UW Highlights

As Wyoming’s only university, the University of Wyoming is committed to explore, create, and share knowledge. Wyoming Public Media captures the work of scholars, learners, and leaders who are committed to serving the state of Wyoming and contributing to national and international intellectual growth. You can hear some of our stories and features on these pages. They reflect the work of hundreds of individuals dedicated to the University of Wyoming vision to imagine the future and to create it.

Photo Courtesy of University of Wyoming

Wyoming is facing big questions about how to sustain the current education funding model, and that may cause uncertainty for educators entering the workforce. Almost half of Wyoming teachers graduate from the University of Wyoming, and a new partnership with the Daniels Fund will shed light on how well the College of Education prepares those teachers. Wyoming Public Radio’s Tennessee Watson spoke with Rebecca Watts, the executive director of The Trustees Education Initiative, about what this partnership means for learning in Wyoming.

OKINAWA INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

In the University of Wyoming Department of Zoology and Physiology several researchers have been using birds as a means to figure out how to help people communicate better.

Associate Professor Jonathan Prather and graduate students Koedi Lawley, Jeff Dunning, and Karagh Murphy are researching the connection between listening, understanding, and speaking in the brain. Their hope is to gain some insight into human behavior, since birds learn to sing songs the same way people learn to speak – by imitation.

By Joe Ravi, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16542775

Prairie dogs can be a source of frustration to livestock producers in Wyoming because they compete with cattle for food. But new research from the University of Wyoming shows that the animals may also improve the quality of grass that is available.

Adapt Pharma

Deputies with the Albany County Sheriff’s office and University of Wyoming police department officers have been trained to use Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, in hopes of preventing drug-related deaths.

Opioid overdoses have been on the rise nationally, and Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley said the Laramie area has experienced several such deaths in the last couple of years.

It’s impossible for someone using substances to know when they might overdose, said O’Malley, partly because it’s not easy to know the strength of narcotics.

ESPN

The Wyoming Cowboys football team preparing for its first bowl appearance in five years when it faces an old foe in Brigham Young in the Poinsettia Bowl. The two teams have not played each other since 2010 when BYU decided to leave the Mountain West Conference. Over the years BYU has dominated the rivalry and if the Cowboys win it will be the first victory over the Cougars since 2003. 

Brad Watson

UW creative writing professor Brad Watson is out with a new novel that’s been long-listed for this year’s National Book Award.

As he tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Erin Jones, Miss Jane is about a woman living in rural Mississippi in the early 1900s, with a rare congenital disorder that renders her incontinent and unable to reproduce.

Maggie Mullen

Last year, the Arizona Final Salute Foundation asked University of Wyoming student Cassidy Newkirk to paint the sinking of the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Prints of the painting would help raise money to fly the six remaining survivors of the Arizona to Hawaii to be honored at the 75th anniversary ceremony. But as soon as she began the work, Newkirk said strange things started happening.

When Newkirk was commissioned she said she was given certain guidelines. 

University of Wyoming

Wyoming lawmakers will soon be asked to add a University of Wyoming non-voting ex-officio member to the State Board of Education. The legislature’s Joint Education Committee voted to sponsor a bill that would make that possible. Jim Rose currently sits on the board on behalf of the community colleges.  

Board of Education Chair Pete Gosar said it only makes sense to have higher education members on the board.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Cowboys will play for their first conference title in 23 years Saturday when the Pokes host San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Championship football game. Wyoming beat San Diego State two weeks ago 34 to 33. Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl said he expects another battle.

Stephanie Joyce

The federal Department of Energy has awarded the University of Wyoming $2.4 million dollars for two carbon capture studies.

The grants will be used to research the potential for commercial-scale carbon capture and storage at the Jim Bridger power plant near Rock Springs and the Dry Fork Station near Gillette.

Previous studies have identified the Rock Springs uplift as an ideal location for storing large volumes of carbon dioxide. These grants are intended to move beyond the technical specifications. 

University of Wyoming

Backpacker Magazine has ranked the University of Wyoming as the third best college in the country for hikers. The high ranking was earned in part because of the school’s Outdoor Leadership Development Series, which is a competitive yearlong program that teaches students to be leaders through outdoor activities and wilderness training.

Dan McCoy, the assistant director for campus recreation at the University of Wyoming, said the many opportunities to get outside at UW make for a great recruiting tool.

Wikimedia Commons

Beginning next fall, the University of Wyoming will have beer and wine available for purchase at its football and basketball games. UW’s Board of Trustees approved the plan on Thursday.

Wyoming Athletics Department spokesman Bill Sparks said drinks will cost between six and eight dollars each, and sales are estimated to make at least $290,000. Most of the funds will be used to offset the Athletic Department’s one million dollar budget cut, while some will be given to the university’s alcohol awareness program and a designated driver program.

Melodie Edwards

On a plaza on the University of Wyoming campus, Northern Arapaho member Micah Lott told his story of serving on the frontlines of the pipeline protests. He said he even saw his sister arrested there. He said, they both underwent nonviolence training before going. But with Donald Trump's election, it’s unclear what’s next for the protests.

“A lot of people felt like we’d be comfortable with a different candidate, but now we have to accept reality” said Lott. “And reality is Donald Trump is going to be our president and we have to work with him.”

Wyoming Citizen Science Conference

The University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute will host the first Wyoming Citizen Science Conference in Lander December 1.

Citizen Science programs give regular people the chance to work alongside trained scientists on larger research projects in their own natural areas. Conference organizer Brenna Marsicek said biology and astronomy are especially good fits for citizen scientists, since they can easily gather data by simply looking around their own environment

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Keepers of the Fire, a Native American organization at the University of Wyoming, is hosting a rally and dance performance on campus Tuesday to educate the community about the pipeline protest in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been blocking the completion of the pipeline for months because of fears that leaks would contaminate their water source.

Taylor Albert is the co-chair of the United Multicultural Council, another university group collaborating on the rally. She says Wyomingites could learn a lot from the Standing Rock protests.

Brooklynn Gray

Hundreds of University of Wyoming students, faculty, and community members protested the outcome of last week’s election with a Solidarity Walk Out Monday.

Reports of discrimination and harassment of minorities have increased across the U.S. in recent days. The solidarity walk, which started at the Wyoming Union before heading downtown and back, was meant to show support for LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, immigrants and other marginalized groups.

University of Wyoming

In a message to University of Wyoming students, President Laurie Nichols affirmed her commitment to maintaining an inclusive campus community.

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University of Wyoming Political Scientist Jim King joins us to talk more about the Trump Presidency.

There’s lot of speculation about how Trump will operate now that he’s president-elect. King joins Bob Beck to discuss that and what some Wyoming residents said before the election.

Robert Kelly

As America contemplates its future with a new president, one man has been looking to the past for cues about our future. Robert Kelly, an archaeologist at the University of Wyoming, has written a new book called The Fifth Beginning.

In it, he argues humanity has encountered four transition points - or “beginnings” - in its history: the invention of technology, like stone tools, culture, agriculture, and the state. He sat down with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to discuss the period of transition humans are facing right now.

UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

This week, a survey will begin to map the underground hydrothermal features of Yellowstone National Park for the first time.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with the Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Wyoming, will use a helicopter carrying electromagnetic technology that resembles a giant hula hoop to record tiny voltage signals.

BRANDON BALLENGEE, UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING ART MUSEUM

On November 1, the University of Wyoming Art Museum will host Evening Conversations with Curators.

The event is part of the on-going Earth, Wind and Water program, and will spotlight the museum’s November exhibit Waste Land: A Survey of Works by Brandon Ballengée, 1996-2016. Master Teacher Heather Bender will be one of the hosts for the event, and said she looks forward to discussing such an interested mixed media exhibit.

University of Wyoming Art Museum Facebook Page

Five paintings and 20 prints by renowned abstract expressionist Harold Garde are now part of the University of Wyoming Art Museum’s permanent collection.

Garde studied at the University of Wyoming during the 1940s under the G.I. Bill, where he learned from professors like George McNeil, Leon Kelly, and Ilya Bolotowsky. UW Art Museum Director Susan Moldenhauer said Garde is now in his 90s but is still painting.

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols unveiled the proposed budget cuts for Fiscal Year 2018 at a town hall meeting Wednesday. The cuts total about $10 million, with nearly $6 million of that coming from division cuts, and the rest through retirement incentives, eliminating vacancies on campus, and increased efficiency. The cuts do not include layoffs.

President Nichols said there was talk of cutting up to $15 million, but the consensus was to go a more conservative route and adjust later if the state decides to cut the university budget further.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra begins its new season under the direction of a guest conductor. As part of a so-called ‘podium exchange,’ UW Symphony director Michael Griffith conducted an American piece in Brazil.

On Thursday, Brazilian conductor Carlos Henrique Costa will conduct two works from his home country in Laramie. One piece, Museu da Inconfidência, by César Guerra-Peixe, draws on folkloric styles. The other piece, Psalmus, by living composer João Guilherme Ripper, reflects the modern urban experience.

Wyoming Center On Aging

An upcoming Laramie workshop will work to empower people dealing with chronic disease. The Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA) at the University of Wyoming adopted Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and called the program “Healthy U.”

Wyoming will be the fiftieth state to offer the program.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Enrollment is down slightly this fall at the University of Wyoming. UW officials say that enrollment declined by 234 students compared to fall of last year. The decrease startled Sara Axelson, Vice President of Student Affairs, who said the decrease was due to fewer out of state students.

Dan Hayward

A new study will use GPS transmitters to track the movements of wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management area, southwest of Rock Springs. Researchers from the University of Wyoming and the Bureau of Land Management are teaming up to track at least 20 wild horses in a project funded by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

There is little currently known about the migration patterns of wild horses. The GPS collars are the latest in wildlife tracking technology and will allow the researchers to get real time information on the animals via a satellite.

Caroline Ballard

University of Wyoming Police said they received a report of a sexual assault in a campus apartment over the weekend. UW Police Chief Michael Samp said the suspect has not been found but was reported as a white male about 20-years-old. 

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Wyoming will break ground on the new Engineering Education and Research Building Friday in Laramie. The facility is set to be the largest and most expensive project in the in university’s history, with an estimated cost of around $105 million. Michael Pishko, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, said all kinds of students will be welcomed in the building, not just those in engineering.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

New research had found that the fatal brain illness, chronic wasting disease (CWD), has a direct impact on the population decline of white-tailed deer. University of Wyoming graduate student David Edmunds worked on the study and said the research shows the disease lowers the survival rate of female deer under the age of seven. As of right now, there is no way to manage the disease once introduced into a population of deer.

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