Monthly Archives: October 2015

Dr. Erica Cline’s 2012 Published Work Referenced by NPR

Salmon Pic

National Public Radio (NRP) published an article on 10/28/2015, “That Salmon On The Menu Might Be a Fraud – Especially In Winter“.  This article discusses a study that was performed December 2013 – March 2014 that concluded “Results showed that 43 percent of salmon samples tested were mislabeled, and that far more of that mislabeling is occurring in restaurants than in large supermarkets.”

The NPR article referenced UW Tacoma’s Sciences and Mathematics faculty Dr. Erica Cline’s 2012 published work “Marketplace substitution of Atlantic salmon for Pacific salmon in Washington State detected by DNA barcoding“.

Faculty Spotlight – Maureen Kennedy

Kennedy-Maureen UWT Assistant Professor

Maureen Kennedy is a new assistant professor for UW Tacoma Sciences and Mathematics (SAM).

For her graduate work, Maureen Kennedy developed a simulation model of branch morphogenesis for old-growth conifers. She used multi-criteria optimization to discover branch morphologies that represented alternative optimal solutions to the problem of longevity under growth constraints. She has since applied multi-criteria optimization to the problem of fuel and fire management under multiple ecological and social priorities. Maureen continues to conduct quantitative research in model uncertainty assessment, in understanding spatio-temporal patterns in fire history data, in employing spatially explicit analysis to evaluate fuel treatment efficacy during wildfire, and in estimating non-linear growth and yield models for sustainable forest management.

Maureen is excited to continue her research and teaching at UW Tacoma. When not teaching or conducting research Maureen spends much of her free time walking and jogging with her dog in their NW Seattle neighborhood. She and her partner can often be found riding their bicycles around Seattle, or spending their Saturdays at restoration sites throughout the Mountains to Sound Greenway, volunteering in trail work, tree planting, or invasive species removal. They also enjoy the ample opportunities to hike or kayak on local trails and waterways.

Faculty Spotlight – Emily Cilli-Turner

Cilli-Turner-Emily UWT Lecturer

Emily Cilli-Turner is a new lecturer to UW Tacoma Science and Mathematics (SAM).

Emily Cilli-Turner’s research focuses on questions in undergraduate mathematics education. She investigates the thought processes of students in a transition to proof course and determining effective ways to teach students to prove in mathematics. She is also interested in flipped classroom pedagogy and has studied students’ attitudes and achievement in a flipped statistics course.

She is very excited to join SIAS because it is a tight-knit community of scholars and many resources are provided to help faculty become the best teachers they can be. She is also excited about the new mathematics major. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, biking and walking her dog.

Faculty Spotlight – Haley Skipper

Skipper-Haley UWT Lecturer

Hayley Skipper is a math lecturer within Sciences and Mathematics (SAM).

What was your favorite class as an undergrad?

This is a tough question. Of course I loved most of my math classes and math professors which made me switch from majoring in Economics to Mathematics! If I can pick more than one, I’d choose Statistics, Sociology, and Ballroom Dance as a few of my favorite classes.

Tell us about an interesting job you had in the past.

In 2009-2010, I had several part-time jobs: Going door to door collecting data for the 2010 Census, an on-campus instructor at a technical college, an online instructor for 2 other colleges, and a ballroom dance instructor for Arthur Murray.  That was a fun and busy year being able to be paid to do my favorite activities: teaching, collecting data, and dancing!  Maybe the next reality TV show could be, Dancing with the Mathematicians

SAM Advising Session for Winter and Spring Quarters

SAM held an informative advising session on Monday October 19, 2015 for Sciences and Mathematics.  Please take a look at the attached SAM Power Point presentation that presents:

SAM Advising Info – Winter and Spring 2015


A Talk With Bonnie Becker

Dr. Bonnie Becker will be at the Swiss Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 6:30pm to discuss “Are Native Oysters Making a Comeback?”. Presented by the Pacific Science Center, this is part of the Tacoma Science Cafe’s Science Pub Night. Hope to see you there!


Faculty Spotlight – Jim Gawel

Gawel-Jim UWT Associate Professor

Jim Gawel is an associate professor with Sciences and Mathematics (SAM).

What kind of a student were you? As an undergrad I worked late night shifts in the pizza place on campus, and so I was often tired in my morning class, General Chemistry.  The professor was one of the least inspired teachers I have known, and so I would sit in the back of class in a 300 person lecture hall in hard wooden fixed seats and fall asleep.  I would wake up sore and get nothing out of being in class, so I taught myself chemistry from the textbook.  I strive to NOT be that teacher!

What was your favorite class as an undergrad? It was actually a marketing class for engineers taught by the guy who invented digital circuits.  In a 300 person class we would know everyone’s name by sight by the second week of class.  It was probably my favorite class because he was the most amazing teacher!

What was a gratifying teaching moment? Every time I see a student succeed after working hard; doesn’t matter whether that is on a test, doing research in the field, or finally getting their diploma on stage. That is what I live for, that is why I teach!

What research are you working on now? I am collaborating with other former grad students from my same lab at MIT (Parsons Laboratory, Environmental Engineering), now at UW Seattle and University of Colorado, to understand the environmental chemistry and potential biotic impact of arsenic (from the ASARCO plant in Ruston) that was deposited in lakes in Pierce and King Counties.

Tell us about an interesting job you had in the past. I was a water engineer in the Peace Corps in Kenya right after I graduated college.

Congratulations to Maureen Kennedy on 2 Grants!

Congratulations to faculty Maureen Kennedy on two new grants that began in September 2015!

Kennedy-Maureen UWT Assistant Professor

The first is an NSF grant that is part of the Hazards SEES program, which has a focus on interdisciplinary research in hazards and disasters.  The main institution for the grant is UCSB and Maureen is working with them on a four-year project to implement a fire model with a hydro-ecological model that will be integrated with a social science model of fuel treatment decision making.

The second has been fully funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program (JFSP) on a three-year project and it involves improving fuel maps in the US that are used for emissions estimated during fires.  The approach is to characterize the uncertainty in fuels estimates and how uncertainty propagates to yield prediction bounds on emissions.

Epic Math Battles!

Quinn-Jenny UWT Professor

Dr. Jennifer Quinn will be at T.S. McHugh’s Irish Pub on Tuesday, Octo­ber 6, 2015 at 7:00pm to host a discussion on Epic Math Battles!

Positive sums count. Alternating sums match. So which is “easier” to consider mathematically? This talk is one part performance art and two parts combinatorics. A tongue-in-cheek combination competition interprets summation identities through concrete counting contexts. By paying attention to what is being counted and what is being matched, audience members will decide which technique is mathematically superior.