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Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Hazards and Risks of Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Photo of students extracting a lake core 

In 2020, this program is accepting applications for a limited number of positions (2) for applicants who are currently enrolled CWU students. 

Program information

In 2020, two students from CWU will:

  • Participate in research preparation during spring quarter;
  • Engage in six weeks of full-time, mentored research June 22–July 31;
  • Receive a stipend of $3000 plus food expenses;
  • Present their research at the Northwest Climate Conference in October (dates TBA; travel and registration will be covered)
  • For CWU students only: Apply now
  • Deadline to apply: March 1

Research description

Understanding wildfire: Reconstructing fire history in the Pacific Northwest

Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest are becoming more frequent and destructive as the result of climate change and 20th century fire suppression, but how is this activity likely to change in the future? The answer lies in understanding the past. Paleofire research gives us insight into how current fires compare to past fire activity and helps us understand the influence of both climate variability and human actions on fire regimes. Collecting lake sediment cores and analyzing them for charcoal content can help us develop local to regional fire histories. By developing a better understanding of the long-term history of fires in the region, more informed forest management decisions can be made to better protect our landscapes in the face of future climate change. Students will participate in all aspects of fieldwork, lab work, and data analysis to examine lake sediment cores that preserve macroscopic charcoal records of past fire activity. Advisor: Megan Walsh, Geography

This program is funded by The National Science Foundation.


Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.