Undergraduate Education Program

Central Washington University

Carey Gazis
Ellensburg, WA
December 2017

In fall 2016, the Geological Sciences Department at Central Washington University moved into a new $64 million science building equipped with a modern analytical geochemistry laboratory funded by the State of Washington, the Murdock Charitable Trust, and the National Science Foundation.  Particularly unique capabilities are in the fields of environmental and agricultural research (e.g. water, snow, wine, soils and aerosols) that span the fields of geology, chemistry, biology, and environmental science.  The department now seeks to incorporate these new laboratories and instrumentation into the undergraduate curriculum and to provide meaningful undergraduate research opportunities by developing the Water, Air, Soil and Snow Education and Research (WASSER) program.  Newly designed curriculum modules are anticipated to serve about 350 students each year.  Overall goals of the project are to provide non-major students with science inquiry activities that use modern instrumentation to collect meaningful data, and to prepare science majors to become proficient analytical scientists equipped with the hands-on training necessary to excel in the current STEM workforce.  The university is an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution located in a rural agricultural region and thus serves a significant population of minority and first-generation college students.

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