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.

Anna Rader

As part of its effort to improve the quality of education for Native American students on campus, the University of Wyoming will host a grand opening of its new Native American Center this Friday, September 29.

Wyoming’s first Native American woman legislator, State Representative Affie Ellis, will serve as master of ceremonies and the student group, Keepers of the Fire, will offer a Native American hoop dance. 

Manitos -- the word for Hispanic New Mexicans -- have a rich but untold history in Wyoming. That’s why a team of researchers from Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico created the exhibit “Following the Manito Trail.” Using oral history, artifacts and photography the project documents Manitos’ influence on the West.

Copyright by Dennis Kunzel and James T. Staley

Cutting edge science is discovering that billions of species of microscopic bacteria live everywhere... on our bodies and in nature.

Now, the National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Wyoming $20 million to learn more about those microbes. Scientists plan to sample and catalog microscopic life in the extreme ecosystems of Wyoming: from glaciers to oil pads to the bison rangelands of the Wind River Reservation.

UW Molecular Biology Professor Naomi Ward said the study will add greatly to human understanding of the role of microbes in nature.

ASUW

The University of Wyoming student government has helped set up an emergency fund for DACA students.

 

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be rescinded, the Department of Homeland Security stopped accepting new applications. But those who already have DACA status still have an opportunity to re-apply, and the application has a fee.

 

danmaxey.com

As the University of Wyoming works to right its course after budget cuts and restructuring, President Laurie Nichols has been busy. Dan Maxey has come on board to help run the ship as the president’s chief of staff. This is a new position at the university.

 

Maxey comes to Wyoming from Santa Clara University — a private Jesuit college in California’s Silicon Valley — where he worked in the provost’s office on academic policy and communications. He said he was also part of a major STEM initiative at the university and in the region.

Maggie Mullen

Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA would be phased out, colleges and universities are trying to reassure impacted students, including those in Wyoming. But there are a few complications. For one, it’s unknown how many students are protected under the program.

Kate Foster

It’s another day of hazy skies at the airport outside Laramie. A team of atmospheric scientists from the University of Wyoming are busy unloading from a recent trip to Montana to study the fires where all this smoke originated. For weeks, skies across the west have been filled with this billowing white smoke. Many scientists agree that the warming climate is causing more extreme fires, but it’s hazy whether all that smoke is generating even more global warming as part of a self-perpetuating cycle. Scientists like these guys are scrambling to find out.

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols gave a State of the University address to faculty and staff at the UW Fall Convocation this week, acknowledging difficulties but setting the groundwork for the future.

 

Anna Rader

The University of Wyoming has a job opening for a Native American Program Advisor. The hope is for the person to help bring up native enrollment numbers which are at an all-time low.

Since her arrival, UW President Laurie Nichols has made Native American enrollment a priority. James Trosper is the director of the Native American Education and Research Center. He said her message of inclusion is already starting to resonate and more Native Americans applied for tribal scholarships this year than last.

University of Wyoming School of Law

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, would be phased out.

Suzie Pritchett is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Family and Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Wyoming College of Law. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen about how DACA came to be, its relevance to Wyoming, and what is now at stake for its recipients.

This story is the first in a series on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Listen to the other stories below:

Tennessee Watson

Wyoming’s stretch of Interstate 80 is notorious for dicey weather conditions and heavy truck traffic. But it’s also a great place to study how to make driving safer, and that’s why it’s the testing site for a collaboration between the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the University of Wyoming.

 

Old Main by thecoldmidwest is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The University of Wyoming is closely monitoring federal decisions that could affect its immigrant students.

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, would be phased out, University President Laurie Nichols said in a statement the school is keeping a close eye on the situation.

Nichols also said the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, will remain in place at the University of Wyoming.

Kate Foster

While Wyoming hasn’t had many forest fires this summer, plenty of smoke has blown in from fires in other states like Montana, California and Oregon. Atmospheric scientists at the University of Wyoming have been studying the soot from those fires to find out what role it plays in climate change. They’re chasing fires around the West this summer doing their research in a state-of-the-art mobile research lab.

Erin Campbell out in the field
Provided by Wyoming State Geological Survey

Governor Matt Mead has chosen Erin Campbell as the new state geologist and director of the Wyoming State Geological Survey, or WSGS. A role responsible for studying the state's mineral resources and advising the government.  

Erin Campbell will enter her position with a background in government, industry, and education. She taught geology at the University of Wyoming for 15 years and is currently the manager of energy and natural resources at the WSGS. She’s also the first woman to hold the position.

NASA; https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/13592602893

University of Wyoming veterinary scientists are working on a test that will differentiate two types of brucellosis, a disease that has caused concern among cattle ranchers in Wyoming.

Epidemiologist Brant Schumaker is leading the project. He said the name brucellosis applies to a group of infections caused by different strains of a bacteria called Brucella.

University of Wyoming

  

With the start of school comes the start of a number of cultural programs at the University of Wyoming. Janelle Fletcher is the Director of UW Presents. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that they have tried to put together a diverse set of programs. 

Tennessee Watson

 The sun will be getting a lot of attention on Monday, as spectators don their glasses and stare up at the solar eclipse. But for the first time ever you’ll be able to watch from above as the moon paints its shadow across the earth.

The opportunity is possible thanks to the countless hours put in by teams of volunteers -- dotted along the path of totality – who have been working hard to figure out how to share the eclipse live from space.  

 

Several groups are working on a project aimed at representing the cultural importance of elk to the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes.

Wyoming Department of Corrections

This fall, prisoners at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington will be able to earn college credits through a program called Wyoming Pathways from Prison.

This is just one of the many educational opportunities this unique partnership between the Department of Corrections and the University of Wyoming is offering incarcerated Wyomingites.

Tennessee Watson

On July 6, 2017, the University of Wyoming came under federal investigation for its handling of reports of sexual violence made last year. The student who filed the complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said she came forward with the hope of strengthening the university’s policies and procedures. 

Melodie Edwards

If you want to catch mule deer fawns, you’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning. It’s 5 a.m. when University of Wyoming Research Scientist Samantha Dwinnell gets on her computer. She checks signals emitted from a radio collared pregnant doe that shows she’s been hunkering down in one spot.

“Oh man, that’s beautiful,” Dwinnell says, laughing. “That’s exactly what we’re looking for,”

Maggie Mullen

Thousands of years ago in northern Wyoming, countless animals fell to their death at the bottom of an 85-foot cave. Natural Trap Cave has long been closed to recreation, but scientists have spent the last four summers unearthing the remains of many now-extinct animals. Excavations will soon come to an end.

 

Maggie Mullen

This summer, a University of Wyoming trail building program launched a work crew specifically for veterans in need of a job. The crew is the first of its kind in the country. 

At Curt Gowdy State Park, the Wyoming Veterans Trail Crew was hard at work on a trail called “Cliffhanger”— a narrow singletrack with rocky ledges along the edge of a reservoir. 

Near one of Cliffhanger’s sharp curves stands a twenty-foot tall dead tree. Crew member Mickey Finnell said it needs to be cut down before it falls on the trail.  

State of Wyoming Legislature

As a part of the state’s efforts to confront a funding deficit brought on by the downturn in the energy industry, the 2017 Legislature established the Wyoming Government Spending and Efficiency Commission.

One of its first actions was to request that all major agency heads report on their work to reduce spending and improve efficiency.

Bob Beck

 

One of the major problems in Wyoming is the lack of affordable health care. It’s an old issue and while health insurance is certainly a piece, there are few affordable places people can go who are without insurance or who are underinsured with high deductibles. For many years Laramie has had a clinic for very low-income people, it now has another health clinic for those who have fallen through the cracks.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The Washakie Museum and Cultural Center in Worland is hosting a symposium exploring some of the big questions in Wyoming's paleontology and archaeology right now.

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming Vice President of Research and Economic Development Bill Gern is stepping down soon. Gern is credited with pushing to increase the amount of research dollars UW receives as well as working with outside groups to improve economic development in the state. He sat down with Bob Beck to discuss those efforts.

courtesy of Randy Haas

A summer hike up to a 13,000-foot alpine meadow can be exhilarating. But what if you decided to stay up there for the rest of your life? The lack of oxygen, frigid temperatures, and sparse vegetation would make it tough. Archaeologists know hunter-gatherers traversed highland areas thousands of years ago, but presumed they also had to spend time in lowland areas in order to survive.

That idea is now being challenged by a team of researchers at the University of Wyoming who have made a rare discovery.

University of Wyoming Staff Senate

Representatives from the University of Wyoming Staff Senate met with President Laurie Nichols Friday to ask for what they say is a much needed overhaul to the staff compensation system.

 

Staff Senate President Rachel Stevens said base level salaries have not increased since 2008 and UW staff earn less than their counterparts at other state agencies.

University of Wyoming Athletics Department / gowyo.com

University of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is on his way to the Manning Passing Academy, a football camp focused on passing and catching skills put on by Archie, Cooper, Eli, and Peyton Manning.

Allen will serve as a camp counselor for younger players, and will also meet with other college players and coaches, and receive some technical training.

UW Sports Information Director Tim Harkins said only a small group of college players are invited to attend.

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