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Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry
Understanding Species
United States Since the Great Depression: From Prosperity to Austerity
U.S. Foreign Policy Before and After 9/11: Terrorism and the New American Empire
U.S. Foreign Policy Since Woodrow Wilson: Before and After 9/1

Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Major areas of study include:
areas of student work, e.g., lab biology and chemistry, computer science, health sciences, teaching and environmental sciences, mathematics, physics and astronomy. Upper-division credit awarded for upper-division work.
Class Standing:
Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.
Prerequisites:
Negotiated individually with faculty.
Faculty Signature:
Students must contact individual faculty to make arrangements.

A number of faculty in this planning group are engaged in research projects that offer collaborative research opportunities for advanced students. These provide an important aspect of advanced work in the sciences that take advantage of faculty expertise and Evergreen’s flexible structure and excellent equipment. In general, students begin by working in apprenticeship with faculty and laboratory staff and gradually take on more independent projects within the context of the specific program.

Clyde Barlow and Jeff Kelly work with biophysical applications of spectroscopy to study physiological processes at the organ level, with direct applications to health problems. Students with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics or computer science can obtain practical experience in applying their backgrounds to biomedical research problems in an interdisciplinary laboratory environment.

Dharshi Bopegedera would like to engage students in three projects. (1) FTIR spectroscopy of free radicals. This project is for advanced chemistry students who are interested in using infrared spectroscopy to understand molecular properties of free radicals synthesized in situ in a microwave discharge. (2) An interdisciplinary study of drinking water in the South Puget Sound. This is an ongoing study to investigate the quality of drinking water in the Puget Sound area. We will analyze the water and explore the connections between the minerals found in drinking water and the geological properties of the land. Students who have completed general chemistry with laboratory can carry out this project. (3) Science and education. We will work with local schoolteachers to develop science lab activities that will enhance the science curriculum in local schools. About four science labs will be taken to local schools each quarter. Students who have an interest in teaching science and who have completed general chemistry with laboratory would be ideal for this project.

Andrew Brabban (biotechnology) and Elizabeth Kutter (molecular biology) study microbiology and biotechnology, focusing particularly on bacteriophages-key model organisms in molecular genetics that play major roles in controlling microbial ecology worldwide. Their research involves approximately 12 students each year who explore bacterial metabolism and the infection process under a variety of environmental conditions, phage ecology and genomics and the application of phages as antibacterial agents in systems such as E. coli in infant diarrhea or the guts of livestock, Pseudomonas in human and dog-ear infections and Aeromonas salmonicida in furunculosis in local hatchery fish. They collaborate actively with scientists at the USDA in College Station, Texas and in Beltsville, Maryland on projects to reduce the incidence of E. coli 0157:H7 in the human food chain. Students are requested to commit at least a full year to the research project and to enroll for 6 to 16 credits each quarter. Student researchers are often presenters at national conferences and co-authors on papers. In addition, they participate in the biennial Evergreen International Phage Biology meetings.

Judith Bayard Cushing studies how scientists might better use information technology in their research. She would like to work with students who have a background in computer science or one of the sciences (e.g., ecology, biology, chemistry or physics), and who are motivated to explore how new computing paradigms, such as object-oriented systems and new database technologies, can be harnessed to improve the individual and collaborative work of scientists.

Rob Knapp studies the performance of “green” buildings, i.e. buildings designed for exceptionally high performance in terms of resource use, energy use, sensitivity to site and use of environmental flows of light, water and air. He is especially interested in buildings for institutions, such as colleges, schools, hospitals, libraries or public meeting places. Students with backgrounds in physics, chemistry, engineering, ecology or earth sciences, and with interests in the application of those fields to the subtle, interacting problems which appear in buildings may find projects related to the campus’s new Seminar II building, to the variety of renovation projects now underway on campus, or (as secondary research) to use of data gathered at other sites.

Jim Neitzel(biochemistry) studies Bacteriophage T4, which has been a key model organism in molecular genetics for more than 50 years. Its infection of E. coli leads to rapid cessation of host DNA, RNA and protein synthesis. This faculty is working to clone and over-express the many host-lethal genes that purify and characterize their protein products. The intent of this research is to determine specific functions, look at ways in which genes can be used to better understand bacterial metabolism, and examine the infection process under a variety of environmental conditions. Evergreen is the center for genomic analysis and database development for these phages, and work with phage ecology and potential uses as antibiotics.

Lydia McKinstry is interested in organic synthesis research, including asymmetric synthesis methodology, chemical reaction dynamics and small molecule synthesis. One specific study involves the design and synthesis of enzyme inhibitor molecules to be used as effective laboratory tools with which to study the mechanistic steps of programmed cell death in cancer cells. Cancer cells, like normal cells, are known to undergo a process of cell suicide called apoptosis. In many cancer cell lines, apoptosis is mediated by a family of enzymes called caspases. Through selective caspase inhibition we are interested in determining how caspases are involved in the signaling pathways leading to apoptosis and defining the specific roles of individual caspases in the process. A long-term goal of this project is successful construction of inhibitor molecules designed to specifically target the individual caspases involved in apoptosis. Students with a background in organic chemistry and biology will gain experience with the laboratory techniques of organic synthesis as well as the techniques of spectroscopy.

Donald Morisato and Nancy Murray are interested in the developmental biology of the Drosophila embryo, a model system for analyzing how patterning occurs. Maternally encoded signaling pathways establish the anterior-posterior and dorsal-ventral axes. Individual student projects will use a combination of genetic, molecular biological and biochemical approaches to investigate the spatial regulation of this complex process.

Neal Nelson is interested in working with advanced computer topics and current open-ended problems. His areas of interest include simulations of advanced architectures for distributed computing; advanced programming languages and compiler support for languages, such as those that support parallel architectures; and embedded systems/microcontrollers and hardware modeling. Students should have a strong computer science background and successfully have completed the program Data to Information or the equivalent.

Paula Schofield (polymer chemistry, organic chemistry) is interested in the fields of biodegradable and biomedical polymers. Efforts to use biodegradable materials have been initiated to reduce the environmental impact of plastic wastes. Several of these biodegradable materials are polyesters, and they have attracted much industrial attention as “green thermoplastics.” Biomedical polymers are widely used as replacements for heart valves, tissue, hip joints and blood vessels. Polyurethanes show potential as replacements for small-diameter blood vessels, particularly required by patients suffering from vascular disease resulting from complications of diabetes. Suitable replacement vessels could prevent the thousands of amputations performed each year in the United States. Today, research and development on biodegradable and biomedical polymers are expanding in both polymer and biological sciences. Students with a background in organic chemistry and biology will gain experience in the preparation and characterization of suitable polymers, and in biological procedures used to monitor biodegradation and biocompatability. Techniques students will use include SEM, DSC, GPC, FTIR, FTNMR and enzyme isolation and purification.

Rebecca Sunderman (inorganic/materials chemistry and physical chemistry) is interested in the synthesis and property characterization of new bismuth-containing materials. The 6s2 electrons of Bi3+ are commonly referred to as the lone pair electrons. Hybridization of the 6s and 6p orbitals, and the resulting lone pair electron, yields some very interesting stereochemistry and steric-related properties. Ferroelectric and ferroelastic bismuth materials have been identified. Many bismuth oxides are good oxygen ion conductors. Bismuth-containing compounds have also been characterized as electronic conductors, attractive activators for luminescent materials, second harmonic generators and oxidation catalysts for several organic compounds. Traditional solid-state synthesis methods will be utilized to prepare new complex bismuth oxides. Once synthesized, powder x-ray diffraction patterns will be obtained and material properties such as conductivity, melting point, biocidal tendency, coherent light production and magnetic behavior will be examined when appropriate.

E. J. Zita (physics) studies the Sun and other magnetized plasmas. Solar changes may affect Earth over decades (as in the recent Solar Max), and over millenia (as in climate change). Why does the Sun shine more brightly when it is more magnetically active? Why does the Sun’s magnetic field flip every 11 years? We investigate mysteries such as these by modeling the magnetic dynamics of the Sun. Students can study plasma physics, solar physics and magnetohydrodynamics with Zita’s research team. Students can use simple optical and radio telescopes and a Sunspotter to observe the Sun from Olympia. Students can analyze data from satellites and supercomputers, shared by colleagues in Boulder, Colorado, and Oslo, Norway. Strong research students may be invited to join our summer work in Olympia and/or Boulder.

Total:
4 to 16 credits each quarter. Students will negotiate credit with the faculty sponsor.
Program is preparatory for:
careers and future study in chemistry, biology, computer science, health science, environmental sciences, physics, astronomy and teaching.
A similar program is expected to be offered in:
2007–08.
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Understanding Species

Fall quarter

Class Standing:
This Core program is designed for freshmen.
Major areas of study include:
introductory biology, introductory probability and statistics and writing.

What is a species? Species are the fundamental particle to ecologists, the entities around which models are built, theories tested and conservation laws enacted. Yet evolutionary biologists have never agreed on a single definition of species and may even question their existence. We will explore both the theory of species concepts and the practice of identifying species of vertebrates and insects. Readings and lectures will cover introductory concepts in genetics and development, taxonomy and systematics and the evolutionary biology of diversity. Current biodiversity is a function of both speciation and extinction rates, so we will investigate both the origin of species, and the death of species as well. We will also discuss non-Western views of species and the relationship of species discovery to colonial history.

To identify species is to make decisions about patterns of variation, so workshops will emphasize the scientific process, basic descriptive statistics and probability. On-campus field work and a five-day field trip to eastern Washington will emphasize the identification of terrestrial vertebrates and the diverse habitats in which they live. We will also continue a long-term project to assess and monitor the diversity of ground beetles on the Evergreen campus. Evaluation will be based on lab practicals, exams, written assignments and a field journal.

Total:
16 credits.
Enrollment:
46
Schedule:
Class Schedule
Special Expenses:
Approximately $90 for a five-day field trip to eastern Washington, to be paid by September 29, 2006.
Program is preparatory for:
careers and future studies in vertebrate biology, entomology, field biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, education and environmental sciences.
Academic program Web page:
Understanding Species
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The United States Since the Great Depression: From Prosperity To Austerity

cancelled




Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty:
Alan Nasser
Major areas of study include:
history, political science, politics, political economy, sociology and U.S. foreign policy.
Class Standing:
Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.
Faculty Signature:
Students should submit copies of their last two faculty evaluations and samples of their most recent nonfiction writing to Alan Nasser at the Academic Fair, May 17, 2006. Transfer students should bring transcripts and writing samples to the fair. If this is not possible, send them to Alan Nasser, The Evergreen State College, Sem II A2117, Olympia, WA 98505. Priority will be given to applications received by May 17, 2006. For more information contact Alan, (360) 867-6759. Qualified students will be accepted until the program fills.

Prior to the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States was in periods of social and economic hard times as often as it was in prosperity. After the Depression and the second World War, the United States—and much of the world—entered the longest period of sustained prosperity in modern history. We will look carefully at the social, cultural and especially the political-economic development of the United States during this exceptional period. Our investigation will include topics as varied, but closely related, as the rise of consumer culture, the emergence of the “middle class,” the spread of suburban life, the emergence of the youth market and its attendant youth culture, and the fortunes and misfortunes of women and people of color during this period. A central topic will be the Cold War, both in its domestic and foreign-policy incarnations, including the nuclear arms race and the response of Washington both to the newly-created countries of the global South in the aftermath of de-colonization, and to the Communist revolutions in Korea, Cuba and China.

In winter quarter, we will study the factors which produced the end of the period of sustained prosperity and ushered in the period of neoliberal globalization. The latter is characterized by slower economic growth rates, stagnating worker incomes, a massive attack on government social spending, the deregulation of business, the emergence of a unilateralist and aggressive foreign policy and a narrowing of the differences between the political, economic and social agendas of the Democratic and Republican parties. We will examine, in this context, the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Finally, we will look at the various movements that have arisen around the world in opposition to the post-prosperity period of neoliberal austerity.

Total:
16 credits each quarter.
Enrollment:
25
Program is preparatory for:
careers and future studies in government service, political science/theory, political economy, education, law and political activism.

Program Updates

02.03.2006:
This program has been cancelled.
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U.S. Foreign Policy Since Woodrow Wilson: Before and After 9/11

cancelled




Spring quarter

Faculty:
Alan Nasser
Major areas of study include:
political science, international relations, imperialism and U.S. foreign policy.
Class Standing:
Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.
Prerequisites:
Background in political economy and/or 20th-century American history preferred but not required.
Faculty Signature:
Students should submit copies of their most recent faculty evaluations and samples of their most recent nonfiction writing to Alan Nasser at the Academic Fair, March 7, 2007. Transfer students should bring transcripts and writing samples to the fair. If this is not possible, send them to Alan Nasser, The Evergreen State College, Sem II A2117, Olympia, WA 98505. Priority will be given to applications received by March 7, 2007. For more information contact Alan, (360) 867-6759. Qualified students will be accepted until the program fills.

From the United States’ beginning, dominant groups have imagined the country to have a grand destiny. Woodrow Wilson portrayed the United States as a model of “freedom and democracy” for the entire world and put forward explicitly, for the first time in American history, the doctrine known as “liberal internationalism.” Later administrations attempted to export this model globally, often aggressively. A prime example of this is the Cold War, which we shall study at length. The ensuing rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union was one of the powerful forces shaping both international and intranational policy over the course of the 20th century.

We will examine how the U.S. elite was led to re-assert American global dominance more aggressively than ever after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the move to the political right of both the Democratic and Republican parties, the onset of global economic stagnation and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The result of these developments was the new foreign policy of the Bush administration. The test case for these policies was the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. We will analyze in detail the origins and possible consequences, abroad and at home, of these developments.

This is a rigorous, bookish program, emphasizing the close and critical reading of texts.

Total:
16 credits.
Enrollment:
25
Program is preparatory for:
careers and future studies in government, law, political science, education, international relations, political economy and history.

Program Updates

02.03.2006:
This program has been cancelled.

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U.S. Foreign Policy Before and After 9/11: Terrorism and the New American Empire

new


not in printed catalog

Winter quarter

Faculty:
Alan Nasser
Major areas of study include:
political science, American History, government, the Cold War, 20th century international relations, 9/11, terrorism and the new American empire.
Class Standing:
Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.
Prerequisites:
Background in political economy and/or 20th-century American history preferred but not required.
Faculty Signature:
Students must submit all previous evaluations written by Evergreen faculty and/or transcripts and a sample of recent, analytical, non-fiction writing to Alan Nasser at the Academic Fair on November 29, 2006. Students unable to attend the fair may send transcripts and writing samples to Alan Nasser, The Evergreen State College, Seminar 2 A-2117, Olympia, WA 98505. For more information contact Alan Nasser at (360) 867-6759. Applications received by November 29, 2006, will be given priority. Qualified students will be accepted until the program fills.

From its very beginning, dominant groups in the United States have imagined the country to have a grand historic destiny. There was George Washington's proclamation of a “rising American empire,” the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. In the early 20th century, Woodrow Wilson promulgated an image of the United States as a model of “freedom and democracy” for the rest of the world. Later administrations developed foreign policies that attempted to export this model to wherever they could, often by overt and covert forms of subversion and aggression.

The outlines of 20th-century foreign policy were evident in the aggressive stance of the Wilson administration. The U.S. Marines were sent into the Soviet Union following the Bolshevik Revolution and remained there, in an effort to depose the Reds, until 1922. Thus began the Cold War, the massive global employment of U.S. military power in order to defeat or “contain” Communism (or anything resembling it). This entailed intense competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to win, as allies, the newly independent formerly-colonized countries of the Third World after World War II. The rivalry among these two great superpowers was one of the most powerful forces shaping both international relations and national political and economic policy over the course of the 20th century.

In recent years five developments led the U.S. elite to re-assert American global dominance more aggressively than ever before: 1) the collapse of the Soviet Union, America's only effective rival and deterrent; 2) the narrowing of the gap between America's two major political parties, as both moved further to the right; 3) the onset of global economic stagnation, as national (economic) growth rates slowed down in the mid 1970s after the longest period of economic growth in American history (1949–73); 4) the biggest stock market collapse in American history; and, finally, 5) the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The result was the new foreign policy of the Bush administration, including the policy of preventive war, whereby the U.S. reserves the right to attack any country it suspects might become a threat to its security at some time in the future. This policy was laid out in two important policy documents, The Project for a New American Century, and A New National Security Strategy for the United States. The test case for these doctrines was the 2003, U.S.-led attack on and occupation of Iraq. The result of these developments was that the United States became the most feared and one of the least respected countries in the world. We will analyze in detail the origins and possible consequences, abroad and at home, of these developments.
Total:
16 credits.
Enrollment:
25
Program is preparatory for:
careers and future studies in government, political science, international relations, political economy and history.

Program Updates

09.12.2006:
New Program
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Last Updated: March 19, 2008


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2700 Evergreen Parkway NW

Olympia, Washington 98505

(360) 867-6000