Moses Lee was thinking. Here he was, program director for research and science at the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, a man with an unbridled passion for science and a philanthropic pot of money needing a good home.
His task? To find a way to advance science research at four-year colleges in the Pacific Northwest region that the peregrinating Canadian native had come to call his second home.
So what to do? He picks up the phone and makes five calls to five university researchers. Some of them live hundreds of miles apart, all are at different stages in their careers, and most have never met. They don’t even all work in the same field.
There were the chemists: Carlisle Chambers at George Fox University; Andrea Munro at Pacific Lutheran University; and Mark Bussell and David Patrick at Western Washington University. Then there was the lone physicist: Amy Spivey at University of Puget Sound.
“Out of the blue, Moses called each of us,” says Spivey. “He said, ‘I’m trying to bring together a group of scientists who do research with undergraduate students to collaborate. I would love for you to meet and see what ideas you can come up with.’” The prospect of a $240,000, three-year grant and some exciting work for their students no doubt sent a few test tubes crashing to the ground.