Skip to body

University Advancement

Small Grants Promote Big Advancements at CWU

The Central Washington University Foundation selected 13 projects for 2013 funding through the Leonard Thayer Small Grants program. The funding is awarded to efforts at CWU that serve a large population, contribute to university and student needs, and promote the advancement of knowledge. Partial grant funding comes from the Leonard and Betty Thayer Endowment, and bears Thayer’s name in honor of his contributions and service to CWU and the Ellensburg community. Projects awarded 2013 funding include:

Air Photo Database

Professor Karl Lillquist, geography, received a $2,000 grant to purchase historical air photos of Yakima County. The CWU Geography Department is using photos such as these to create a free online resource to help assess environmental changes in central Washington.

“The photographs will be useful on a variety of dynamic topics, including urban growth, farmland conversion, floodplain development, glacier loss, and river channel changes,” said Lillquist.

The Geography Department currently possesses complete air photo coverage of Kittitas County in 1954 and has plans to purchase photographs covering Benton, Grant, and Douglas Counties. Excluding film negatives in the National Archives, these are the only near-complete air photo sets of mid-twentieth century central Washington known to exist.

These photos will create “a detailed environmental baseline of central Washington circa the mid-twentieth century,” Lillquist explains. Comparing current photos to this baseline will “show everything from how glaciers in the mountains to urban growth in the valley floors have changed over 60-some years.”

There are approximately 300 photos of Yakima County that Lillquist hopes to obtain. The small grant will allow him to purchase approximately one-sixth of these photos, which cost thirty dollars each on average. The complete Yakima photo collection is estimated in value at $12,000.

CWU Employee Health Fair

Eric Scott, intramural sports and special events coordinator, received a $1,000 grant to establish “Wildcat Wellness at Work.” The project, based on the University of Nebraska’s wellness program, will address the health of CWU employees.

As Scott explains, the first stage will be “a health assessment fair.” The free fair, to be held quarterly for all CWU employees, will provide information and training for weight management and healthy eating habits as well as overall health screening (blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.).

Scott hopes that the fairs will help establish a coalition of health-related campus organizations, which will in turn improve and expand health services at CWU.

Cross-Campus Art Displays

Lola Gallagher, director of the CWU Publicity Center, received a $3,725 grant to install art objects in buildings across the Ellensburg campus. The art will come from CWU’s permanent collection and will help to promote the exchange of ideas and cross-cultural discourse.

CWU’s permanent art collection consists of pieces already displayed throughout campus along with others now in storage. “The goal is to get as many pieces as we can out of storage,” said Gallagher. “Many pieces were created by CWU alumni and faculty, which contributes to the university’s sense of history and place.”

Funds from the small grant will help move art pieces from storage into Bouillon and Hertz Halls. Gallagher states that she is aiming to stretch the funds as far as possible and will also seek to frame additional pieces, properly identify displayed artwork through better and more consistent labeling, and create a self-guided tour map of campus art.

Other 2013 Thayer Small Grant recipients include:

·       Professor Anthony Diaz, chemistry, received $250 to present his findings on predicting the light-production qualities of phosphor materials at a Society for Information Display conference.

·       Professor Levente Fabry, chemistry, received $1,000 to present on computational methods he is using to predict the biological effects of synthesized compounds at the 2013 International Conference on Proteomics and Bioinformatics.

·       Professor Elaine Glenn, geography, received $1,000 to traverse the Trans-Siberian Railroad and conduct field research to update the curriculum for CWU’s World Regional Geography and Geography of Russia courses.

·       Professor Janet Finke, language, literacy, and special education, received $1,200 to accompany a group of students to Macau, China and report on Macau’s effectiveness as a practicum destination for education undergraduates.

·       Jonathan Betz, biological science support technician, received $825 to populate the CWU greenhouse with plants representing all of the geographic regions, ecosystems, and plant families of the world.

·       Professor Matthew Novak, geography and Rob Hickey, professor of geography, received $1,000 to replace the outdated GPS receivers that the Geography Department uses for individual and classroom instruction.

·       Professor Lucinda Carnell, biology, received $5,500 to purchase a blood analyzer for CWU’s Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab, part of an ongoing effort to establish a state-of-the-art lab and enhance Central’s ability to train students in the biological and medical fields.

·       Professor Sharryn Walker, language, literacy, and special education, received $400 to purchase books for CWU’s Family Literacy Nights, which are free to all children ages 0-12 and provide a free book to each child who attends.

·       Professor Martha Kurtz, science education, received $2,130 to support free community events that promote math and science education through lectures and hands-on activities.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,


Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.