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Eastern Washington University
526 5th Street
Cheney, WA 99004
phone: 509.359.6200 (campus operator)

Martee Shafer

Acknowledgement to Mentor:

"The opportunity to help design, implement and present my research would not have been possible without Dr. Carmen Nezat. She maintained exceptional patience and understanding as I worked through my first experience with a scientific research project. Her ability to listen and motivate me in the direction of higher knowledge allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the investigative process. She was readily available to assist me with procedures and questions, even through the magical event of her wedding. Dr. Nezat and I worked together as a fantastic team which created the most rewarding mentor-to-mentee partnership I could have ever asked for. Thank you Dr. Carmen Nezat!"



Martee Shafer is dedicated to environmental concerns pertaining to pollution, waste disposal, and bioremediation.  She is pursuing a double major in geology and environmental science. She enjoys rock climbing, gymnastics, and long bike rides with her family.

She grew up in Deer Park, WA. In high school, she was a part of the year-book staff, achieved honor roll every quarter, and volunteered at the Spokane Humane Society every summer.  At age 19, she enrolled at Interface College Spokane and graduated as a certified Medical Office Assistant and Insurance and Coding Specialist with perfect attendance.  After one year of employment, she began classes at Spokane Community College and graduated with her Associate of Arts degree with honor cords.

She is the first person in her family to pursue a bachelor’s degree. She attributes her success to strict study habits and the ability to balance college work and family time effectively.  She will obtain her PhD in the field of earth sciences to provide a more prosperous future for her two children, as well as to conduct research on environmental topics that will lessen the impact of the growing population on natural ecosystems.


Dr. Carmen Nezat, Associate Professor, Department of Geology, EWU

2012 TRiO McNair Research Internship- The Effects of Fertilizer and Calcium Carbonate on the Mobilization of Arsenic in Groundwater

Arsenic's ability to become leached into groundwater has placed millions of people all over the world at risk for developing life-threatening diseases.  Locally, within Spokane County, isolated private wells have shown arsenic levels above EPA drinking water standards of 10 ppb. Exposure to arsenic in drinking water causes many diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and keratoses. The arsenic in groundwater is commonly leached from natural sources in rock formations but may be enhanced by the addition of fertilizer and calcium carbonate to large crop fields.   To determine if they are contributing to the contaminated groundwater, basalt, granite, and clastic sedimentary rock samples were leached with ultrapure water, a fertilizer solution or calcium carbonate solution for one week.  There were no significant differences among the treatments. Of the rock and mineral samples, pyrite released the most amount of arsenic when treated with ultrapure water.  If pyrite (FeS2) is present in rocks or soil of the Spokane region, it may be a source of arsenic in groundwater. Another possible source in these rock samples is that arsenic was adsorbed to secondary weathering minerals, such as iron hydrous oxide; which are present in local sedimentary rocks. 

Conference Presentations:_________________________________________________________________

Full-circle sustainability and Vermicomposting, Demonstration of food recycling with vermicomposting (worm composting) and the importance of clean water, soil, and air for food production and consumption.Youth of Unity, Unity Spiritual Center, Spokane, WA (9/2013)

The Effects of Fertilizer and Calcium Carbonate on the Mobilization of Arsenic in Groundwater, Oral presentation on the presence of arsenic in local groundwater related to the addition of fertilizer and calcium carbonate to agricultural land. EWU Student Research and Creative Works Symposium, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA (5/2013)

The Effects of Fertilizer and Calcium Carbonate on the Mobilization of Arsenic in Groundwater, Oral presentation on the leach ability of arsenic from its natural position in the earth's crust related to the presence of fertilizer and calcium carbonate. National Conference for Undergraduate Research, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, WI (4/2013)

Arsenic and its presence in our Local Aquifer, Oral presentation on the effects of arsenic in domestic wells and the role of the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. Sixth grade class, Farwell Elementary, Spokane, WA (10/2012)

Honors and Awards:______________________________________________________________________

Martin and Helen Terzieff Scholarship, $1,500

TRIO Ronald E. McNair Scholar at Eastern Washington University, March 2012

Dean's List, Eastern Washington University (fall and winter 2011-2012, winter, spring, and summer 2013)

PTO Scholarship,  for $2500 (2013)

Rural American Scholarship Fund,  for $3000 (2013)

Fully funded by EWU to attend NCUR for $2800

Martin and Helen Terzieff Scholarship,  for $1512 (2012)

President's Honor Roll, Spokane Community College (fall, winter, and spring 2009-2010)

Perfect Attendance,  Interface College Spokane





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