Features & Highlights

Western's Jennifer Hahn steps off a small boat to sample seaweed in BC
Published Monday, September 26, 2022 - 9:06am

Seaweeds are consumed by many people living on or near the Salish Sea – from Indigenous peoples revitalizing the ancient foodways of their cultures to those simply seeking a readily available and highly nutritious protein source - but little is known about whether contaminants in the Sea’s waters…

WWU Assistant Professor of Biology Nick Galati stands behind a group of Mount Vernon High School students as they work on building a microscope.
Published Wednesday, September 21, 2022 - 12:51pm

Fans are blowing in the classroom on a hot summer day as a group of Mount Vernon High School ninth-graders are building a high-powered microscope, their focus on a small tube where a lens is stuck. It’s the final piece of the microscope that they’re putting together at Little Mountain Elementary…

Students observe 360 views of the Cascades after hiking up Tamarack Peak.
Published Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 11:26am

WWU students enrolled in the Salish Sea Biodiversity, Culture, and Conservation course started class Tuesday, Aug. 9, with high spirits and a much heavier pack than most imagined as they set off on a week-long hike through the North Cascades. The hiking trip is just one portion of the four-week…

The Megaripples formation in Eastern Washington, with water in the foreground and blue skies above.
Published Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - 11:59am

It’s a well known fact that Washington has boundless natural wonders in its backyard, but few people know that it has places similar to our sister planet – Mars.  The WWU Mars Research Lab recently took a trip to Eastern Washington to study the ancient basalt rock flows and the landscape marked by…

The Honors program poses for a group photo; behind them is the misty peak of Chimbarazo volcano.
Published Monday, July 25, 2022 - 10:07am

The Honors College Ecuador program returned home on Friday (with the exception of a few students who had planned beforehand to explore further in Ecuador and Peru on their own before coming home) exhausted but happy after a 30-hour "commute" from Santa Cruz island in the Galápagos all the way back…

Students listen to an instructor as they sit on a boat before going snorkeling in the Galápagos.
Published Friday, July 22, 2022 - 9:01am

The group’s last full day in Ecuador proved to be one of its most memorable, highlighted by a 45-minute boat ride to “Los Túneles,” The Tunnels, for an epic snorkel session. The Tunnels are a series of lava flows and lava tubes that reached the coast, resulting in a maze of sharp black rocks…

The Carina Nebula is captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, revealing for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.
Published Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 2:19pm

With six stunning images of deep space, the James Webb Space Telescope has simultaneously given this world new screensavers and a treasure trove of new information about the universe.  The images are unprecedented due to the fact that the JWST collects infrared light, which travels in longer,…

Marine iguanas gather on the rocks as a Galápagos sea lion taunts a group of resting reef whitetip sharks in the water below.
Published Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 9:35am

Isabela Island, the last destination for the Honors College study abroad group, is the largest island in Galápagos, and in fact is bigger than all the other islands combined. Formed by the merger of five huge shield volcanoes, the island is still very volcanically active, with one of its volcanoes…

Large tortoises amble along on the grass.
Published Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 11:50am

The group’s first day on the Galápagos was a busy one. After a tour of a pair of pit craters - sites where a now-empty lava dome has collapsed into what looks like a massive sink hole - the group stopped for a face-to-face encounter with one of the islands’ most iconic residents: the Galápagos…

The group walks through El Cajas National Park with mountains ahead under a cloudy blue sky.
Published Monday, July 18, 2022 - 12:44pm

After a joyous two days in the city of Cuenca full of exploring and a guided city tour – Cuenca is informally known as the cultural hub of Ecuador – the Honors College Ecuador Program once again boarded the Night Bus for another trip across the Andes. But before leaving the Andes altogether, the…