photo of dr steve palumbi  photo of narwhals

Coos Bay, OR  –  Southwestern’s geology lecture series concludes for the 2018-19 academic year when Dr. Stephen Palumbi comes to SWOCC on Friday, May 17 at 7:00 pm.  Dr. Palumbi will present a lecture on "The Extreme Life of the Sea: Amazing Ways Animals Live in Amazing Parts of the Ocean".  In addition to the talk, representatives of the Charleston Marine Life Center will be present in the lobby starting at 6:30 pm and also after the lecture with some examples of extreme life of the sea for the audience to observe in person. 

Dr. Palumbi is the Jane & Marshall Steel Jr. Professor in Marine Sciences at Stanford University. He earned his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and Ph.D. from University of Washington.  Steve is also the Director of the Hopkins Marine Station and Holds a Senior Fellowship at the Stanford Institute for the Environment.  Dr. Palumbi has published extensively in many of the leading scientific journals.  Steve’s latest book for non-scientists is about the amazing species in the sea, written with his son and novelist Anthony. The Extreme Life of the Sea tells about the fastest species in the sea, and hottest, coldest, oldest etc. Steve's previous book, The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival, written with Carolyn Sotka, brought to life the unusual environmental success story of the recovery of Monterey Bay. Steve's first science book for non-scientists The Evolution Explosion explored how humans accelerate evolutionary change in the species around us. Steve helped write, research and also appears in the BBC series The Future is Wild and the History Channel's World Without People. Other recent films appearances include The End of the Line, and the Canadian Broadcasting series One Ocean. Major work continues on the microdocumentary project, the Short Attention Span Science Theater.

The talk on The Extreme Life of the Sea will focus on:  What are the fastest fish in the sea? The deepest species? The hottest, coldest, oldest? The strangest family lives? The oceans are filled with a huge diversity of life, and species manage to live in virtually all habitats. There is the deepsea stop light fish with red search lights for finding prey – that only it can see. There are ice fish with special proteins that keep ice out of their blood, and are now used to keep ice out of your ice cream. This is a talk for everyone who wants to know the secrets of the sea. It is about the familiar – where Nemo finds a mate – and the unfamiliar – how do squid fly? It is about the extreme life of the sea. (Twitter hash tag #ExtremeLifeOTC/

Geology Lecture Series talks are free and are held in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on Southwestern’s Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.  For those not able to attend in person, this lecture will be Livestreamed and archived, with access from the College's web site at  This is the final talk in the series for this academic year, but talks are already being scheduled for fall 2019 including:  Dr. Susan Hough (USGS) on Friday October 18th with “What Past Earthquakes Tell Us About Future Earthquake Hazard: Facts & Fake Facts” and Dr. Artie Rogers (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) on Friday, November 8th with “Forecasting Ground Shaking from Earthquakes Using Supercomputers”.  Lecture series sponsors include DB Western, The Mill Casino, the Southwestern Foundation and the College, IRIS/SSA and the Ocean Discovery Program. 

For additional information, please contact Ron Metzger at 541-888-7216.

COOS BAY, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is partnering with Bosporus International to offer a study abroad opportunity in Istanbul, Turkey from July 16-30, 2019. The program, “Confronting Global Problems and Creating Sustainable Futures,” provides international perspectives on three critical social and ecological topics: work and livelihood, sustainable food systems, and the politics of consumption and waste. The program employs an experiential approach to learning, combining classroom-based instruction with site visits throughout Istanbul. Students participate in lectures and seminars around each of the core topics, followed by site visits to local farms, farmers markets, and employee cooperatives to allow for a deeper understanding of how the topics are experienced in people’s everyday lives. This approach grounds abstract concepts in concrete experiences and provides students with practical tools they can use to study similar topics in their own communities. The course will be co-taught by sociologists Dr. Sara Keene and Dr. Ian Bailey (Southwestern Oregon Community College), Dr. Carrie Freshour (Delta State University, Mississippi), and Dr. Evren Dincer (Bursa Uludag University, Turkey).

In addition to the academic instruction and activities, two day-long, professionally-guided trips to historic landmarks including the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar are also included in the program.

Students will need to register for the program through Bosporus International (, and enroll in the summer course, SOC 250: Field Studies in Sociology, through Southwestern Oregon Community College. Students will also need to obtain a travel visa and travel insurance before departure. Any community members, businesses, and/or organizations interested in participating in the program or sponsoring a student from our community to participate in the program are encouraged to contact Dr. Sara Keene, Assistant Professor of Anthropology/Sociology, by phone at (541) 888-7127 or email,  For more information about the program, please visit or contact Sara Keene.

Photo of Forams in Mud   Vessel IODP Exp 308

Coos Bay, OR  –  Southwestern’s geology lecture series continues when Dr. Julia Reece comes to SWOCC on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm.  Dr. Reece will present a lecture on "Mud & Bugs Under Stress: Compression of Marine Sediments Beneath the Seafloor".  Dr. Julia Reece is an Assistant Professor in the College of Geosciences at Texas A & M University where she studies the hydromechanical behavior of marine sediments. Dr. Reece earned her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Bremen, Germany and Ph.D. from University of Texas at Austin.  She held post-doctoral positions at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas and at Stanford University.  Dr. Reece comes to Coos Bay as an Ocean Discovery Lecturer as part of the U.S. Science Support Program.

Fine-grained sediments such as mudstones are the most common sedimentary rocks preserved close to Earth’s surface. Mudstones are very susceptible to developing significant amounts of overpressure because their low permeability and high compressibility prevent pore fluids from draining. This can result in seepage, submarine landslides, or damage to offshore infrastructure. Additionally, mudrocks are fundamentally important as source, seal, and shale gas/oil reservoirs in petroleum systems or as seals for anthropogenic-related storage. In spite of the importance of mudstones to significant hazards and industry endeavors, a systematic, process-based understanding of the controls on hydromechanical properties in mudstones remains elusive. To study these questions Dr. Reece fabricates mudstones in her laboratory from natural, marine sediments, acquired through the International Ocean Discovery Program and its predecessors, using a technique called resedimentation. Resedimentation simulates the natural process of deposition and shallow burial under controlled conditions, is repeatable, and eliminates the problem of coring disturbance associated with testing on intact cores. Therefore, resedimentation is an ideal method for the study of fundamental mechanical behavior of marine sediments. In combination with microscale imaging techniques it also reveals how porosity, permeability, and fabric evolve with burial. Dr. Reece particularly focuses on the interactions between fine-grained detrital particles, microorganisms, microfossils, and pore fluid and their roles in early diagenesis. Here, Dr. Reece will present results from investigations of early chemical and physical diagenesis using mudstones from the Gulf of Mexico (IODP Expedition 308) and offshore Japan (IODP Expedition 322).

Geology Lecture Series talks are free and are held in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on Southwestern’s Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.  For those not able to attend in person, this lecture will be Livestreamed and archived, with access from the College's web site at  The final talk in the series for this academic year will be Dr. Stephen Palumbi (Stanford) on extreme life in the sea on May 17, 2019.  Lecture series sponsors include DB Western, The Mill Casino, the Southwestern Foundation and the College, IRIS/SSA and the Ocean Discovery Program. 

For additional information, please contact Ron Metzger at 541-888-7216.

College starts major construction project

Rendering of the Northwest side of building  Rendering of EXTERIOR EAST ENTRY  Rendering of lobby

COOS BAY, Ore. – Southwestern Oregon Community College’s new Umpqua Health & Science Technology Building is a go!

The college has signed a $21.6 million contract with Bogatay Construction Inc. of Klamath Falls for the new building on the Coos Campus to modernize and expand science laboratories, and nursing and allied health programs. Preliminary work is scheduled to begin March 18-22. 

A community groundbreaking is set for 2 p.m., Friday, April 12, at the student Recreation Center.

“After 20 years of dreaming, this project is reality thanks to an incredible amount of hard work and support from our community,” said Dr. Patty Scott, Southwestern president. “We’re excited to invite the community to the groundbreaking to meet the Bogatay Construction crew and local subcontractors as we launch the college’s largest construction project ever.”

Bogatay has been in operation for more than 35 years and completed numerous builds throughout Oregon and California. Currently, the company is developing a multi-family affordable housing in North Bend – the Deer Spring Terrace project for veterans of the armed forces. The firm also recently completed the Work Skills Technology Center and Founders Hall buildings at Klamath Community College.

The economic benefits of the Health & Science Building project will extend throughout the region. Bogatay is sourcing supplies locally and using local subcontractors when possible, including: Dodge Survey and Planning; Reese Electric; Coastline West Insulation; Johnson Rock Products and Lighthouse Landscape. Overall, it is anticipated 98 percent of the project’s contract value has been awarded to Oregon-based companies, with 80 percent located in Southern and Central Oregon, and from the I-5 corridor to the coast.  

Impacts to ADA, Pedestrian and Vehicle Access

The Bogatay Construction crew has begun preparations for site work, and is installing fencing around the site.

The fencing will block a section of Parking Lot #1 off Campus Way next to the site, in addition to removing ADA parking spots in front of the Recreation Center. ADA parking will be open in front of the Rec Center until Monday, March 25. The college will also begin work on designating ADA parking behind the Rec Center and Prosper Hall to be completed in April.

The College urges campus visitors to drive slowly at all times near the construction site. Please be aware that our students, staff and visitors will be learning new circulation routes, and more foot traffic will be shifted onto College Way. 

The college will place signs on campus to guide students along alternative sidewalks and is installing new crosswalks near the Rec Center. Signs also will installed to direct the public to the new area for Rec Center ADA parking spaces once that project is completed.

Click here for campus map

For more information, those interested can contact SWOCC’s Communications Administrator Anne Matthews, at 541.888.7612 or email, or Foundation Director Elise Hamner at 541.888.7211 or