UW Highlights

As Wyoming’s only university, UW 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.

Willow Belden

Converse County is seeing an increasing amount of energy development, and some residents worry that air quality could suffer as a result. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and researchers from the University of Wyoming are now monitoring air quality in the area.

On the whole, they’ve found that the air is pretty clean. But they’ve also documented times when pollution levels have spiked. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

One of classical music’s most famous pieces is not normally performed the way the composer conceived it. But next week (Nov. 19-24), the University of Wyoming is staging Carmina Burana the way Carl Orff intended—with dancers and actors alongside the orchestra and chorale. That’s 150 performers onstage at once. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with UW dance professor and choreographer Lawrence Jackson.

Willow Belden

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg has resigned, after less than five months in office.

He said in a statement that “as wonderful as the University of Wyoming is, it may not be the best fit for me as president.”

Sternberg had come under fire from members of the campus community after several deans and other top officials were replaced.

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg has resigned. The decision was announced in a press conference this evening. The Board of Trustees says the decision was Sternberg’s – that he was not asked to resign.

Sternberg had come under fire from members of the campus community, who were upset about the departures of several deans and other top officials.

Anna Rader

Ben Markley is a composer and jazz pianist. He is also a visiting Assistant Professor of Music for the University of Wyoming Music Department. Scott Turpen is a saxophonist and Professor at the University of Wyoming Music Department, teaching Jazz Studies. "And The Wind Came" was written and composed by Ben Markley.

The President of the University of Wyoming, Bob Sternberg, says he understands that the turnover of several administrators is unsettling, but says that most of the resignations have been coincidence.  Sternberg says he was directly involved in the resignations of Provost Myron Allen and Education Dean Kay Persichitte, but other administrator resigned on their own. 

It’s been a rough week for UW President Bob Sternberg.  He’s been taken to task by several UW faculty on University list serves over his handling of a number of issues, but people have expressed the most concern over the turnover of some U-W administrators. 

Most recently the dismissal of the College of Education Dean and the resignation of the Law School Dean.  Sternberg gives Bob Beck his perspective on the controversy.

The Linden String Quartet is a rising star in the chamber music world. The quartet has won first prize in five major competitions and recently completed a residency at Yale University. On Friday, November 8, the Linden performs at the University of Wyoming. Violinist Sarah McElravy spoke with Wyoming Public Media’s Micah Schweizer about the quartet's blossoming career.

University of Wyoming College of Law students delivered an open letter Monday to UW President Bob Sternberg demanding more transparency about their dean’s resignation. College of Law Dean Stephen Easton’s resignation is the latest in a series of departures from the University's top ranks. Since July, five deans have been replaced along with several provosts.

University of Wyoming Defensive-Line coach, Jamar Cain, has been promoted to Defensive Coordinator after this week’s firing of former coordinator, Chris Tormey.

The Pokes defense has been underwhelming this year. Ranked number 105 in total defense out of 123 teams in the NCAA, UW has given up over 50 points a game during the last two weeks.

Head Coach Dave Christensen says that firing Tormey was hard, but gives his team the best chance to win going forward.

www.uwyo.edu

Land grant institutions, like the University of Wyoming, were designed to provide a practical education. In a recent editorial, UW’s president makes the case that the humanities and fine arts are also part of that practical education.

Since becoming UW’s president earlier this year, Sternberg says he’s heard lots of conversation about engineering, agriculture, and business, but not so much about the humanities. As a psychologist, much of Sternberg’s work has focused on creativity.

Anna Rader

Nicole Riner is a recitalist, clinician, and freelance flutist. She teaches at the University of Wyoming. Composer Katherine Hoover, who wrote ‘Winter Spirits’, is known for evoking Native American flute sounds in her flute pieces.

Rebecca Martinez

In such an arid state as Wyoming, water is precious. Last year, the University of Wyoming created the Wyoming Center for Hydrology and Geophysics, combining field experts and state-of-the art technology to better understand where water goes in after it falls from the sky, since much of it ends up in snowpack or underground.

There isn’t too much information available about that, but it’s important to state and local water managers, who need to know just how much water they have to work with. Rebecca Martinez reports.

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Stephanie Joyce

Many retired people take up a hobby -- knitting, bird watching, bingo. But two Laramie retirees have decided to spend their days in pursuit of a decidedly less mainstream pastime: solving the energy challenges of our time. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce has the story.

STEPHANIE JOYCE: It’s a sunny fall day, and Dave Earnshaw is standing outside the central energy plant at the University of Wyoming, staring out over the empty field that sits next to it.

Chelsea Biondolillo

Wyoming might not be the first choice for grape growers and aspiring vinters, but a group in Sheridan is working to change that. Professors, graduate and undergraduate students at UW and Sheridan College are using advanced techniques to identify traits in different grape varieties that make them well suited to Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo reports.

Playwright William Missouri Downs says Ayn Rand’s rational, objective philosophy helped him through college. But in Downs’ newest play, certainty is lacking. Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand is put on trial, and the audience is the jury. Wyoming Public Media’s Micah Schweizer spoke with William Missouri Downs.

Nina McConigley is a lecturer in the University of Wyoming’s English Department. Her new book is a collection of short stories called Cowboys and East Indians.

Her book tells the stories of a variety of Indian characters living in Wyoming, and explores what, often, reads as an unusual combination. McConigley’s father is an Irish-born petroleum geologist, and her mother, Nimi McConigley, was the first Indian-born person to serve in the Wyoming Legislature.  Nina tells Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Martinez she grew up in Casper.

As part of the University of Wyoming Law Week, the College of Law is bringing in Walter Echo-Hawk to speak about human rights in Native America. Echo-Hawk is a lawyer and advocate for Native American rights and culture.

He says with the passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations, there’s hope for optimism.

The US Department of Agriculture has funded a grant for the University of Wyoming to study the business of beekeeping. The grant is just under $50,000 and will be used to study methods to maximize the economic impact of bee keeping in Wyoming.

Associate professor in agriculture and applied economics, Mariah Ehmke, was one of the researchers awarded the grant. She says that colony collapse disorder has contributed to declining honey bee numbers in the US, but that isn’t the only issue facing the beekeeping industry.

Author, poet, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie spent the past several days on the University of Wyoming campus as a guest of the American Indian Studies Program. His visit started with a public lecture--more like an improv comedy sketch about Native American identity--and Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer sat down with Alexie to discuss some of the themes in his talk.

Michelle Fowlis

Over the past decade, traditional singer Julie Fowlis has built a career singing songs in the native language of her Scottish island home. Wyoming Public Media’s Micah Schweizer reached her by Skype in advance of her performance Friday, Oct. 18 at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

The University of Wyoming has solidified plans to provide financial aid to student veterans affected by the government shutdown.

Spokesman Chad Baldwin says UW has decided to assess each vet’s case individually, and will pay for tuition, university fees and on-campus housing expenses during the shutdown and hope for federal reimbursement later.

Baldwin says that the university is committed to providing this support because of a sense of responsibility towards student veterans.

Researchers seek to perfect cheaper solar panels

Oct 14, 2013

Scientists at the University of Wyoming are trying to improve solar energy by using nanotechnology.

Researcher Wenyong Wang says nanotechnology involves using very small particles to create solar panels. He says that’s different than how most solar panels are made.

“Commercialized panels are based on silicon,” Wang said. “And right now I think the efficiency is very good – it’s close to 30 percent. … But the disadvantage is that the cost is very high.”

Wyoming holds off New Mexico

Oct 12, 2013
Courtesy UW Athletics

In college football, Wyoming bolted to a 21 point lead, but had to hold on Saturday to beat New Mexico 38 to 31.                      

The Cowboys jumped ahead 21-0, watched New Mexico tied it at 24 early in the fourth quarter, before Brett Smith scored on back to back touchdowns including a 48 yard run that put the game away.  Smith was concerned that the offense stalled in the middle of the game, but he said once the Lobos tied it, it seemed to energize the team.

In College football, the Wyoming Cowboys return to action Saturday to host New Mexico.   The Cowboys will be facing a team known for running the ball nearly 80 percent of the time. 

Wyoming Coach Dave Christensen says that the Lobos offense is difficult to stop.

Museums are popular vacation destinations. When the government isn’t closed, a family trip to Washington, D.C. isn’t complete without a visit to one of the Smithsonian museums. But Dr. Elizabeth Weiser from the Ohio State University is looking at deeper meaning in these public spaces: how they reflect and shape national identity. She was recently at the University of Wyoming to speak about her research, and she stopped by our studios to talk with Wyoming Public Media's Micah Schweizer.

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg says that veterans attending U.W. will not see their educations interrupted due to a lack of funding caused by the government shutdown.

U.W.’s director of institutional communications, Chad Baldwin, says that the university will delay billing veterans for now, but hopes to recoup costs from the federal government later.

Baldwin says university president Bob Sternberg is committed to aiding the over 400 currently enrolled veterans because of a sense of responsibility to student vets.

Jeff Lockwood: Of Cape Cod & Wyoming

Oct 1, 2013
Jeff Lockwood

Here's a series of essays exploring "the wonderfully odd and unexpected linkages" between the Massachusetts seashore and the Wyoming prairie. Jeff Lockwood is Professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wyoming. This past summer, he was the writer-in-residence at Cape Cod National Seashore, where he wrote these pieces in a beach shack overlooking the ocean.

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra’s new season promises classics, but some of these favorites might be new to American ears. Case in point, the Butterfly Lovers Concerto is famous in China, but likely new to audiences here. (They’ll have to wait until May for that performance.)

Mobile lab could help solve air quality questions

Sep 30, 2013
Willow Belden

Atmospheric Scientists at the University of Wyoming will soon have access to a mobile laboratory that will help them conduct advanced research into ozone pollution and other air quality issues.

Rob Field is a researcher in the Atmospheric Science Department. He says only a handful of universities have equipment this sophisticated.

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