimagine how to help you engage fully and succeed in your academic pursuits in meaningful and value-added ways—using the latest virtual as well as face-to-face modalities. We will continue to connect you to high-impact practices such as undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities; to boost your community-building and writing skills; and help you flourish in learning communities.


Meet Our People

Karly Gomez.
Karly Gomez joined DAESA Nov. 1, 2021 as the new DAESA administrative manager, reporting to Vice Provost Bill Davis. She brings more than 20 years of experience in both the private and higher-education sectors, with skills in project management, office administration, management and training, payroll, purchasing, event planning, scheduling, travel coordination, and inventory control. Prior to her new position, she was executive assistant to the WSU Provost and Executive Vice President, and formerly executive assistant to the Vice President and CEO of the WSU Foundation. Gomez worked in Student Affairs and for 10 years at the Institute for Shock Physics.

Beyond WSU, she was executive assistant to the director of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) University; a paralegal and legal assistant at Ephrata, Wash. law offices; a staff person at a natural health office in Seattle; and a hotel general manager in Mountlake Terrace, Wash. She has volunteered for several years as president of the Cougar Aquatics Swim Club in Pullman, and worked as a fitness instructor at University Recreation. Karly earned her paralegal ATA degree from Edmonds College.

Gomez and her husband, Manuel, own and operate Thumbs Up Cleaning Services, LLC. Their son, Felix, is graduating from Pullman High School, and will take his award-winning swimming super powers to university with him where he plans to continue competing. Son Fabian, a PHS freshman, is excelling in academics, is an aspiring artist, is fascinated with marine life, and participates in swimming and track and field. Gomez’s hearing assistant service dog in training, Maxx, is by her side every day in the provost’s office suite. Maxx is also a team spirit liaison.


A Round of Applause

The university-wide Crimson Spirit Award for fall 2021 went to Ray Acuña-Luna, director of College Access Programs in the Office of Academic Engagement. The award is for “providing outstanding contributions to the WSU community and superior efforts in support of university and strategic goals.”

His nominator said Acuña-Luna “was able to provide virtual opportunities for students when summer residential programs had to be cancelled” and that he is “a phenomenal advocate for students and not only provides outstanding contributions to WSU but represents the institution to future students and parents in a manner that exemplifies Crimson Spirit.”

Acuña-Luna received the Crimson Spirit plaque and a special lapel pin, and was featured on the Crimson Spirit website.


Hellos and Farewells

The Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) recently welcomed several new team members:

  • Brady Bowers, program assistant
  • Alexis Gantz, graphic designer
  • Jessica Garibay, Cougs Rise and Dare to dream coordinator
  • Liliana Navarro, Cougs rise coordinator
  • Laurel Schimelenig, STEM SSS coordinator who transitioned to that position from OAE program assistant
  • Jose Velazquez, financial education coordinator.

Moving on from OAE are:

  • Araseli Solorio, Cougs Rise assistant director who started a private counseling practice
  • Abby Martinez, OAE graphic designer who accepted a professional advancement opportunity in Seattle.

Chemistry professor Jeremy Lessmann is the new director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, replacing Colin Mannex who took a position outside the university at Moscow’s Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre.

Aimee Tejeda Lunn has joined Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC) as its employer relations manager, replacing Christie Motley who retired. Tejeda Lunn previously worked for the Carson College of Business.

Transfer Center for Policy and Resources coordinator Heather Reyes accepted an undergraduate coordinator position in the School of Economic Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.

Administrative Assistant Jeffrey Moss took a position beyond WSU with Virtual Outsource Solutions.



Be sure to check DAESA’s calendar page for more on 2021-22 programming:


News Briefs


Support Our Needs

DAESA is honored that its programs make a difference in the academic lives of every WSU undergraduate student—actually, many times over throughout their college years. Whether through teaching, mentoring, advising, tutoring, living-learning environments, providing unique opportunities, or another means, DAESA impacts all students. To augment that, it is possible to directly support programs through gifts of any size. They can be made any day throughout the year, or on WSU’s annual day of giving called “Cougs Give.” That day in 2022 is April 13. This year, there are a number of academic support programs that are featured:

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