As an outreach to a local small undergraduate college community, we partnered with Dr. Ann Auman who is an assistant professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She is involved in a summer program for undergraduate research in the Division of Natural Sciences. This partnership enabled undergraduate students from PLU to participate in hands-on research in microbial ecology, at the state-of-the-art level. Dr. Auman and four undergraduate students were actively involved in Lake Washington sediment sampling in years 2003 and 2004. The collaboration continues on the analysis of the samples. While our group is assessing microbial diversity following the ancient ‘archaeal-like’ genes, Dr. Auman and her students are analyzing the diversity of more specific functions, such as soluble methane monooxygenase and nitrogenase, as part of the ongoing research in the Department of Biology at PLU.