Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Students and staff to attend the AISES 2013 National Conference

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

By Robin Rasmussen

Friday, October 25, 2013

Undergraduate Research Fellowship Spotlight: Wil Chapple

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
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

Students from Wyoming attend SACNAS Conference in San Antonio, TX

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

San Antonio Riverwalk

By Robin E. Rasmussen
Photos by Robin E. Rasmussen

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wyoming EPSCoR and WyCEHG Hold Water Interest Group Meeting in Laramie, WY

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,

By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Liz Nysson

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

WyCEHG uses Helicopter to Collect Important Data

Studying hydrology and geophysics in the state of Wyoming can be challenging due to the complex terrain. In spite of this, the WyCEHG team is getting creative and thinking of new ways to study what lies below the surface.

Last week, the SkyTEM team, from Aarhus University in Denmark, hit the sky in a helicopter to begin data collection for WyCEHG.

“The SkyTEM system measures two kinds of information - the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, and the electrical conductivity of the subsurface,” says Dr. Steve Holbrook.

This data will help WyCEHG researchers gain crucial knowledge about what the terrain looks like underground, including magnetization, fault structure, geological layering and more.

“All of this data will enable us to make much more informed decisions about which areas bear further, labor-intensive study using our ground-based instrumentation,” says Holbrook. 


Off to collect lots of useful data!

By Robin E. Rasmussen
Photos by Kali S. McCrackin