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Imagining Magnificent Designs 
and Bringing Them to Life

Victoria “Toria” Snow’s triumphant Feb. 16 Facebook post read: “I came, I tried, and I WON!” That’s how the WSU theatre design student announced to friends, family and “followers” that she was one of eight regional finalists for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s (KCACTF) national award for excellence in costume design.

On April 20, Snow’s news got even better. She became the first WSU student costume designer to capture a KCACTF grand prize for her work on the WSU Theatre production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, a play that takes place on Ireland’s isolated isle of Inishmaan, where inhabitants observe ancient customs and wear traditional clothing.

Snow’s costume designs included pampooties, rawhide moccasins worn by men on the isle, and Aran sweaters, which traditionally feature intricate patterns that were zealously guarded by the same clan throughout generations.

“I used natural fibers and earth tones to convey a realistic feel,” Snow explained to KCACTF judges. “But each character had a pop of color to help them stand out.” To become the best, Snow had to learn from the best. In 2014, she enrolled at Weber State specifically to study with professor Catherine Zublin, who received a 2018 KCACTF gold medallion — the organization’s most prestigious regional award — for her outstanding efforts in encouraging young artists to develop their talents and pursue their dreams. Snow also worked closely with assistant professor Samantha “Sam” Transleau, who supervised her senior project, an outdoor art installation in Southern Utah.

Snow’s KCACTF award package included a trip to Washington, D.C., $500 and a trip to the 2019 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. She graduated from WSU in April 2019, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in costume design at California State University Fullerton.

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Migration Captured in Mural

By creating three large-scale art installations in Ogden, 2018 Hurst Artist-in-Residence Jane Kim connected northern Utah to the Migrating Mural campaign, a nationwide art initiative highlighting endangered animals along migration corridors they share with humans. The Ogden Migrating Murals are part of a larger network of monarch butterfly-inspired murals across the country. Ogden is a pit stop along ?the monarch’s epic 3,000-mile North American migration path.

The project began at the Ogden Nature Center with six banners depicting the monarch’s life cycle. The next phase was a mural painted on the exterior walls of The Monarch, a new event space in downtown Ogden. For the third phase, Kim and her team selected three student interns from the Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities to help produce a monochrome mural for the Kimball Visual Arts Center atrium.

Kim hopes the Ogden murals will create awareness about the monarch’s endangered status and inspire widespread conservationism.

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Teaching Excellence

WSU honors faculty throughout the year through a variety of programs, the newest of which is the Presidential Teaching Excellence Award, created with a $1 million gift commitment from Ogden philanthropists Bob and Marcia Harris.  The inaugural group of recipients, who were honored in fall 2018, includes: 

  • Anthony Allred, Business Administration
  • Tim Border, Professional Sales
  • Carie Frantz, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Matthew Gnagey, Economics
  • Catherine Harmston, Nursing
  • Lisa Hopkins, Accounting & Taxation
  • Emily Petersen, English
  • Elizabeth Rocha, Nursing
  • Sarah Steimel, Communication
  • Natalie Williams, Teacher Education
  • Stephanie Wolfe, Political Science
  • James Zagrodnik, Health Promotion & Human Performance

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Casting Invisible Mountains

Using two simple materials — plastic sheeting and hot glue — internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Yasuaki Onishi created what appeared to be a vast, floating mountainscape inside the Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery. In a process he calls casting the invisible, Onishi draped semi-translucent plastic over stacked cardboard boxes, suspended the mass with wispy strands of black glue, then removed the boxes. Reverse of Volume, described as a meditation on the nature of negative space, was on display from Feb. 8 to April 6, 2019.

Acclaimed Jazz Quartet Sets the Stage

The inaugural season of Browning Presents! (formerly the Office of Cultural Affairs) began on a high note with a performance by the Sean Jones Quartet. Famed trumpeter, composer, educator and activist Sean Jones taught master classes on campus prior to the Sept. 14, 2018, concert. He told students that jazz music tells America’s story and can help us all become better human beings. Other Browning Presents! events during the 2018–19 academic year included a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner Ronan Farrow and a performance by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge.

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Softball Makes History

After a successful regular season — the Wildcats won the Big Sky Conference regular-season softball crown for the fourth straight year — and a dominating win in the 2019 Big Sky Conference championship game, defeating Northern Colorado 8–0, the Wildcats earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament in Los Angeles. There, they picked up a 7–3 win over Cal State Fullerton and became the first team in school and conference history to win an NCAA regional game. The season later ended at the hands of the University of Missouri.

2019 also saw the Wildcats, led by league MVP Takesha Saltern, set a Big Sky win-percentage record with a 14–2 mark in conference play.

Soccer Rises to Top

Weber State women’s soccer had an incredible turnaround in 2018, earning the Big Sky Conference regular-season championship after a 10th-place finish in 2017, the biggest statistical improvement in conference history. The Wildcats piled up a school-record seven league wins (7–1–1 Big Sky, 9–4–4 overall) on their way to their first regular-season title since 2008 and their first title of any kind since 2013. With the help of nine All-Big Sky selections, head coach Tim Crompton bagged his third Big Sky Coach of the Year honor.

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Serving Our Community


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WSU entered the playoffs as the No. 2 overall seed, a program best


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The Intermountain Sustainability Summit, hosted by WSU, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019.


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A World of Opportunity

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for environmental scientists, hydrologists and geoscientists will grow a robust 10-14% fro 2016 to 2026.

The American Geosciences Institute projected a workforce shortage of 90,000 geoscientists nationwide by 2022.

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Alissa Van Tassell said dreams are much like the plants she studied and tended on her way to a double major in botany and archaeology.

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"The faculty, staff and friends I've made at Weber State have been the ones watering me, helping me achieve my dreams and goals."

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WSU Produces In-Demand Information Security Experts

Fifteen WSU management information systems (MIS) scholars are heading to Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, home to the nation’s No. 1 graduate school for information technology and management.* Nine will be starting their master’s degrees at Carnegie Mellon in the fall of 2019; six attended a cybersecurity fellowship at the university over the summer.

Recognizing the need for highly skilled cybersecurity and information systems professionals, WSU associate professor
of MIS Randy Boyle collaborated with industry leaders to develop an innovative formula of curriculum and instruction to meet industry demand, and prepare students for advanced degrees.

Boyle’s students have been successfully competing for placements in the CMU summer fellowship for several years. In 2019, he spearheaded a partnership where his students compete for limited spots in CMU’s master’s programs.

Randy Trzeciak, a director at CMU, has been impressed by WSU students. “Weber State students have unique skills that are indicators of success in a master’s program,” he said. “In addition to tech skills, they have solid business and critical-thinking skills.”

Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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CEC By the Numbers:


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Caring for the Community Through Education

With warm colors and a flood of natural light, WSU’s new Community Education Center provides a welcoming atmosphere for those seeking pathways to a degree or career. Located in central Ogden, the center helps WSU further integrate into the community by offering residents courses in English as a second language, basic computer skills and job-search skills, and helping future students navigate college registration and financial-aid applications.

The center also houses a Melba S. Lehner Children’s School extension, the Ogden Civic Action Network and the Center for Community Engaged Learning Community Partnerships Extension.

“The Community Education Center reaches out and helps those who may not think furthering their education is attainable,” said Brian Stecklein, associate dean of the Division of Online & Continuing Education. “It is a place where people can come and prepare for the next steps in their educational process.”

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Golden Anniversaries

It was a golden year for two groups designed to empower underrepresented populations at Weber State.

The Black Scholars United club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary throughout the 2018–19 academic year, promotes leadership, higher learning and education for black students, along with hosting community service projects and activities.

“Black Scholars United is more than a club; it’s a community,” said JaLisa Lee, 2018–19 club president. “We promote unity among black students through cultural understanding, academic excellence, community involvement, student engagement and leadership.”

During its 50th anniversary, the American Indian Council (AIC) hosted its inaugural Native American College Prep and Scholarship Night at Weber State University Davis in October. Partnering with local school districts, the event encouraged Native American high school students to consider post-secondary education.

Providing Native American students with connections and a sense of community is the primary focus of the AIC, says advisor Tashina Barber BA/BA ’14. She first discovered the value of the council while serving as a student member of the group in 2012.

“Being part of AIC provides a sense of belonging and it instills confidence,” Barber said. “It helped me connect with other groups on campus and prepared me to further my education in graduate school.”


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WSU entered the playoffs as the No. 2 overall seed, a program best


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The Trophies Just Keep Coming

The Weber State Spirit Squad trophy case is getting crowded.

WSU’s cheer team won its third consecutive national title at the 2019 NCA Collegiate Cheer Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was the Wildcats’ fifth national championship in eight years. WSU cheer partners Mekenzie Grabau and Kollin Cockrell also claimed the Coed Partner title at the competition.

Waldo defended his 2018 crown as the nation’s top mascot, edging “Truman the Tiger” from the Southeastern Conference’s University of Missouri, to earn his third national title in five seasons.