About the event
At University Convocation, presented by BECU, faculty and staff will welcome you to the Cougar Family, introduce you to academic and community leaders, and help you get off to a good start in your first semester.
2022 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
College of Education Associate Professor Zoe Higheagle Strong and sophomore student speaker Roma Samala will give their inside tips and advice on how to get a great start and make the most of your college experience while at WSU.
ZOE HIGHEAGLE STRONG
Associate Professor, College of Education
Zoe Higheagle Strong, a Nez Perce tribal member, became WSU’s first-ever vice provost for Native American relations and programs and tribal liaison to the university president on April 15, 2022. She was recently promoted to associate professor in Educational Psychology, College of Education.
- Higheagle Strong serves in various systemwide leadership roles to support and advance tribal sovereignty and Native American education pathways, knowledge systems, and cultural values in policies, teaching, and programming across WSU.
- She also focuses on creating equitable, safe, and relational learning spaces for those from historically marginalized communities. Recently co-chaired the President’s Task Force for Equitable Policy and Practice and won WSU’s Faculty Diversity Award (2022).
- She remains active in grant-funded applied research that examines social, emotional, cultural, and environmental factors that shape Native American and ethnically diverse adolescent development and educational pathways and outcomes. Higheagle Strong directs the Center for Native American Research and Collaboration.
- Lastly, she is passionate about developing meaningful learning pathways. For example, she collaborated with colleagues to improve the qualitative research methods track, developed the first Indigenous Epistemology and Methodology course, and expanded the Tribal Nation Building Leadership Program courses to offer them across all campuses.
2022 SOPHOMORE SPEAKER
Sophomore Speaker Roma Samala is majoring in international business at WSU Pullman. Born in California, raised in India, Roma has always been inspired by global cultures and strives for cross-cultural experiences in her academic life. She is passionate about the community and interacting with diverse groups of people. She thrives in social, fast-paced business environments and enjoys opportunities that get her involved and on the run. WSU’s warm and welcoming community, leadership, and student involvement opportunities, along with their extensive international business program, are why Roma chose to be a Coug.
- Samala was published in the Land Escapes art journal 2022 for the poem “Let it go” which brings to light the experiences of victims and survivors of sexual assault.
- She attended several WSU career exploration events and was hired as a Pearson Campus ambassador for WSU along with securing other remote internships. She was also involved in giving incoming freshman residential hall tours.
- Samala was a recipient of the Merl Mayo scholarship, DECA involvement scholarship and consistently made the President’s Honor Roll.
Her favorite places on campus include the Spark, the Holland/Terrell Library, the Bookie in the CUB and the Observatory. She is often found at Einstein’s getting a bagel, playing pool with friends, or enjoying the Pullman sunsets at Thompson Flats.