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Education & Outreach

Joint Educational Partnership for K-12 (coordinated by Ormsbee, Fox, and Harnett in Kentucky). State level outreach activities associated with the project will be coordinated by the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (KWRRI, http://www.uky.edu/WaterResources/) and the Montana State Water Center (MWC, http://watercenter.montana.edu/default.asp). Both Centers were established in 1964 as an act of Congress and are part of a national network of 54 Water Centers/Institutes. Both centers have existing outreach, education, communication, and research translation personnel and programs that will be utilized in support of the project. Both the KWRRI and the MWC support several different outreach and research translation activities including a website, a newsletter, and an annual meeting. Each of these venues will be used to help disseminate activities and results of the proposed research.

The educational activities of the MWC are coordinated through the Montana Watercourse Program. The Montana Watercourse is a statewide water education program that supports water resource decision making and stewardship by providing unbiased information, resources, tools and education to all water users. The program supports local educational efforts through an array of resources.

The KWRRI supports educational activities at both the K-12 level as well as the post-secondary education level through the Water Pioneers Program. The Water Pioneers program targets impaired watersheds through engagement with college-bound high school students who reside in impacted areas. Water Pioneers students participate both to raise awareness of water quality challenges and to implement programs designed to directly impact water quality.

One of the unique features of the proposed project will be a joint educational/outreach component. The program will be formally initiated in the second year of the project with the first year dedicated to program development and logistical planning. As presently envisioned, both research centers will work with their own state programs (MWC Watercourse Program and KWRRI Water Pioneers) to select a group of students to educate about sensors and CI and their potential applications. Students will be selected from economically depressed regions of each state: the 30 Appalachian counties in eastern Kentucky and the seven tribal regions of Montana. For the Water Pioneers program, this will be integrated into an existing summer program. A similar program will be implemented by MWC. As part of the program, students will become acquainted with sensor networks and data uploading and acquisition by accessing data from the HBS and FLBS web sites. The students will work with their instructors to select a potential site for installation of a sensor/data logger (e.g., HOBO). After the initial summer program, students will return to their respective communities and along with help from KWRRI or MWC staff, install the sensors. The students will maintain and upload the sensors data to HBS/FLBS sites during the rest of the summer and fall. Data from all student sites will be available in Excel files, and students will learn simple graphing programs and statistics to compare their sites with others. During the fall of their junior years, students will make presentations on their local projects at the annual meetings of each water institute.

Based on these presentations, eight students from each state will be selected to participate in a more advanced program during the summer before their senior year. This program will involve three components: 1) a joint week long experience at the University of Kentucky where students from each state will learn about environmental sensors, 2) a joint week long experience at the Hancock Biological Station, and 3) a joint week long experience at the Flathead Lake Biological Station.

Detailed programming for each week will be developed and implemented by the respective institutes. Students from each state will be paired up to facilitate correspondence during the remainder of the project so as to gain more information about the other state's water issues, the culture, as well as the technologies with the ultimate goal of understanding the various components of watersheds and human impacts. In addition, four separate groups of four students (2 from Kentucky and 2 from Montana) will be paired up with a undergraduate college student and a graduate student who will work with these students to educate them on the development and use of environmental sensors. In turn, the high school students will work with their assigned undergraduate student in the development of his or her project.

 




 

Educational Research Program for Underrepresented Undergraduate Students within STEM (coordinated by Harnett, Fox, Ormsbee, and Kipphut in Kentucky). The Diversity Plan provides educational opportunities for underrepresented undergraduate college students in Kentucky and Montana seeking baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Diversity Plan addresses the national need to increase the number of American scientists and engineers within STEM, particularly within underrepresented groups. Both Kentucky and Montana have communities that classify as underrepresented in STEM including the economically distressed communities in Appalachian Kentucky, where secondary math and science test scores are persistently below state and national averages, and the underrepresented tribal colleges of Montana.

The objective of the Diversity Plan is to engage underrepresented undergraduate students in research programs that focus upon sensor development, testing, and use within the CI framework in order that the students will become excited about the environmental research needs facing the STEM professions. Four underrepresented undergraduate students per year, two students from Kentucky and two students from Montana, will be recruited from state universities and community colleges to participate in an 8-week summer program. Academically talented, underrepresented students who will have completed their junior years in a STEM baccalaureate degree program will be targeted. Most broadly, we hope to engage underrepresented undergraduate students within STEM programs in educational research that contributes to the scientific understanding of global environmental processes. Application of state-of-the-art sensors within a CI framework moves towards this objective in the Kentucky Lake and Flathead Lake settings that integrate biological processing higher in the basin. This broad objective of the RII-2 in general will become specific for the individual student projects that will advance research in areas of 1) environmental sensor design and construction in an electrical engineering laboratory; 2) sensor calibration and testing in the controlled environment of a hydraulics laboratory; and 3) sensor use within a CI framework and application in lake and watershed systems to measure variables critical for the understanding of biological processes.

Students will perform sensor/CI research while teamed with faculty members at the University of Louisville's Micro Nano Research Facility and University of Kentucky's Hydrosystems Laboratory and Environmental Research and Training Laboratory. In addition, students will collaborate with graduate students that are applying the new sensors within the CI framework on Kentucky and Flathead lakes. Throughout the 8-week program, students will interact with each other and other researchers in three ways including 1) weekly meetings in a student research cluster where all four undergraduate students share progress and troubleshoot their projects; 2) group research meetings with graduate students and the faculty member who mentor the students; and 3) one-on-one meetings between the students and their faculty mentors. Further, the undergraduate student program will be integrated with the joint educational/outreach component for high school students, and the undergraduate students will help mentor the high school students, who will come from similar social and economic backgrounds.


Education & Outreach Events


Event Date Event Location
7/11/2010 Hancock Biological Station - David White, Susan Hendricks and George Kipphut met with five engineering students from UK and U of L including Alex Thompson, Bill Ford, Robert Steward, Cory Franklin, and Ben Zinninger. Jimmy Fox accompanied the students. The students learned of the VOEIS infrastructure and future applications. The meeting and outreach experience included: overview of Hancock and its sampling routines; the big-picture aspects of the VOEIS project via a powerpoint presentation; introduction to some new data; overview of the buoy sensors; and a sampling cruise. The trip was an excellent experience. Susan, David, George, Jimmy and the students also discussed future application of the sensors that the students are building and calibrating. Further, the group discussed ideas for future sensors in watersheds in Kentucky and their cyberinfrastructure in relationship to the buoy sensors.
5/3/2010 Lubrecht Experimental Forest, Missoula, MT - K-12 Dr. Ormsbee’s (UK) first VOEIS K-12 activity included two high school students, Stephanie Fawbush and Kenny Craft, who reside in the Appalachian Region of Kentucky. They represented the Water Pioneer Outreach Program at the three-day Montana Water Summit held at Lubrecht Experimental Forest near Missoula, MT, May 3-6, 2010. The students presented their community water quality projects to students and teachers involved in Montana’s water quality educational programs, and participated in the workshop’s hands-on interactive field instruction. Stephanie Jenkins (UK) networked with her counterpart in Montana, Kathryn Watson, and planned the future events of collaboration for the Kentucky/Montana students included in the project. Doug McLaren from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service participated in the Montana Water Summit as well as Pam McFarland from the University of Kentucky Robinson Scholars Program. Stephanie Jenkins, Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute Program Manager, and Mr. McLaren presented about the Water Pioneers Water Quality Program. The presentation included a summary of the overall goals and vision of the program as well as the water quality impacts to the Appalachian region of Kentucky. Barbara Kucera, Kentucky PI, attended to observe and participate, and to collaborate with Dr. Hauer to plan a research field experience for K-12 and undergraduate students to be held in Montana, July 20-28, 2010. She and Dr. Hauer also gave presentations to stimulate the Water Summit workshop students’ interest in science and the environment, and the impact they could have on the future.
Documents

- Outreach Activities *
 
* - only available to VOEIS members

Last Updated on January 19, 2010
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