Skip to main content Skip to navigation
University Convocation 2021

Site Home

University Convocation 2021

Welcome, new Cougs! Convocation is a special event—the official beginning of your academic journey here at WSU Pullman.

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.

2021 Keynote speakers

At the 2021 University Convocation, School of Music, Associate Professor Melissa Parkhurst and a sophomore student speaker 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.

Melissa Parkhurst

Associate Professor
School of Music

Melissa Parkhurst has brought cultural literacy and awareness to thousands of students across the University.  Her courses provide ethnically diverse musical experiences, with performances and lectures from guest artists and hands-on workshops.

Parkhurst  is such an outstanding instructor that her classes are always fully enrolled and and her student evaluations are glowing.

Scholars nationwide have sought and recognized Parkhurst’s expertise:

  • She is a fellow for the WSU’s Center for Arts and Humanities, completing the project, “Field Recordings of Nez Perce Singers”.
  • Her acclaimed book, To Win the Indian Heart: Music at Chemawa Indian School explains the power of music to connect families, tribes, and communities.
  • Her co-edited anthology of songs and oral histories, Nimiipuum We’nipt: Songs of the People (forthcoming), gathers teachings and essays that build understanding of Nez Perce cultural traditions.
  • Parkhurst serves as President of the Association for Faculty Women.

In addition, Washington State University has given her top honors:

  • She is the 2021 awardee of the WSU Faculty Diversity Award, recognizing her among the best of the best at the University.

Central to her work is the concept of “personhood”—that the people about whom she writes and teaches are complex human beings.

2021 Sophomore speaker:

Isabelle Busch

I’m Isabelle Busch, and I’m majoring in Biological Sciences (Ecology & Evolution option) at WSU Pullman. Born and raised in Spokane, Washington, I’m passionate about wildlife conservation and sharing the wonder of science with my peers. WSU’s opportunities in leadership and research, along with the outstanding Cougar community, are why I chose to be a Coug.

  • Isabelle has been an advocate for the Cheetah Conservation Fund for more than 13 years. Last year, she was chosen to design the 2020 International Cheetah Day T-shirt and received a 2020 Distinguished Young Conservationist Hero Award for her ongoing contributions.
  • She is the author and illustrator of Theoretical Dragon Anatomy, published in 2019, which examines dragon anatomy through research on real species.  Her book brings science to a larger audience by explaining fiction through fact.
  • Her WSU achievements so far include being a 2020 Presidential Research Scholar, a Regents Scholar, a Glenn Terrell Presidential Scholar, and a 2021 – 2022 Honors Mentor.
  • Isabelle’s favorite places on campus are the Abelson Greenhouse, Conner Museum of Natural History, Robert P. Worthman Veterinary Anatomy Museum, and the CUB. She can often be found with her binoculars in search of birds on campus, or at Ferdinand’s Creamery enjoying a scoop of espresso chip.


Friday, August 20, 2021

Beasley Coliseum

10 a.m.