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Western Oregon University welcomes the Oregon Academy of Science

for release:  February 23 , 2009

MONMOUTH –Western Oregon University will host the 68th annual meeting of the Oregon Academy of Science on Saturday, February 28, 2009. The OAS promotes science education and scientific research within the state. The academy's thirteen sections work to encourage communication among Oregon scientists, both private and public and fosters the growth of tomorrow's scientists through the junior academy for high school students.

The Oregon Junior Academy of Science will meet at WOU on Friday, February 27. High school students doing research in the sciences, mathematics and psychology are invited to participate, as well as group research projects. Outstanding OJAS presenters are eligible to present again to compete for scholarships at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium on Saturday, February 27, at WOU.

The OAS meeting will begin at 7 a.m. with registration at Werner University Center’s Summit Room. The first group of section presentations are from 8 to 8:30 a.m. at locations throughout campus. Schedules and locations will be available at the event, and topics include biology, chemistry, geography, geology, physics, psychology and much more. Attendees will have an opportunity to review posters from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Section presentations begin again at 11:15 a.m. with lunch following at noon. The awards and business meeting start at 1 p.m., followed by the keynote address in the Columbia Room of WUC. The day will end with the final section presentations between 3 and 4:30 p.m.

The event features a keynote speech by Greg Hill, an associate professor of mathematics and environmental studies at the University of Portland. His talk is titled “Uncertainty, Society and Resilience: a Case Study in the Columbia River Basin.”

Hill serves as president of the Institute for Culture and Ecology (IFCAE), a non-profit research organization based in Portland. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Hill and other scientists with the Institute are investigating the public planning process for salmon recovery in the Columbia River Basin. Their work focuses on the interface between science and policy, examining the effects of modeling and uncertainty on public participation, equity and power.

Three awards will be presented at the conference: the 2009 Outstanding Scientist, Outstanding Teacher for both higher education and K-12. Oregon Health Sciences University professor Reinhold Rasmussen, Ph.D., is being honored with Outstanding Scientist award. Rasmussen received his doctorate in botany-plant physiology from Washington University in 1964, preceded by an M.Ed. in biology (1960) and a bachelor’s in geology and botany (1958) both from the University of Massachusetts. 

Rasmussen became a professor at the Oregon Graduate Center in 1977, following extensive research in agriculture, botany, air quality, and environmental science with both corporate and governmental agencies, and a professorship in air quality research in the College of Engineering at Washington State University, Pullman. During much of that time, he was director of the OGI-affiliated Global Change Research Center. He is also founder and president of Biospherics Research Corporation in Hillsboro.

The collective impact of Rasmussen’s more than 200 publications has been enormous. His work has been cited over 5,500 times. Rasmussen is a member of National Research Council panels on Vapor Phase Organic Air Pollutants from Hydrocarbons, Ammonia, and Low-Molecular-Weight Halogenated Hydrocarbons, and previously has been a member of the Air Pollution Physics and Chemistry Advisory Committee and the Environmental Pollutant Movement and Transformation Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Agency, in addition to many other notable distinctions.

Charles Kunert, Ph.D., of Concordia University in Portland, has been named higher education’s Outstanding Teacher. He is well known for his knowledge, experience, and wisdom in the classroom, and his deep and genuine interest in student success. Four decades of former students almost unanimously credit Kunert as a major reason they chose to continue toward a career in the sciences.

He has served as dean of the College of Theology, Arts and Sciences at Concordia University, Portland, for the past nine years. He has been a member of the faculty of biology at Concordia since 1969, and teaches courses in genetics, molecular biology, evolution, and the departmental seminar. Kunert earned his bachelor’s degree from Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska, a master’s degree in biology from Portland State University and his Ph.D. in genetics at the University of Oregon.  His research interests are in molecular genetics and in the 1990’s he was instrumental in obtaining the funding and resources needed to allow Concordia to develop up-to-date laboratory facilities for teaching biotechnology and molecular biology. He has authored a number of professional publications on genetics and on the relationship between science and theology in classroom teaching. 

The third award, for Outstanding Teacher in K-12, goes to Michael Geisen of Crook County Middle School in Prineville. Geisen, a seventh-grade science teacher, said that, “A great teacher is a unifier of ideas, a unifier of people, and a unifier of ideas with people. In my teaching I strive to bring together creativity and science, to unite my students into a community, and to help each person in this community connect with the big ideas of science.”  He has accomplished with remarkable effectiveness during the past nine years at Crook County Middle School. In 2008, he was honored by President Bush at a White House Ceremony as Oregon’s first National Teacher of the Year, the first Oregonian to receive this distinction since 1973.

Geisen received his bachelor’s degree in Forest Resource Management from the University of Washington in 1996, graduating magna cum laude. He began his professional career as a forester, and early in his career spent several months as a teaching assistant at the University of Washington’s experimental forest. This experience convinced him to pursue a career in education as a way to connect with real people and share the excitement of science. Geisen earned a Master of Arts in Teaching, with a science endorsement, from Southern Oregon University in 2001 and began teaching that fall at Crook County Middle School.

For more information on the OAS meeting and registration information, visit the Web site at Or contact Jeff Myers, president of the OAS and professor of geology/paleontology at WOU, 503-838-8365 or

The keynote speech is open to the public, free of charge. It is on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Pacific Room of Werner University Center.


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Jeff Myers
Professor of Geology/paleontology

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Title David Bacon to discuss globalization and migration
Blurb Award-winning photojournalist, labor activist and author, David Bacon, will give a lecture and lead discussion on globalization and migration at Western Oregon University on Sunday, Feb. 1. The event will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in room 211 of the Instructional Technology Center.
Comments comments
Release type News
meta-description Award-winning photojournalist, labor activist and author, David Bacon, will give a lecture and lead discussion on globalization and migration at Western Oregon University on Sunday, Feb. 1. The event will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in room 211 of the Instructional Technology Center.
meta-words Western Oregon University, David Bacon, globalization, migration, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, Rural Organizing Project, farmworkers, hunger, strikes, unions, immigrants, transnational working communities, photojournalist, activist