Natural & Environmental Sciences (NES) Department

Natural and environmental sciences include the study of anthropology, biology, chemistry, geology and physics–all of which seek to understand the natural world around us. Whether you want to become a renewable energy expert, physician, hydrologist or zoologist, you can apply your science education to benefit humanity and the natural world.

Make a positive impact on the world around you.

Some of the most complex and urgent issues of the 21st century have to do with the way we interact with our environment. This includes everything–from finding ways to feed earth’s growing population while maintaining the balance of ecosystems–to meeting the challenges posed by increasing global temperatures. To resolve these challenges will require a new generation of leaders with expertise in natural and environmental sciences.

At Western Colorado University, you can apply what you have learned in the classroom to the natural world around you. You can seize the opportunity to conduct original fieldwork in the expansive Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and discover native species in Western’s chapter of The Wildlife Society.

Extraordinary learning opportunities

Natural & Environmental Sciences students conduct original research while exploring the vast learning laboratories of the Gunnison Valley.

Areas of Study

Anthropology

Anthropology

Major | Minor

Biochemistry

Biochemistry

Emphasis

Natural & Environmental Sciences (NES) Department

Biology

Major | Minor | Secondary Licensure

Cell biology

Cell & Molecular Biology

Emphasis

Chemistry

Chemistry

Major | Minor | Secondary Licensure

Environmental Biology Ecology

Environmental Biology & Ecology

Emphasis

Geology

Environmental Geology

Emphasis

Environmental Science

Environmental Science

Minor

Geoarchaeology

Geoarchaeology

Emphasis

Geology

Geology

Major | Minor | Secondary Licensure

Petroleum Geology

Petroleum Geology

Emphasis

Physics

Physics

Major | Minor

Pre-nursing

Pre-Medicine

Advising Program

Pre-Nursing

Pre-Nursing

Emphasis

Pre-Physical Therapy

Pre-Physical Therapy

Emphasis

Natural & Environmental Sciences (NES) Department

Wildlife & Conservation Biology

Emphasis

Scholarships

Eligibility

  • An outstanding undergraduate student who is majoring in Geology

Description

This scholarship is provided by Paul Rady, Peter Dea & Barrett Resources Corporation.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Geology Department Scholarship Committee.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Applied or accepted Western student
  • Student is pursuing a major in Mathematics or related Natural Sciences
  • Applicant has demonstrated a need for financial assistance
  • Demonstrated an interest and is active in inter-collegiate athletics
  • Preference should be given to entering freshmen, however all classes are eligible
  • Preference should be given to applicants whose study time is limited by family obligations or the need to earn income
  • No preference shall be given based on the sex of the applicant
  • Preference will be given to applicant from Delta County, CO. or the Western Slope of Colorado

Description

Established with the Western Colorado University Foundation to perpetuate the memory of William Charlesworth, a 1954 graduate of Western Colorado University. The express purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to student-athletes pursuing majors in mathematics or related natural sciences. Award depends on funds available. Selected By: The chair of Mathematics and Computer Science and a representative from the Athletic Department appointed by the Athletic Director. A representative from the Natural Sciences Department shall be on the selection committee.

Application:

Contact the Mathematics & Computer Science Department or the Athletic Department for application and deadline information. Mathematics & Computer Science Department: 970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128 Athletic Department: 970.943.2079 | Paul Wright Gym 201.

Eligibility

  • High School seniors to college seniors
  • Must have been involved in scouting program and attained rank of First Class Scout
  • Must be a graduate of a Western Slope high school
  • Preference will be given to Gunnison High School graduates who meet the criteria

Description

This scholarship is provided by the family to perpetuate the memory of Gary Dolezal, who was an example of scouting, citizenship and scholarship. Award depends on funds available

Application:

Please complete and submit Western's Common Scholarships Application.

Eligibility

  • Full-time Western Students
  • Must be a declared Mathematics major
  • Must have a GPA 3.0 or greater

Description

This scholarship is provided by the estate and family to celebrate the memory of William E. Dorgan. Award depends on funds available Selected by: Western Mathematics faculty in consultation with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid as needed.

Application:

Contact the Paul Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering for application and deadline information. 970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Full-time student
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher
  • At least sophomore status
  • Must demonstrate an interest and capability to pursue studies and/or research in the area of botany and native plant research (Biology)
  • Preference will be given to those with financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by the family and friends to honor Dr. Ferchau for the never-ending assistance he gave to students at Western.

Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $2400).

Selected by: Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Geology majors who are committed to the timely and enthusiastic pursuit of a Geology degree
  • Must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher

Description

This scholarship is provided by Art H. Menzer.

Amount: $500

Selected by: Western Colorado University Geology Faculty

Application:

Geology faculty review Geology majors for consideration. Contact the Department of Natural & Environmental Sciences for additional information. 970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Students majoring in Biology or Chemistry

Description

This scholarship is provided by the family and friends of Aubrey W. Lawrence who served as Professor of Chemistry and Chairman of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Science Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Recipient must be a full-time junior or senior
  • 3.0 GPA or higher
  • must be engaged in pre-medical studies

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. Mason Light, who served the college community for over forty years while he was a practicing physician in Gunnison. He and his wife established this scholarship.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Donor Scholarship Committee (Family of Mason Light) in cooperation with Western Colorado University Foundation and the Director of Financial Aid.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Students majoring in Geology
  • Demonstrate academic promise and financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by Marquerite Davidson.

Award depends on funds available

Selected By: Geology Faculty

Application:

Applicants must write a letter stating their interest in Geology and explaining their financial need. Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for additional information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Full-time juniors or seniors (qualified juniors shall be given preference over seniors)
  • Must be declared major in the Natural and Environmental Sciences Department
  • Must maintain at least 3.2 GPA
  • Recipients must follow Casey's example of academic promise, love for the outdoors and service to fellow students demonstrated by volunteering in the community and involvement in campus activities and service.

Description

this scholarship is provided by the gifts by Bill and Monica McKenny, Casey's parents, as well as other family members and friends.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Natural & Environmental Sciences faculty in consultation with the Dean of Students and Bill and Monica McKenny.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Students majoring in Geology who have completed their junior year of study at Western Colorado University
  • Must be able to demonstrate high GPA and leadership potential within the field of geology

Description

This scholarship is provided by the parents and friends of Valerie Mitchell who died in an accident at the end of her junior year.

Award depends on funds available. (Anticipated award $200)

Selected by: Western Colorado University Geology Faculty.

Application:

Geology faculty review geology majors for consideration. Contact the Department of Natural & Environmental Sciences for additional information. 970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Learn more about Western's Geology Program.

Eligibility

  • Students majoring in Geology
  • 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Must have academic promise and financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by Richard W. and Belva Moyle.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Western Colorado University Geology Faculty.

Application:

Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Learn more about Western's Geology Program.

Eligibility

  • Full-time Colorado residents who have a major in a field within the Natural & Environmental Science Department
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 minimum
  • Demonstrate financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Full-time students who have declared a major in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics

Description

This scholarship is provided by the gifts from members of the Walker family to perpetuate the memory and to commemorate the service and devotion of C. Ralph and Florence Walker, who both served Western and the Gunnison community in an exemplary manner for many years. Professor Walker was Chairman of Western's then Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant. For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

News & Research

Western’s Brad Burton: 2020 Inspirational Geoscience Educator Award

Western’s Brad Burton: 2020 Inspirational Geoscience Educator Award

Read More
Western appoints new adjunct faculty members in graduate Ecology program

Western appoints new adjunct faculty members in graduate Ecology program

Read More
Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Read More
Western professor shares insight on ‘fast fitness’ on popular biohacking podcast

Western professor shares insight on ‘fast fitness’ on popular biohacking podcast

Read More
Western alumnus, inspired by his time on campus, publishes research on the genetics of bees

Western alumnus, inspired by his time on campus, publishes research on the genetics of bees

Read More
Western Faculty Work to Preserve Nature with the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Western Faculty Work to Preserve Nature with the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Read More
Western Professor and Students Publish Study on Fire Ecology

Western Professor and Students Publish Study on Fire Ecology

Read More
Western receives 0K to fund Open Educational Resources

Western receives 0K to fund Open Educational Resources

Read More
Western students travel to Pueblo for annual Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society Conference

Western students travel to Pueblo for annual Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society Conference

Read More
Western faculty published in top scientific journal

Western faculty published in top scientific journal

Read More
Western launches Master of Science in Ecology

Western launches Master of Science in Ecology

Read More
Western wins competitive grant to expand recycling with ’The Rocket’

Western wins competitive grant to expand recycling with ’The Rocket’

Read More
Western featured in ’Guide to 399 Green Colleges’ by The Princeton Review

Western featured in ’Guide to 399 Green Colleges’ by The Princeton Review

Read More
Western hosting free 3-night series on local wildlife management at ICELab

Western hosting free 3-night series on local wildlife management at ICELab

Read More
Solar Energy International, Western join forces to offer college-level courses

Solar Energy International, Western join forces to offer college-level courses

Read More
Western’s MEM program helps start ecological restoration in Gunnison Valley

Western’s MEM program helps start ecological restoration in Gunnison Valley

Read More
Embarking on a field-based learning adventure

Embarking on a field-based learning adventure

Read More
Master in Environmental Management professor publishes two new books

Master in Environmental Management professor publishes two new books

Read More
Western professors, students publish report on environmental effects of wildfire mitigation

Western professors, students publish report on environmental effects of wildfire mitigation

Read More

Faculty & Staff

Department Chairperson

Robin A. Bingham, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Administrative Assistant

Samantha Siegfried

Administrative Assistant for NES and MCS

Contact Information

970.943.2015

rbingham@western.edu

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Hurst Hall 128
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231