An interview with Engineer & WWU President, Sabah Randhawa

July 29, 2018

What is it like to be entrusted with running a university while being originally trained as an engineer? Check out our 4th Season Finale where we interview WWU President Sabah Randhawa.


We discuss science's origins related to the leisure class, parking optimization and how training in science, technology, engineering or math can lead to problem-solving in other parts of life.


Video of this interview coming soon but in the meantime, check out this wonderful clip, referred to in our interview, of President Randhawa explaining cricket.


Path to Med School

July 22, 2018

Is there one clear path to take to med school? WWU biology major, Nicole DeRaimo interviewed two other WWU students about their path and plan to go to medical school. 

Nicole created this podcast in Science Communication 497 taught by Spark Science Host Dr. Barber DeGraaff.

Each student has opinions of what kept them on the path and what changed their plans.


Image Credit: Michigan Medicine


Neuroscience & Sci Comm: Mirror Neurons & WWU Research

July 15, 2018

How can we watch an action and instantly know how to do it? What about 'Empathy' in humans? What kind of research is happening on the Western Washington University campus? Listen to this episode to find out. 


Outstanding Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS) graduate, Anna Marie Yanny, interviews BNS chair Dr. Jantzen for WWU Science Communication course. Another student in the class, Lilah Nay, then interviews Anna Marie Yanny about the research undergraduate BNS students are performing at WWU.


Lilah Nay also interviews WWU graduate students and faculty to show what kind of research happens on campus.


The material for this episode was created in a science communication course taught by Spark Science host, Dr. Barber DeGraaff, to help undergraduate science students gain skills in effectively sharing their work with the public and other fields.


Image Credit:


Interview with Nobel Laureate, Bruce Beutler

July 8, 2018

Immunology, Tay Sachs, vaccines and the feeling of intimidation when interviewing a person who has won a Nobel prize are the topics of this episode.

Dr. Beutler, who was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another researcher, came to Bellingham, WA in 2018 and I have a few minutes to have a discussion with him. I also enlisted the help from Spark Science veterans and WWU scientists Dr. Jackie Rose and Dr. Dahlberg to answer some of the questions I had about biology terminology and analysis of Dr. Brutler's answers.

A big THANK YOU to WWU Chemistry for fitting Spark Science in Dr. Beutler's schedule.

Make sure to check out Dr. Rose and Dr. Dahlberg back in Season 1.


Geohazards in Washington State

June 24, 2018

Student correspondent, Andra Nordin, attended the 2018 Geohazards Symposium and spent many hours putting this show together. She spoke to scientists about a range of natural disasters and how to prepare for these events.


Please enjoy.


Solar Thermal Fuels

June 17, 2018

In this episode, we share the work being done by Dr. Tim Kowalczyk at Western Washington University (WWU) in relation to Solar Thermal Fuels.  We break down what this term actually means. We also go back in time and discuss Dr. Kowalcyzk's unconventional path to physical chemistry.


Here is a short clip produced by WWU we refer to at the beginning of the interview.


Music was created by Dr. Tim Kowalczyk (video game music discussed in the interview)

Image credit: MCEC



Being a Women in Physics at WWU

June 3, 2018

This episode turns the table on the Spark Science interview process. WWU Women in Physics students Grace Eliason and Megan McAndie interview their WWU Physics professors, Dr. Kristen Larson & host Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff.  


We talked about family life, paths to physics, being yourself in physics courses, historic women in STEM and what our experiences are as a woman in the physics department at WWU.


Please enjoy this fun and personal episode.


Image credit: Women in Physics - Jessica Reyna



Planetary Geochemistry & Nuclear Physics - LPSC Interview #2

May 27, 2018

In the second episode featuring LPSC, Natalie talks to Chris Klein a planetary geochemist about Titan and Thomas Humphry Prettyman about using nuclear physics to understand the asteroid Ceres. We also revisit the question "what are biosignatures?"

Spark Science Student Correspondent & Chief Audio Engineer, Natalie Moore, traveled to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) this Spring to present research. 


Life on Other Worlds - LPSC Interview #1

May 20, 2018

Spark Science Student Correspondent & Chief Audio Engineer, Natalie Moore, traveled to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) this Spring to present research. 

In the first episode featuring LPSC, Natalie talks to Geologist & Astrobiologist Martin Van Kranendonk about hot springs on other planets and how important the drying/wetting cycle is to "life". Natalie asks "when we will know for sure if life exists or did exist off Earth?" They then try to answer the question "what are biosignatures?"

Enjoy the show.


Image Credit: Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2018


Algae Biofuels

May 6, 2018

This episode features Chemist Dr. Greg O'Neil from Western Washington University. We also have our co-host Jordan Baker back in the KMRE studios.

Dr. O'Neil talks about his lab where he creates biodiesel and jet fuel from algae. We discuss scientific conventions dedicated to fuel and the interesting commercial products you can create from the biofuel waste.

Image Credit: Tom Kleindinst - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution