Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Communicating About Water Reception

“Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over”
Mark Twain

In Wyoming, water issues have dominated politics, community relationships, agriculture, natural resources and more.

The Creative Writing MFA Program, Wyoming EPSCoR, and the new Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG) invited students to participate in this ever growing conversation about water in our state through a writing contest.

Students will be reading from their winning essays on Thursday, May 1st starting at 5:30pm in the Berry Center Auditorium.

By bridging the sciences and humanities through thoughtful dialog, Wyoming EPSCoR hopes to continue to grow these conversations about water and other natural resource issues throughout the state.

We invite you to join us for this evening to celebrate student writing and Wyoming water! 

Photo by Robin Rasmussen

Friday, April 25, 2014

2014 Wyoming Undergraduate Research Day

While many students are counting down the days to summer vacation or graduation, a select number of student scientists from the University of Wyoming and Wyoming’s community colleges are counting down their days until the Wyoming Undergraduate Research Day on April 26th, 2014.

Over 360 undergraduate students from around Wyoming will gather to present their research to peers, mentors, faculty, family and friends. Undergraduate Research Day is a day of anticipation, excitement and celebration. It is the culmination of many hours, weeks and months of demanding research.

Student research projects vary, and encompass a large range of departments and subjects. Attendees will be able to see presentations or posters on topics including economics and finance, physics and astronomy, education, geology and geophysics, and many more. 

 "Wyoming Undergraduate Research Day is important because it provides a forum to showcase the wide-variety impressive research that is being done at the undergraduate level at UW and at Wyoming's community colleges," says Rick Matlock, Wyoming EPSCoR’s project administrator.

Wyoming EPSCoR supports undergraduate students through the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, and these students will be among students presenting their research at Undergraduate Research Day.

EPSCoR encourages other students, faculty members, and staff to attend Undergraduate Research Day and support student researchers. Oral presentations will be held from 12 to 4 p.m. in the University of Wyoming Classroom Building. Poster presentations will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Family Room. A map of the University of Wyoming campus can be found here

“Quite simply, attending Wyoming Undergraduate Research Day allows you to witness the amazing things that happen at the University of Wyoming and Wyoming’s community colleges throughout the year,” says Rick. “The level of work done by undergraduates is just remarkable.”

For questions or more information about Undergraduate Research Day, please visit our website or contact Beth Cable at

By Robin Rasmussen

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Summer Trainings Available for Wyoming Teachers

Imagine spending a week of your summer with University of Wyoming scientists, using state-of-the-art equipment to learn all about lakes, rivers, and streams. Picture yourself testing water quality, examining near- and sub-surface hydrology, and analyzing watershed ecology.

This summer, Wyoming teachers have the opportunity to take part in three separate teacher trainings, including the Field Research Campaign, where teachers will spend time on Fremont Lake, learning about near-surface hydrology, sub-surface hydrology, and how lakes work.

“These trainings bring this real, exciting, and relevant science to classrooms in Wyoming,” says Gina Graziano, a graduate student assistant in the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center.

The trainings will cover separate topics, ranging from watershed ecology, to sub-surface hydrology, to water quality monitoring.

Combining Research and Education in Science Teaching (CREST) (June 26-29) is designed for middle and high school teachers who want to learn more about integrating water research into their classrooms.

The Wyoming Stream Team (July 13-18) training is a classroom and field based course that allows Wyoming teachers to learn more about water quality monitoring and opportunities for citizen science in their classrooms.

The Field Research Campaign (August 11-14) gives teachers an opportunity to learn about the process of near-surface and sub-surface hydrology through hands-on experience with University of Wyoming scientists.

“You can get your students involved in collecting water quality data near your school, wherever you live in Wyoming,” says Gina. “With Wyoming Stream Team, the data goes into a database and is actually used by decision makers, so it’s a great citizen science project.”

The fee for each course is $150, and participating teachers will be given a $200 stipend at the end of each training they attend. These trainings also provide Wyoming Professional Teaching Standard Board (PTSB) credits and University of Wyoming credits.

“These trainings are great opportunities for teachers to make learning relevant for their students,” says Gina. “It’s empowering and important for teachers to know how to teach their students about water. Once you have the knowledge, you can start to figure out the solution.”

To register for these trainings, visit the Teacher Learning Center. There is no registration deadline for these programs, but space fills up fast, so register early!

For questions and comments about any of these courses, please contact Leslie Cook or Gina Graziano at

By Robin Rasmussen

Monday, April 7, 2014

Roundtable discussion sparks discussion about outdoor learning on the Wind River Indian Reservation

"We must teach our children
To smell the Earth
To taste the rain
To touch the wind
To see things grow
To hear the sun rise and night fall
To care”
~ John Cleal

In a spacious meeting room at the Frank B. Wise Business Plaza in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, a group of educators, community members and tribal leaders met with Wyoming-EPSCoR to discuss science education on the Wind River Indian Reservation (WRIR). This is the second community-driven “Roundtable” hosted by Wyoming-EPSCoR, and one of many meetings and conversations this EPSCoR office has had with partners over the last year. The goal? To determine science education needs and expand learning opportunities on the WRIR about water-science topics such as hydrology and watershed health.

As individuals sat in-the-round conversing about science education needs, a key theme emerged: children need to learn outside. Many in the room stressed the need for an “outdoor classroom” that students and educators on the WRIR could use for water-science and natural resource education. 
Meeting on March 27, 2014.

This need was fully understood by Wyoming-EPSCoR staff. Education, Outreach, and Diversity Coordinator, Liz Nysson, stated, “By learning outside, students will be able to gain hands on experience and begin to view science as something that is all around us.” 

Outdoor education is not a new notion on the WRIR. 4-H educator, Jennifer Wellman, regularly takes groups of students outside for educational lessons. However, limited teaching resources and restrictions on access to outdoor spaces have limited some educators from being able to create and implement outdoor lessons. 

Other concepts discussed at the meeting coincided with outdoor education including creating science resource boxes for teachers, hosting community events about water, and working with partners to create internships in water-related fields for teenagers and young adults.
Notes from Meeting.

These conversations will help Wyoming-EPSCoR develop an education plan that is informed by needs and desires of the WRIR community. 

“It is important to EPSCoR that programs are community driven and supported by educators and community leaders,” Nysson said on Thursday March 27, immediately following the meeting. “Wyoming EPSCoR will continue to build partnerships and programs to expand educational opportunities for students on WRIR.” 

For more information about Wyoming-EPSCoR and WRIR community partnership, please email Liz Nysson at