Monday, November 25, 2013
As a child, Jorden Hayes, a doctoral student in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, enjoyed science and geology, but she did not realize the depth of her passion until she was an undergraduate studying Television Communications with the goal of becoming a meteorologist. Soon, she realized how much she enjoyed math and geology, and eventually switched her major to geophysics.
Today, Jorden’s passion has led her to WyCEHG at the University of Wyoming to pursue her PhD under the advisement of Dr. SteveHolbrook. Her research revolves around creating geophysical images of subsurface environments. Creating these images will help researchers estimate how much water is stored in the subsurface and help them better understand the processes happening underground.
“These images help scientists interpret geological processes such as weathering, water storage, and flow,” says Jorden. “Understanding these processes is critical to improving water management and predicting how climate change will impact our future water resources.”
The first step to create a seismic image involves hitting a metal plate with a sledgehammer. The energy from this action is then sent into the earth and picked up by a line of geophones, which are instruments used to measure ground motion.
“That gives you seismic traces,” says Jorden. “The next step is to take it to the lab and do an initial analysis of the data. Finally, you take and model that data, which, in my case, involves using the Yellowstone Supercomputer.”
After data in the field is collected, the final data analysis and modeling can take up to weeks or months.
Jorden’s research is an integral part of WyCEHG and its mission.
“One of the goals of WyCEHG is to advance innovations in near-surface geophysical methodology,” she says. Jorden’s work will allow WyCEHG to better reach their goal of understanding subsurface environments.
Jorden has learned a lot about her chosen field through her experience with WyCEHG, but that isn’t all she’s gained.
“How to integrate science across disciplines would probably be the biggest thing I’ve gained,” she says. “The fact that I’ve been sitting down with hydrologists, ecologists, and people that study isotopes, I’ve learned a lot about how to interact, how to ask questions, and how to learn.”
Jorden enjoys her research, and views science in a way many non-scientists don’t.
“Science is way more creative than some realize,” she says. “From designing experiments and surveys to making interpretations, creativity abounds. Also, scientific discovery is incredibility motivating and rewarding.”
For other students in STEM fields, Jorden offers helpful advice.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, never stop learning and get your hands dirty,” she says. “Start there and find people and mentors who are going to encourage you along the way.”
By Robin Rasmussen
Photo courtesy of Jorden Hayes
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Wyoming EPSCoR is hosting an essay contest for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Wyoming and Wyoming community colleges. This contest is through the Communicating About Water Program, which is intended to increase awareness and dialogue about water issues throughout the state. EPSCoR has teamed up with the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG) and the Creative Writing MFA Program to invite students to join in the ever-growing discussion about water in the state of Wyoming. “This writing contest is intended to increase discussion and awareness about water issues among Wyoming students,” says Liz Nysson, project coordinator.
The contest will feature two categories, undergraduate and graduate non-fiction essay. Entries in the undergraduate division must be 500-2000 words, and entries in the graduate division must be 1000-5000 words.
The top prize in each category will be $500, publication in an anthology for all award winners and honorable mentions, and other honors, including a public reading.
Entries can range in a variety of topics related to water. EPSCoR encourages students to explore water issues in any way that is relevant to their lives, studies, or personal experiences.
The deadline for the essay contest is February 21st, 2014. Submissions can be sent to email@example.com. Submissions must be in the form of a word document with 12-point font and double-spaced. They must also include a cover page with the essay title, your name, year in school, W-number and contact information. For more information about the writing contest, please visit our website.
By Robin Rasmussen
Friday, November 8, 2013
When it comes to water management, knowing how water moves and where it ends up is crucial. That’s why a team of CI-WATER researchers are working on a new model, called ADHydro.
ADHydro will be the most robust model of its kind, presenting high-resolution detail for a broad geographical area. It will enable researchers to more accurately measure how fast water soaks through the soil, how fast the water flows over land and more. With these calculations, researchers can determine where the water goes and how it gets there.
“ADHydro is physics-based, meaning that it simulates specific physical processes as opposed to a curve-fitting model that can be calibrated to match historical data, but doesn’t simulate specific physics processes,” says Dr. Robert Steinke, a software engineer on the interdisciplinary team developing the model.
“It’s important to CI-WATER because one of the goals of CI-WATER is to allow watershed managers in the field access to high performance computing resources,” says Robert.
The ADHydro model is set for initial deployment next year. The completed model will give researchers the tools they need to study water movement in the field, ultimately helping water managers better understand this essential resource.
By Robin E. Rasmussen
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Students from the University of Wyoming and Central Wyoming College, along with representatives from Wyoming EPSCoR and the Haub School of Environment andNatural Resources, will be attending the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) 2013 National Conference on October 31 through November 2 in Denver, Colorado.
The goal of AISES is to support and increase representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The 2013 conference is open to high school students, college undergraduates and graduate students, teachers, professionals, and corporate partners.
The national conference offers various workshops for participants to attend, including professional development workshops, educator development workshops, skill building workshops, and more.
“This conference is a great opportunity for students to learn more about professional opportunities in their field and create strong networks with other students and professionals,” says Lisa Abeyta, Director of Student Programs.
For more information about AISES and the 2013 National Conference, visit www.aises.org
By Robin Rasmussen
Friday, October 25, 2013
Each semester, Wyoming EPSCoR selects and funds 20 or more Undergraduate Research Fellowships. These fellowships are excellent opportunities for students to gain quality experience in research, to prepare for graduate programs, and obtain practical knowledge. Throughout the next few weeks, our blog will be highlighting various students participating in the EPSCoR Undergraduate Research Fellowships program.
Wil Chapple, a senior in the Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management department is studying water and isotopes.
“I’m tracing water through the ecosystem in the Snowy Range,” says Wil. “And also, how the glacial history that helped shape the Snowies has affected the soils that similar ecosystems rely on.”
To trace the water, Wil is using various research methods to collect data.
“I’ve been collecting soil samples and taking isotope measures of the water in the Snowies,” says Wil. “I’m looking to see if there are similar isotopic signatures in certain depths of the soil.”
Wil has been working in the Stable Isotope Facility for three semesters. His faculty mentor is Dr. David Williams, a professor in the Departments of Botany and Ecosystem Science and Management and Team Lead in WyCEHG.
“I’m lucky to get a lot of support and help from Dave and fellow grad students,” says Wil. “I’m really thankful for that!”
Through his fellowship, Wil has gained many valuable experiences, but a few things stand out above the rest.
“I’ve gotten a glimpse into what graduate school would be like,” says Wil. “I’ve also learned what it takes to do good science. I’ve learned a lot of patience.”
By: Robin E. Rasmussen
Photo courtesy of Wil Chapple
Monday, October 14, 2013
On October 3rd, six students from the University of Wyoming and one student from Central Wyoming College had the opportunity to attend the 2013 SACNAS Conference in San Antonio, Texas. SACNAS, or Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists.
|Students visiting the Tower of the Americas|
At the conference, students were able to participate in a number of different workshops and presentations on topics including biological sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and more. Students also heard from many fascinating keynote speakers, including Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio.
While in San Antonio, students visited famous sites throughout the city, including the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and the Tower of the Americas.
Students who attended SACNAS were inspired by the conference and took away plenty of information that will help them in their future.
“My favorite thing about the conference was the fact that there were so many relevant people to meet,” says Jesus Ramirez, a student in the Microbiology department. “So much ambition at one conference is truly amazing.”
“My favorite part of the trip was meeting accomplished scientists that grew up on different reservations around the United States,” says Signa Mcadams, a student majoring in Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management.
For more information about SACNAS, please visit www.sacnas.org.
|San Antonio Riverwalk|
By Robin E. Rasmussen
Photos by Robin E. Rasmussen
Photos by Robin E. Rasmussen
Friday, October 11, 2013
On Monday, October 7th, Wyoming EPSCoR and WyCEHG hosted the Water Interest Group Meeting in Laramie WY.
This meeting was an opportunity for citizens from around the state of Wyoming to learn more about WyCEHG, and to express their needs and desires about water research around the state to WyCEHG members.
|Patrick Tyrrell from the Wyoming State Engineers Office |
presents to WIG Meeting participants
Participants had the chance to hear from various individuals around the state, including Patrick Tyrrell, director of the Wyoming State Engineers Office, and Harry LaBonde, director of the Wyoming Water Development Office.
Breakout sessions were held to encourage participants to share ideas and provide WyCEHG feedback.
“From our point of view, this was a very successful meeting,” says Dr. Steve Holbrook of WyCEHG. “We are enthusiastic about the opportunities to work with everyone on issues that are important to water in Wyoming.”
If you were unable to attend this meeting, be sure to watch the website for resources from the meeting to be posted by the end of the month at, www.uwyo.edu/epscor/wycehg/wig/.
By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Liz Nysson