Gary L. Chamberlain Fellowship


The Gary L. Chamberlain Student Research Fellowship honors Dr. Gary Chamberlain who taught at Seattle University from 1979 until 2009 in the Theology and Religious Studies Department. Dr. Chamberlain was a beloved teacher who contributed to the growth of the Environmental Studies Program and encouraged countless students to pursue their passion for environmental advocacy. He also connected theology and ecology through his many works including his books Because Water is Life: Catholic Social Teaching Confronts Earth’s Water Crises and Troubled Waters: Religion, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis.

2023 - 2024 Recipients

Photo of Gabe Veltri.Photo of Olivia Roberts.The 2023 - 2024 Gary L. Chamberlain recipients (who will be working together) are Gabe Veltri and Olivia Roberts, both in the College of Science and Engineering. The title of their research is: "Composition of Moss Dwelling Invertebrate Communities in Southern Seattle: Duwamish Valley vs. Seattle Parks." 

Moss is an abundant and critical part of ecosystems worldwide, especially in the temperate ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. Mosses house a wide array of invertebrates and have been used as a bioindicators of air pollution in the area they grow as they sequester heavy metals.  However, comparative studies on the biodiversity of moss-associated invertebrates have been limited. Such research on invertebrates, to our knowledge, has not been done in the Pacific Northwest or Seattle area. Previous studies have examined heavy metal concentrations found in the moss species  Orthotrichium lyelli in different Seattle neighborhoods as it is easily distinguishable and abundant. This study uses the same moss subject to sample invertebrate communities from localities in the Duwamish Valley and Seattle green spaces to quantify the biodiversity present in each community. Using this data, we will analyze heavy metal concentrations and percent impervious surfaces, to see if these factors correlate with differences in moss microinvertebrates among sites. This type of research is critical to understand effects of varying biodiversity on ecosystem health, which can be further connected to human health and issues such as classism and racism that are potentially present in various communities.

Watch Gabe and Olivia's CEJS Fellowship Research Introduction Video.

2022 - 2023 Recipient

The 2022-2023 Gary L. Chamberlain Fellowship recipient is Peter Durland who attends Seattle University’s School of Law ('23). Peter will examine the current tree retention laws in the city of Seattle and advocate for a change in policy that balances the need for affordable housing with the benefits that tree coverage provides to the city. With housing costs on the rise, many provisions meant for private homeowners such as townhome and detached accessory dwelling unit legislation are being utilized by companies to increase the allowable building footprint and accordingly, profits. This increase in footprint has had a detrimental impact on the canopy coverage in the city, leading to the loss of many benefits provided by Seattle’s urban forest. Additionally, these changes have largely not positively impacted the housing affordability crisis the city currently finds itself in. Peter will analyze these issues in search of a solution that can help to mitigate these complex issues.

Watch Peter's CEJS Fellowship Research Introduction video , his mid-term report, final report and watch his final presentation.

A headshot of Peter Durland

2021-2022 Recipient

A headshot of DonnaThe 2021-2022 Gary L. Chamberlain Fellowship recipient is Donna Shahbazi who attends Seattle University’s School of Law. Students as young as eight years old are joining the pursuit of environmental justice. Some are recognized with national attention, while others are hometown heroes. The information compiled in this study will serve as a guide for student movements to come and those that are looking to grow. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to analyze student movements across the United States – their triumphs, successes, and failures. The compiled results of this study will be utilized as a blueprint for student groups in action and the many to come. This project will include educational resources, effective recruitment methods, and a document containing questions that groups of students should consider to ensure that they are identifying accurate needs and goals for their institution given that each group is different. 

Read Donna's mid-term report, her final report and watch her final presentation.

2020-2021 Recipient

a headshot of Piper

The 2020-2021 Gary L. Chamberlain Fellowship recipient is Piper Klinger ('21) who is majoring in Environmental Science. Piper’s research seeks to develop a comprehensive and inexpensive methodology to prepare biochar adsorbents from wood pellets for use in the treatment of arsenic-contaminated drinking water. This research will develop a protocol for producing biochar from readily available, top-lit, under-draft cookstoves. In addition to producing biochar, these cookstoves are extremely clean-burning which makes their implementation in the developing world critical to the reduction of deaths due to indoor air pollution. The worldwide mortality rate related to indoor air pollution is nearly eight times the rate for deaths related to unsafe drinking water. The proposed work will produce enhanced biochar by modifying the surface of poplar tree pellets with calcium sulfate from discarded wallboard (calcium sulfate). Piper’s faculty mentor will be Dr. Phillip Thompson, CEJS director and professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Read Piper's final report and watch her final presentation.