WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- Five Whitman College student-faculty research teams have been awarded Sally Ann Abshire Research Scholar Awards for the fall semester.

Recipient teams are senior economics major Joshua Wookey of Aliso Viejo, California, and associate professor of economics Denise Hazlett; senior astronomy/biology major Jennifer Brown of Bellingham, Wash., and professor of biology Paul Yancey; junior economics major Alyson Schweitzer of Seattle, and professor of economics Pete Parcells; junior geology major Timothy Mullin of Salem, Ore., and professor of geology Pat Spencer; and junior English/Spanish major Kara Lashley of Seaview, Wash., and professor of Spanish Celia Weller.

The Abshire Awards have financed undergraduate research projects since the program was established in 1981 by Alfred D. Abshire, Whitman class of 1945, in memory of his wife. The awards give students an opportunity to involve themselves in professional research with a faculty member, provide monetary compensation and pay for research materials.

Wookey and Hazlett will run, revise and write papers on classroom experiments that Hazlett is designing as a National Science Foundation project. The papers will describe the experiments, which illustrate introductory macroeconomic theory, and explain how instructors can use them to convey macroeconomic concepts to their students.

Brown and Yancey will conduct experiments on the origins of life on earth. They will reconstruct and further explore an artificial deep-sea vent first created by Koichiro Matsumo at the University of Technology in Nagaoka, Japan, in which he discovered that it was possible to produce peptides, the building blocks of life, from inorganic molecules and a glycine solution. Brown and Yancey will relate the results from their experiments to the possibility of life on Jupiter's moon Europa.

Schweitzer and Parcells will pursue an economic and social analysis of the short- and long-term local (Walla Walla Valley) consequences of the world's largest retailer (Wal-Mart) locating in College Place, Washington. Schweitzer will be involved in data collection and analysis, and she will work with local and state agencies that interpret much of the economic data for the region. She will study the state's input-output model in anticipation of the research project.

Mullin and Spencer will study the record of catastrophic glacial flood deposits in southeastern Washington and adjacent northeastern Oregon. They will collect stratigraphic and sedimentologic data from two geological catastrophic glacial flood sites near Wallula Gap and Walla Walla. Data will include measurements of the stratigraphic section, detailed sampling of each stratigraphic unit and analysis of marker beds that might be of use in determining the absolute age relationships between flood units. In addition to expanding knowledge in this geological area, the data and conclusions will be used by Mullin to complete an independent study course.

Lashley, with assistance from Weller as needed, will translate from Spanish to English portions of a limited fine press edition given to the college library. The book, "Works of Enrico Martinez, Cosmographer of the King, Interpreter for the Holy Office of the Inquisition, Cutter and Founder of Typefaces, Engraver, Printer of Books, Author, Architect and Chief Overseer of the Work to Drain the Valley of Mexico" was printed by Juan Pascoe, Whitman class of 1969, who also donated the book to the college. The book contains examples and samples of Martinez' work (originally produced in the 1600s) and includes pages on the Inquisition, prayer books, and records of draining the Valley of Mexico so Mexico City could be built. The translation will be available in Whitman's Penrose Library so that students, faculty and other patrons of the library who do not know Spanish will understand the import of the text and of the samples Pascoe uses.


Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156 Email: parishlj@whitman.edu