Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Congratulations Lauren Shoemaker!

"To recognize an outstanding contribution to research by an early career researcher, we are delighted to announce the launch of the Ecology Letters Early Career Researcher Award."

In 2019, the Ecology Letters invited researchers ranging from Master's students to Postdoctoral researchers to self-nominate their submitted papers and be considered for an annual prize.  The winner was selected by the Senior Editors of Ecology Letters and was announced just a few weeks ago on July 3, 2020.  So, who won?

We are thrilled to announce that our very own Lauren Glenny Shoemaker was names the inaugural winner of the Early Career Researcher Award!

Lauren was chosen for the award after submitting her paper, Pathogens Manipulate the Preference of Vectors, Slowing Disease Spread in a Multi-Host System.  Upon receiving news of her selection, Lauren was scheduled for a webinar where she was able to present her work and officially receive the award.  She presented on July 7th in a virtual session alongside Tim Coulson, the Editor-in-Chief of Ecology Letters.  In addition to hosting a live audience, the presentation was posted to the Ecology Letters website and Twitter page.

In addition to hosting a webinar, Lauren's award included:
  • $1,000 prize money
  • Video Byte Service to present the impact of her paper which can be used to promote her work through social media, lab websites, and YouTube
  • An invitation to join the Ecology Letters Associate Editor Board

Wyoming EPSCoR is beyond proud of Lauren for her hard work and dedication to her chosen STEM field.  She is a wonderful role model for upcoming female scientists and researchers who may also want to explore the world of pathogens.  This is surely just the first step in a broader impact.  We look forward to seeing how this award broadens Lauren's opportunities for future research!

Lauren Shoemaker paved the way for the Ecology Letters newest award.  If you, or someone you know, are interested in being the second winner of the Early Career Researcher Award, submit a nomination!  Ecology Letters are currently accepting paper submissions for their 2020 award.  For more details on how to submit, check out their website.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

EPSCoR Summer Science Journalism Internship Expansion

In an effort to better support science journalism in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, the EPSCoR science journalism initiative was expanded to give more support to newspaper journalists and this year’s University of Wyoming summer science journalism interns.

EPSCoR stands for Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and is designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide. Wyoming EPSCoR received a 5-year grant in 2017 from NSF, and a significant amount of the grant has been dedicated to science journalism initiatives intended to help the Wyoming journalism community through internships, awards for best science reporting, and workshops at the Wyoming Press Association (WPA) conventions.

The University of Wyoming COJO (communication and journalism department) Associate Professor Kristen Landreville, director of the summer science journalism internships along with Emily Stewart Verco, Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator reached out to the WPA in early April regarding ideas on how to expand the program and grant funding to support Wyoming journalists.  The main goal was to stay within the scope of the NSF grant to resource Wyoming newspaper journalists. This collaboration process resulted in the new mentorship program.

The WPA sought out partnerships with journalists to offer the science communication interns additional expertise and support during their summer placement at newspapers across the state. By making recourses available to any news outlet with science-minded reporters willing to mentor, the objective of expanding the student learning experience would combine with the goal of supporting Wyoming's journalists.  

The three Wyoming newspapers that have journalists participating in the EPSCoR mentorship program include The Sundance Times, The Sheridan Press and Casper Star-Tribune. The Sundance Times has been paired with the intern at the Jackson Hole News&Guide, Jillian Bissell. The Sheridan Press will be mentoring Logan Stefanich interning with the Laramie Boomerang, and journalists with the Casper Star-Tribune will mentor the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner intern Chase Galley. Mentors will work to improve the interns’ understanding of the profession and facilitate professional development in science journalism.

Sarah Pridgeon is a reporter at the Sundance Times and had this to say about her experience mentoring, “The program has been as much of a positive experience for me as I hope it has been for the student I am mentoring. Brainstorming is always a great way to expand one's horizons and helping her talk through ideas and work through potential sticking points has so far been both rewarding and a learning opportunity for both of us.”

Last year The Sheridan Press worked with an EPSCoR science journalist intern and the paper was extremely excited to be a part of the new mentorship program. Ashleigh Snoozy, managing editor of The Sheridan Press commented about their experience participating in both EPSCoR summer science journalism programs.

The Sheridan Press has found great success with the EPSCoR internship and mentorship programs for the past two years. In our first year, Sheridan native Kiley Carroll came back [after] the summer to work full time for us. To say the internship was a success is surely an understatement — we offered a job to Carroll following the internship because of her incredible work throughout the summer. She opted to finish her education, which we fully support.

In this year’s mentor program, our collective relationship with Logan as news staff has been mutually rewarding. As an editor, I’ve been able to coach Logan along with his internship, answering questions I know I couldn’t have had as much time to answer as an intern mentor last summer. Logan has been able to speak with our crime reporter and photojournalist so far, and we anticipate sharing our knowledge with the aspiring journalist throughout the rest of the summer. We all enjoy our interactions with Logan over Zoom. I personally find his approach to stories refreshing and appreciate being able to answer questions that many students don’t have the experience to ask without time in a real-world newsroom.

As Logan told me yesterday in our weekly meeting, he’s grateful to learn through his internship that he actually likes journalism and being a journalist. As an employer, it’s really nice to have a group of students coming from the University of Wyoming that can get a taste for the job on a daily basis, closing the gap between college newspaper experience and a daily newsroom.

Overall, The Sheridan Press staff has found great success in both programs and hopes to continue the positive partnership with the University of Wyoming.


At the Casper Star-Tribune health/education reporter Seth Klamann, energy and natural
resources reporter Caille Erickson, photojournalist Cayla Nimmo and Brandon Foster managing editor have been working remotely with EPSCoR mentee Chase Galley. Foster had this to say about working with Chase.

Each week, the four of us hold a Zoom call with Chase where we’ve discussed a variety of journalism-related topics — from writing techniques to tips on working from home.

While Chase obviously has his home paper at the Rocket Miner, we hope to provide any help and context we can from Casper. In between our weekly Zoom calls, we’ve rotated in taking the lead on communicating with Chase on subjects more specific to our individual roles at the Star-Tribune. For instance, last week Camille reviewed a story he wrote that touched on energy, which is her beat. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Chase over the course of the summer and are excited to see where his journalism career takes him.

What began as a collaboration to offer support to local Wyoming journalists has developed into a full-fledged mentorship program.  Both Wyoming EPSCoR and the WPA look forward to making this a more permanent program to continue supporting local journalists as well as the summer science journalism interns.  

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as we highlight the 2020 summer science journalism interns and the stories they are sharing with the guidance of their mentors.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Welcome Dulcinea!

"This position supports my long-term career goals in academic research in paleoclimatology and paleoecology, to use past environmental change in sensitive ecosystems to place ongoing rapid climate and ecosystem change in context. I am especially excited to integrate the tools developed in this project with my past experience in high latitude prehistoric global change, to address knowledge gaps about past climate and ecosystem change of coastal grasslands of the Falklands and coastal moss peat banks of the West Antarctic Peninsula." 
Currently a postdoctoral researcher at Lehigh University, Dulcinea is ready to take on a new postdoc adventure at the University of Wyoming.  She plans to use prior research experience to promote the development of a new proxy using microbes.  Dulcinea completed her Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Science in 2018 from the University of Maine.  It was there that she began exploring multi-proxy ecosystem reconstructions.  Dulcinea also looks forward to bringing her past experience working in alpine lakes throughout Maine, Sierra Nevada, and Cordillera Blanca (Peru) to UW's laboratories.  

It is clear that Dulcinea has a passion for her work and area of expertise.  She explores a very specific aspect of the science field and is proud to demonstrate her knowledge on the topic.  When asked to describe herself, she explains,

"I am a broadly trained, interdisciplinary paleoecologist with expertise in abrupt climate change impacts, paleoclimate proxy development, and ecosystem ecology in extreme environments."  

Being well trained in her field, Dulcinea plans to utilize her time in the university's labs to conduct a modern calibration study of branched GDGTs in microbes from lake waters, riparian soils, and lake sediment cores to support paleoclimate reconstructions from alpine lakes in Wyoming.  She plans to utilize a multiproxy approach to build on this proposed project by combining paleoclimate reconstructions with additional paleoclimate proxies.  All in all, her project seems to be a phenomenal addition to the work of UW's postdoctoral candidates for this upcoming year.

Dulcinea is wildly passionate about her work and we are thrilled to have her enthusiasm in the lab at UW!  We look forward to seeing her project develop during her time at the university.  

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Welcome Lorelei!

Lorelei Curtin comes to us from Columbia University in New York where she studies Earth and Environmental Science.  Clearly passionate about her work, Lorelei introduces us to her work explaining, "I provide critical context for potential future climate change scenarios by examining past periods in Earth’s recent history, particularly the Holocene and Last Interglacial periods. I reconstruct past changes in hydrology and temperature, which are poorly understood during these important intervals."  

Lorelei's passion for the Earth seems to stem from her undergraduate career.  She achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Geology with a minor in Environmental Analysis from Pomona College in Claremont, CA.  She continued her scientific journey by branching out and attending the University of Otago in
Dunedin, New Zealand.  It was there that she completed her M.Sc. with Distinction in Geology before returning to the states.  Once back in New York, she completed her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science.  

If that isn't enough to demonstrate a strong passion for her field, Lorelei has continually held teaching assistantships and pedagogical training positions to broaden and enhance her science experiences.  Her teaching experiences range from tectonics in 2012 to paleoceanography in 2018.  Being active in the classroom as both a student and teacher has afforded Lorelei the opportunity to experience earth sciences on varying levels.  This is sure to broaden her knowledge base and open her mind to new opportunities as she seeks to join the Post-Doctoral team at the University of Wyoming.  She clearly demonstrates these prospects noting,

"I am excited to build an ecosystem-scale understanding of Holocene climate and ecological changes in Wyoming through the use of additional lipid biomarkers, including leaf wax isotopes, alkenones, and mammalian and algal sterols. Furthermore, I am enthusiastic about participating in the Shuman lab as a mentor for graduate and undergraduate student researchers. This research and mentoring experience will help me attain my professional goal of becoming a professor at a small liberal arts college."

With 7 publications (3 published, 1 in review, 3 in preparation) under her belt, numerous honors, awards, and fellowships, and just over $28,000 in grants it is clear that Lorelei is a smart choice for the university's Post-Doctoral program.  Aside from her practical experience, Lorelei is passionate about her work and field of study.  She is not afraid to branch out for new experiences and is willing to tackle any challenges to pursue new opportunities.  We are thrilled to welcome Lorelei to our Post-Doctoral Team at the University of Wyoming!  We cannot wait to see all that she accomplishes during her time on campus.

Science Loves Art: Beating the Quarantine Blues

Quarantine got you down?  Struggling to keep your kiddos entertained while working from home?  Wishing there were more educational activities available for your family?  You are not alone.  And, luckily for you, Science Loves Art (SLA) has the perfect solution!

Based out of 4th Street Studios in Laramie, Science Loves Art is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a goal to merge art and science.  They tackle this goal through experience and discovery using their Science Loves Art Kits.  There are a variety of kits that master the perfect combo of science and art.  You can
choose from a bookmaking kit, paint pour kit, beeswax wrap kit, or the Suminagashi - Japanese

marbling kit.  With several options to choose from, you and your family can spend hours creating art projects for the refrigerator while learning a little something along the way!

While the SLA Kits are a great way to beat the quarantine blues, this family-owned business is taking extra precautions when it comes to saving summer.  If you drove by the shop last Thursday or Friday, you may have noticed the bright sidewalk chalk art, big white tent, and flourishing greenery. To help welcome the summer season, SLA decided to host a socially-distant Pollinator Week Celebration where they took their traditional shop outdoors.  Laramie community members trickled into the outdoor shop throughout the afternoons, seeking their own form of a creative outlet during these unprecedented times.  Some
purchased tomato and basil plants for their gardens.  Others sought out the beeswax kits and fabric squares to create their own plant sleeves.  I walked away with a bright pink succulent and some decorative stickers to add pops of color to my home office space.  It was a wonderful way to spread the word about Pollinator Week and bring the community together despite everything going on in our world today.

Bummed that you missed this awesome event?  No need to fret, there are plans in the works for a block party later this year!  To stay up-to-date on that plan or just to keep in touch, you can subscribe to their newsletter here.  If you are looking to get your hands on some SLA kits or other creative projects in the meantime, check out the Science Loves Art website.  Here you can browse a plethora of products, downloadable projects for your kiddos, and upcoming events.  

Monday, June 22, 2020

Welcome Nathan!

"Microbial communities are some of the most taxonomically, phylogenetically, and functionally diverse biological systems on the planet...My research uses fieldwork and simulation modeling to understand the relative importance of these ecological processes for maintaining biodiversity in dynamic ecosystems."

Nathan Wisnoski is one of the newest Post-Doctoral candidates at the University of Wyoming.  He holds a historic passion for biology having received his B.S. in Biology - Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin as well as his Ph.D. in Biology - Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior from the Indiana University in Bloomington.  His most recent position at Indiana University afforded Nathan the experience of studying microbial ecology in the Lennon Lab, making him the perfect addition to our community.  

Nathan's past research endeavors included topics such as Dormancy in Metacommunities, Metacommunities in Stream Networks, Dispersal and Dormancy in Bacterioplankton Communities, LTER Metacommunities, and Dormancy, and Host-Phage Dynamics.  With such a broad spectrum of research interests, it's no wonder he holds authorship recognition in 10 publications, four of which are currently being reviewed, and is preparing drafts for 3 more.  To help fund this research, Nathan has 7 fellowships and awards under his belt alongside 2 substantial grants which, in total, add up to just over $81,000.

If that wasn't enough to impress you, Nathan has demonstrated his professionalism and dedication to his projects through numerous talks, posters, workshops, and teaching positions.  Mentorship and service have been a part of his life since the summer of 2015 as well.  These opportunities have continued to be a part of Nathan's life as he climbed the ladder of academic success.

With his higher education journey beginning in 2009, Nathan has been in the field for just over a decade.  He is highly respected in the academic community but boasts a plethora of hobbies outside of academia.  Nathan explains on his website that he enjoys playing guitar, listening to music, reading, hiking, and nature photography when he isn't in the lab, classroom, or writing a paper.  

Nathan is an all-around wonderful person.  He is bright, creative, and genuine.  We are thrilled to welcome him to the University of Wyoming!  

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Change STEMs From Within

“Recent events remind us of the need for acceptance, equity, and diversity in our communities.  We cannot challenge our racial filters if we do not see them for what they are.  We are aware that what we do is insufficient in itself in the face of violence against Black and Brown bodies and oppression of Black and 

Brown opportunities.”

You may have seen Wyoming EPSCoR’s solidarity statement upon its release a few weeks ago.  You may have seen similar statements released by campus and community partners.  These statements of support are great, but what happens when the dust settles?  What happens when your Facebook newsfeed returns to videos of tasty recipes, your best friend's wedding, and 5-minute crafts? 

The first steps toward a real change begin happening.

Wyoming EPSCoR seeks to demonstrate a sincere commitment to increasing equity, acceptance, and diversity in our community.  We may not fully understand the depth of the social justice movement happening across the U.S., but we are dedicated to standing as an ally with those who have been affected and walk in those shoes daily.  We wish to stand as a resource for those looking to become an ally themselves.  

If you read our solidarity statement, you know that “Wyoming NSF EPSCoR stands with our students, faculty, staff, and colleagues to bear witness to the legacies of historical injustices and inequities of racism…”

Science goes far beyond the stereotypical lab coat.  Wyoming EPSCoR plans to illustrate this by highlighting our researchers, faculty, staff, and students of color.  They are an integral part of our STEM programs on and off-campus, and we want to share their stories, experiences, and research with our community.  

While this is only the first step toward the finish line of true equity in STEM, we stand strong with our science family and look forward to recognizing their accomplishments in the field.  They have risen to the occasion to create a strong foundation for the future of STEM in Wyoming.  We support them and we will always stand with them.  

Stay tuned here, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, for more highlights and details on how Wyoming EPSCoR is taking a stand against racial inequity in STEM.