Meet OSU's champions of research, teaching and outreach

The Oregon State University baseball team that captured the College Baseball World Series championship – and the hearts of Beaver Nation – did so through a remarkable combination of skill, perseverance and teamwork. These are characteristics that I see not only in our student-athletes, but in so many of our faculty, staff and students. I’d like to introduce you to some of these champions of research, teaching and outreach.

Oregon State is represented on many teams, working to improve social, economic and educational opportunities. One example is the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, known simply as ONAMI. It brings together researchers from OSU, the University of Oregon, Portland State University, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the private sector, including HP and Intel. They are using nanoscience and microtechnology to address issues of energy, health and the environment.

The spirit of teamwork is alive at the coast, where OSU is leading three other institutions in the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal Oceans to learn more about near-shore environments. Already, scientists have helped decipher the mystery of marine “dead zones,” discovered long-term changes in the kelp forests that nurture numerous fish species and outlined the potential benefits of marine reserves.

Collaboration flourishes in the forests near Lakeview, Oregon, where OSU researchers are leading a biomass project that uses the products of forest thinning activities to create biofuel while creating healthier forests.

Similar partnerships are taking place in western and eastern Oregon. In Tillamook County, OSU’s Institute for Natural Resources is supporting a collaborative effort to create a better flood management plan. In Umatilla County, OSU’s Institute for Water and Watersheds is working with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla and others on ways to better manage the region’s critical water supply.

One of the newest team efforts partners OSU faculty with colleagues in the state’s K-12 schools, community colleges and other educational systems on the “Oregon P-20 Initiative.” The aim is to make education more efficient, effective and accessible. Online courses and agreements between OSU and community colleges are already helping students to get their degrees wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.

In all of these endeavors, teamwork, skill and determination can take us a long way, as the national champion OSU baseball team brilliantly demonstrated last summer.

Edward J. Ray