News and events


CEFNS Fall 2015 Commencement Ceremony 

Friday, December 18, 2015, exact time to be announced
in the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome

CEFNS Fall 2015 Pre-Commencement Family Reception & Award Ceremony


See CEFNS UGRADS page for more information.

was held Friday, April 24, 2015.  Next UGRADS will be April 29, 2016

Congratulations 2015 Winners!
 2015 UGRADS 600

1st place 
Traci Swift, Niki Ortega, Ansley Roberts
Mentor:  Noelle Fletcher, Colorado Plateau Research Station
Northern Mexican Garter Snake Public Outreach Project

1st place (Tie)
Justin Wilgus
Mentor:  David Brumbaugh, SESES
Seismicity and Tectonics of the West Kaibab Fault Zone, AZ

1st place (Tie)
Bradley Marsh and Joshua Ellsworth (not pictured)
Mentor:  Cindy Brower, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Oxime Preparation for the Production of Isoxazoline Derived Bacterial Growth Inhibitors

2nd place (Tie)
Cara Alboucq
Mentors:  David Wagner, Joseph Busch, Nathan Stone, Biological Sciences
A Survey of the Prevalence and Diversity of Clostridium difficile in Flagstaff Dogs

2nd place (Tie)
Kristina Galbreath
Mentor:  Rob Kellar, Aaron Tabor, Biological Sciences
Development of an In Vitro (Bench-top) Assay to Evaluate the Effects of Reactive Oxygen Species on Fibroblast Cultures

1st place
Kyle Carpentier, Josh DeBenedetto (not pictured), Joey Annolino, Greg Dowske, Joseph Andaya (not pictured), Wilson January
Mentors:  John Tester, Sarah Oman, Mechanical Engineering
NASA Human Exploration Rover

2nd place
Kyle Granchelli, Duke Ayers, Ryan Dooley (not pictured), Kristopher Bullins, Jarrin Oishi
Mentors: Omar Badreddin, Computer Science
Flexible Maintenance Calendar

Zachary Parker, Jordan Hunt
Mentor: Jeff Rushall, Mathematics & Statistics
Eisenstein Amicable Pairs



Congratulations Fall 2015 CEFNS Outstanding Seniors!

 2015 Outstanding Srs 600 

The CEFNS Outstanding Seniors received plaques and recognition at the CEFNS Pre-Commencement Reception in Du Bois Ballroom on Thursday, December 11, 2014.

Standard Bearer:           Ricardo Peterson, Electrical Engineering & Modern Languages-French Majors
                                        Presented by: Dr. Sheryl Howard
Outstanding Senior:      Cedar Mitchell, Microbiology Major/Chemistry & Spanish Minors
                                        Presented by Dr. David Wagner
Distinguished Senior:    Sheridan Martini-Chemistry-Certified by the American Chemical Society-Extended
                                         Presented by Jeff Rushall, Mathematics & Statistics
Lowell Prize:                 James Brand, Exercise Science Major, Chemistry Major
                                         Presented by Dr. Jeffrey Hall, Lowell Observatory
Nominees:                     Jeremy Degeyter, Civil Engineering Major, Mechanical Engineering Minor
                                      Todd Gonzales (not pictured), Mechanical Engineering Major
                                      Benjamin Luginbuhl (not pictured), Chemistry Major, Physics, Mathematics & Biology Minors
                                      Nancy McCollough, Applied Computer Science Major
                                      Jacob McLane, Physics and Astronomy Merged Major, Mathematics Minor
                                      Kyle Niederer (not pictured), Forestry Major with A Wildlife Ecology & Management Certificate





       CEFNS students attend the Grace Hopper
          Celebration of Women in Computing
 Grace Hopper 2014

GHC Attendees from left to right: David Miller, Hannah Caldwell-Meurer, Luke Sanchez, Ashley Green,
Veronica Alves, Zachary Smith, Sarah Kehoe, Erin Bailey and Danielle De Grandis

 Nine Computer Science and Applied Computer Science students were selected to receive the CEFNS scholarship to attended the three day Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing Conference in Phoenix, Arizona last week. Three additional CEFNS students, Nancy McCollough and Emily Bartman, were selected to receive the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology scholarship and Alec Everett-Roy Davidson also attended the conference. Known as the “World’s Largest Gathering of Women Technologists”, the GHC boasts Keynote Speakers and Presenters who are leaders in their respective fields, representing industry, academia and government. Top researchers presented their work while special sessions focused on the role of women in today’s technology fields to 8,000 attendees. Ashley Green, President of the Society of Women Engineers, reported upon her return from the conference, “I am now hopeful that I can be that person who paves a way for future generations of young girls who want to pursue a career in any STEM field. Thanks to the Grace Hopper Conference, I no longer feel anonymous and instead feel empowered to do great things in the future.” These students will give presentations of their experiences in the weeks to follow.




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

9th annual Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing scholarship essay competition

Congratulations to the winners of the 9th Annual Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing scholarship essay competition, open to all NAU students currently enrolled in their first undergraduate degree. 

First Place Scholarship of $2,000 awarded to Ingrid Herrera for essay entitled "The Red-Education of Education"
Second Place Scholarship of $1,250 awarded to Markie Scheidegger for essay entitled "Education: By and For"

The essay topic for 2014-2015 was:

“Education, Rights and Responsibilities”

From standards-oriented elementary curricula to university-level teaching seeking to respond to changes in technology and economics, 
the world of education is in rapid flux. How educators should interact with government, employers, and students has never been more in 
question than today.  In this context, we pose these linked questions about education today:
Who is responsible for educating citizens in a democracy?  Is it the job of government to provide educational opportunities, or is that 
role better left to communities, businesses, or other organizations?  Who should pay for education?  Once educational opportunities are
available, how much of an obligation should citizens feel to take advantage of them?
Essays do not need to answer all these questions specifically; rather, they should explore the terrain of education and how it interacts 
with government and society in general.  We strongly encourage the use of specific examples and real-world data to clarify and support 
your position, as well as creative approaches to this fertile issue.


Congratulations 2014 Winners!
 14 Agassiz 600

1st place  - $2,000 - Tiffany Halvorsen  "The Human Right to Privacy in a Virtual World"
2nd place - $1,250 - Amanda Robinson  "Privacy:  Among the Most Fundamental of Liberties"
3rd place  - $750    - Sarah Patterson     "The Institution"

Thank you all 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.




      Congratulations Dr. Tad Theimer!
     CEFNS 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year

 Tad Theimer 300x450 


Exceptional employees recognized with 2014 President’s Achievement Award

Several CEFNS employees were honored this week for excelling in their professional roles, promoting a positive sense of community in the workplace and actively supporting the mission of Northern Arizona University.

Ten NAU employees were selected for the 2014 President’s Achievement Award, considered the highest staff recognition from the university. Classified staff and service professionals are eligible to be nominated by peers or supervisors. The recipients, pictured below, each received a $1,000 award and were honored at a luncheon this week hosted by President John Haeger.

The award winners were:
  Lisa  Mansel  Rosemary
     Lisa Cantor Ganey                    Mansel Nelson                   Rosemary Rudy  
        Business Manager             Senior Program Coordinator              Manager
                CSTL                                      ITEP                                Biological Sciences 


Congratulations ASME!
  14 ASME
NAU ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) did an amazing job at this years 2014 ASME HPV Competition.  Out of 29 universities, they placed 2nd Overall, 2nd in Innovation, 2nd in Design, 3rd in Endurance, and 1st in the Women's Sprint.  Congratulations Heather Kutz, Phillip Kinsley, Kevin Montoya, Erik Nelson, Alex Hawley, Matt Gerlich, and Perry Wood.


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
DCT 450x300

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

Wyss 230   
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
EcoPedaler 400x350

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 2013 WERC Environmental Engineering Teams!
Landfill Team 450x300
Landfill Team Award Ceremony: WERC official, John Jowers, Nathaniel Lail, Gabriel Murray, Annalise O’Toole, Daniel Hamill, Amy Anderson

Solar 450x300
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
NAU Car Team 450x300  
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 



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.