News and events



CEFNS Spring 2017 Commencement Ceremony will be Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:00 p.m. in the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome.  No tickets required.

CEFNS Pre-Commencement Reception at the High Country Conference Center will be Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.  

Come early for the reception and beat the parking rush.  The reception ends by 1:00 p.m. (giving you time to by seated in the Dome by 2:00).


* NAU Skydome * DuBois Center 

      UGRAD Symp 2016 
See CEFNS UGRADS page for more information.




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”


                      This year's luncheon speaker:

                             Martin Casado, PhD 
                 General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz

“Creating a Tech Startup, What I Wish They Would have Told Me”

           Casado 2017 300x300 



Congratulations 2017 Fall Outstanding Senior award winners and Nominees


Maxwell-Lutz Community Impact Award

Puzzle team 260x150 

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” 

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.
Please visit the webpage for submission instructions: 




    Congratulations Dr. Ching Huang!
  CEFNS 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year

  16 TOTY Huang 300x450 




Congratulations Christopher Forgach (EE) and Michael Gilbert (CS), recipients of the 2016 Cobham Scholarship
2016 Cobham 400x300
Photo, from left to right: Bob Heidinger, Cobham Avionics Director of Engineering, Michael Gilbert, CS and Christopher Forgach, EE.  Each will receive a $3800 scholarship from Cobham Avionics. 



                                        Science and Health Building is open

The five-level, 118,000-square-foot Science and Health Building is being moved into and will house classrooms, lecture halls, offices, research modules and teaching labs to support NAU’s Chemistry programs and the Center for Science Teaching and Learning.  An Open House will be planned and the CEFNS Fall College Meeting will be held in Rm 211 on August 26, 2015.



 Extra time means more flying as NAU researcher awaits one-of-a-kind octocopter

 Teki Sankey
Teki Sankey is logging flight time while awaiting a custom-made octocopter.  (Photo courtesy IDEA Lab)

For Northern Arizona University ecologist and remote sensing scientist Teki Sankey, conducting research has usually meant interpreting coarse pixels from satellite images to draw conclusions about the vegetation covering landscapes worldwide.

Now, by flying a custom-engineered octocopter packing two powerful sensors, Sankey will reap exquisite detail from forests, sand dunes and other natural features in Arizona.  The unmanned aerial vehicle to be flown by Sankey and her graduate students will gather data.

In the meantime, Sankey has acquired a fixed-wing drone. She and graduate students Jonathon Donald, Dan Solazzo, and Jason McVay have been flying it to study forest restoration effects in the Centennial Forest area outside of Flagstaff. What they see there has implications for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, at this point underway on a small scale.

“We’re studying that area as an example of what will happen when 4FRI begins operations over large acreages,” Sankey said. “The idea is to see if thinning will improve the ground water budget because of the additional snow cover that will result from fewer trees.”

That work along with satellite image analysis, funded by a Bureau of Reclamation grant, will become more fine-tuned once the octocopter arrives with its unique array of equipment.



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:


Partnership with Lowell Observatory Discovery Channel Telescope
DCT 450x300

Seated (left to right):
Lowell Director: Jeff Hall; Lowell Trustee: Lowell Putnam; NAU President: John Haeger 

Standing (left to right):
NAU Dean of CEFNS: Paul Jagodzinski; Lowell Advisory Board Membe:r Mike Kitt; NAU Chair of Physics & Astronomy: Steve Tegler; Lowell Astronomer and Deputy Director for Science: Deidre Hunter; Lowell Advisory Board Member: Mike Beckage; NAU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: Laura Huenneke

Northern Arizona University’s (NAU’s) partnership with Lowell Observatory in the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) provides NAU astronomers with local access to a large state-of-the art telescope for astronomical research. NAU astronomers will be able to work on even more cutting-edge problems in astronomy and be in an even better position to compete for research grants. This local partnership means students can much more easily apprentice under NAU and Lowell astronomers and become astronomers in their own right or secure jobs on technical staff of observatories or high-tech companies. Access to the DCT will enable the Department of Physics and Astronomy to recruit even better undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members. The partnership between NAU and Lowell Observatory will not only strengthen the research, teaching, and public outreach collaborations between astronomers of both institutions, but it has the potential to build new collaborations between the two institutions in such areas as engineering, science education, and science journalism.




CEFNS Career Fair  
*Watch for upcoming events*

Career Fair Information 

.A Paradigm Shift: Indigenous Peoples in the New Millennium 

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.