Friday, February 28, 2014

CI-WATER's Teaching Toolbox in Action

Retta Hudlow, a sixth grade science teacher in Pinedale, Wyoming was one of the first teachers to use the CI-WATER Teaching Toolbox in her classroom.

Hydropoly game
The toolbox includes a manual with multiple lesson plans for various age groups and the equipment needed to conduct lessons and experiments in the manual.  There are games, books, models and more to help students learn about everything from water modeling to human use and impact on water.

The toolbox is designed for Utah and Wyoming K-12 teachers, students and community groups. The experiments and lessons provided in the toolbox meet state education standards.

“The Next Generation Science Standards include standards on the water cycle, groundwater resources, human impact, modeling particle motion in different states, along with scientific and engineering processes,” says Retta. “The toolbox addresses many parts of these standards.”

The toolbox gave Retta an opportunity to add to the curriculum she was already teaching.

“I already had a unit on water and weather,” says Retta. “But this added more lessons on the properties of water, which were powerful teaching tools.”

Retta has enjoyed using the toolbox and knows that her students have learned a lot with their time using the toolbox.

“They have learned a great deal about water. Their pre- and post-test scores were impressive,” she says.

For more information about the toolbox, please visit the CI-WATER website or contact Beth Cable at or 307-766-3544. 

By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Kali McCrackin

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wyoming EPSCoR Continues to Expand Research Statewide

Wyoming EPSCoR works to expand research opportunities around Wyoming by building strong working relationships with Wyoming community college faculty and students.

“Wyoming EPSCoR supports community college researchers by increasing research capacity and encouraging innovation by educators and students,” says Liz Nysson, Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator for Wyoming EPSCoR.

The three community college programs Wyoming EPSCoR sponsors include the Community College Transition Program, the Community College Research Program, and the Community College STEM Summer Research Projects.

“With support from the National Science Foundation and the new Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics, we are able to expand and renew community college support.” says Liz.

The Community College Transition Program (CCTP) is for students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math who are transferring to the University of Wyoming to complete their undergraduate degrees. Awardees receive $1,500 per semester for two years and gain research experience. During the first semester, awardees rotate through several faculty labs and join a laboratory during the following semesters to complete an undergraduate research project with a faculty mentor. The application deadline for CCTP is April 1st, 2014 for the 2014 fall semester.

Community College Research Program (CCRP) is intended to encourage research initiatives for community college educators by providing multiple years of support. For the next three years, CCRP is in collaboration with the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG). Community college projects with a strong tie to WyCEHG research and those that would benefit from the use of WyCEHG equipment will be considered. The application deadline for pre-proposals is March 3rd at 5 p.m.

The Community College STEM Summer Research Projects (CC-STEM) aims to provide support to community college summer research projects with students. Research projects must be within a STEM-related field. CC-STEM recipients receive $7,000 for project and student support. The application deadline for the Community College STEM Summer Research Project is March 21st at 5 p.m.

If you are interested in applying for any of these programs, please visit our website or contact Rick Matlock ( or Liz Nysson ( for more information. 

By Robin Rasmussen

Friday, February 14, 2014

On this Valentine's Day: Why We Love Water

Here is a list of interesting facts and figures about one thing we love here at EPSCoR: Water!

Water and us! Water is a crucial part of our everyday existence. Water makes up anywhere from 55-78% of a human’s body weight, making it literally a part of our lives! At birth, water accounts for roughly 80% of the infant’s weight.

People should drink water regularly. A person can drink about 48 cups (that is roughly 3 gallons) each day. By the time a person feels thirsty, his or her body has lost over 1 percent of its total water amount!

Water in the World! Freshwater only accounts for 3% of the water on earth. The remaining 97% is salt water. Of that small percentage of freshwater, 30% of it is groundwater and most of the world’s freshwater is found in glaciers.

Where you live can dictate how fast your water boils. Water boils faster in Denver, Colorado than in New York City. So, a mile high also means quicker tea water.

Happy Valentine’s Day to our most beloved Valentine, water. 

These facts and more can be found here and here.

By Robin Rasmussen
Photo by Robin Rasmussen

Friday, February 7, 2014

WyCEHG Researchers Attend Winter Safety Trainings

As all residents know, winters in Wyoming can be brutally cold. Deep snow, strong winds, and freezing temperatures are a recipe for disaster for anyone caught unprepared.

To combat the dangers of winter weather in Wyoming, WyCEHG encourages its researchers to take classes and learn to be better prepared for winter conditions.

Elizabeth “ET” Traver facilitated two trainings last week providing WyCEHG researchers the tools they need to be prepared for many different winter conditions.

The first training was a snow safety training taught by Dan McCoy of the Outdoor Program. The training focused on avalanche safety, how to dress appropriately, and how to stay safe while outdoors. The second training focused on snowmobile use and safety.  

“I have a protocol about how to use these snowmobiles,” says ET. “We went through it step by step, from how to hook up to the trailer, to how to get the snowmobiles on and off the trailer, to making sure that people always had their helmets on, so that they remembered, ‘this is an integral part of being on a snowmobile’”.

Much of the research underway by WyCEHG researchers requires them to hike into remote backcountry locations to take measurements and conduct other studies.

Because so much research happens in the mountains, trainings like these are crucial for the WyCEHG team members, for many reasons.

 “We have more and more people out in the snow all day, doing all sorts of different research activities,” says ET. “Our objective is to try to give people some skills and some knowledge and get them thinking about how to stay safer while out in the snow.”

For more information about how to safe while in the snow, please visit the following websites:

By Robin Rasmussen
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Traver and Steve Holbrook

Monday, February 3, 2014

Professor Elyn Saks Speaks To Students and Faculty

Elyn Saks, a law professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law spoke to students and faculty at the University of Wyoming via live video feed on Wednesday, January 29th.

Professor Saks addressed the group of nearly 100 participants about her experiences living with schizophrenia and her 2007 memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. After the discussion, Professor Saks answered questions from audience members.

"The presentation and book by Elyn Saks gave all of us new insights into mental illness. Her message was one of hope and activism: hope for people with mental illness that they can live up to their potential with active support from society," says Dr. Anne Sylvester, Wyoming EPSCoR Project Director. "Dr. Saks gave concrete suggestions for how the academic community can recognize and support students, colleagues and peers with mental illness. This is what disability awareness is all about and why Wyoming EPSCoR supports programs that promote disability awareness. Such new awareness would not be possible without hearing the courageous personal story shared by Dr. Saks.

As part of Wyoming EPSCoR’s Disability Awareness Program, EPSCoR aims to increase knowledge, awareness and accommodation of those with disabilities in STEM fields. To improve this awareness, EPSCoR brings scientists and other academics with disabilities to campus to give a public lecture and discuss ways to make programs more accommodating of a wide range of disabilities.  

To learn more about Professor Saks and her experiences living with schizophrenia, be sure to watch her TED talk. For more information about the Wyoming EPSCoR Disability Awareness Program, please visit our website

By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Robin Rasmussen