International student Marlies Luepges wants a career in wilderness therapy, so she took it seriously when she had a chance to work in the field.

Marlies Lupges works with troubled teens through wilderness expeditions
Marlies Lupges works with troubled teens through wilderness expeditions

When Marlies Luepges volunteered for a wilderness therapy position last summer, she bicycled nearly 100 miles from her home in Bend to the firm’s Albany headquarters, including a trek over Santiam Pass.

The OSU-Cascades Campus junior, an Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Tourism major, says she bicycled to give her time to reflect before and after the interview “as I knew I would enter a whirlwind of emotions when re-entering a field that has become my main focus over the past three years.”

After the meeting, Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Expeditions accepted Luepges, an international student from Switzerland, for a 21-day wintertime expedition to Waldo Lake in the Cascades. She now has completed two treks with the firm, and is enjoying the experience she’s gaining.

The treks are intervention activities for 13- to 17-year-olds with a variety of problems, including mental health issues, depression, learning disabilities, emotional disorders and troubles with the law.

At Waldo Lake, 3-4 guides and 6-8 teens find a remote location where they camp in individual tents for three weeks. Much of the time is spent hiking, backpacking and snowshoeing.

At first the youngsters are distrustful and keep to themselves. “After a week out there, they start to feel supported and begin to express themselves,” Marlies says. “It becomes a nurturing environment. They know we’re as wet and cold as they are.” Parents “often are blown away” when they see the change the trek has made, she says.

Marlies wants to earn a master’s degree, probably with an emphasis in counseling, so she can be a counselor as well as a guide, perhaps in her own firm eventually.

And the bike ride over the Cascades? “It was much easier than I thought it would be.” Of course, she’d already bicycled over passes in Switzerland.

When it was time to return to Bend, she left early in the evening figuring she’d head east until she found a campground. She didn’t find any. “About 8:20, I started worrying. I figured I’d have to stop and ask someone if I could camp on their land.”

Then came a touch of serendipity. “I saw a Swiss flag on a house. It was a Swiss couple in their 70s,” she says. “They invited me to spend the night inside. It was a beautiful get-together for all. They’re now my adopted grandparents here.”

OSU-Cascades Campus home page

Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Tourism program

OSU International Programs Web site

Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Expeditions Web site

Warren Washington’s atmospheric computer models are important in the understanding of global climate change.

Warren Washington
Warren Washington

OSU alumnus Warren Washington was one of the developers of atmospheric computer models that now have become standard in the study of complex climate issues.

After graduating from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1958 and a master’s in meteorology two years later, Washington earned a Ph.D. from Penn State University. He joined the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., in 1963 and has spent his entire career with that organization.

His importance in the field has been recognized by President Clinton, who appointed him to the National Science Board, and by President Bush, who re-appointed him. He recently completed his second term as chair of that prestigious group, which makes recommendations to the president and Congress on national science policy.

One of OSU’s most distinguished African American alumni, Washington returns to campus as the university’s commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary doctorate on June 18.

He also received OSU’s E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, and has been honored for scientific achievement by the American Meteorological Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Societe Meteorologique de France and several universities.

During his long career, he has published more than 100 professional papers and co-authored a book, An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling, which has become a standard reference in the field.

Last year, he and a colleague published an article in the prestigious journal Science that analyzed climate data from around the world over the past 40 years and outlined the connection between human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, and global warming.

OSU Commencement Web site

Information about Warren Washington on Commencement site

National Center for Atmospheric Research Web site

Fred Kamke focuses on designing composite products that make more efficient use of timber resources.

Fred Kamke is designing effecient uses for timber
Fred Kamke is designing effecient uses for timber

Composite wood products have had a bad reputation over the years, being considered a low-cost means of using commercial waste or low-quality wood.

That image is changing, and Fred Kamke is helping make sure it continues to change.

“The old paradigm of growing trees for lumber or pulp is no longer the only option,” Kamke says. “Short-rotation woody crops, intensively grown on a relatively small land area, may be used to produce structural products with properties equal to or better than the highest-grade Douglas-fir lumber.”

Kamke, a leader in research on innovative new wood composite products and technology, is currently working on wood modifications that can be used in composites.

Oregon has about 20,000 acres of hybrid poplar that were planted for pulp uses. As a low-density wood the poplar isn’t useful for much else. “I want to be able to densify it to make useful products,” Kamke says. Using a home-made wood press, he is able to take a quarter-inch-thick piece of the poplar, apply steam, heat and pressure, and turn it into a hard wood about one-fourth as thick.

The process is called viscoelastic thermal compression (VTC) and the resulting wood has higher density, strength and stability than the original. Kamke believes it can be used as a composite with a piece of the original poplar sandwiched between two of the VTC pieces.

“I can see uses for it in building construction, and I think there could be applications for flooring materials because it has good hardness properties,” he says.

Hybrid poplar is a good choice because it grows fast, produces many trees in a small area, and is harvestable within five or 10 years.

Kamke has worked with composites his entire career, spending more than 20 years at Virginia Tech after receiving his doctorate from OSU in 1983.

He returned to OSU in 2005 to become the first holder of the JELD-WEN Chair in Wood-Based Science in OSU’s College of Forestry. Now he is in the process of helping make the university a world center in bio-based composite materials.

“I’ve always liked the idea of being able to get more out of the forest, of getting the products we need without relying on huge land masses for the resources,” he says.

Fred Kamke Web page

News release on Kamke’s OSU appointment

Oregon Wood Innovation Center

Description of VTC

Annette von Jouanne and colleagues are working to make Oregon the nation’s wave energy leader.

Note: With deep sadness, we regret to inform readers that Professor Alan Wallace, featured in the story below, passed away June 7 after a long illness. For more information, please read the OSU media release on Professor Wallace’s death. A memorial service is being planned and likely will take place sometime during the week of June 11 – 17. Please call OSU News & Communication Services at 541-737-4611 for more information.

Harnessing the power of the coast is no easy task
Harnessing the power of the coast is no easy task

Anyone who’s seen the pounding surf at the Oregon coast knows the power of the ocean.

Figuring out how to harness the power and make it productive has long been a challenge, though.

Now Annette von Jouanne and Alan Wallace, her colleague in OSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, are trying to overcome the challenge.

Working with a team of student researchers, and in collaboration with several industry partners and collaborators from other OSU departments, von Jouanne and Wallace are developing direct drive buoys that can turn the power of ocean waves into electrical energy.

Von Jouanne has an exciting vision for the future of the project. “It could be a whole new industry,” she says. “We could be the nation’s wave energy headquarters. In five to 10 years time on the Oregon coast, there could be wave parks generating power back onto the grid and providing jobs for the people living in the region.”

The Oregon coast near Reedsport has been identified as the optimal site in the nation for wave energy development and potentially could provide power to meet about 20 percent of the state’s electricity needs, according to von Jouanne and Wallace.

“Ocean energy is an idea whose time has come, ” says Wallace. “If only point-two-percent of the untapped energy of the oceans could be harnessed, it could generate enough power to supply the entire world.”

Although Wallace and von Jouanne are focused on wave energy, they also are involved in the exploration of other power sources, and they direct the Motor Systems Resource Facility at OSU, the highest-power university-based energy systems laboratory in the country.

In addition to being an outstanding researcher, von Jouanne has been recognized for her teaching. Last year she was named the most outstanding young faculty member in the nation in her field by Eta Kappa Nu, a national honor society for electrical and computer engineers.

“I love the teaching aspect and getting students excited about the research and opportunities,” she says. “This is the starting point of their careers, and we want them to see how exciting the research is, and how it’s not just a job.”

Annette von Jouanne research Web page

News release: Oregon may become wave energy leader

Von Jouanne honored as top educator

Motor Systems Research Facility

Michael Campana wants OSU’s new Institute for Water and Watersheds to lead the way in resolving Oregon’s water problems.

Michael Campana will serve as the director of the Insitute for Water and Watersheds
Michael Campana will serve as the director of the Insitute for Water and Watersheds

Despite its reputation for abundant rain, Oregon faces a myriad of water-related challenges, from water rights issues in the Klamath basin to pollution concerns in the Willamette River.

To coordinate the far-flung water research efforts, involving 80 faculty members in six colleges, the university has established the OSU Institute for Water and Watersheds.

The institute involves a statewide network of resources, including research laboratories, classrooms, Extension offices and experiment stations, which will allow OSU scientists to connect with decision makers at state, federal and local levels to develop solutions to water problems.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers helped build the water initiative into reality, and now it is ready to take the next step forward with the hiring of Michael Campana, a hydrogeologist and international expert on complex water management issues, as the first director of the institute.

Campana says he hopes to focus the institute’s efforts on large, multidisciplinary, long-term projects and significantly increase external funding for water research activities at the university.

“Oregon is facing a variety of water and environmental problems,” he says. “OSU’s water expertise must be brought to bear in solving these problems, and the Institute for Water and Watersheds needs to reach a point where it is the first organization Oregonians think of when water issues arise.”

The institute is one of six strategic initiatives for investment that will bring OSU new centers for research and outreach, outstanding faculty and students, and scholarship, fellowship, internship and educational opportunities.

The other initiatives are:

  • A Center for Healthy Aging Research, linking individuals, families and environments
  • Computational and genome biology
  • Ecosystem informatics, involving mathematics, computer science and ecology
  • Subsurface biosphere education and research
  • Sustainable rural communities

Institute for Water and Watersheds website

Institute for Water and Watersheds history and goals

Michael Campana hiring news release

OSU’s six strategic initiatives

An international expert on honeybees is better known at OSU for teaching a “far out” course.

Michael Bugett is teaching a "far out" course
Michael Bugett is teaching a "far out" course

Michael Burgett’s Far Side Entomology course is so popular that even though he’s officially retired, he has started offering it twice a year instead of once.

Earlier this year, in fact, National Public Radio selected Far Side Entomology as one of the nation’s most popular college courses.

Using entomological cartoons by Gary Larson and others, Burgett encourages his students to take an in-depth look at the more serious aspects of insects and their relevance to human activities. “Each two-member team does four presentations per term. I give them two cartoons and some entomological reference works to start. They can then go off on any tangents they want,” Burgett says.

The course is filled with humor, but it also involves serious learning. “Each team will have four entomological themes, and they really dig into those and learn the material pretty deeply. They also say they improve their speaking skills,” Burgett says. “Students do 10-12 minute presentations, but they have to spend three or four hours putting each one together. That’s where they learn.”

It’s no surprise that Burgett’s a good teacher. It’s what he always wanted to do, and he received his bachelor’s degree in education in 1966.

“Then 17 days later I got my draft notice,” he says. “I was assigned to a medical lab’s entomology division, so I did medical entomology for two years.”

That interested him in entomology, so he applied to Cornell University for graduate work in the field. “They had one graduate assistantship available, and it was in honeybees. So I went into honeybees,” he says. “People ask me if I’ve always loved honeybees. Actually, it was just a matter of money, but it has developed at least into a large affection.”

Over the years the wild honeybee population in the United States has been devastated by mites, but commercial populations have been saved by chemical controls developed by Burgett and others at OSU and other western universities.

Burgett still finds time for honeybee research, but much of it is done in Thailand because most honeybee varieties are found in Asia. And he plans to continue finding time to teach Far Side Entomology.

“I’m still excited about teaching, so I’ll continue to do it,” he says.

Michael Burgett’s website

OSU news release on NPR selection of the course

NPR story on Burgett class (includes audio)

Michelle Bacon spent her international internship caring for cheetahs in Namibia in southern Africa–and she loved it.

Michelle Bacon spent months with Cheetahs
Michelle Bacon spent months with Cheetahs

Imagine putting a piece of meat on a spoon attached to a one-foot-long stick and holding it out for a wild animal to eat. Michelle Bacon did just that and a lot more during her 11-week international internship in Africa.

Michelle, now a senior, discovered during her freshman year that she would have to complete an internship to get her degree in fisheries and wildlife. It didn’t take her long to realize that she wanted to do an international internship and work with large African predators.

So last summer she was in Namibia working with the Cheetah Conservation Fund, responsible for taking care of 28 cheetahs and 10 Anatolian Shepard puppies.

Each day differed from the previous, Michelle says. “I worked in a clinic with a veterinarian to take blood, skin, and hair samples from wild cheetahs, perform an autopsy, and take organ samples from a cheetah that had been hit by a car. I also picked up captured cheetahs to later release them back into the wild, and performed a medical workup in the bush on a brown hyena and a mother and cub leopard that had been caught by a visiting researcher.”

When large tourist or school groups visited, she says, “we would have a cheetah run, which is when they chase after a mechanical lure system, and when they catch it we reward them by giving them a piece of meat on a short stick. It is incredible to be so close to them and see the fastest land mammal in the world run!”

Michelle also was responsible for taking care of the Anatolian Shepard litter that was born the week after she arrived. The Cheetah Conservation Fund “breeds these dogs as livestock guarding dogs and then gives them to farmers in order to prevent cheetahs and other predators from taking livestock–a significant motivation to shoot cheetahs,” she says. “The hardest part was definitely not getting too attached to the 10 puppies, and keeping my affection to a minimum, as the dogs are supposed to be bonded to livestock and not humans.”

Now back in the U.S., Michelle is doing more normal things, such as finishing her studies and participating on the women’s rowing team, where she is co-captain for 2004-05.

But she won’t forget her summer in Namibia, saying it “was so incredible, and I feel so lucky that I had this opportunity.”

IE3 Global Internships

Cheetah Conservation Fund website

Tim Fiez is part of the University Libraries team that developed a comprehensive website about the Willamette River Basin.

Time Fiez is developing a website for the Willamette Basin
Time Fiez is developing a website for the Willamette Basin

If you want to know more about the 13th largest river in the United States, whose basin is home to more than 2 million people, you’re looking for the online “Willamette Basin Explorer: Past, Present, Future.”

The website at provides a history of the Willamette Basin, analysis of critical issues, mapping tools, video clips, links to publications, data sets, and many more helpful resources. It also explores different development options for the basin, and offers information to help people better understand the implications of land management decisions.

The site was developed by the OSU Libraries as part of the Willamette Basin Conservation Project, a two-year effort to provide Oregonians with more information to help make sound, informed land management decisions.

The initiative, funded by a $600,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust, is a collaborative effort of the Institute for Natural Resources at Oregon State University, OSU Libraries, the University of Oregon, Willamette Restoration Initiative, and Defenders of Wildlife.

“The Willamette Basin is one of the most beautiful and productive regions in the country,” says Hal Salwasser, dean of OSU’s College of Forestry and a principal investigator on the project., “but its population is expected to double in the next 50 years, and we face challenges with water pollution, sensitive habitats, endangered species, and urban development.”

The web project builds on a research effort by the Pacific Northwest Ecosystem Research Consortium, a joint project of the Environmental Protection Agency, OSU, and the U of O. The OSU Libraries and the Institute for Natural Resources plan to use this site as a model for providing similar information to other areas in Oregon.

Willamette Basin Explorer website

Pacific Northwest Ecosystem Research Consortium website

Willamette Basin Planning Atlas book

Governor’s initiative for Willamette River cleanup

Willamette Basin Explorer news release

David Rosowsky destroys buildings in order to make them better.

Rosowsky destroys building for research
Rosowsky destroys building for research

OSU professor David Rosowsky would like homes to be built so they not only protect lives during a hurricane or an earthquake but also avoid massive repair and reconstruction costs.

In order to accomplish that, he has used huge vacuums to suck the sheathing off roofs and fired 2x4s through walls with an air cannon made out of a beer keg. To see whether a structure could resist the impact of a tree falling on it, he and colleagues created an experiment smashing a massive steel pipe into a house.

Rosowsky, holder of the endowed Richardson Chair in Wood Engineering, and other structural engineers at Oregon State are bringing hurricane force winds and violent earthquakes right into the laboratory to help re-evaluate construction concepts that have been accepted for decades.

“Current U.S. building codes are minimum standards designed to protect life and safety,” Rosowsky says. But in a world full of expensive houses that lie in the path of hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes those minimal standards are inadequate to contain the enormous costs associated with structural damage, even if they may be effective at reducing loss of life.

Rosowsky’s goal is to make the Department of Wood Science and Engineering at Oregon State into the nation’s leading research program in structural reliability and performance-based design of wood structures. Along the way, he may have to smash and destroy a few more buildings. But he seems up to the task.

Research article

Suzanne Austin’s undergraduate research internship helps determine why bluebird populations are declining.
Internships help undergraduates succeed
Internships help undergraduates succeed

Working with researcher Tara Robinson, fisheries and wildlife senior Suzanne Austin was involved in a study to examine the population viability of the Western Bluebird.

At issue in Robinson’s research is an effort to determine why young birds often are killed in the nest, and then finding out whether something can be done about it.

Austin’s involvement in the project is part of an OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife requirement that students must complete two internships before they graduate. After the internships, most students enter their last year of undergraduate study with a refined sense of what they want to learn and what they want to do after they graduate.

“Most of our students are from urban areas,” says Rebecca Goggans, coordinator of the internship program. “They’ve seen a lot of nature shows on TV but don’t know how that translates into a career. So the internship is one of the best ways to give students an experience that allows them to synthesize the skills and theories they learned in class.”

And it seems to be working.

  • Spencer Rearden spent his internship monitoring salmon return in remote Alaskan rivers. He gathered data on the return to help establish quotas for commercial salmon fishing.
  • Jaimie Wisnowski did his internship in Wyoming working on the wolf recovery program in Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
  • Nemesia Herzstein learned during her internship as a naturalist at BLM’s Yaquina Head natural area on the Oregon coast that she not only loves to work with animals but also to teach people about them.

“The internship experience seems to make college much more meaningful for the students,” says Goggans. “They feel like they are at OSU for a reason.”