January 2022 WMU News

From Northside to North Star—Alumna guides community to more equitable future

Hon. Alisa Parker-LaGrone, a judge in Kalamazoo County's 8th District Court, earned her Master of Business Administration from Western in 2011. She's drawn on the skills she developed in the program as an advocate for social justice, helping to lift up the community through her legal work and in organizations such as Sisters in Business, Charlie's P.L.A.C.E. and the Judge Charles A. Pratt Bar Association, among others.

WMU launches climate crisis-inspired writing competition

The Office for Sustainability, the English Department, and the Climate Change Working Group announces "The World's Climate, the Heart's Weather: Creative Writing in the Anthropocene." The competition seeks submissions about how the planet’s emergency affects the inner life, psychology and imagination of a global citizen. In this first annual creative writing competition on climate change, poets, fiction writers, essayists and playwrights are encouraged to submit original work.

Climate change disinformation poses increasing threat, says WMU history professor

While sticks and stones are certainly more blatant, there's no question words also can do a great deal of harm. And when it comes to mis- and disinformation, the impacts can be widespread: Words fueled animosity and violence during the 2020 presidential election, bred division and spread dangerous medical mistruths during the COVID-19 pandemic and now are threatening the future of the planet.

Students earn accolades for innovative construction adhesives research

A student group from the Bronco Research Construction Center is being touted for their innovative approach to helping structures better withstand extreme weather, earthquakes and other threats to structures. The center is part of Western's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

WMU student recognized by Google, takes first place in competition

Craig Ferry, a junior majoring in marketing at Western Michigan University, recently claimed first place in the Virtual Business Professional Project. Hosted by USC Marshall, the project focuses on global student collaboration and communication best practices in a virtual environment. Ferry, along with his teammates, delivered recommendations to Google, and the corporate representative noted these suggestions were "ready to share with senior stakeholders."

Strategic Planning enters next phase at WMU

Stakeholders are beginning to get to work identifying recommendations to guide the future of Western Michigan University. The institution is developing a new Strategic Plan to prepare for the decade ahead.

WMU Board to elect officers at Thursday meeting

Trustees will elect the governing board's leadership, the chair and vice chair, as well as its other officers. A personnel report rounds out action items on the agenda.

Department of Occupational Therapy launches new bachelor's degree program

The last few years have marked great change for the Department of Occupational Therapy at Western Michigan University. Last year, it replaced its longstanding master's degree with a new Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Now, in 2022, the department has launched a new bachelor's degree program that prepares students for careers as occupational therapy assistants.

From spores to scores: WMU grad student cultivates connection through mycology, music

Composer, creative alchemist, mycologist—Gabrielle Cerberville wears many hats. Her fungal forays in the forest earned her influencer status on TikTok as the Chaotic Forager, peeling puffball mushrooms for pizza crust or baring bounties beneath bark. At Western, Cerberville found a way to nurture the intersectionality of her passions with a campus surrounded by lush natural areas and a program supportive of exploration and innovation.

Thought leader in food marketing takes reins of Western’s renowned program

Dr. Russell J. Zwanka, associate professor of marketing, was named director of the food and consumer package goods marketing program in the Haworth College of Business, the premier program of its kind in the country. Appointed to the faculty in August 2020, Zwanka has already shaped the program in significant ways. A talented teacher, mentor and researcher, Zwanka has exciting plans for the program.

Former PepsiCo CEO, industry leaders to speak at Food Marketing Conference

Western's Food Marketing Conference occurs March 22 and 23 and focuses on “Reimagining the Marketplace: Embracing Change and Transformation.” The event, presented in on-demand and in-person formats, boasts presenters such as Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, as well as other industry leaders and speakers on workplace culture. Last year’s event drew more than 1,000 participants, and this year’s lineup promises a great mix of dynamic speakers.

Employers, students connect with in-person, virtual career fairs

Western students have the opportunity to connect with hundreds of employers for full- and part-time positions during upcoming virtual and in-person career fairs, which begin Feb. 2. Job fair preparation sessions, advising and resources to help students prepare for interviews and refine their resume are available to students through Career and Student Employment Services.

College of Arts and Sciences selects new associate dean

Dr. Nicolas Witschi has been named associate dean of humanities and social sciences in Western’s College of Arts and Sciences. A professor of English, he previously served as interim associate dean for the college.

An electrifying future: Western team charging ahead with energy innovations

Power outages are happening more frequently and for longer time periods across the country, spurred by the combination of more extreme weather events— from heat waves to wildfires to hurricanes—and an aging energy infrastructure. It's a race against time to transition to renewable energy as the window to reverse the damage done by carbon emissions continues to close, says Dr. Pablo Gomez, associate professor of electrical engineering and director of the WMU Power Lab.