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Alissa Cordner
Winter 2023

Whitman Magazine

Sarah Bolton drawing
Message from the president

The New Day Ahead

It’s hard to believe I’ve already been at Whitman for a semester—the time has gone so fast! It has been a pleasure to see the exceptional work happening in our community.

I am so grateful for the hundreds of loyal alumni and families who came out to presidential gatherings in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York and Walla Walla.

Making the Invisible Visible
Feature Story

Making the Invisible Visible

Associate Professor of Sociology at Whitman College, Alissa Cordner is an international expert in PFAS, also known as the “forever chemicals” because they can remain in the human body for a lifetime, and in the environment for thousands of years. PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of thousands of synthetic chemicals that scientists have linked to myriad health problems, including cancer and fertility issues. They’re used across modern industrial processes and products, including to make items non-stick, waterproof, stain-resistant and fire-retardant. Cordner founded the PFAS Project Lab where she and her students study the topic.

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Feature Stories

Enjoy highlights from this issue of Whitman Magazine.

Gabe Wasserman

A Dream Come True: Gabe Wasserman ’24 Represents USA in 2022 Maccabiah Games

Whitman College student-athlete Gabe Wasserman ’24 ran in the Maccabiah Games this summer with two goals: 1. Earn a medal. 2. Fully appreciate the opportunity to compete on the world stage. 

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Doug Scarborough

Limitless Possibilities

Doug Scarborough has certainly got it. Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, he was drawn to jazz’s rich history of talent and lively improvisation. “Jazz, at times, is like making music on the spot, improvising a piece with other musicians, and, at its best, it’s the closest thing to flying,” he says.

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Jessica Palacios

Once Upon a Time

It may not read exactly like a fairy tale, but the story of Once Upon a Time, an independent children’s bookstore owned by the family of Jessica Palacios ’16, is filled with some peril and a lot of heart. And like all good tales, it offers a pithy lesson or two.

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Alissa Cordner

Making the Invisible Visible

When Alissa Cordner responds to a wildland fire as a Walla Walla County volunteer firefighter, her mind often connects back to her research at Whitman.

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President's office


In July of 2022, Dr. Sarah Bolton took office leading Whitman College as its 15th president. She also moved into her physical office on the second floor of Memorial Building—a spacious, light-filled room among the trees, with southwest views of Boyer Avenue. 

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On Boyer Avenue

What’s happening on campus—community and college news.

Art gallery

Art Brings Us Together

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Kazi Joshua

Dean of Students Kazi Joshua Named to Governor’s Clemency and Pardons Board

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Book cover

Professor Bobrow-Strain’s Award-Winning Book Inspires Feature Film

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Whitman College Senior Receives Competitive Chemistry Award

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