Skip to body

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Summer 2020 Application

This program is accepting a limited number of applications from currently enrolled CWU students for the spring and summer of 2020. Two CWU students will be selected from among the applicants to participate in the following project:

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.

Preparation: No particular background is required, though students may find introductory geography, geology, ecology, or Earth science courses to be helpful.
Advisor:  Megan Walsh, Geography

Students who are accepted will be asked to commit to enrolling in research credits with Megan Walsh during spring quarter, 2020, and participate full time in research June 22–July 31, 2020. 

1 Start 2 Complete
Enter your 8-digit CWU Id number
Please note that we are note able to accept students who are under 18.
Select all the apply
Please note that our funding from the National Science Foundation only allows us to provide stipends for U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. We will not use this information for any other reason.
Contact information
We will need to contact you by email, phone, and physical address. Please enter the best addresses for us to reach you.
Street address or PO box number
Indicate your class status at the time of this application.
Please indicate the term and year you intend to graduate (for example, Spring 2022).
We will use your CWU ID to access your current unofficial transcript and transfer credit report, if applicable. Please acknowledge that you give us permission to do so.

Your research skills

Please indicate your familiarity with the following skills. Be honest! We do not expect students to be experts in everything, but this will help us determine how to better prepare you for your summer research.

Not familiar: Never done thisA little familiar: Done this once or twiceFamiliar: Done this several timesExpert: Do this all the time
Excel: Manipulating data, using formulas, creating graphs *
ArcGIS: Creating and editing feature classes, editing maps *
Lab techniques: Following chemical procedures, using instruments *
Microscope: Analyzing and measuring features in the microscope *
Field work: Collecting samples, maintaining a field notebook *

Personal essay 1

Tell us about an experience where you learned something new and challenging. It could be in an academic, work, or personal setting, and should be something significant. What challenges did you have to overcome to learn, and how did you overcome those challenges? How have you benefited from what you learned?

Please upload your response as a document in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf doc docx.

Personal essay 2

This program involves engaging in research that is focused in the hazards and risks associated with climate change in the Pacific Northwest. What are your personal and career goals, and how will this program help you achieve those goals?

Please upload your response as a document in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf doc docx.


Enter the contact information for two people who have agreed to write letters of recommendation for you. Your recommenders should be able to speak about things like your work ethic, motivation, and what it's like to work with you in general.

  • One person must be a faculty member at Central Washingon University.
  • The other person could be another faculty member, advisor or counselor, or someone you've worked for in a different capacity.

Please check to make sure that you enter correct, valid email addresses. Your submitting this form will generate email requests to your recommenders to submit their recommendation. 

Recommender 1: CWU faculty
Please double check to make sure you have entered the email address correctly.
Recommender 2

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.