Undergraduate Student News
Emeritus Society Excellence in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship
Brigette Hinnant, WSU Tri-Cities
Her project is titled “Experience of Filipina War Brides as Post-World War II Immigrants to the United States.” She examined little-used archival records of the Filipina War Brides Association to ascertain how such brides created a community in Washington and the Philippines. The project uses intersectional feminist rhetorical methodology to study Filipina women’s ways of knowing, being, and communicating; analyze how they fostered community through the War Brides Association; and understand how they navigated the difficulties of moving to a new country while retaining a sense of their home cultures.
Rogie-Ann “Akira” Park, WSU Pullman
An English major and McNair scholar who transferred to WSU in 2022, Park’s research project is titled “Am I Qualified?: Inclusion of Asian-American Literature in English Classrooms.” The project addresses multicultural education in two disciplines—English and education—that represent Asian-American narratives and identities in the classroom. Park hopes her research will equip current and future educators to teach using Asian-American voices and experiences with confidence.
Park presented her project at this year’s SURCA undergraduate research showcase and received a Grey Award in her category.
Puneet Basanti, WSU Pullman
The Department of English’s Pullman campus Outstanding Senior for 2023 is Puneet Bsanti, who hails from Livermore, California, and earned her bachelor of arts in English; a second bachelor of arts in multimedia journalism; and a certificate in editing and publishing.
While working on her undergraduate degrees, Bsanti was a news reporter for the Daily Evergreen; a writing consultant for WSU’s Undergraduate Writing Center; vice president and then president of the English Club; and a student representative for WSU’s Undergraduate Studies Committee. She completed a three-year internship as executive editor for WSU’s LandEscapes Literary Journal. During the summer of 2022, Bsanti completed a reporting internship for Asian American News, reporting on stories about acts of violence against Asian citizens while also working as a freelance reporter for FāVS News, a non-profit news organization that informs and builds community through digital journalism.
Bsanti commented that in her culture it was unusual for a young person to study English: most parents want their children to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers, but Bsanti’s parents “supported my dream selflessly despite the judgement they may have received.” She also believes the support she received from her professors, English department faculty, and her mentors provided her with the strength she needed to persevere. Bsanti cherishes the memories she has made here at WSU, and she knows she will be applying the advice she has received from classes to write tragically heartbreaking love stories.
Following graduation, Bsanti planned to travel to Greece and Bulgaria for the summer, to seek out stories to cover, report what she sees, and work in public relations. Upon her return, she will be a reporting intern for the Bellingham Herald. In the future, she would like to work for the Seattle Times, the New York Times, or the Washington Post, and she fully expects to write and publish a book.
Bsanti loves reading, writing, and dreaming, so she decided to study English and chose WSU because of the quality programs and the many opportunities available to undergraduate students.
Brigette Hinnant, WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Tri-Cities 2023 Outstanding Senior for the Department of English is Brigette Hinnant. Originally from Kennewick, Washington, Hinnant has earned a bachelor of arts in English, with a focus in literary studies, and a minor in professional science and technology writing. Prior to attending WSU, she completed an AA degree with honors at Columbia Basin College through the Running Start program.
“I chose literary studies because I have always loved reading and writing. As I’ve grown, I’ve also become interested in more complex topics, so literary studies has helped me understand and critically think about what I am reading and writing about. This major also allows me to pursue topics that I am curious about and exposes me to new topics that provide a space where I can discuss and learn about them,” Hinnant said.
Earlier this year, Hinnant received the Emeritus Society Undergraduate Research Grant in Arts and Humanities for her project titled “Experience of Filipina War Brides as Immigrants to the United States After World War II.” Working in collaboration with Patricia Wilde, assistant professor of English, Hinnant’s research incorporates rarely used archives from the Filipina War Brides Association while using a decolonial feminist approach to understand the community building practices of Filipina women in the Pacific Northwest. She will analyze how they managed the challenges of relocating to a new country while preserving their cultural identities from home.
“As a Filipina, my culture and history has been a large source of inspiration for me. I am involved in Asian-American studies, women’s studies, and postcolonial studies because of how I can relate to these fields. English encourages me to explore the subjects that mean a lot to me,” Hinnant said.
Hinnant has also received several other awards throughout her academic career, including the Auvil Scholars Fellowship and President’s Honor Roll, and she credits WSU Tri-Cities professors for her academic success. “Without the help of my professors, Dr. Patricia Wilde, Dr. Michael Mays, and Dr. Gibran Escalera, I would not have had all of the amazing opportunities that I’ve come across. They’ve assisted me through so much and have supported me in my academic endeavors,” Hinnant said. “I chose WSUTC because it is a small campus that allows for more personalized help between staff and students.”
Hinnant’s goal is to publish her research paper to the Peitho Journal and attend graduate school in rhetoric and composition studies, hoping to eventually become either an editor or a professor to conduct more research.
Andrea Manske, WSU Vancouver
The English department’s 2023 Outstanding Senior on the WSU Vancouver campus is Andrea Manske, and according to her mentor, Kandy Robertson, Manske is not just a student: Manske has also been an employee in the WSU Vancouver Writing Center for more than two years. Robertson believes that Manske is one of the most accomplished individuals she has had the experience to work with in her more than 25 years of teaching.
As a valued member of the Writing Center, Manske consistently demonstrates outstanding critical thinking skills, exceptional analytical skills, and superior writing ability. Her professionalism and expertise make Manske one of the center’s most requested tutors, and her compassion and genuine engagement with students leads to their success. Overall, what makes her an exceptional tutor is that she has heart.
As a scholar, Manske is an excellent critical reader and thinker. She has an eye for detail that allows her to deconstruct an idea to better understand it. More importantly, she can convey difficult concepts to students in a clear and patient manner. Andrea can see beyond the surface of a text or a historical event to make connections with life experiences from the world outside of the classroom, thus making history and literature more relevant for her classmates. Moreover, Manske is open to the ideas of others and intelligently incorporates them into her own thinking. Further, she has the exceptional analytical skills necessary to understand the far-reaching implications of an abstract concept. Most importantly, Manske can engage her classmates in discussions of complex concepts that consistently lead to an enhanced learning experience.