Close Menu

Two Whitworth Professors Receive Generous Research Grants from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

April 13, 2023

Whitworth University is proud to announce two faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences have received generous grants from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, Wash. 

Olivia Cope, assistant professor of biology, has received a Life Sciences grant for more than $68,000. The grant will support her summer research for the next three years. 

Cope’s proposed research will investigate the diversity in plants. She hopes the research will result in a more realistic and dynamic understanding of intraspecific diversity and its effects in natural communities. Students involved in Cope’s research will receive one-on-one mentorship and training in a variety of skills, including field surveys and chemical and data analysis.

David Schipf, assistant professor of engineering & physics, has received a $19,000 Partners in Science grant to fund a collaborative proposal with North Central High School science teacher Andrew Wiebers. 

Schipf will work with Wiebers on a project that will study the propagation of ultrasonic mechanical waves through a wave insulator. Their research may lead to new applications in the areas of energy harvesting and communications. 

The partnership itself will benefit Wiebers by exposing him to novel research methods and ideas in wave physics, allowing him to pass on this knowledge to his students at North Central. Whitworth will benefit by gaining a quality researcher over the next two summers. 

About M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust:

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington – that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. 

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of about 2,500 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or