Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

College of Liberal Arts News

Biology Professor Gary Tallman earned a prestigious grant to further his research relating to climate change.

Willamette professor earns NSF grant to study plants and climate change

The National Science Foundation has awarded Willamette University Biology Professor Gary Tallman with a grant of $249,980 towards his ongoing research on plant cell division and growth in the face of global climate change.

The grant will allow six Willamette undergraduates to work collaboratively with Tallman on his research, and it will help him create an upper-level biology seminar on plant signal transduction.

Tallman also plans to develop a workshop for the Willamette Valley Biological Education Network, a network among Oregon colleges to improve undergraduate biology education, which will help science faculty develop ways to integrate their research and teaching.

The grant is through an NSF program supporting research that addresses questions about "life in transition," including how living organisms are responding and adapting to climate change.

Tallman's endeavor, entitled "Effects of Heat Stress on Hormonal Signaling in a Thermotolerant Equatorial Perennial Plant, Nicotiana glauca (Graham)," is the latest in a long line of similar research that he began long before Al Gore brought widespread public attention to the climate change crisis.

Tallman's project seeks to determine whether a 5- to 6-degree Celsius difference in temperature has undesirable effects on growth and cell division in plants. Tallman's research to date shows that auxin, a growth hormone located in plant cells, is incapable of activating growth if temperatures are too high.

"This study has implications for conservation management of native, heat-tolerant plants and the animals that may depend on them," according to NSF. "It may also find application in the development of strategies to genetically engineer heat-tolerant perennial crops and ornamentals."

Read more about Tallman's grant on the National Science Foundation website, or learn more about his research in a 2007 article.


Campus community learns about Cambodia at Center for Asian Studies event

Sokchea Monn, a survivor of genocide in Cambodia, visited Willamette to talk about his work to improve his country's education system.

A recent event hosted by the Willamette University Center for Asian Studies gave the campus community a firsthand account of genocide in Cambodia and one man's battle against corruption in the country's education system.

Sokchea Monn told of his childhood and his recent work as director of the Supplementary Teaching Education Program (STEP), one of the only Khmer-operated non-governmental organizations in Cambodia.

He was introduced by Mika Lim '11, a sociology major who had the opportunity to work with Monn during her time studying in Cambodia. This past

summer she interned with the Pari Project, located in Cambodia's capital, which consults with NGOs to help them improve their business models.

Lim observed the trials of a country still trying to recover from widespread genocide initiated in the early 1970s after the Vietnam War.

"I wanted to have Sokchea come to Willamette because I think it is key to hear about these issues from a Khmer person who has lived the experience of genocide and is now involved in the development of Cambodia," Lim says. "I also know that Sokchea is at a place in his life where he can publicly share his deeply personal and powerful story."

Read more at the Willamette online news archive.


Archives office unveils congressional collections at Hatfield Library

Shanel Parette, circulation supervisor at the Hatfield Library, has curated a new exhibit showcasing Willamette's seven congressional collections -- four of which are connected to notable alumni public officials (Mark Hatfield, Bob Packwood, Bob Smith and Denny Smith). This is the first time in about 20 years that a new exhibit of this type has been orchestrated, and it is currently ready for all visitors to the library to see.

Additionally, two of the four paintings done by artist and alumna Marjory Horton '56 (which were part of the Class of 1956 gift) have been hung near the archives entrance. These large and colorful paintings depict student traditions such as glee and serenading. Alumni may remember them as they used to hang in the UC.

These additions are part of the archives department's many duties as a keeper of campus history. Local visitors are always encouraged.


Willamette alumna generates big city buzz

Pull shots at the Bistro today, own a booming coffee business in fast-paced, coffee-crazed Seattle tomorrow. So goes the story of Willamette alumna Dani Cone '98, a business economics graduate who was recently named one of the Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 Under 40.

Each year beginning in April, the journal begins a search for the 40 most successful young entrepreneurs in the Puget Sound area who demonstrate excellent leadership and management skills, as well as practice community outreach. This year, out of more than 500 nominations and 232 applicants, Cone was selected after a five-month-long process.

Cone, now 33, worked at the student-run Bistro on campus when she was an undergraduate. Today she is living up to the enterprising reputation of the Willamette community as she lights up the Seattle coffee scene with her businesses: Fuel Coffee, with shops spread across Seattle, and High 5 Pie, a wholesale bakery.

Her businesses, the first of which kicked off in 2004, now roll in more than $1 million annually, according to the Business Journal.

When she isn't managing her enterprises or pouring joe, Cone is an advocate and sponsor for breast cancer research, an author (try: Tall, Skinny, Bitter: Notes from the Center of Coffee Culture), and, in the Willamette spirit, fond of being engaged in her community.

"One of my favorite parts is truly being a part of a neighborhood. I think [that] involvement and being around people has always been paramount on my mind," she says. "In general, I've always really loved business, I love being a barista and I love making coffee."

Cone was honored on Sept. 22 at the Showbox SoDo in Seattle.


Willamette theatre alumna earns prestigious national fellowship

Shana Cooper '99 was recently named a Princess Grace Theater Fellow, a national award that will allow her to build on her foundations with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and define herself in the artistic community.

The fellowship, distributed by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, is awarded each year to continue the legacy of Grace Kelly, who anonymously assisted emerging young artists.

Winners from 18 states and 11 organizations were recognized this year in the fields of theater, dance, choreography and film. Students are eligible for scholarships, and artists working in their careers may receive fellowships or apprenticeships.

Cooper earned a theatre degree at Willamette and an MFA in directing from Yale School of Drama. She was associate artistic director of the California Shakespeare Theater from 2000 to 2004, and she co-founded New Theater House with Yale School of Drama alumni in 2008.

She was named an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Killian Fellow in 2009, and during the 2011 season, she will direct "Love's Labour's Lost" on the Elizabethan Stage, the festival's largest stage. In past seasons, she was the assistant director for the OSF productions of "Macbeth" and "Equivocation," and she produced the "Twelfth Night" parking lot project.

"From an early age, watching plays at the OSF instilled in me the importance of performance as a vital artistic form able to bridge social divides and access our common humanity," says Cooper, who grew up in Ashland, Ore., site of the festival. "The Princess Grace Foundation will support my bringing these life-changing stories to audiences in my hometown and throughout the country."

Learn more about Cooper on the OSF website.