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The Insider: College of the Environment Newsletter

From Dean Graumlich

Dean Graumlich

Once again we’ve arrived at the end of an academic year, a time to pause and reflect on the progress we’ve made as individual scholars and as a community. One of the exciting steps that we have taken as a College is the development of the CoEnv Strategic Direction. I have enjoyed working with faculty, staff and students across the College as we hone the language that describes our values and goals, and the steps we are taking to achieve the highest potential of the College of the Environment.

In the past month I have also had many opportunities to observe the crucial role the CoEnv student body plays in reaching our potential. Students across the College display a disciplinary depth and interdisciplinary breadth that exemplify how much we already embody the strategic direction of CoEnv. Our students’ disciplinary excellence was on display at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, one of the largest in the country, where almost 50 students from around the College presented their original research. CoEnv students consistently apply their learning to real-world challenges, for example through the PoE Capstone Experience, where undergraduates complete a project-based internship with a community partner (NGO, government agency, business). This year’s students presented the results of their experiences at the capstone symposium, and I was fortunate to see some fantastic projects presented there.

The students in CoEnv are also committed to sharing their rich and focused scholarship with their communities, from presenting their research for crowdfunding opportunities to providing commentary to documentaries at the Seattle International Film Festival. This year’s CoEnv Awards also celebrate how our students seek out wonderful ways in which to give back to their fellow scholars, through innovative mentoring and translational activities.

I’m proud that in partnership with many generous donors CoEnv has been able to provide support to our students’ scholarship in multiple ways this year. We awarded almost $40,000 in CoEnv Scholarships for the upcoming academic year. We also established a new Student Meeting Fund, to fund student-organized meetings and individual travel to conferences such as the GPSS Science and Policy Summit.

Finally, I’m thrilled to share that the College of the Environment has taken a cue from our progressive student body in the way that we honor our graduates. This year we have purchased carbon offsets in celebration of each of our 460 graduating students. We recognize that our students are the next leaders in environmental science and decision-making; a contribution to the long-term sustainability of our society and our environment strikes us as a wonderful way to celebrate their present and future achievements. We worked with Carbonfund.org, and our graduating students voted to support both Reforestation & Avoided Deforestation Projects and Renewable Energy & Methane Projects. We were able to offset one metric ton of CO2 per graduating student – and when added all together, it offsets the emissions from burning over 50,000 gallons of gasoline.

I honor the CoEnv graduating class of 2012, and I am committed to making sure that CoEnv continues to provide rigorous and responsive educational programs that engender new insights and new solutions for our environment and our communities.

Lisa Graumlich Signature

Lisa Graumlich
Dean, UW College of the Environment



College of the Environment Strategic Direction

Strategic Direction

After many months of discussion and deliberation, we are pleased to share with you our College-Wide Strategic Direction for 2012-2017.  In it, we detail our vision for the College and five separate but related objectives to achieve over the next five years.  We encourage you to read it for yourself, and hope it helps you gain a sense of where the College is now, where we are going, and how we might get there.


URS image

Campus-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium

By all accounts, the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) was a smashing success again this year.  The 15th annual event took place in Mary Gates Hall, and featured undergraduates from across the campus showcasing their research and findings to a broad audience.  The venue gave students the chance to connect with other students, faculty, and members of the UW communities in Bothell and Tacoma.   A total of 49 CoEnv students participated in the event, and 66 CoEnv faculty served as mentors in the process.


UW Restoration Ecology Network Capstone Symposium
Multidisciplinary student teams from three UW campuses spent eight months working to restore damaged ecosystems for community-based clients across the Puget Sound region. Congratulations to all who participated in these collaborative projects, showcasing the innovative, science-based approaches developed and used by the students. These projects continue an award-winning capstone program, involving over 450 students, 36 community partners, and 76 restoration projects over the last 13 years.

Washington Sea Grant Announces New Marine Research Projects

Washington Sea Grant LogoWashington Sea Grant will fund 11 new research projects from 2012 to 2014, addressing a variety of issues and challenges facing the region’s marine environment. In addition, WSG will continue to fund two ongoing projects and contribute to two new West-Coast-wide social-science projects.  WSG selects, funds, oversees and manages marine-related projects carried out by academic and research institutions throughout Washington. During the 2012- 2014 period, WSG expects to allocate nearly $2.29 million for research. The new projects were chosen from 66 preliminary proposals seeking more than $13 million collectively over the biennium.  For more information and a list of the funded projects, click here.



Save the Date

Next Science Online Seattle - in Partnership with Seattle Science Festival

SoSea Science Seattle

Can the online world save the real world? Join us on June 13th as we partner with the Seattle Science Festival to consider the online dimensions of “Our Changing Planet”, and the role that the rapidly changing virtual world has in responding to global change.  We will livestream and live-tweet this provocative panel discussion, and then we’ll host an afterparty conversation with the speakers, in the Governor’s Room at Hotel Deca, at 4507 Brooklyn Ave NE, where we’ll explore science communication, advocacy, and effective mobilization of social movements: what can the online discussion REALLY accomplish? Sign up here!


Love Purple, Raise Gold!
Love Purple, Raise Gold logo

Love Purple, Raise Gold is a 48-hour online giving event providing an opportunity for our communities to show their Husky Pride through an online gift. In honor of the UW’s 150th Anniversary, the goal is to raise at least $150,000.  We thank you wholeheartedly for you continued support of UW and the College of the Environment – it is through your generosity that we can achieve great things!

When: June 7th-9th
Where: Go to CoEnv’s homepage and click on the Love Purple, Raise Gold icon – once the event goes 'live' on the 7th, you’ll be able to give to the CoEnv fund(s) of your choice!


Getting Out and About – events at Friday Harbor and the UW Botanic Gardens

Lots is happening this summer in some beautiful places – see below for a multitude of events that may be of interest at both the Friday Harbor Labs and the UW Botanic Gardens.

Jazz at the Labs (FHL) – June 16th
Illg Distinguished Lectureship featuring Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer (FHL) – June 28th and July 1st
Summer Camps (UWBG) – July 9 – Aug 10
Night Hikes (UWBG) – June 23rd, July 14th and Aug 25th
Family Ecology Tours (UWBG) – June 16th and Sept 15th


UW Night with the Mariners

Mariners Logo

UW Night with the Mariners is set for Friday, July 13 – come join us for an exciting game between the Mariners and the Texas Rangers!  The UW Alumni Association has discounted seats for UW alumni and friends, and a portion of every ticket sold goes toward UW student scholarship programs. All attendees will also receive a free UW Night with the Mariners t-shirt at the game!

When: Friday, July 13th, 2012; first pitch at 7:10pm
Where: Safeco Field
Cost: $23 view reserved seating (normally $25); $38 field seats (normally $40)

To purchase tickets, click here and enter the promotion code HUSKY. You can select seats and print tickets at the same time.


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 Awards 2012-2013 Dean's Office Scholarships
The College is pleased to announce the following scholarships awarded for 2012-2013:

Del Rio Endowed Scholarship Fund in Environmental Studies
The Del Rio Family Foundation established this Students First scholarship to support entering EOP-eligible freshmen or transfer students in the College of the Environment. The Foundation hopes that through studies and participation in real-world environmental research and problem-solving, students who receive this scholarship will broaden their personal horizons to include issues of global concern and will develop a passion and the skill set for making a difference in the world. 
Recipients (*Denotes continued funding from 2011-2012):

  • Burlyn Birkemeir, Freshman, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Samantha Mendez, Freshman, Pre- Bioresource Science and Engineering
  • Aundrea Lugo Penaloza*, Junior, Bioresource Science and Engineering
  • Tara Wilson, Junior, Environmental Science and Resource Management

Nancy Wilcox Endowed Scholarship
Former University of Washington Provost Phyllis Wise established the Nancy Wilcox Scholarship Endowment to encourage and 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 was devoted to developing 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.   
Recipients (*Denotes continued funding from 2011-2012):

  • Brandon Ringstad*, Junior, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Hayley Davidson*, Sophomore, Environmental Studies
  • Lilia Bannister, Freshman, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Emily Richmond, incoming 2012 Freshman, Environmental Studies

Clarence H. Campbell Endowed Lauren Donaldson Scholarship in Ocean & Fishery Sciences
Clarence H. Campbell established this scholarship in memory of Lauren "Doc" Donaldson to support students in the Schools of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Oceanography.  Professor Donaldson earned his MS and PhD degrees from the UW 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.
Recipients (*Denotes continued funding from 2011-2012):

  • Juliana Houghton, Graduate Student, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Brit Sojka, Graduate Student, Marine and Environmental Affairs
  • Britta Timpane-Padgham, Graduate Student, Marine and Environmental Affairs
  • Sewall Young, Graduate Student, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Nicola Follis*, Senior, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Jennifer Gardner, Senior, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Anne Gower*, Junior, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Cory Baranski, incoming 2012 Freshman, Oceanography
  • Kalloway Page, incoming 2012 Freshman, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences; Oceanography


Spring Conversations on Defining Diversity: Accommodation is More Than Just a Word

CoDD Logo

The College of the Environment hosted this year’s final Conversations on Defining Diversity event for students, faculty, and staff on May 29th.  Panelists Darrel Cowan (Earth & Space Sciences), Kelsey Byers (Biology), Lisa Hannon (School of Environmental and Forest Sciences), and Francoise Papillon (Oceanography) shared their experiences and insights on working with students with disabilities in the classroom, lab and field, and generated ideas for how faculty can create an open, communicative classroom to everyone’s benefit.  Each quarterly Conversations on Defining Diversity will focus on a particular aspect of diversity and feature CoEnv faculty, staff, and students speaking about their experiences, often from very different points of view.  To be added to the e-mail contact list for the series, please email coenvaad@uw.edu


Opportunity – EPA Launches Stormwater Management Competition for College Students

EPA Rainwater Challenge Logo

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new design competition called the Campus RainWorks Challenge to encourage student teams on college and university campuses across the country to develop innovative approaches to stormwater management. Stormwater is a major cause of water pollution in urban areas in the Puget Sound and elsewhere, impacting the health of people as well as rivers, streams, coastal shorelines, lakes, reservoirs, and ponds. The competition will help raise awareness of green design and planning approaches at colleges and universities, and train the next generation of landscape architects, planners, and engineers in green infrastructure principles and design.  




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’d like to note, and express our appreciation, for the following gifts made in the last two months:

Jon and Carol Avent support Geology undergraduate field work
Jon and Carol have been staunch friends and supporters of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) and the UW, and donors to the UW for a remarkable 36 years. Jon, an alumnus who holds both MS and Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences, and Carol have been recognized this year as UW Benefactors, a distinction reserved for some of the University’s most generous donors.  Through the years they have supported the School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences, but much of their philanthropy has been focused on assisting ESS students.  Jon and Carol are passionate about teaching and care deeply about undergraduate students – they believe that ESS offers the very best education for undergraduates in the field of geological sciences. They are especially excited to support field study, as they understand how crucial experiential learning is for ESS students.. Through this most recent gift and their past support, they have enabled a plethora of students to participate in field camps. In May,  the Department of Earth and Space Sciences bestowed the Julian D. Barksdale Distinguished Service Award on the Avents for their exceptional contributions to ESS and the University. 

Private support aids development of Ocean Acidification Blue Ribbon Panel
Announced in February, Governor Christine Gregoire has convened a Blue Ribbon Panel to address the effects of ocean acidification on Washington’s natural resources. Acidified marine waters have been linked to the recent crisis in larval supplies in the Northwest’s shellfish industry, underscoring the need for additional research and policy development. The Panel’s work is being funded by a number of public and private partners, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The Panel is staffed jointly by the Washington Department of Ecology and Washington Sea Grant (a unit in the College of the Environment). In addition, a number of UW faculty will lend their expertise as panel members, and the panel is being co-chaired by Jay Manning and CoEnv Advisory Board member Bill Ruckelshaus. We are grateful to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and additional partners for enabling the panel’s critical work.

Anonymous Donor Helps the Arboretum
Many of you remember hearing about the vandalism in the Gateway to Chile garden at the Arboretum that occurred in early May.  This was the second time in as many years that this area of the park was vandalized, destroying some very beloved plant specimens. Shortly after the incident however, an anonymous donor came forward gifting $43,000 to cover the costs of the damage and restoration.  We are especially grateful for this wonderfully generous and timely support, and wish to acknowledge how the restoration and repair of the Gateway to Chile garden would not be possible without his or her kindness and quick action.


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.

James S. McDonnell Foundation Accepting Applications for Postdoctoral Fellowships in Complex Systems Research
The JSMF Complex Systems program supports scholarship and research directed toward the development of theoretical and mathematical tools that can be applied to the study of complex, adaptive, non-linear systems. It is anticipated that research funded in this program will address important questions in diverse fields. Eligible applicants are Ph.D. students within eighteen months of the anticipated completion of their graduate training. Applicants should not currently have a Ph.D. and should not receive a Ph.D. on or before June 15, 2012. To learn more about this opportunity, please visit the Foundation’s website.
Deadline for application: June 15, 2012

Wells Fargo and National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Launch New Grant Program to Support Community Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship Projects
Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation have announced Environmental Solutions for Communities, a new grant program to help communities in the United States create a more sustainable future through responsible environmental stewardship. Collectively, investments under this initiative will promote a sustainable future for communities by supporting sustainable agricultural practices and private lands stewardship; conserving critical land and water resources and improving local water quality; restoring and managing natural habitat, species, and ecosystems that are important to community livelihoods; facilitating investments in green infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency; and encouraging broad-based citizen participation in project implementation. Grant awards typically range from $25,000 to $250,000. To learn more, view the full RFP.

Alaska Conservation Foundation Announces 2012 Grant Guidelines for Alaska Native Fund
The Alaska Conservation Foundation launched the Alaska Native Fund in 2011 to support Alaska tribes and other Alaska Native nonprofits working to protecting the land, waters, and wildlife integral to their way of life. The fund awards annual grants to qualifying Alaska Native nonprofit organizations and individuals. In order to be eligible for an Alaska Native Fund grant, an individual or organization must perform work that aligns with the priority environmental issues and core strategies supported by the Fund. For the 2012 grantmaking cycle, the priority environmental issues are climate change, food security, sustainable economies, energy, and holistic wellness. Grants to organizations will range from $10,000 to $20,000. For more information, view the full RFP at the Foundation’s website.
Deadline for LOI: July 15, 2012.



CoEnv Community Spotlight

Kristin Laidre

Dr. Kristin Laidre, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Zipping over Greenland in a helicopter tagging polar bears was not really something that Kristin Laidre saw in her future.  The now-former ballerina moved from New York to Seattle to dance with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, later swapping the dancing studio for a laboratory by enrolling at the UW where she ultimately earned her PhD.  Now an assistant professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at UW’s College of the Environment, Laidre studies some of the Arctic’s most charismatic megafauna – narwhals, otherwise known as Arctic whales and of course, polar bears – to learn about how a changing climate is playing out for top predators in high latitudes.

 “The Arctic can tell us a lot about climate change and its effect on the Earth – the region is essentially the canary in the coal mine for what’s going on globally,” remarks Laidre.  Her work focuses on the relationship between animals and their ice covered environment, how that environment is changing and animals adapt.  Not only does Laidre study the animals directly, but they also help her collect information about the physical environment.  In recent work, she outfitted narwhals to take water temperature samples and bowhead whales to measure primary productivity as they dove in icy waters to forage for food.

But Laidre’s world isn’t all high tech.  Tapping into her creative roots, she is utilizing artistic pathways to better connect science to people in the community.  “There are lots of corollaries between art and science that can be merged – ‘observation’ inherently links the two,” says Laidre, speaking of a collaboration between herself and professional expeditionary artist Maria Coryell-Martin.  The two travel to high latitudes, using Laidre’s studies and dramatic landscapes as inspiration and subjects to paint about. They share their work with museums, galleries, and classrooms, using art as a hook for people of all ages to gain interest in science. 

Polar Bear

Laidre pushes the envelope to better understand these changing landscapes and their relationship to others.  In large part, she is also driven by the people that live in these high latitudes, acknowledging an admiration and respect for “how local people are connected to their environment and to an amazingly specialized way of life.”  She’ll be off again soon to spend her summer research season near the ice, hoping to further understand how to better protect the people and mammals connected to it.

To learn more about Dr. Laidre’s research, check out her homepage or contact John Meyer, CoEnv’s Communications Content Specialist at jjmeyer@uw.edu. (photo credits: Dr. Kristin Laidre)



Graduating Class
The Dean’s Office in the College of the Environment wishes to congratulate all of our graduates on the successful completion of your studies in 2012 – we hope you find great success in the next chapter of your lives.  You are a big part of this College’s rich tapestry – we have learned much from you, and wish you the very best in your bright future!


2012 CoEnv Award Winners
The College of the Environment presents year-end awards to outstanding faculty, staff, and students in recognition of their contributions to the College.  Congratulations to this year’s winners!:

Community Impact Award (faculty/staff) – Bill Steele (ESS) 
Community Impact Award (student) – Rachel Mitchell (SEFS)
Distinguished Staff Member – Andrew Sattler (ATMS) 
Outstanding Teaching Faculty – Christian Grue (SAFS) 
Outstanding Researcher – David Montgomery (ESS) 
Graduate Dean’s Medalist – Meryl Mims (SAFS)
Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist – Katelyn Atakturk (ESS)


Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship
Congratulations to Mike Melnychuk on receiving a Canadian Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Dr. Ray Hilborn.


Wagner Fellow
Congratulations to Kristen Rasmussen on being selected the winner of the 2012 Peter B. Wagner Memorial Award for Women in Atmospheric Science.


Pickering Fellow
Congratulations to Victoria Choe – double-major in International and Environmental Studies – who was awarded a Pickering Graduate Fellowship in Foreign Affairs, which provides $40,000 in funding for two years and mentors students to enter the Foreign Service.


Student Video
Each year, the company Herman Miller asks students to submit videos answering the question “What makes your campus green?”  SEFS student Erik Alskog landed an impressive second place finish.  Congratulations to Erik – you can check out his video here.


IGERT Fellows Announced
We extend a big congratulations and welcome to our second cohort of IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) Program on Ocean Change trainees:

Seth Bushinski, Oceanography
Andrea Fassbender, Oceanography
Eliza Heery, Biology
Ashley Maloney, Oceanography
Anna McLaskey, Oceanography
Laura Newcomb, Biology
Emily Newsom, Earth and Space Sciences



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