Fred Tobiason, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, during the dedication of the Fred L. Tobiason Outdoor Learning Center on April 18, 2011. Photo by John Froschauer

Fred L. Tobiason Plant and Animal Sustainability Outdoor Learning Research Award

Administered by the Environmental Studies Committee

The Fred L. Tobiason Plant and Animal Sustainability Outdoor Learning Research Endowment was established through the generosity of PLU emeritus Chemistry faculty member Dr. Fred L. Tobiason to support PLU students engaged in studies related to our outdoor learning spaces and natural areas. This supports a campus tradition in which student’s environmental actions and values are intentionally and locally aligned, and empower students to work toward change.

The Award is intended to provide an opportunity for students of any discipline to participate in research using the outdoor natural areas on the PLU campus. The total annual amount is generally $2,500, which may be applied for in its entirety or divided to support different projects. Funds may be used towards stipend, supplies, and travel. Projects may reflect any discipline, as long as the research and end-product are directly related to the outdoors and environmental issues, or social implications related to how our natural outdoor spaces are used.

General Information
The student(s) will independently conduct research, present findings in written and verbal formats, and share results with the campus community in multiple formats by the end of the following semester or academic year. Faculty or staff may serve in an informal advisory role, but this award is to support the carefully planned and independent work of the student. This project may support a student Capstone or part of coursework or independent study, or as part of the student’s University service commitments.

Should the proposed research or end product include planting or work to restore habitat areas, or installation of constructed habitat improvements, interpretive signage or other physical end-products, these must be pre-approved by the Committee, and planned in consultation with Grounds/Facilities. Awardees will also provide documentation of these activities and a clear assessment of the impact of that work, including ongoing management and maintenance that may be needed.

Fellows must complete the research project within 12 months, starting from date of notification of award. It may be completed either during the academic year or as a summer research experience, with a clear timeline for successful completion. The Environmental Studies Committee must approve the timeline in advance.

The recipient(s) of the award will be expected to present about their research at the Dr. Rae Linda Brown Memorial Undergraduate Research Symposium that will be held in the spring (usually April) each year.

Application Process

Selection Criteria
Open to any PLU student or students. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applications will be evaluated based on the feasibility of the project and the match with the intent of the award.

Application will include:

  • A project description (750 words maximum) that includes:
    • The goals/objectives of the research project and the intended results
    • Its significance for outdoor natural areas at PLU and a plan for implementation, maintenance, and any ongoing costs or responsibilities.
    • A plan for communicating about it with the campus community (exhibit, poster, signage, blog, or other communication)
  • Timeline for the project (approved in advance)
  • Budget (up to a maximum of $2,500)
  • Student Statement of Interest (500 words maximum) that includes:
    • Personal objectives for participating in the research experience:
      • Skills and prior experiences relevant to the proposed project, which demonstrate initiative, ability to follow through a project to completion, self- motivation, and self-discipline. This experience may be from coursework, volunteer activities, or research at PLU or otherwise.
      • Skills and knowledge the student(s) will develop through this project.
      • Explanation of how this project contributes to student’s (students’) educational and post-PLU goals
  • Resume(s)
  • Unofficial Transcript(s)
  • Letter of reference from a faculty member attesting to the student’s (students’) initiative and ability to work independently

Contact Information

Romey Haberle, Associate Professor, Biology Dept.

2018-19 Environmental Studies Committee

Member NameDepartment
Bradford AndrewsAnthropology
Jen BrownAnthropology
Wendy CallEnglish
Romey HaberleBiology
Sergia Hay Philosophy
Rose McKenneyEnvironmental Studies & Geosciences
Brian NaaszChemistry
Member NameDepartment
Bridgette O'BrienReligion
Adela RamosEnglish
Mike RingsPhilosophy
Priscilla St. ClairEconomics
Claire ToddEnvironmental Studies & Geosciences
Jill Whitman (Chair)Environmental Studies & Geosciences