Dr. Dawn M. Drake, Associate Professor

(816) 271-4161 | ddrake4@missouriwestern.edu

Dr. Dawn Drake has been at MWSU since 2012. Her research interests include rural and agricultural geography as well as the geographic dimensions of competitive advantage in mature manufacturing.

Distribution and Abundance of Burrowing Crayfish at Loess Bluffs NWR

Requirements: Students must be willing to work in potentially challenging (swampy) field conditions at Loess Bluffs. GIS/GPS experience preferred but not required.

Creating a More Immersive Experience in Sustainable Energy

GEO 340 (Sustainable Energy) is already an applied learning course that depends on a partially flipped classroom and a series of projects to help students learn about various energy technologies.

Student will be involved in developing a new format for the course to generate more student immersion and perhaps turn the course into a lab course with field trips and hands-on experiences.

Developing a Story Map for MWSU Campus Ponds

MWSU’s campus ponds, as part of the Otoe Creek Natural area, all have Otoe tribe names and a history. Dr. John Rushin once met with tribal elders to gather the stories of these ponds. Students who want to work on this project should possess an interest in ecological and/or Native American history, as well as a willingness to learn to use GPS, GIS, and ESRI Story Maps to produce a history that could be shared with the community. Students involved in this project will not only map the ponds on campus, but also interview Dr. Rushin and possibly work with Dean Hyer (who is a historian with interests in Native Americans) to develop a narrative to support the maps.

Spatial Analysis in Biology

For any project that a student is completing that would benefit from a spatial analysis component, I am always available to advise and assist with that portion of the research.  Maps are often a powerful way to tell a story or analyze a biologic research problem.

Requirements: Students can propose a project that would benefit from a spatial analysis component or work on one of several existing projects on campus or at external sites.  Students enrolled in GIS for Spring 2021 desired, but it is not required.

Constructing a Climate History for MWSU Native Prairie

In Fall 2020, we are hoping to have researchers from the University Idaho’s Tree Ring lab come to provide hands-on dendrochonolgy field work experience on the new native prairie. Beyond this experience, which will be widely available to any interested biology students, there will also be opportunities to work remotely with Dr. Harley and his students on the cores collected from the prairie or those that we hope to collect from the Jesse James House. No prior experience required, just a willingness to learn.

Biological Survey of the John Rushin Teaching and Research Prairie

One of the assets of the biology department at Missouri Western is the campus prairie, located just outside the campus. Encompassing 34 acres of unique prairie habitat, this area is a treasure trove for both the campus community, as well as botanists and nature lovers outside the campus. It provides a unique research opportunity. The initial goal of this project starts with the involvement of student researchers performing surveys of the plant communities present in this unique habitat.

Requirements: A grade of C or better in BIO105, BIO 225 preferred.

From Viruses to Vertebrates: A Freshwater Biodiversity Survey

This research will use traditional and molecular tools to sample and categorize the biological entities in the freshwater environments that occur on the Missouri Western State campus. Students that work on this project will gain lab and field experience as well as experience working with large, complicated sets of data.

This project is a collaborative effort between the labs of Dr. Elias, Dr. Ganong, Dr. Grantham, Dr. Mills, and Dr. Drake.

Requirements: Successful completion of at least one Biology course.


About Dr. Dawn M. Drake

Ph.D., University of Tennessee

M.S., University of Delaware

B.S.Ed., Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Contact Dr. Drake


4525 Downs Drive
Saint Joseph, MO 64507