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Education and Outreach News


August 3, 2016

Just Add Water: iUTAH's Summer Institute Engages Students and Teachers

As the fourth and final year of the iUTAH Summer Research Institute came to a close in July 2016, students, teachers, and faculty members reflected on the impact the program has had on them. Among the articles written about the weeklong program, the U’s article said that “A week of hands-on science projects changed the way Jose Galang, a junior at Juan Diego High School in Draper, thought about science. ‘I used to think that scientists were really smart people just doing research and experiments by themselves,’ he said. ‘I never realized there were so many people working together to solve problems.’ ”


Galang was among nine high school students who participated in the National Science Foundation funded-iUTAH summer research institute July 11-15, 2016. The institute brought together high school students, secondary education teachers and undergraduate students to conduct research on water sustainability in Utah under the direction of faculty, postdocs and graduate students from universities across the state.


The group got a firsthand look at what research looks like in several disciplines. On the first day, they recorded observations about the conditions along Emigration Creek and collected water samples. The second day, they learned how to trace the origin of fruits and vegetables by analyzing isotopes in the water content. The third day, they divided into groups across the valley and conducted social science research by surveying people about their access to water. The week culminated in a poster session, where participants presented their work and findings.


‘This program provides a really unique opportunity to bring together students and educators from all along the STEM pipeline,’ said Louisa Stark, director of the iUTAH Summer Research Institute and U professor. ‘There was a lot of peer mentoring going on between the high school students and undergraduates and among the secondary education teachers and the university faculty.’ ”


The article includes comments by other students and Rachel Gabor, iUTAH postdoctoral researcher, and can be read in its entirely below.


Press: UU News | Deseret News | KUSU Radio



August 1, 2016

Bringing Science to the People

What is the best way to help people to understand issues surrounding changing climate and water quality in Utah’s watersheds? If you can’t bring the people to the watershed, the next best way is to bring the watershed to them. That’s what iUTAH has done.


Read complete article...



June 14, 2016

18 Undergraduates Receive Support to Conduct Research This Summer

iUTAH is working hard to address Utah’s need to help students grow their interest in STEM research fields. Through its iFellows program, undergraduate students are involved in cutting-edge research and scholarly work on water-related issues. This program, now in its fourth year, takes place over an 11-week period each summer, beginning in May. Since 2013, the program has funded 63 iFellows undergraduate researchers, bringing students from around the state to Utah’s premier research institutions: the University of Utah, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University.


One of the best parts of the iFellows program is that it stimulates interest among talented undergraduates in research science careers by introducing them to the work researchers are doing. Students are involved in a wide range of research topics, ranging from aquatic biology to urban planning to environmental engineering. A key component of the program is identifying and matching student interests to research projects and mentors. Once they are assigned to a faculty member, graduate and peer mentor, students become involved in current iUTAH research projects.


This year’s 18 iFellows represent iUTAH’s continuing commitment to STEM education and diversity with 71% female and 18% under-represented minority students participating. The 2016 iFellow undergraduate researchers are listed as follows, including hometown, current institution, and iUTAH faculty mentor:


  • Joydino Beyale - Red Mesa, UT, USU Eastern – Blanding, with Ryan Dupont, USU
  • Heather Bottelberghe - Grantsville, UT, Salt Lake Community College, with Sarah Null, USU
  • Katelyn Boyer – Springville, UT, Utah State University, with Sam St. Clair, BYU
  • Todd Brown – Hooper, UT, Utah State University, with David Rosenberg, USU
  • Darcie Christensen – Tremonton, UT, Utah State University, with Christine Pomeroy, UU 
  • Georgie Corkery – Salt Lake City, UT, University of Utah, with Steve Burian, UU
  • Cynthia Elliott – Valencia, CA, Weber State University, with Mark Brunson, USU
  • Andrew Hackett – Layton, UT, Weber State University, with Sarah Null, USU
  • Greta Hamilton – Salt Lake City, UT, Salt Lake Community College, with Greg Carling, BYU
  • Stacy Henderson – Salt Lake City, UT, Westminster College, with Joanna Endter-Wada, USU
  • Rebecca Lee – San Diego, CA, Brigham Young University, with Zach Aanderud, BYU
  • Gabriela Martinez – Salt Lake City, UT, Salt Lake Community College, with Sarah Hinners, UU
  • Mitchell Steele – Orem, UT, Utah State University, with Ryan Dupont, USU
  • Shanae Tate – Salt Lake City, UT, Brigham Young University, with Scott Jones, USU
  • Luis Vidal – Logan, UT, University of Utah, with Mark Brunson, USU
  • Lily Wetterlin – Midway, UT, University of Utah, with Diane Pataki, UU
  • Adam Whalen – Draper, UT, University of Utah, with Sara Yeo, UU
  • Sandra Udy (Young) – Vernal, UT, Utah State University, with Michelle Baker, USU


“This summer’s iFellows Program is off to a great start,” says Ellen Eiriksson, iUTAH Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator. “Students have arrived eager to contribute to iUTAH's multi-disciplinary research and to gain valuable experience working with the project's many inspirational faculty and near-peer mentors.” These students come from disciplines ranging from general studies and communications to environmental science and engineering. All are bringing new ideas and insights together to help address Utah’s future water concerns.


iFellow Rebecca Lee collecting soil samples in the Rush Valley, Utah, while working in Zach Aanderud’s lab at BYU. Credit Rebecca Lee.


Sandra Young of Vernal, UT, working on iUTAH research in Michelle Baker’s lab, is preparing sampling equipment before deployment in the upper Provo River to collect dissolved oxygen and light levels at the surface and river floor. Credit Sandra Young.





June 13, 2016

USU's Native American STEM Mentorship Program Holds Poster Session

Students from Utah State University Eastern’s Blanding campus presented posters showing what they learned during this summer’s Native American STEM Mentorship program held on USU’s Logan campus. Two students, Leander Rockwell and Anna Sagg, were among the 23 undergraduate researchers. Leander and Anna worked with on iUTAH research in Ryan Dupont’s and Mark Brunson’s labs, alongside graduate, undergraduate, and iFellow peer mentors.


“This is the second year we’ve been involved with the program, and I can’t be more pleased with how it’s gone,” said Mark Brunson, iUTAH Education, Outreach and Diversity director. “Engaging with the Native American Student Mentorship Program is a perfect fit with our iUTAH goals of enhancing the diversity of participants in our state’s STEM workforce and to offer research experiences to students at colleges and universities that primarily serve undergraduates."


The poster session, held on June 6, featured studies ranging from electrochemical water splitting to thermochronology of Utah’s Wasatch Fault together with iUTAH projects involving the effects of vegetation on stormwater and surveys on water perceptions in the state.


"This was a great event, and it was great to see it so well attended, said Andreas Leidolf, iUTAH Assistant Director and Project Administrator. “I was impressed with how excited these students were to present their experiences of participating in this program to the campus community. Hearing first-hand what a difference a faculty or graduate student mentor has made in these students' lives in such a short span of time is really quite awe-inspiring, and a testament to the supportive and inclusive environment Utah State University has created."  


Now in its second year, the NASM program, started with grant funding from the national Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions initiative, encourages to students to explore advanced STEM educational opportunities and careers.


Read original article


NASMP participant Leander Rockwell presenting his research iUTAH projects involving the effects of vegetation on stormwater and survey’s on water perceptions in the state.
Undergraduate researchers Leander Rockwell and Anna Sagg checking out the Green Meadows stormwater field in Logan, Utah.




May 25, 2016

UWW in the News

iUTAH partner Utah Water Watch (UWW), a Utah State University Water Quality Extension program, was featured recently by KVNU radio, out of Logan Utah. Eli Robinson, an AmeriCorps Volunteer, spoke with reporters about local water education programs. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:


Robinson said "We've been busy starting early this spring. We've traveled around to a lot of water fairs for 4th graders throughout the state. Just last week we were doing a water fair in Cache County...we were teaching kids about the watershed and how what they do on land affects the watershed."


UWW is a water quality education and data collection program that seeks to increase awareness about the importance of water quality and promote stewardship of Utah’s aquatic resources. Staff from UWW serve on the iUTAH External Engagement and Outreach team. UWW was the recipient of an iUTAH Education, Outreach, and Diversity Innovation Award in 2014.


Read original article…


Students participating in one of UWW’s water education programs. Credit: Utah Water Watch, USU Water Quality Extension