Monday, February 9, 2015

New faces at EPSCoR: Welcome and introduction by Meghan Neville, EPSCoR’s new communications intern!

Have you ever been a part of a community that supports an ideal that you really believe in?  One of my passions is to increase representation and diversity in STEM fields.

I never gave much thought to having a career in a STEM field, until I came to the University of Wyoming and found such a unique level of support from my instructors, on-campus STEM groups, and the Laramie community. I am now a proud Environment and Natural Resource and Communication dual major with recent field experience in scientific data collection and analysis.

Seeing diversity in the sciences is powerful, and I am excited to join the EPSCoR team and make a difference in other student’s academic careers. As the new Undergraduate Communications Intern at EPSCoR, I am particularly looking forward to learning about community outreach efforts and adding my voice to the dialogue between EPSCoR and the campus community. 

This semester, I am joined by Jess White, the new Graduate Communications Intern on the EPSCoR team.  She will lead the writing for the EPSCoR blog and is eager to have the opportunity to learn more about STEM research at the University of Wyoming.

Jess is originally from the Bay Area in California. Although she would call herself a ‘city girl,’ she came to Laramie for the rare chance to specialize in creative nonfiction. 

Our new GA traveled for several years, working first in Argentina and then in Korea, where she taught engineers at a Kia factory.  Her earliest and most memorable abroad posting was in Cambodia, where she taught English at a school for kids from the Stung Mean Chey dump.
One of Jess's watercolor pictures.
She will return to Cambodia this summer to conduct research and teach art. Her investigation will target the NGOs that seek donations from tourists through cafés and boutiques in Cambodian cities. 

Jess has been painting for over a dozen years and has shown her art in several venues, including Coal Creek Café in Laramie.

While I have not had a chance to travel as extensively as Jess, over winter break I had a fantastic opportunity to learn about sustainability issues in the Canary Islands, Spain, for an ENR field course. I enjoyed this trip immensely, as I am very interested in sustainable practices. I try to bring this ‘green’ passion into other elements of my life. This includes involvement in campus clubs like the ENR Club and MASS (Multicultural Association of Student Scientists), eating organic and locally produced food, and conducting research last fall about the ways message framing affects student attitudes on glass recycling in Laramie. I hope to someday dedicate my life to combating climate change, whether through the means of research, mitigation efforts, or policy.

Jess, on the other hand, dreams of publishing a book on her research pursuits in Cambodia, and after graduating, working as writer and editor for a small, progressive company, although she is not ruling out future academic pursuits.

By Meghan Neville

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