Dr. Jim Gawel is Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Engineering at the University of Washington Tacoma. Jim got his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Brown University with an emphasis in Environmental Problems and Planning, and his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT.
Jim has been teaching and doing research with undergraduates at UW Tacoma for 14 years, and headed the Environmental Science and Studies program here for 6 years. Jim began studying arsenic-contaminated urban lakes as a postdoctoral research associate at MIT, where he focused on arsenic mobility and limnology in contaminated Spy Pond in Arlington, MA. He has also been working actively to understand lake eutrophication, developing nutrient mass balance budgets for Spy Pond, Wapato Lake in Tacoma and Spirit Lake near Mount St. Helens. Jim is also the President of the Washington Lake Protection Association (WALPA), and has been working with WALPA to develop a state-wide volunteer lake monitoring program. Jim's other research interests include studying cellular bioindicators of metal stress in aquatic and terrestrial systems, making documentaries as public education and outreach tools to address water management issues and improving undergraduate environmental science education.
In his spare time he teaches rock climbing for the Tacoma Mountaineers.
Jim believes strongly in undergraduate research as an important learning experience and a valid means of conducting scientific research. Student researchers working with him have presented their research on arsenic fate and transport in area lakes, metal stress in mussels in Puget Sound and in forests in Norway, harmful algae dynamics in Puget Sound and more.
Jim teaches courses in environmental chemistry, pollutant fate and transport, limnology, public policy and more. His courses stress hands-on participation, field and lab work and service learning.