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CEREO Newsletter- 2017 March

Message from the Director

The status of American infrastructure has been at the center of conversations occurring across the nation over the past several months. A recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our national infrastructure a grade of D+ overall, highlighting the urgent need for repairing and replacing systems from water treatment to energy systems. While that assessment is alarming, rebuilding infrastructure also will create the opportunity to reconfigure these systems for greater sustainability. Newer technology and design principles can be implemented, including green infrastructure and more sustainable materials. From wetlands that help treat wastewater to more efficient energy systems, and  sustainable design practices to environmentally friendly buliding materials, WSU researchers are well positioned to make significant contributions to infrastructure improvement. As the ASCE report points out, these systems are intrinsically linked to each other – for example, greater efficiency in water systems reduces the pressure that we put on energy systems, and vice versa – providing additional incentive to take an interdisciplinary approach to infrastructure problems.

– Stephanie

Research News

NSPIRE-ing Pathways- Bringing science to policy through a new generation of scientists

The array of environmental challenges facing society today ranges broadly, from water scarcity to atmospheric pollution, and solutions to these problems will require informed decision-making.   Scientific research can provide resource managers and policy makers with critical information about the complex interactions and impacts human activities have on atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic hydrologic systems.  However, few scientists and engineers ever receive training on how to translate and communicate scientific information to those making policy decisions.

The Nitrogen Systems: Policy-oriented Integrated Research and Education (N-SPIRE) IGERT graduate program was designed to create a new generation of scientists with broad and rigorous training in nitrogen cycling who seamlessly integrate nitrogen cycle science for effective communication with public policy makers.   Students in this program benefited from not only interdisciplinary coursework, but were each able to pursue a Capstone Policy Internship with a policy-oriented agency or organization in the U.S. or internationally.

With an increasing number of graduate students seeking careers outside of academia, these internships have played a pivotal role for many students by helping them identify where their research and expertise fits into today’s problems, Julian Reyes, a recent graduate, has blogged about his experience, saying “My IGERT training has helped me to engage fully in our stakeholder-involved modeling research and deepened my understanding of the intricacies of the relationship between science and policy. Not only do I have a better mechanistic understanding of the ecosystem processes occurring, but I also have a robust sense of the critical issues at bay.”

The NSPIRE students who have finished their graduate training and entered the workforce represent a spectrum of bright minds now placed in jobs that range from academic, to governmental, to non-profit organizations.  CEREO is proud to have supported these students, and those still in training, who are capable of helping science and policy work hand-in-hand to address today’s major environmental problems.

C-NSPIRE Graduate Certificate Program- Accepting Applications

The C-NSPIRE graduate certificate aims to develop among students a critical scientific understanding of the elemental cycles and, in particular, to understand how scientific research informs policy needed to address environmental and global change issues.

This certificate offers students an interdisciplinary framework for exploring carbon and nitrogen cycling in the environment while also providing effective training and experience in public policy and science communication.  Aimed at students with environmental interests in engineering, sciences and agriculture, this program blends course-based learning with communication training and a capstone experience.  Research assistantships are available to support policy-based internships and other science-policy experiences.

To learn more about the program and to submit an application, please visit:


C-NSPIRE Information

Other News

Upcoming CEREO-Sponsored Workshops

Carpentry Workshops

CEREO and WSU’s Graduate and Professional Student Association are pleased to offer two workshops aimed at teaching researchers and students the fundamental skills needed to help them be more productive in the data-oriented and computational aspects of their research.  Each workshop is a two-day, hands-on event that uses short tutorials and practical exercises done via live coding.  No prior experience with R or programming is necessary; however, participants will be required to bring a laptop.  Registration is limited to 30 participants at each event.  Last year’s workshops filled up quickly – attended by faculty, staff, and students – and led to sustained interactions, including the ongoing CEREO-sponsored R working group. Once again, CEREO will sponsor travel for a limited number of non-Pullman WSU researchers.

Environmental Science Communication Writing Workshop

Given the success of past science communication workshops, CEREO is pleased to be co-sponsoring an environmental science writing workshop and the English Departments at Washington State University and the University of Idaho This afternoon workshop is aimed at helping anyone who is interested in communicating their science ideas and opinions to the broader public.  Registration is limited to 30 participants at each event.

Data Carpentry: 20-21 March

The Data Carpentry workshop is geared towards those interested in developing core skills for working with data effectively and reproducibly.  This workshop covers the fundamental, computational skills needed for data management and analysis, including how to create, clean and import data, and write statistical and plotting scripts in R that are readable, reusable and reliable.   This workshop will be held in 20-21 March, 2017.

Register today at:

Software Carpentry: 6-7 April

The Software Carpentry workshop is aimed at those who are interested in learning how to automate tasks using the Unix shell, how to track and share work using version control, and how to write software in R that is readable, reusable and reliable.  This workshop will be held 6-7 April, 2017. 

Registration, limited to 30 participants, will open in mid-March 2017.

Environmental Science Writing for Public Impact Workshop: 12 April

This workshop is designed for environmental scientists who’d like to learn how to tailor their ideas and information for the general public through such outlets as op-eds, letters to the editor, blog entries, and press releases. Four experienced environmental writers from the English Departments at Washington State University and the University of Idaho will lead a discussion of several models of powerful science writing, work in small groups with scientists who come to the workshop, and offer strategies for reaching non-scientists.

Registration, limited to 30 participants, will open in mid-March 2017.


General Opportunities

Reflections, Transitions, & Solutions: Perspectives on the Past, Present & Future of Environmental Issues
Abstract submission deadline: March 10, 2017 The conference will serve to forge or strengthen interdisciplinary ties as we critically reflect on the environment as a dynamic process of both physical conditions and social understandings. Together, we will explore pressing questions about how best to engage in meaningful interdisciplinary work to both recognize and respond to environmental realities. To submit abstracts please email Conference date: April 1, 2017 at WSU FLYER

WRRC 2017 Conference
Tuesday, March 28, 2017, University of Arizona Student Union Tucson, Arizona
Early bird rate – $95 (until Feb. 28th; thereafter $120)
Student rate – $40
Arizona is facing the challenge of future water demands outstripping supplies. Join us as we discuss and debate our options, including water conservation, changing crop mixes, and alternative water sources. Outside-of-the-box collaborative thinking is essential to pave the way for Arizonans to move into our future water reality.
Agenda and Registration

WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition Issues Call for Abstracts
October 4-6, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV.
Professionals, scientists, government employees, organizations, public and private institutions, policy makers, students, and all others working in an industry related to water efficiency are invited to submit abstracts for the 10th annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition.
The deadline for receipt of abstracts is Friday, February 10, 2017.
For additional information or to submit abstracts, click here.

Faculty Opportunities

Director of the Center for Water Policy, School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Type: Administrative Leadership Appointment within UWM Official Title: Director, Unspecified (9) or Academic Program Director Preferred Start Date: August 21, 2017 Application Deadline: Open until filled, screening begins March 15, 2017 Applications must be electronically submitted at Inquiries about this position can be directed to Sandra McLellan ( or Scott Graham (grahams@uwm.ed).

Student Opportunities 

DataONE Summer Internship Projects Announced
Six different project opportunities through the DataONE Summer Internship Program.  Applications are being accepted from now until March 17th 2017.
For full information and to apply, visit  You will also find a link to other internship opportunities offered by DataONE leadership and partners.

 WSU Student Water Club
There is a new Water Club at WSU, it is for undergraduate and graduate students interested in water-related sciences to have a hands-on opportunity to experience each other’s research, share in new opportunities, and socialize in a relaxed environment.
This will be a contingent run by students and for students. No prior background with water-related study is required!
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email Michael Meyer ( or Julie Padowski (

2017 EcoFS Summer Course Flyer
Caribbean Ecosystem Field Studies * Study, snorkel & SCUBA dive on the Caribbean coral reef of Mexico *     May 21- June 10  or  June 14 – July 4 Colorado Ecosystem Field Studies   * Study, camp, & hike in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado *    June 18 – July 8  or  July 15- August 4 For all course information visit the website:

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