It was great to see so many people at the CAHNRS winter party and meet many for the first time! The fog of last week has me looking forward to getting past the winter solstice! I am ready for a bit more sunlight and daylight. I am sure, like me, many are ready for a break and time with family and friends.
I head to Virginia this week. If I have my years right, this will be the first holiday where I will be with all of my siblings and their partners since December 2006! There might have been another year in there, but it’s unlikely, due to my former research program and need to care for animals on research projects while students and staff took a well-earned break.
My research activities over break this year are limited to collecting cheek swabs from our German shepherds to support a student project overseen by Holly Neibergs. Sasha and Kita are not aware that they were enrolled; it is a surprise. Afterwards, they get to go to the Chesapeake Bay for a run on the beach. I anticipate some downtime to plan out a few sewing projects during the week, and who knows what else might pop up.
Hopefully everyone had a chance to attend one of the Town Halls last week. I appreciated the conversation about WSU priorities and the focus on state appropriations providing full funding of salary increases. I particularly appreciated President Schulz’s recognition that people are maxed out. Some have heard me say that we cannot keep doing more with less. On the other hand, we could do so much more and have greater impact with more resources! I see evidence of that everywhere across CAHNRS as I travel the state and meet with teams.
Last week I met with Jan Boll and Julie Padowski to learn more about the Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach (CEREO) and the opportunities the center brings to build collaborations and leverage talent and expertise, increasing capacity for members and affiliates. I learned about the joint work of CAHNRS and the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture through the Composite Materials & Engineering Center (CMEC) during a visit with Vik Yadama. The success in working with Hang Liu to use lignocellulosic materials to improve fire retardant performance of fabric and the use of forest residuals to create jet fuel are impressive! Michael Phelps took me on a tour of the fish hatchery so I could better understand his program and the connection to the work being done in Puyallup. I also met with a couple of dairymen who are working with the Department of Animal Sciences to reimagine the Knott Dairy Center so it can meet the needs of the future Washington by leveraging the work of many colleges at WSU. A busy, but exciting week indeed!
As we get ready to ring in the new year, I want to express my sincere appreciation to everyone for the warm welcome. A year ago, I never would have imagined I would be moving north and navigating new responsibilities. You have all made it easy to settle into CAHNRS and Pullman this semester! I wish each of you a peaceful, restful break full of joy, and I look forward to working with you in 2023!