CWU News

CWU Geography Professor Publishes Essay in Science Magazine

Central Washington University Professor Bob Hickey joined a select group of CWU academics earlier this month when an essay he wrote about his experiences with the Brother 2 Brother (B2B) group was published in Science magazine.

The longtime geography department faculty member has been an advisor with the CWU student group since 2018, and he wanted to highlight the many positive aspects of the program. He submitted the essay — titled “Branching Out as a Mentor” — for consideration last summer, and it appeared on the back page of the May 15 edition of Science.

“I need to make the distinction that this was a one-page essay, not a scientific article,” said Hickey, who began teaching at CWU in 2000. “But Science is the premier general science journal in the United States, so there are definitely some bragging rights.”

In the past five years, only two other CWU faculty members have been published in the magazine. Anne Egger (Geosciences) wrote an essay on engaging students in earthquakes via real-time data and decisions, and Lixing Sun (Biological Sciences) published a review of Mate Choice by Gil Rosenthal. One of Hickey’s former students, Gavin Schag, also was mentioned in the magazine when he received an award for his McNair Scholars Program research.

Hickey said he was motivated to write the piece — included in the magazine’s “Working Life” section — because his experience with B2B has been so rewarding for him, both personally and professionally. In fact, serving as a mentor for the past three years has given him an entirely new perspective on his career. 

“The biggest thing for me is that I communicate better now — particularly with students of color,” he said. “I came into this with a number of assumptions derived from my upbringing that I had to rethink. Now, I can be much more effective. After a few years of effort, I feel like I’m part of the group, and that has definitely made it easier to work with these guys.”

Hickey also credited the work of his B2B predecessors, Keith Champagne and Raymond Hall, as well as the current director, Andre Dickerson. He expects that the group will continue to be a positive influence in the lives of young men at CWU for many years to come.

“It’s just a bunch of guys who have banded together to help each other succeed,” Hickey said. “We have people from all over the world, from all backgrounds, who just want to help each other. It’s been fun and inspiring to be part of a group like that.”

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,