News and events



CEFNS Spring 2018 Commencement Ceremony will be Friday, May 11, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. in the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome.  No tickets required.

CEFNS Pre-Commencement Reception will be held Friday, May 11, 2018 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. at the High Country Conference Center.  This will allow you time to get to the Skydome and be seated by 2:00 p.m. 



Scientists propose exploring Mars with drones and virtual reality at NAU

NAU astrophysics researchers and the Interactive + Immersive Virtual Reality Lab are collaborating to propose new methods to explore the surface of mars. Find out more about this project here.

To combat decrease in science literacy, NAU professor creates Science History Podcast

Frank von Hippel, a professor of biological sciences at Northern Arizona University's Center for Bioengineering Innovation has fused compelling scientific topics with lessons in history in The Science History Podcast in an effort to increase science literacy. To find out more or to listen to the podcast, click here.

NAU researches quantify nutritional value of soil fungi to the Serengeti food web

NAU researchers from the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability are making the link between mammals that live in the Serengeti to a relationship between fungi and plants that has evolved for millions of years. Read more here.

NAU receives $325,000 Keck Foundation grant

A $325,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation is funding a project that has the potential to establish Northern Arizona University as a leader in informatics education, particularly for underrepresented student groups. 
Find out more here.

Heavenly headway: NAU's growing astronomy program increasing exploration into secrets of space

Find out more about the growth of the Physics & Astronomy department and the progress they are making in solving the mysteries of the universe here.

* NAU Skydome * DuBois Center 

      UGRAD Symp 2016 
See CEFNS UGRADS page for more information.


       This year's luncheon speaker:


                         Peggy Nelson
  CFO IHF, LCC, Executive Aerospace Consultant

                Peggy Nelson 2018 UGRADS 

Peggy Nelson consults to executives and their customers in areas of new business competitive capture, programmatic execution, operations excellence and talent mentoring and development. 

Previously, Ms Nelson worked for Northrop Grumman Corporation as the Executive Vice President of Engineering for the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Sector where she lead over 10,000 engineers and technicians with a personal passion for mentoring and career development.  In her career, she lead the capture and program management of two multi billion dollar new business pursuits. Her expertise covers efforts in many hardware and software state-of-the-art technologies over a broad customer base.

Ms Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from California State University, Northridge. She also completed the Executive School of Management Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.  



1st Place tie 
Isaac Romero        
Mentor: John Tester                                
Mechanical Engineering                          
“Design of a Simple Test Fixture for a Powered Foot-Ankle Prosthesis”                                                                 

Laney Stevens, Kristian Cordell, Ian Ooley                            
Mentor: Taylor Joyal
School of Earth Sciences & Environmental Studies
“Releasing Water into the Rio de Flag”                                                                                                                                                                         


1st Place                                     
Haley Leonard
Mentors:  Teneille Gaither, Kathleen Stigmon, Nadine Barlow                         
Physics & Astronomy                              
“Hydrothermal alteration analysis from the Flynn Creek impact Crater”

2nd Place                                     
Lauren Younger                                      
Mentors:  Gerrick Lindberg, Porter Marsh                               
Chemistry & Biochemistry                      
“Molecular dynamics simulations of solvent effects on ion transport in solid polymer electrolytes”

3rd Place                                    
Isaiah Self, Carrington Knox-Hilson, Anne Justice-Allen, Esther Rubin            
Mentors:  David Wagner, Dawn Birdsell                                 
Biological Sciences                                 
“Do lymph nodes from hunted elk and deer make informative targets for assessing wildlife disease prevalence?”                                                                                                                                                                        



1st Place                                                 
Bianka Camacho, Dustin Young, Cameron Schlatter, Garrett Murphy, Geordie Macdonald, Lance Gomez
Mentors:  David Trevas, Sarah Oman   
Mechanical Engineering                          
“Honeywell Endurance Valve Test”                                                                                                                                                                       

2nd Place tie                                          
Hasan Farman, Khaled Alosaimi, Noah Oliver, Eileen Baker, Armando Garcia,
Mentors:  Sarah Oman, Kyle Winfree    
Mechanical Engineering                         
“In Home Gravity Harness”

Zowie Haugaard, Daniel Ohn, Christian Philabaum, Kelvin Rodriguez, Makayla Shepherd
Mentor:  James Palmer
School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems
“Improved Access to Kaguya Hyperspectral Image Data”                                                                                                                                                                        

Phi Kappa Phi Senior Award
Jose Parra, Joshua Landavaso              
Mentor:  Cindy Browder                          
Chemistry & Biochemistry                      
“Synthesis of Isoxazoline Bacterial Growth Inhibitors through Nitrile Oxide Cycloaddition Reactions”

Connor Auge                                           
Mentors:  Lisa Chien, Nadine Barlow, Kathleen Stigmon       
Physics & Astronomy                              
“Turbulent Gas Motion in Interacting Galaxy Systems”


Maxwell-Lutz Community Impact Award

Puzzle team 260x150 

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) and the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences (CEFNS) announce the Maxwell-Lutz Community Impact Award for student teams to submit proposals for consideration of up to $5000 funding. This award is to fund a project that:
  • Improves the health and well-being of local and/or global communities
  • Improves the vitality of community or cultural systems or
  • Improves environmental sustainability
  • Shows collaboration between the colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Engineering, Forestry And Natural Sciences
Proposals will be judged on comprehensiveness of project, identification of measurable goals/impact and benefit to NAU student learning experiences.  Application period February 1 - March 1.
Please visit the webpage for submission instructions: 

Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Maxwell Lutz Community Impact Award winners!


 The 2017 Award was presented to students Adam Bringhurst, Samantha Dinning, Olivia Camping and Dr. Rand Decker, Dr. Wilbert Odem, Dr. James Bowie and Mark Manone for their proposal titled “Prioritizing Ecological Restoration Sites for Educational Purposes



Congratulations Dr. Scott Anderson
CEFNS 2017-2017 Teacher of the Year


  17 Scott Anderson 300x450  


Research uncovers historical rise, fall and re-emergence of plague strains  

The CEFNS Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen) published a very high-profile paper that is bringing a lot of positive attention to NAU. The paper was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases and describes the analysis of plague samples from 6th century victims of the first great plague pandemic.  Read the press release:  and see link to article here: 

The story was picked up by a huge number of media outlets, including NPR, the BBC, the LA Times, the New York Times, and many more. Please see this link for a sense of how far reaching the media coverage was:  Paul Keim, Ph.D. and David W. Wagner, Ph.D. did an interview with NPR, which was featured nationally on Morning Edition. You can listen to the story here:



Scholarships and Prizes 

CEFNS Scholarships
Link to the NAU Office of Scholarships and  Financial Aid

10th annual Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing scholarship essay competition

Kaitlyn Haskie is the $4,000 winner of the 10th Annual Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing scholarship essay competition.  

2016 1st place $4,000 - Kaitlyn Haskie "A Paradigm Shift: Indigenous Peoples in the New Millennium" 


The essay topic for 2015-2016 was:  

     Contemporary Communication Tools

Technology has radically changed the way we interact socially. Everything from dating to voicing political opinions, from ordering food to sharing a ride or a home with someone unknown, can now be done in cyberspace. We have a plethora of ways to learn, spend free time, conduct business, and remain connected to others—whether family, friends, or people half a world away.

Are there costs associated with this unprecedented connectivity and reliance on particular forms of technology? In your opinion, what are the most significant changes—on a personal or social level—that result from contemporary communication tools? Evaluate the personal and social impacts of these changes. 


Thank you all for your participation.  The 2017 competition will be announced soon.


Please see the office Louis Agassiz Prize for Excellence in Writing website for complete competition details. 



Biological Sciences seminars
Fall 2017:
Date: Mondays during the academic year
Time: 2:20 - 3:20 p.m.
Location: Biology Bldg 21, Room 265 

Event details: Presentations from faculty and other experts on research and more.    

School of Forestry seminars
Date: Most Wednesdays during the academic year
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Forestry (Building 82), Room 017

Event details: Presentations by individuals from a variety of research and management backgrounds.

Geology seminars
Date: Tuesdays during the academic year
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Geology (Building 12), Room 103

Event details: Presentations from faculty and other experts on research and more.