YVC students participate in community-based summer research projects

This summer 20 Yakima Valley College STEM students are engaged in community-based research projects — developing hands-on, practical skills while also studying issues of interest to local communities and industries.

The research projects provide YVC students with valuable experience both in the lab and in the field, along with the opportunity to work with a variety of community partners. More than 250 YVC students have participated in STEM research since 2012. Some of this year’s projects include:

  • In partnership with Washington State University and the Washington Department of Ecology, students will help measure emissions from various composting processes. The data from this study will be used to help advise practices in the state as to the best way to compost, minimize emissions and expand the amount of material composted.
  • Through the use of DNA technologies students will address research questions centered on the efficacy of RNA interference (RNAi) as a potential biopesticide against codling moth in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. 
  • In a continuation of a project started last year, students will work in partnership with the USDA to conduct research studies in Yakima Valley orchards to determine the best strategies for releasing beneficial insects.
  • An investigation into elements of the nitrogen cycle in agricultural and non-agricultural soils to determine the potential contributions of microorganisms to soil fertility using chemical testing, microbial cultivation and genetic sequencing techniques.
  • A project focusing on how different efforts to restore native vegetation such as wildflowers, shrubs and trees affect native pollinators.
  • Students will collect water samples from Yakima Valley streams and rivers and analyze those samples through molecular techniques, such as DNA sequencing and chemical analyses, to test a variety of hypotheses and document water quality.

Opportunities for photos or video of YVC students working in the field and in lab settings are available through early August. Photos and video also are available upon request. To arrange interviews with YVC students and faculty engaged in summer research projects or to arrange a photo/video opportunity, please contact YVC Community Relations.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 / dwunderlich@yvcc.edu
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 / smenard@yvcc.edu