News and events


April 25, 2014 
CEFNS 21th Annual Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium (UGRADS)  
* NAU Skydome * DuBois Center





CEFNS Spring 2014 Pre-Commencement
Reception & Award Ceremony

Friday, May 9, 2014
10:00-11:30 a.m. at the du Bois Ballroom

Light refreshments will be served while the
UGRADS Awards, Agassiz Prizes & Senior Awards are announced

If you are able to attend, please RSVP to
with your name and how many people will be in your party
by Wednesday, April 30th

We hope to see you there!


Congratulations Fall 2013 CEFNS Outstanding Seniors!

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Left to right: Kevin Daniels, Jr., Christian Hochhalter, Calvin Ing, Todd Gonzales

The CEFNS Outstanding Seniors received plaques and recognition at the CEFNS Pre-Commencement Reception in Du Bois Ballroom on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.

Outstanding Senior:      Kevin Daniels, Jr.-Environmental Studies, Chemistry & Biology Majors
Standard Bearer:          Todd Gonzales-Secondary Education-General Science Major
Distinguished Senior:    Christian Hochhalter-Biomedical Science & Chemistry-Health Preprofessional Majors
Nominee:                       Calvin Ing-Civil Engineering Major



Congratulations 2013 CEFNS Gold Axe Award Winners!   

Lavender Gee-Biology
Christian Hochhalter-Biomedical Science and Chemistry-Health Pre-professional
Nicholas Kutsop-Physics and Astronomy
Nikala Lighty-Exercise Science
Katie Stana-Environmental Studies
Zachary Ulibarri-Physics and Electrical Engineering


CEFNS Career Fair  
*Watch for upcoming events*

Career Fair Information


Scholarships and Prizes 

CEFNS Scholarships
Link to the NAU Office of Scholarships and  Financial Aid

8th annual Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing essay competition

The 2014 Entry Deadline has passed.  We will announce the winners in late March.  Thank you for your participation.  The 2015 competition will be announced in October 2014.

Please see the office Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing website for complete competition details.



Biological Sciences seminars
Date: Thursdays during the academic year
Time: 2:45 p.m.
Location: Liberal Arts, Room 125 

Event details: Presentations from faculty and other experts on research and more.    

School of Forestry seminars
Date: Most Wednesdays during the academic year
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Forestry (Building 82), Room 017

Event details: Presentations by individuals from a variety of research and management backgrounds.

Geology seminars
Date: Tuesdays during the academic year
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Geology (Building 12), Room 103

Event details: Presentations from faculty and other experts on research and more.



Research uncovers historical rise, fall and re-emergence of plague strains 

The CEFNS Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen) published a very high-profile paper this week that is bringing a lot of positive attention to NAU. The paper was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases and describes the analysis of plague samples from 6th century victims of the first great plague pandemic.  Read the press release:  and see link to article here:

The story was picked up by a huge number of media outlets, including NPR, the BBC, the LA Times, the New York Times, and many more. Please see this link for a sense of how far reaching the media coverage was:  Paul Keim, Ph.D. and David W. Wagner, Ph.D. did an interview with NPR, which was featured nationally on Morning Edition. You can listen to the story here:


 New Partnership with Lowell Observatory Discovery Channel Telescope
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Seated (left to right):
Lowell Director: Jeff Hall; Lowell Trustee: Lowell Putnam; NAU President: John Haeger

Standing (left to right):
NAU Dean of CEFNS: Paul Jagodzinski; Lowell Advisory Board Membe:r Mike Kitt; NAU Chair of Physics & Astronomy: Steve Tegler; Lowell Astronomer and Deputy Director for Science: Deidre Hunter; Lowell Advisory Board Member: Mike Beckage; NAU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: Laura Huenneke

Northern Arizona University’s (NAU’s) partnership with Lowell Observatory in the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) provides NAU astronomers with local access to a large state-of-the art telescope for astronomical research. NAU astronomers will be able to work on even more cutting-edge problems in astronomy and be in an even better position to compete for research grants. This local partnership means students can much more easily apprentice under NAU and Lowell astronomers and become astronomers in their own right or secure jobs on technical staff of observatories or high-tech companies. Access to the DCT will enable the Department of Physics and Astronomy to recruit even better undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members. The partnership between NAU and Lowell Observatory will not only strengthen the research, teaching, and public outreach collaborations between astronomers of both institutions, but it has the potential to build new collaborations between the two institutions in such areas as engineering, science education, and science journalism.



 Wyss Scholars

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Wyss Scholars Collin Haffey and Audrey Kruse will build on their existing research and pursue conservation leadership roles in the intermountain West.

Two Northern Arizona University graduate students are getting a boost that will help them launch their professional careers as leaders in land conservation.  Collin Haffey and Audrey Kruse were named Wyss Scholars by the Wyss Foundation, which provides scholarships for graduate students who are pursuing careers in land conservation and management in the U.S. intermountain West.

The students will receive partial tuition payments while they complete their master’s degrees in environmental sciences and policy at NAU and a $5,000 summer stipend. Haffey and Kruse also are eligible for support after graduation in the form of post-graduation payments for up to three years while they are launching their careers.

The scholarships are valued at more than $30,000 apiece and are awarded to select students committed to conservation at five universities across the nation.


Two CEFNS students have received prestigious $10,000 Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship awards:

  • Leondo Benally (CM) is going to evaluate the recent geologic landsliding that occurred on Highway 89 near Page and propose a rerouting construction plan. The result of his research will be served as an example for future excavation on highways within or near the Navajo Reservation that need improvements or rehabilitation. Dr. Ho is his faculty advisor.
  • Alejandra Quesada (CE) will be conducting research related to the service-life of concrete bridges. Usually built to last 50 years, the average bridge in our country is 43 years old. Given projected funding shortfalls, “business as usual” is economically unsustainable and demands an infrastructure constructed for – not only safety – but longevity. In response to this need, Alejandra’s research project includes the experimental testing of reinforced concrete beams with the goal of improving upon current design provisions and construction details related to their serviceability behavior. Dr. Tuchscherer is her faculty advisor.

NAU is a designated university by the FHWA to operate a Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program on the Mountain campus. The Fellowship Program provides funding for NAU Native American students and Hispanic students in the pursuit of a degree (BS, MS/MEng, PhD) in transportation-related fields at NAU. NAU students who receive a fellowship will conduct a research project under the supervision of their adviser. 



Bicycle Generators
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Recent NAU environmental engineering graduate Marilla Lamb, with students from the computer sciences and engineering programs and with help from a local school teacher, helped spearhead a program to design bicycle generators that could do things like power a blender by harnessing the power of a bicycle and turning pedal power into real electricity.


NAU’s Green Fund gave the students a $2,900 grant to build a handful of the generators, which were then taken to classrooms. In the engineering building, Lamb and the other students also designed a permanent bike by making use of a donated bicycle from the school’s yellow bike program. Electrical and mechanical engineering students designed and built the enhanced bike and students working in the machine shop welded up the necessary structural components.

The permanent bike has a charging station where students can plug in cell phones and other small electronics to get some exercise and a little electrical juice during the school day. The catch: They have to do the pedaling themselves.  The group hopes to cycle the bike around campus through various buildings to help show students how much electricity they use.


       Congratulations Dr. Brent Nelson!
    CEFNS 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year
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Ann Marie Chischilly, Executive Director of NAU’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals and Paul Beier, Professor of Forestry and President, Society for Conservation Biology have been named members of a newly created federal advisory committee, The Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science, that will provide guidance about the Interior Department’s climate change adaptation science initiatives. Sue Wotkyns, ITEP Climate Change Manager, will be an alternate. Twenty-five committee members were selected from more than 100 nominations received by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Members represent the Interior Department and other federal agencies; tribal, state, and local governments; nongovernmental organizations; academic institutions; and the private sector.


Congratulations 2013 WERC Environmental Engineering Teams!
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Landfill Team Award Ceremony: WERC official, John Jowers, Nathaniel Lail, Gabriel Murray, Annalise O’Toole, Daniel Hamill, Amy Anderson

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Solar Distillation Team: Yiguo Chen, Yang Yang, Chaz Enbody, Banning Burt, Ben Shields

The International Environmental Design Contest sponsored by the Institute for Energy & the Environment – WERC (Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development) was held at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM on April 7-11, 2013.  22 teams from universities around the country and Canada competed in several design task divisions.  

The NAU Environmental Engineering program sent two of our senior Capstone project teams.  The two projects from NAU were the design of a solar-powered water distillation unit, and the other was a composite landfill cap design using paper sludge waste material.  The landfill team won the Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Award for Innovation in Sustainability for their design.  All students are environmental engineering majors, except for Annalise O’Toole who is a chemistry major. 


NAU Car Team-Electrical Engineering
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Left to right: Michael Young, Aniza Brown, Stephen Aranda, Derek Benallie, Brendan George, and Justin Cummings with the battery-powered vehicle they entered in the Shell Eco Marathon in Houston 4/4/13

A group of NAU Electrical Engineering students put the pedal to the metal at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Houston, Texas where students were tested on their ability to create an electrical car with a sustainable design and energy efficiency.  With the assistance of faculty and local engineering businesses, these six EE majors were given a unique opportunity to compete with students around the world and size up the competition in their field.   After several years of helping students create competitive cars, John Tester, the students’ NAU Faculty advisor, saw the opportunity in attending competitions as a great way for student to marry theory and experimentation.   “The advantage of going to a competition is that you get to go to an event where you realize you’re not just from NAU-you’re part of engineering…it really matures you in your profession better than isolating yourself on campus with your design project.”   As the second year entered in this competition, the NAU team had great improvements from the previous year, in which the team was unfortunately unable to race.  Using the same body from last year, and refitting it with a touchscreen system built and programmed from scratch by the students, the team placed 18th out of 31 teams.Nina 


Congratulations Dr. Kathy Eastwood!
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Dr. Kathy Eastwood has been selected as the 2013 NAU Outstanding Faculty Advisor of the Year and was recognized during the President/Provost’s P&T Awards Reception on April 24th, 2013.  The 2013 Advisor Recognition Committee reviewed numerous nominations and determined that the comments from nominations demonstrated her impressive dedication to students and colleagues. 


Mechanical Engineering goes to China    China 3-13                         (a) Mechanical Engineering students Megan Cawley and Kristin Coady and Mechanical Engineering manager/instructor Petty Wood with faculty and students from Xi’an University of Science and Technology located in central China-see (c) map picture for location, and (b) a photo of Megan and Kristin with their interpreter, Jade, while visiting city sites.  What a great spring break trip!

Megan and Kristin worked with Perry on a research project to implement Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing into ME 180, introduction to engineering graphics.  They presented this work in China and will also present their work at the National Council of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) meeting in April.  


Forestry goes to India
NAU has provided relief services to Tibetan refugees living in India since 2010.  Executive Dean Leslie Schultz (College of Health & Human Services) invited the School of Forestry to participate in 2012 to assess forest resources and wood use in the Tibetan communities.  24 NAU faculty and students went to India from December 15-29, 2012, representing Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Public Health, Journalism, and Forestry.

The School of Forestry team, supported by the College of Engineering, Forestry & Natural Sciences, included student Amanda Knauf, professor, Pete Fulé, and volunteer Emily Fulé
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Top left: Amanda Knauf and translator Dechen Sangmo interviewing a resident of Camp 6 about fuelwood harvesting and use.
Top right: Measuring a native Sarai tree-the dominant forest species with strong dense wood (but no tree rings in this tropical forest!).
Bottom:  Environmental education activity with the young monks: they drew pictures of scenes from nature, discussed why trees are good and how to care for planted trees.