Message from the Director

In traveling around the State to get to know the WSU system over the past year since my arrival, I’ve been impressed with the high caliber of research, education and outreach activities underway, the collegiality woven into the fabric of WSU culture, and the widespread commitment to interdisciplinarity and cross-sector work that are so essential in addressing environmental challenges. Thank you for offering your time and energy to introduce me to your work – it’s been quite a warm welcome!

I know that you will similarly welcome the new staff and leadership that have joined CEREO recently!  Dr. Julie Padowski is a new Clinical Assistant Professor working with CEREO. She arrived in October, from a postdoctoral appointment at Stanford University, and she brings a wealth of experience in interdisciplinary environmental research with a specialty in water sustainability. Jacqueline McCabe is CEREO’s new Principal Assistant, most recently from the WSU Access Center, and Preston Comstock is already a familiar face to you, continuing at CEREO as our Grants and Contracts Manager.

Julie, Jacqueline, and Preston all have shared appointments with the State of Washington Water Research Center, and the SWWRC has been especially generous in its support of CEREO – including volunteering to share its space in Albrook Hall with us until the new PACCAR Environmental Technology Building is ready for a 2015 move-in!

Several WSU faculty have newly joined our Executive Committee in recent months as well – Jay Hmielowski and Asaph Cousins – we are delighted to welcome them to the ExComm (and trying hard to not scare them away with all the multidisciplinary acronyms – hang in there, guys!).

In the past year, the CEREO affiliates database has grown from about 250 to over 350 faculty and students. It’s quite a broad community, and we encourage you to explore the expertise represented by these affiliates!

This is the inaugural issue of what will be a monthly CEREO newsletter. Here we’ll summarize exciting CEREO research and emerging topics, alert you to funding and other opportunities, and also aggregate general items of interest that might have previously gone out in separate emails. Please read on for more news, opportunities and upcoming events!

– Stephanie


Research Highlights

NSPIRE student videos highlight graduate program success

Graduate students from the IGERT-NSPIRE program share their experiences translating research into science information for policy makers in the new CEREO video co-produced by the Murrow College. Each student in the NSPIRE interdisciplinary training program was given the opportunity to select a governmental, political, scientific or non-profit agency or organization within which to spend a three-month science/policy internship.

During their immersion in the policy world, students were able to interact with other scientists, engineers, politicians and managers giving them a first-hand perspective on how science is implemented in the policy world and experience in communicating their own research projects to those around them. These students now see themselves as “boundary spanners” or scientists and engineers who can discuss science with policy makers and the public to help them make informed decisions.  Jason Williams, one of the NSPIRE students describes the internships as “… valuable experiences working in [policy-oriented] agencies to understand how policy and science interact, how science is used to inform, implement and create policy, and has given us a lot of relevant working experience for our future careers”.

This focus on the science-policy interface has also broadened students’ expectations and understanding of how and where science research can be applied after graduation. As Julian Reyes, another NSPIRE student points out, “I always thought getting a PhD meant you have to teach and do research at some sort of university, but we saw lots of different people working at this intersection… [using] science to better inform policy”.

These internship experiences have proven to be an overwhelming success for the NSPIRE program, and it is the hope of the program directors that this unique opportunity can be permanently incorporated into the new CNSPIRE program through an endowed internship program.

Important Dates

January 21, 2015– An informational meeting  will be held at 4pm in Goertzen Communication Addition 21 for those interested in learning more about the proposal. Interested students or faculty at satellite campuses can attend by phone (509-335-4700, meeting ID#1142). 

January 31, 2015- CEREO Newsroom application deadline

CEREO Newsroom Call for Project Proposals

A new project, the CEREO Newsroom, will support teamwork between CEREO-affiliated graduate students and Murrow College of Communication undergraduates to profile environmentally-related research being done by graduate students through investigative journalism pieces.

CEREO seeks proposals by graduate students who would like to have their own environmental-related research profiled or highlighted in investigative journalism news pieces similar to those found on the Murrow Backpack Journalism website.  The CEREO Newsroom will support 4-6 multimedia projects in 2015 based on project feasibility, potential to catalyze future collaborations, and potential to increase CEREO visibility.

This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to communicate their research to broad audiences and gain training in research communication and video production.

For more information on how to apply, please visit CEREO Newsroom Call for Project Proposals

Other News

CEREO and Honors College Team Up to Offer Spring Undergraduate Seminar Class

This spring, CEREO is excited to merge its seminar series into an Honors College undergraduate seminar course entitled “Honors 499: Dimensions of Environmental Change”.   This weekly seminar will be open to the whole WSU community, and to undergraduates who would like to register for 1 credit. Using the theme of “environmental change”, this class will explore a broad range of environmental issues and the current research underway to address these problems. Students will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with researchers from a variety of physical, natural and social science disciplines.

Seminars will be held on Wednesdays from 2-3pm, location TBA.

2014 CEREO Seed Grant Awardees

We are happy to announce four new interdisciplinary projects selected for CEREO support, ranging from science communication to rangeland conservation, and involving faculty from 5 colleges and 2 campuses.   CEREO seed grants are offered to foster WSU collaborative research and activities that will lead to enduring interdisciplinary collaborations and advance knowledge on tough environmental challenges. “These projects draw on WSU experts across diverse disciplines, throughout our state-wide system, and also strengthen our partnerships with colleagues in government, the non-profit sector, and the general public who are similarly passionate about finding solutions to environmental problems. The creativity and inclusiveness of these projects makes me really proud to be at WSU among such sharp faculty, staff and students”.  The four selected projects are:

Characterizing the effects of stormwater runoff on fish mechanosensory systems

Allison Coffin, Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, WSU-Vancouver
John Stark, Ecotoxicology, Puyallup Research and Extension Center


The CEREO News Room: Increasing the visibility of CEREO projects through interdisciplinary training & education

Jason Williams, PhD Student, Civil & Environmental Engineering, WSU-Pullman
Lucrezia Cuen Paxson, Murrow College of Communication, WSU-Pullman
Brian Lamb, Civil & Environmental Engineering, WSU-Pullman
Todd NortonMurrow College of Communication, WSU-Pullman

Stay tuned for exciting results from these great teams!

 The potential of working lands to promote prairie conservation in Pacific Northwest Prairies

Cheryl B. Schultz, School of Biological Sciences, WSU-Vancouver
Susan Kerr, Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mt. Vernon Research and Extension Center
Stephen Van VleetCenter for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mt. Vernon Research and Extension Center

How to persuade people and change behavior in water contamination: Creating a comprehensive survey through a nation-wide sample

Todd Norton, Murrow College of Communication, WSU-Pullman
Allyson Beall-King, School of the Environment, WSU-Pullman
Jay HmielowskiMurrow College of Communication, WSU-Pullman



Upcoming Opportunities

General Opportunities:

Software Carpentry Workshop– Spring Semester 2015
CEREO will be hosting a two day Software Carpentry workshop where participants will receive hands-on, intensive training using R statistical software through short tutorials and practical exercises.  We are also looking into opportunities for a Data Carpentry workshop. For more information, stay tuned!

Faculty Opportunities:

EPA National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet Applications due Dec 16, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the P3-People, Prosperity and the Planet Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society.

Jefferson Science FellowshipApplications due January 12, 2015

The Jefferson Science Fellowship is open to tenured, or similarly ranked, faculty from U.S. institutions of higher learning who are U.S. citizens. Selected Jefferson Science Fellows spend one year on assignment at the U.S. Department of State or USAID as science advisors on foreign policy issues.

Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) Proposals due January 22, 2015

The MRI Program is intended to assist with the acquisition or development of a single research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs.  The MRI program welcomes substantive and meaningful partnerships for instrument development, including partnerships between the academic and private sectors.

Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) Preliminary proposals due January 23, 2015

The LTREB Program supports the generation of extended time series of data to address important questions in evolutionary biology, ecology, and ecosystem science.

PSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program– Proposals due February 20, 2015

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide.

Research Coordination Networks (RCN)  – Proposals due March 2, 2015

The RCN program seeks to advance a field or create new directions in research or education by supporting groups of investigators to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic and international boundaries. Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies, collaborative technologies, and development of community standards for data and meta-data are especially encouraged.

Student Opportunities:

United Nations CSD Internship Program Applications due December 15, 2014

Opportunity for graduate and post-graduate students to gain experience intern with UN offices around the world.  Students will enhance their educational experience through practical work assignments and deepen their knowledge and understanding of the United Nations’ goals, principles and activities.

Future Earth Young Scientists Networking Conference on Integrated ScienceApplications due December 22, 2015

Early career researchers (post-doctoral researchers) with diverse backgrounds and research perspectives are sought to reflect on Future Sustainability and the role of Science and debate relevant issues as part of a series of conferences on Integrated Science that are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

George Melendez Wright Young Leaders in Climate Change (YLCC) InternshipApplications due January 30, 2015

The YLCC program provides opportunities for young people to work on diverse issues related to climate change and its effects in national parks.   This paid internship is available for undergraduate or beginning graduate students who would like to spend approximately 12 weeks working on projects in research, interpretation, park operations, policy development, or other fields.

CEREO Newsroom Call for Project ProposalsApplications due January 31, 2015

CEREO is seeking proposals by graduate students who would like to have their own research profiled or highlighted in investigative journalism news pieces similar to those found on the Murrow Backpack Journalism website. This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to communicate their research to broad audiences and gain training in research communication and video production.

If you would like to receive the newsletter and other CEREO items of interest via email, please register here as a CEREO affiliate.  If you would just like to receive the monthly CEREO newsletter, please email and we will add your email to this list only.