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Washington State University

What’s New in the Department

We recently purchased new digital equipment, including three laptops and a projector to continue offering up-to-date technology for our academic programs. Our graduate students now complete their written master’s exams by using a unique login with custom settings, which allows them to write in Word without access to the internet. This equipment is vital for teaching and the overall student experience, especially in cases of equipment failure or lack of certain equipment needed for language and culture learning in the classroom. We also use this equipment for departmental meetings and presentations, trainings, workshops, and small recruitment and retention events.

Social Media Campaign

To stay connected with and reach new students, alumni, and friends, we utilized our existing social media channels to engage with our followers in a new and exciting way. Thanks to the help of our public relations interns, we launched a month-long giveaway promotion on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a chance to win a Coug-themed gift basket! Participants were entered into the contest by following our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, and sharing our original post with their friends.

Our Social MediaBasket Winner with her Coug Themed Basket
The Winner's Cat is lounging in the Basket for a FB Post Thanking DFLC for the Basket for her Cat

In honor of Foreign Language Day, our largest department-led recruiting event, we raffled off a second Coug-themed gift basket. The visiting high school student who won our Coug-fan starter basket was very excited to indulge in her newly ignited Coug passion and further explore her dream of being a WSU student studying foreign languages and cultures!

The visiting high school student who won our Coug-fan starter basket looks happy.

AMDT Collaboration

Our department collaborated with the Office of International Programs to match funds to offer a $500 scholarship to a student designer in the WSU Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles (AMDT) for the 2018 WSU Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show. The scholarship was awarded to Jenny Chan, winner of the best culturally aware piece in the Fashion Show.

“This kimono piece is named Sakura, I was inspired [to design it] from the time I went to Japan last year,” Jenny said. She noticed that young Japanese women are still wearing the traditional kimono for Valentine’s Day and certain traditional events in Japan and at places like Disneyland. She tried one herself and said it took and hours to put on. Seeing the desire for tradition and the interest in western dress as well, Chan decided to try to mix the two styles.

“Sakura is a look that is the combination of the traditional Japanese kimono and the western style with a much easier way to put on and off,” Chan said. The look has a traditional Japanese kimono top with snaps for closure, an obi with zipper on one side, and a faux leather skirt underneath. “Winning this award means a lot to me because I feel the support of doing designs inspired by cultures,” Chan said. She is thankful for the award and is excited to continue in her fashion career.

The importance of the Chinese, French, and Italian languages in the fashion business has sparked collaboration to bridge the gap between AMDT and the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures. By working together to provide the best student experience, our department launched a minor degree program in French for Design and Merchandising in Fall 2017. We look forward to continued collaborations with AMDT for the benefit of all our students!

         AMDT Fashion Show Scholarship Winner Photo Gallery
          Fashion Show

Faculty Retirement

It is bittersweet that we announce the retirement of our Russian Instructor and section head, Dr. Elena Smith, after 38 years of teaching Russian language and culture. Dr. Smith revived our Russian course offerings and continued to grow the program to offer a minor degree. She plans to begin her retirement traveling, including places such as Europe and Canada, and visiting family on the East Coast. She also plans to play the piano, take painting classes, and potentially write her third book in the years to come. The best part of her teaching career, she says, has been the students, as they kept her “feeling young and happy!” Dr. Smith enjoyed helping her students and pushing them toward excellence and mastery of the language and understanding of the culture. We will miss her greatly but wish her the best in her retirement!

Elena Smith

Public Relations Interns

This semester we were lucky enough to have three talented public relations interns who made a big difference in our social media efforts and various departmental events. We would like to share with you what these talented women plan to do after graduation. These undergraduate seniors graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication on May 5. As they embark on the next chapter in their life, we wish them all the best!


Bethany Waddleton graduated with her BA in Strategic Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and minors in both Political Science and Popular Culture. After graduation, she will be relocating to Santa Barbara, California, where she will continue to pursue her career in public relations.

Bethany Waddleton


Shannon Steffen graduated with her BA in Journalism and Media Production with an emphasis in Multimedia Journalism and a second major in Strategic Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. After graduation, she will being working as an intern at Spark PR agency in San Francisco.

Shannon Steffen


Tylie Topdjian graduated with her BA in Strategic Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. In August, she will be on her way to Lisbon, Portugal, to attend graduate school at NOVA School of Business and Economics. Tylie is excited to pursue her master’s degree in management and to immerse herself in an entirely new culture.