Education and Outreach News
April 24, 2017
Julie Kelso, Utah State University PhD candidate and iUTAH Graduate Research Assistant, can be found on the airwaves these days, talking science and specifically water issues with area experts. Kelso is one of two students who received an internship, funded by USU’s Ecology Center to gain hands-on experience in science communications by working with Utah Public Radio. As a researcher, Kelso studies the effects of human development on nutrient and carbon cycling in rivers of northeast Utah with faculty mentor Michelle Baker. She has been working with the iUTAH project for over four years, helping to further research and understanding of Utah’s water systems physically, biologically, and as a social system. Kelso says that she “got started in radio because I wanted to get a better idea of how science in translated to the general public.”
“I also wanted to experience immediate feedback from the public on scientific stories,” said Kelso. “That is what I like most about science journalism. Also, I get to talk to all kinds of people about all kinds of science and natural resources management decisions.”
Kelso’s first story as a science reporter for UPR involved interviewing Brian McInerny from the National Weather Service about snow hydrology and predicting spring runoff from melting snow. She has also produced stories on spring flooding in northern Utah and iUTAH researcher Jeff Horsburgh’s metering and water conservation efforts in Utah. She also plans to explore Rocky Mountain Power’s plans for alterations to the Bear River. This series is an excellent example of science communications in action and engagement of the general public in the water-related science happening around the state. We look forward to hearing more stories from Julie in the future as she continues to produce science stories on UPR for Utah listeners.
April 14, 2017
Each year in early May, Utah dedicates a week to public awareness and involvement in water issues, both locally and globally. This year, iUTAH is partnering with the Intermountain Section of the American Water Works Association (IMS-AWWA) in celebration of 2017 Utah Water Week (UWW) on May 7-13. Among the events and activities taking place, UWW brings water-related books, and occasionally their authors, to local libraries and schools across the state. This year, the award-winning Water Runs Through This Book is one of two UWW Library Books that have been chosen to educate people on the importance and scarcity of water. The production of Water Runs Through This Book by Nancy Bo Flood was supported by iUTAH to strengthen and promote an inclusive, diverse, water-wise community in Utah. Copies of the book are being donated to 210 libraries in Utah, and 25 libraries in southern Idaho.
Ellen Eiriksson, iUTAH Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator, said “iUTAH is thrilled to bring author Nancy Bo Flood back to Utah to help celebrate Utah Water Week and to be partnering with a variety of community, institutional, and education partners across the state, to share the book's view of water.” A partial list of the libraries and schools Bo Flood will visit throughout Utah include:
- Emery and Grand County, UT– May 2 - 5
- Weber County Libraries – May 9 - 10
- North Logan Library, North Logan UT– May 10, 7 p.m.
- Edith Bowen Laboratory School – May 11
- Logan Library, Logan UT– May 12, 3 p.m.
“This book captures the spirit of our connection to water, while also addressing and celebrating the different ways people worldwide interact with this resource,” said Eiriksson. “Nancy will be bringing this discussion to audiences state-wide, asking people to reflect on and celebrate their connection to water, while also examining on how we can be better stewards of it.” Bo Flood will also speak at the Water Education Awards Banquet honoring the winners of the Utah Division of Water Resources Young Artists Poster Contest, an event attended by 4th grade students from around the state, and their families, and teachers.
"I have been a professional in environmental education since 1972 and have seen many water education books,” said Barbara Middleton, Friends of the North Logan Library board member. “What I like about this book is the international focus, the images and the succinct clarity of how water runs through our lives."
iUTAH’s partner, Utah Water Watch, will present various citizen science opportunities for water quality monitoring throughout the state during Water Week. Please check out the 2017 Utah Water Week website for a complete list of activities and events.
April 14, 2017
iUTAH held its Spring All-Hands Meeting as part of a larger Broader Impacts forum and workshops on March 31 in Salt Lake City UT. The event was hosted in partnership with Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Utah, and included over 100 attendees from 9 institutions across the state involved in conversation to expand broader impacts work in Utah.
The forum began with opening remarks from Cynthia Furse, associate vice president for research at University of Utah, and Michelle Baker, project director at iUTAH. The morning session continued with keynotes and panel discussions. Speaker Susan Renoe, National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI) chair, summarized the event by saying that “Broader Impacts is a vital part of the NSF review process, and high-quality broader impacts plans can make the difference between receiving funding or not.” Other keynote speakers, panelists, and workshop facilitators who shared their expertise, include Chinweike Eseonu, Yusuf Jameel, Nalini M. Nadkarni, Michael D. Shapiro, Louisa A. Stark, Cynthia M. Furse, Nancy J. Huntly, Mark W. Brunson, and Andreas Leidolf.
“iUTAH’s educational programming is a model for others to follow,” said Renoe. “I was completely impressed by the depth and breadth of educational programming offered. iUTAH has programs that engage teachers, students, adult learners, public radio, and more.”
When asked about his impressions of the forum, keynote speaker, Chinweike Eseonu, assistant professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University said “the event was a very candid discussion of the personal and institutional challenges researchers face in identifying and communicating how our work potentially or actually benefits folks within and outside our institutions.”
“I was impressed by the depth and range of work through iUTAH and by how centers on campus translate abstract research concepts to tangible and accessible material for school children or non-subject matter expert adults,” said Eseonu. “I left feeling energized and look forward to applying lessons learned in my work.”
The iUTAH community will reconvene on July 13 – 14 in Logan for the iUTAH Summer Symposium, a celebration of five years of research, training, education, and outreach for Utah’s Water Future. For those of you that attended this forum, we ask you to fill out a short, 3-minute survey.
April 5, 2017
Pratiti Tagore, a PhD student in the City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, won the 2017 Intermountain Sustainability Summit poster competition at Weber State University. Her poster discusses the link between environmental habits and context as applied to water saving behavior and urbanization levels in Salt Lake, Cache, and Heber Valleys, and is based on iUTAH research that she has conducted with faculty mentor Sarah Hinners.
Tagore’s project titled Can Urbanization Level of a Place Act as a Predictor of Water Saving Behavior? A Study of Salt Lake Valley, Cache Valley, and Heber Valley focuses on the high per capita water use in the state, limited policy planning, and water saving behavior connected to living in a more urban area, such as Salt Lake Valley. She also finds home ownership status and demographics influence water saving behavior, where Cache and Heber Valley households act similarly.
This year was the eight year for Intermountain Sustainability Summit at Weber State University, which has grown to 550 participants this year including over 25 student posters. The summit hosted its first Higher Ed Forum this year, which was a participant-driven event for higher education faculty, students and facilities management staff. Next year’s ISS will take place on March 1 -2, 2018.
April 5, 2017
The 2017 recipient of the Weber State University’s Office of Undergraduate Research Outstanding Faculty Mentor for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is Dan Bedford, professor of Geography and WSU honors program director. The award was presented at WSU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium in recognition of excellence among undergraduate research mentors. An outstanding mentor is a good listener who is accessible and available to students, guides student researchers toward independence, encourages excellence, and demonstrates expertise in their own discipline. Dan has been an active participant in the iUTAH project since its start in 2012. He says he appreciates the chance ”to contribute to undergraduate research not just at WSU, but across the state,” adding that “I couldn't have done any of this if it were not for the opportunities afforded by iUTAH.”
“Dan has been instrumental in the success of our undergraduate research programs,” says Mark Brunson, iUTAH Education, Outreach and Diversity director. “He manages iUTAH's Research Catalyst Grant program, which supports research at Utah’s primarily undergraduate institutions by faculty members and their undergraduate research assistants.” In addition to his work mentoring other faculty members, “he has actively recruited Weber State students into the iFellows and the Summer Institute programs, and then championed their accomplishments by making sure their work is seen by upper administration at WSU,” says Brunson. “He sees talent in students who may not know they’d be good scientists, and helps them grow into confident researchers who are poised to make a difference.”
WSU student Cynthia Elliott, a 2016 iFellow, is one of the many students to benefit from Dan’s mentorship saying that it “inspired and encouraged me to do my very best work and test my limits. I will always acknowledge his support as critical in my success at Weber." iUTAH benefits from the students that Weber brings to our programs. Over four years, WSU has had 16 students participate in the iFellows undergraduate research experience, 11 students involved in faculty Research Catalyst Grants, and 7 students serve as Summer Institute peer mentors.