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Faculty Profile — Chavonda Jacobs-Young

Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Assistant Professor of Paper Science and Engineering in the Management and Engineering Division, joined the College of Forest Resources in 1995. Chavonda came to the University of Washington from North Carolina State University (NCSU) where she earned a B.S. in Pulp and Paper Science and Technology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Wood and Paper Science. While matriculating at NCSU, she interned with several companies including, Federal Paper, E. I. DuPont de Nemours, Kimberly-Clark Co., Kraft General Foods, and Weyerhaeuser Company. She believes that her ten intern experiences provided her great insight into the industry.

Chavonda teaches core curriculum Paper Science and Engineering courses and participates in the recruiting efforts of the program. "I enjoy teaching and interacting with students," says Chavonda. " I hope that my exposure to the students will keep me young for many years to come."

Chavonda’s research interests include investigating the use of biotechnology in common pulp and paper processes. Her current project examines the efficacy of pretreating wood chips with selective enzymes prior to cooking with the conventional kraft pulping process. The objectives of the project are to expand the fundamental understanding of enzymatic solubilization of wood cell wall components and quantify the effects of the improved diffusivity on pulping efficiency. Other research interests include evaluating the use of biotechnology in non-wood processing and performing comparative financial analyses for the pulp and paper industry.

Chavonda grew up in Augusta, GA where she was active in academics, athletics, and many community service organizations. In elementary school and throughout her undergraduate college studies, she participated in track and field and has been awarded such honors as: High School All American Track Athlete, Most Valuable Track Athlete (high school and college), State of North Carolina High Jump Champion, and ACC Women’s High Jump Champion. Although athletics played a major role in her life, education was her first priority.

Chavonda and her husband Keith spend much of their time outside of work with their 17-month-old daughter, Autumn Krystina. Since becoming a mother, she concludes that parenting has to be the most challenging project she’s ever undertaken. Chavonda is also active in community outreach. "I like to take every opportunity to increase the awareness of the importance of education in young people," says Chavonda.

Faculty News

Sally Brown was appointed Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Ecosystem Sciences, effective November 1, 1999. Prior to this appointment, Sally was Research Associate in the College.

Richard Condit was appointed Visiting Lecturer, Part-Time in the Ecosystem Sciences Division for academic year 1999-2000.

Ivan Eastin and Bruce Lippke attended a meeting of the Western Wood Products Association, March 4-7, 2000, in San Francisco, CA. While there, they also attended the Softwood Export Council meeting on March 7th, which Ivan chaired.

Clem Hamilton was appointed Affiliate Professor in the Ecosystem Sciences Division, effective October 1, 1999.

Peter Kiffney was appointed Affiliate Associate in the Ecosystem Sciences Division, effective October 1, 1999.

Sarah Reichard was appointed for a two-year term to the Invasive Species Advisory Council, which advises the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce on matters pertaining to invasive species. Sarah gave a talk to the American Seed Trade Association annual meeting in New Orleans, LA on January 29-February 1, 2000. She spoke on the meaning of the President’s Executive Order on invasive species for the seed trade and on how they might use some of her research to meet upcoming changes in federal procedure. Sarah also gave lectures during Winter Quarter on invasive plants at Mercer Arboretum (near Houston, TX) and at the Natural History Museum of Houston.

Clare Ryan and David Thorud attended a conference, "Land Stewardship in the 21st Century: The Contributions of Watershed Management," in Tucson, AZ, March 13-16, 2000, where they presented a paper with co-authors George Brown and Brian Boyle.

Peter Schiess and the forest engineering capstone design course was featured in the Winter 2000 issue of padeia, the newsletter of the Office of Undergraduate Education, in a column on undergraduate capstone experiences. Peter also participated in a forest safety workshop sponsored by the UW’s Pacific NW Agricultural Safety and Health Center on February 3-4, 2000.

Sean Thomas was appointed Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Ecosystem Sciences Division, effective January 1, 2000. Sean was formerly a Research Associate in the College.

Faculty Reports

Don Hanley reports that he and Frank Greulich, along with Joe McNeel of West Virginia University and Dave Baumgartner of Washington State University, recently completed a major revision of the UW/WSU Cooperative Extension Bulletin EB-1316, A Primer for Timber Harvesting. The publication addresses the issues faced by private forest landowners when considering timber harvesting alternatives. Their decisions affect such things as financial return, future site productivity, potential damage to the site, soil erosion, and other factors. The previous edition of this bulletin has been widely used in undergraduate teaching and continuing education. The publication can be found on the Web at http://coopext.cahe.wsu. edu/infopub/eb1316/eb1316.pdf.

Kathryn Kelsey, Research Associate in the Ecosystem Sciences Division, reports on a recent project involving College of Forest Resources graduate students. The project, "The TRUTH About Science," began in September 1998 and was funded by the UW’s National Research Center for Statistics and the Environment (NRCSE) and the Discuren Foundation. During the 1998-1999 academic year, Kathryn and graduate student Ashley Steele developed and piloted the curriculum. Kathryn says, "Now in its second year, the curriculum is being taught in several middle school classrooms in the Seattle School District, where CFR students Roarke Donnelly, Tom Gergen, Kerri Mikkelsen, and Dan Peplow have been providing support to teachers. The graduate students function as advising scientists and assist teachers as they guide students through some of the unfamiliar parts of conducting scientific research."

Grad student Dan Peplow looks at aquatic invertebrates from Thornton Creek with several Seattle middle school science teachers.

The project was originally conceived to provide teachers with lessons and materials that would allow them to turn their students on to science as a process. The curriculum is composed of 40 individual lessons. About half are stand-alone lessons that teach basic research skills such as developing hypotheses, setting up controls, random selection of observations, calculating an average and a t-statistic, and graphing data. The other half of the lessons apply the concepts through the development of a Long-Term Research Project (LTRP). Students work in groups to design and carry out their own LTRP. For example, students inves-tigated whether mushrooms in the shade were healthier than mushrooms in the sun or whether there were more aphids on vine maple versus red alder leaves. The curriculum culminates in a celebration at which students display posters of their research and give five-minute presentations to parents and classmates.

Graduate students were paired with teachers who participated in a three-day workshop in September 1999 to introduce middle school science teachers to the curriculum. The workshop was supported by The Discuren Foundation, the Middle School Science Systemic Change Partnership (MSSSCP), an NSF-funded project at the UW, and the Seattle School District. Nineteen teachers representing 12 Seattle schools and four CFR graduate students participated in the workshop. Graduate students attended to learn
about the curriculum and to begin developing relationships with the teachers. Monthly seminars were held in October, November, and December 1999 to provide additional support for teachers. Seminars began with 15-minute
research presentations designed to
further expose teachers to the science research process. CFR faculty Linda Chalker-Scott and Kern Ewing gave presentations about research projects involving undergraduate students.

Kathryn says, "We have just received a third grant from The Discuren Foundation to continue training teachers to use the curriculum, to make revisions based on teacher feedback, to investigate publication opportunities, and to update and expand our web page (http://www.nrcse. washington.edu/resource/curriculum/truth.asp). We plan to continue recruiting interested graduate students to serve as consulting scientists with the middle school teachers. In addition, some of the teachers have expressed an interest in having scientists visit their classrooms and talk about their research.

The most important part of all of this is the students’ response. Students find the curriculum exciting, challenging, engaging, and most of all fun. They learn thinking and problem solving skills they can apply in many different settings. Giving formal presentations at the end of the project is scary yet incredibly empowering. The students rise to the occasion, highlighting their achievements and their enthusiasm for the project. It has been an incredible thrill to watch these students develop into young scientists."

If you are interested in this project, contact Kathryn Kelsey (kkelsey@u. washington.edu) or Ashley Steel

Professor Dorothy Paun reports on FM 521, "Finance and Accounting from a Forest Products Marketing Perspective." Her graduate student seminar involves in-depth financial analyses of the paper industry. Their research involves identifying all publicly owned United States and Canadian pulp, paper, and packaging companies and then analyzing and interpreting financial data from company annual reports. Graduate students undertake an industry financial performance analysis as might be done by a stock analyst at a brokerage firm and gain first-hand experience with the refereed publication process. Dorothy says, "This is our fourth year of successfully parlaying our seminar research into a publication in the TAPPI Journal (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry), which has a readership of 35,000." This year’s co-authors are faculty Chavonda Jacobs-Young and Chad Oliver and graduate students Edie Sonne, Cameron Crump, Kevin Ceder, Karl Howard, and Olivier Trendel.

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