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The Insider: College of the Environment Newsletter

From Dean Graumlich

Dean Graumlich

Recently, UW’s President and Provost joined the Deans and Chancellors in a two-day retreat to share our aspirations for the future of our respective colleges. It was a fascinating conversation, in part because of many common themes that emerged. Environmental sustainability is one such theme, which emerged as well from the Provost’s “two years to two decades” focus groups. CoEnv plays a central role in understanding environmental sustainability, and it is only through collaboration that we fully extend that understanding into practice, policy, and decision-making outside of academia.

The College’s collaborative partnerships weave us together, in and across our units and with the broader on- and off-campus community. Partnerships are based in our world-class research centers, such as Friday Harbor Labs, where scientists from around the world come together to further our understanding of coastal and marine ecosystems. Tightly connected to its local community, Friday Harbor Labs is a hub of collaborative discovery – just check out their most recently published papers to get a flavor of the exploration that this center facilitates. Importantly, it’s in these porous research environments where leading-edge study of emerging problems like ocean acidification can move most rapidly.

Other collaborations are aimed at increasing conversation around our research.  Science Online Seattle is a newly created monthly event in partnership with CoEnv, COMPASS, the Open Science Federation, and Nature.com, and in association with ScienceOnlineNOW. The first event will take place on April 16th, and I am excited to join as one of the panelists. We will be exploring topics like the science-media-public nexus, open science, big data, and citizen science, all topics in which collaboration is inherent. I hope you will join us in these conversations, either in person, through live-streamed video, or on Twitter at #sosea.

Still other partnerships link the College with entities deeply engaged in formulating new policies for addressing complex environmental issues. The Climate Impacts Group (CIG), a part of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, excels at productive partnerships precisely because of the inherent value placed on collaborative knowledge production. In the past few weeks alone, CIG has participated in the Western Governors’ Association Pacific Northwest Weather and Climate Outlook Forum, engaged with the Government Accountability Office and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and is working with multiple local partners such as Sound Transit to help our communities adapt their infrastructure to the effects of climate change. CIG not only facilitates grassroots collaborations across the Puget Sound to assist communities in preparing for and adapting to the effects of global warming; its members make their research accessible in traditional scholarly outlets, as well as others like TEDx and PBS.

Tackling society’s grand challenges can be a daunting task. Productive partnerships are key to making real progress in moving our scholarship out into the real world.

Lisa Graumlich Signature

Lisa Graumlich
Dean, UW College of the Environment



Washington Governor Convenes Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is a worldwide phenomenon that may prove especially problematic in Puget Sound. The ocean absorbs roughly one-third of the 77 million tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere every day, which reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid.  This makes seawater progressively more corrosive and affects the survival of shell-forming organisms such as clams and oysters.

In response to a recent Washington Sea Grant hosted symposium on ocean acidification, Gov. Chris Gregoire formed a Blue Ribbon Panel to address the effects of ocean acidification on Washington's shellfish resources. The panel was convened under the auspices of the Washington Shellfish Initiative – an agreement among federal and state governments, tribes and the shellfish industry – to restore and expand Washington's shellfish resources, promote clean-water commerce and create family-wage jobs.

The panel held its first meeting in late March. Composed of scientific experts – including College of the Environment researchers Richard Feely, Carolyn Friedman, Terrie Klinger, Ed Miles, Jan Newton, and Jennifer Ruesink – public opinion leaders, state, federal, tribal and local policy makers and industry representatives, the panel will point the way to advancing scientific understanding of the effects of ocean acidification and help shape the state’s response to the problem.  For more information, click here.


EPA Administrator to Speak at UW Commencement

EPA Administrator Jackson Lisa Jackson – administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – will travel to Seattle to be the commencement speaker at this year’s UW graduation ceremony on June 9th at CenturyLink Field.  Jackson recently visited the UW and was hosted by Dean Graumlich as she visited with students and industry leaders in the greater Seattle area to talk about the environment, energy, and supporting jobs in the green economy.  To read more about Jackson and her upcoming visit, click here.


UW Ranks as a Top School in the Peace Corps Master’s International Program

The University of Washington placed near the top – tying for third – in the Peace Corps rankings of leading Master’s International Graduate Schools this year.  Many program participants are College of the Environment students, utilizing their Peace Corps volunteer service to work on projects related to his or her master’s studies.  Students begin their studies on campus, serve overseas with the Peace Corps for two years, then return to school to finish their work. For more information about the program and UW’s ranking, click here.

Another Successful Environmental Innovation Challenge

Environmental Innovation ChallengeThe UW Foster School’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship oversaw another successful Environmental Innovation Challenge this year, showcasing the best and brightest ideas from interdisciplinary student teams on how to tackle big environmental problems.   Cosponsored by the College of the Environment and several other UW academic units and partners, the Challenge was held on March 29th.  The five winning teams – from a total of 23 teams in the competition spanning five Pacific Northwest universities – received a grand total of $22,500 in prize money for their novel ideas, which included creating highway barriers out of recycled tires, sustainable, disaster-relief shelters, urban greenhouses and more.  To read more about the projects and winners, click here.


Orca Bowl – Friday Harbor High School Wins Ocean Sciences Competition

Every year, high-school students from all over the state travel to the University of Washington to participate in the regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl – known locally as the Orca Bowl – to test their knowledge about the world’s oceans. Administered by Washington Sea Grant, fifteen teams participated in the competition with Friday Harbor High School emerging as this year’s winner, holding on to their two-year title. Capitalizing on their continued relationship with the Friday Harbor Labs, students connected with NSF GK12 graduate student Fellows already teaching in the high school classrooms to help prepare for the competition. The winning team will now travel to compete in the 15th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Baltimore from April 19-22nd. Congratulations to Friday Harbor High School and good luck in the national competition!

For more information on the Orca Bowl, click here.


Save the Date

Science Online Seattle – Inaugural Event

Science Online Seattle logo The digital age is profoundly reshaping our information landscape, challenging us with an unprecedented opportunity to transform how we conduct and communicate research.  Science Online Seattle will kick off its first event on April 16th with an exploration of what exactly it means to do science in a digital world.  Panelists include Lisa Graumlich (Dean, College of the Environment), Brian Glanz (Open Science Federation), Firas Khatib and Seth Copper (both of Fold.It.)

Science Online Seattle is a newly created monthly event in partnership with College of the Environment, COMPASS, the Open Science Federation, and Nature.com, and in association with ScienceOnlineNOW.  For more information on the April 16th kickoff event, click here.


College of the Environment Open House at UW Husky Fest
Husk Fest logo
Husky Fest is just around the corner, and the CoEnv will be hosting an open house to showcase all the fantastic research happening within our units.  Join us on April 21st to see what we’re up to, learn about our research and initiatives, and meet the people that make the College extraordinary.  For more information about our Open House, click here.


Upcoming Lecture: Engineering the Climate – now or never?

The Department of Atmospheric Sciences is pleased to host the upcoming lecture Engineering the Climate: Now or Never? featuring Professor Steve Rayner, Oxford University and Professor David Keith, Harvard University.  The lecture will focus on the controversial topic of geoengineering, which explores potential solutions to human-induced climate change.  The lecture will take place on the UW campus on April 23rd.  For more details on the lecture and this event, please visit and RSVP here.


Spring “Meet, Greet, Teach” Event Discusses Social Media in the Classroom

Meet, Greet, Teach The College of the Environment will host the next “Meet, Greet, Teach” event for faculty, postdocs, grad students and staff on April 24, 5-6:30 pm in Program on the Environment Commons (Wallace Hall) 012.  Panelists Dargan Frierson (Atmospheric Sciences), Richard Karpen (School of Music, Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media), and Josh Tewksbury (Biology) will be discussing how social media can play a role in the classroom and the benefits and challenges of going viral.

Meet, Greet, Teach offers graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with an interest in interdisciplinary, environmental education a chance to interact with faculty from across campus who are willing to share their enthusiasm and their experience. Attendees have a chance to mix and mingle before settling down to a 30-minute "fast panel."  To be added to the e-mail contact list for the series, please e-mail coenvaad@uw.edu.  Please RVSP by April 20, 2012. 


CoEnv Events Calendar

You can stay current on the many new and on-going series of seminars happening throughout the College and elsewhere through our events calendar or by subscribing to our weekly events bulletin.



For & About Students

College of the Environment Scholarships – APPLY NOW!

The College of the Environment is pleased to announce the availability of student scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Deadline: April 18, 2012

Clarence H. Campbell Endowed Lauren Donaldson Scholarship

This scholarship is made possible by the generosity of Clarence H. Campbell in memory of Lauren "Doc" Donaldson. Professor Lauren "Doc" Donaldson earned his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Washington in 1931. He served on the faculty of the School of Fisheries from 1932 until his retirement in 1973. Doc was a world-renowned expert in development of fish stocks, and trained countless students in freshwater fisheries research and management. Clarence Campbell, '30, established this fund to recognize Doc's lasting influence.

 These scholarships are available to any student (undergraduate or graduate) pursuing a degree in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, or the School of Oceanography. Previous recipients may re-apply. Award decisions will be based upon academic merit and financial need.


Nancy Wilcox Scholarship

This scholarship is made possible by the generosity of former UW Provost Phyllis Wise, who established it to support students pursuing degrees in the College of the Environment. Dr. Wise named the endowment in honor and memory of her late sister, Nancy E. Wang Wilcox, a middle school teacher who tried to develop the minds of young adolescents using creative and innovative ways of learning. It is this legacy that inspired Provost Wise to establish this endowment to carry on her sister’s commitment to helping others achieve their educational goals.

 These scholarships are available to entering freshmen or transfer students who are pursuing or plan to pursue a degree in the College of the Environment. The Nancy Wilcox Scholarship is part of the “Students First” program at the University of Washington. Recipients will be eligible for continued scholarship funding as long as they meet satisfactory progress requirements. Award decisions will be based upon financial need, and, secondarily, academic merit.

Visit the CoEnv website for detailed application instructions.


College of the Environment Student Meeting Fund – APPLY NOW!

Spring Quarter Deadline: April 18, 2012

The College of the Environment supports undergraduate and graduate students in furthering their careers, and in particular in connecting students to networking opportunities afforded by the presentation of their original work in meeting venues. CoEnv supports two types of student attendance at meetings:

Student-Organized Meetings
(maximum of $1,500 or 20% of total expenditures, whichever is smaller; one per organization annually; maximum of 4 awards given out annually)

CoEnv supports a range of student organizations that organize and host meetings attended by CoEnv students where central goals of the meeting include linking science (natural and/or social) to policy or real world application; and interdisciplinary attendance realized within CoEnv as attendance and presentation by students from multiple units within the College.  CoEnv will competitively award grants to student organizations for partial funding of interdisciplinary, student-run meetings at which CoEnv students are presenting original (including co-authored work where the student is first author) work.

Individual Student Travel to Meetings
(maximums of $300 for North American travel and $500 for all other international travel; one per student per degree career;
 maximum of 10 awards given out annually)
CoEnv realizes that presentation of original work at national or international meetings hosted by scientific/academic societies can truly accelerate the career of a student. Because grant and contract funding, unit-based funding sources, and/or individual resources are occasionally not enough to cover travel expenses, the CoEnv will competitively award travel grants to individual students on a one-time basis who are giving oral presentations of their original work (including co-authored work where the student is first author).

Visit the CoEnv website for detailed application instructions.


Opportunity – Climate Change Internship Program

The National Park Service's George Melendez Wright Climate Change Internship Program is now accepting applications for paid 12-week internships related to various aspects of climate change in national parks, including research and monitoring, communication, interpretation and education, adaptive management, and mitigation.  Project descriptions, eligibility requirements, and application materials are available on the National Council for Science and the Environment’s website.


Student Spotlight – Diana Pietri, Graduate Student

Diana PietriDiana Pietri always had an interest in the sea, but a chance opportunity to witness the birth of a killer whale on a childhood trip to Sea World set her on a life path to better understand the ocean and its inhabitants, and work towards its conservation. 

Fast-forward two decades, Diana – a graduate of the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and now a second year PhD student in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences studying under Professor Stanley Asah – is applying her talents halfway around the globe to protect vibrant coral reef ecosystems.  Through an alliance of six countries dubbed the Coral Triangle Initiative, Diana is working at the intersection of science and policy, helping governments, resource managers, and coastal villages figure out ways to collaborate and safeguard the rich coral reef ecosystems in their waters.  And this isn’t just any reef system – it’s the global epicenter for coral diversity, providing a home to more than 3,000 species of fish on which nearly 120 million people depend upon. 

Diana’s interest in conservation did not always include an appreciation for its connection to people.  But previous work in Belize with fishermen showed her that for many, livelihoods are deeply connected to healthy, thriving ecosystems. “I want my research to have really strong policy applications and salience to managers involved in resource management collaborations, looking at how we can sustain large-scale conservation efforts where local communities are involved in protecting the resources in their own backyard,” says Pietri.

Thinking about those social threads she began searching for graduate programs focused on natural and social sciences, as well as policy, leading her to UW’s College of the Environment.  Here the combination of opportunities and support were ripe to help Diana reach her goals.  Along with teaching classes at the College, she has found support in the UW Boeing International Fellowship, ARCS and GO-MAP Fellowships, and is now immersed in the NSF-funded IGERT Ocean Change program.


Making a Difference - Private Support

Private gifts and grants make all the difference in the lives of our students, faculty, and programs. Did you know the College is the beneficiary of hundreds of gifts and grants annually from generous and far-sighted donors whose philanthropy make possible student scholarships and fellowships, the advance of critical research, and outreach involving multiple corporate, non-profit, agency, and community partners?  For more information on ways to make a gift, or programs you can support, please contact Marilyn Montgomery, CoEnv's Assistant Dean for Advancement, at 206-221-0906 or mmmontg@uw.edu.


We would like to note, and express our appreciation, for a few of our recent gifts made in the last two months:

Microsoft commits $42,000 to weather prediction research in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences
The Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and specifically the research of Professor Cliff Mass, will benefit from a generous $42,000 gift from Microsoft.  Microsoft is interested in building state-of-the-art weather information into its search engine (Bing) and upcoming Windows 8, and will be working with Atmospheric Sciences to take advantage of weather technologies and approaches developed at the UW, a national leader in high-resolution and probabilistic weather prediction. This gift will enable Professor Mass to hire a research assistant to work on critical studies of weather prediction and forecasting. 

Everett and Andrea Paup support the Department of Earth and Space Sciences
Through a generous charitable gift annuity, Everett (Pete) and Andrea Paup will eventually establish a discretionary endowment providing the Chair of Department of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) with precious flexible dollars to address strategic priorities and opportunities.  Earlier, the Paups made a thoughtful contribution in support of the renovation of Johnson Hall, the home of ESS.  We are most grateful for gifts such as these as they represent significant and enduring investments in outstanding academic programs known for producing leaders in a host of environmental fields.
Charitable gift annuities are a very attractive option for securing generous guaranteed and tax-wise income over a lifetime while also making a meaningful future gift to the program of the donor’s choice. 

John and Gail Eyler support CoEnv Strategic Opportunities Fund
John and Gail Eyler have made a generous pledge to launch the College of the Environment’s Strategic Opportunities Fund, providing the Dean with flexible funding for critical faculty recruitment and retention.  A member of the College’s Advisory Board, and retired CEO, John firmly believes in the power of leaders having access to discretionary funds to help compete for the best academic talent across the country, and indeed, the world.   John and Gail are devoted to a number of environmental organizations, and regularly volunteer their time and expertise.  The College is most grateful to be the beneficiary of this visionary gift, and we salute the Eylers for their far-sighted and generous support.  


Private Funding Opportunities 
Please contact Chris Thompson, CoEnv’s Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations, for more information about this opportunity or other corporate and foundation engagement, at 206-221-6372 or csthomp@uw.edu.

Funding Available to Promote Protection of Coastal and Marine Fish Habitats Through National Fish Habitat Partnership
NOAA Fisheries and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are soliciting projects to support the protection of coastal and marine fish habitats through NFHP Fish Habitat Partnerships. Protection under NFHP consists of voluntary and non-regulatory actions that maintain, or prevent the decline of, aquatic habitat and aquatic resources that depend on those habitats. Successful proposals will provide protection of coastal and marine fish habitats through cooperative, non-regulatory approaches as a primary benefit of the project; demonstrate how proposed actions will result in quantifiable fish habitat protection; address a strategic habitat protection priority of one or more of the eight coastally focused Fish Habitat Partnerships, as identified in a partnership's strategic plan; support knowledge transfer and lessons learned to other entities protecting fish habitat; and be supported by the relevant NFHP Fish Habitat Partnership, local constituencies, and affected landowners.  For more information, visit NFWF’s website. Deadline for pre-proposal: May 1, 2012.




Congratulations to Oceanography graduate student Elizabeth Tobin on recently publishing an op-ed in the LA Times. In it, she details the importance of using the right words to illustrate scientific phenomena – check it out here.


The Department of Earth and Space Sciences was ranked #10 in the nation for their graduate programs in geology and geophysics by U.S. News and World Report.  You can read about it and other rankings here.


Big congratulations to the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences winners of this year’s Silvicultural Challenge, an annual collaboration by SEFS and the University of British Columbia.  The team included Hunter Decker, Paul Fischer, Rachel Larsen, John Simeone, Eric Snoozy, and Andrea Watts, with faculty leadership by Greg Ettl and David Ford.  Read about the Challenge here.

Estella Leopold (Professor Emeritus in Biology, Adjunct Professor in SEFS, ESS, and QRC) was awarded the Seattle Girls’ School’s 2012 Grace Hopper Outstanding Achievement Award.  As a paleobotanist, Leopold has spent more than fifty years combing through pollen fossils to reconstruct the history of climate change and plant evolution on our planet. She has used her scientific expertise to lobby successfully for conservation efforts across the country.  To read more about this award, click here.



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