After a busy field season we exchanged lots of interesting findings at the Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. We were fortunate to have Ted Brady, Deputy Secretary, VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development, as our key note speaker. He delivered a great message to our students and scholarship recipients about the amazing professional opportunities available here, and encouraged everyone to consider a career in Vermont.
Dr. Arne Bomblies, VT State EPSCoR Director, was invited to give a three-minute lightning talk on the Basin Resilience to Extreme Events in the Lake Champlain Basin (BREE) project at the National NSF EPSCoR meeting in Columbia, South Carolina on October 29, 2019. The audience was composed of fellow EPSCoR states and jurisdictions from around the country including representatives from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Janel Roberge, Vermont EPSCoR's CWDD Education and Outreach Liaison, led a discussion with students from Barre City Elementary and Middle School in Barre, VT about the life of a scientist on November 4, 2019. The presentation took place in Andrea Bixler's first-grade classroom, where Ms. Roberge discussed the research techniques used by scientists in the field. Students practiced their science skills by making observations about water and stream bug samples.
The BREE Ecological Team held its first Fall Full Team meeting on October 16, 2019. The meeting included members of both the Ecological Team and other BREE research teams, and allowed attendees to meet new post doc Ravindra Dwivedi, PhD. Attendees of the meeting gathered in person and remotely through videoconferencing. The team discussed the upcoming goals for Year 4 as well as publications and other milestones.
On October 14, 2019 CWDD's LeeAnn Trusela and Janel Roberge traveled to Lyman C. Hunt Middle School to aid students in completing a Macroinvertebrate Investigation. Groups of 6th graders were given a mock-up teaching sample and were responsible for finding the macroinvertebrates (and in one case, a very tiny salamander) within! The visit emphasized to students how “real” scientists can do just what the students had done to discover more about the health of local streams. About 40 students made their way through the dual-session day.
On October 15, 2019, CWDD's Education and Outreach Liaison, Janel Roberge, traveled to Richmond, VT to lead Camels Hump Middle School students through a Stated Choice Activity. Roughly forty, 5th grade students had to make choices that impact the health of Lake Champlain based on their preference concerning factors such as Land Use Management and Fish Consumption Advisories. The 45-minute session ended with students sharing out their thoughts on lake governance and management. Teacher, Kerry Young, is planning to invite the CWDD back again in the spring when students are doing their ecology unit for follow-up!
Vermont EPSCoR Post-Doc Liz Doran, PhD encouraged high school-aged girls to see their potential futures as scientists at the Women Can Do! Action Expo hosted by Vermont Works for Women on October 17, 2019. CWDD Education and Outreach Liaison Janel Roberge and CWDD Project Manager LeeAnn Trusela also participated in the event.
Vermont EPSCoR Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) and Post-doctoral Associates (Post-Doc) gave first graders at J.J. Flynn Elementary School insight into the life of a scientist in October. GRA Caitlin Crossett, Post-Doc Ravindra Dwivedi, PhD, and Post-Doc Dustin Kincaid, PhD joined CWDD Coordinator Veronica Sosa-Gonzalez, PhD and CWDD Education and Outreach Liaison Janel Roberge on October 8th, 16th, and 21st to meet with three different first grade classes.
Patrick Clemins, PhD, Manager of Cyberinfrastructure and Partnerships with Vermont EPSCoR, was an invited panelist at the State Science & Technology Institute Annual Conference (SSTI) on September 11, 2019. Dr. Clemins was a presenter on the panel session titled "Successful Support for First-Time SBIR Applicants". Dr. Clemins outlined the different funding mechanisms that Vermont EPSCoR offers to small business owners and innovators. The panel was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Other members of the panel included Brittany Sickler (Senior Innovation Policy Advisor, SBIR/STTR, SBA), Daniel Moses (Director, Oklahoma Catalyst Programs, University of Oklahoma), and Steve Konsek (SBIR/STTR Program Director, NSF).
Ecology Day at Camel's Hump Middle School was held on October 3, 2019. VT EPSCoR GRAs Wilton Burns and Caitlin Crossett helped students identify macroinvertebrates and provided the middle school students with an opportunity to interact with real scientists.
The first ever BioBlitz event at Camel's Hump Middle School was held on September 18 & 19, 2019. During this two-day event, Janel Roberge, Education and Outreach Liaison for the Vermont EPSCoR CWDD program, accompanied 65 students to a perennial stream site and instructed students how to catalog each of the organisms that they found. Ms. Roberge led a three and a half hour excursion on the first day. During this time she served primarily as a benthic macroinvertebrate specialist but helped students to identify other organisms as well.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Road Tour came to Vermont on September 16, 2019 for a day-long series of panels and discussions in the University of Vermont (UVM) Davis Center. Vermont State EPSCoR Director Arne Bomblies, PhD, PE participated in a panel to discuss the variety of ways in which Vermont EPSCoR helps local small businesses, including SBIR Phase(0) and Pilot Project awards. Approximately 150 entrepreneurs and researchers attended the event.
The federal agencies that spend $3 billion each year in research grants are visiting Vermont for the first time next month to introduce themselves to local entrepreneurs.
Assistant Professor of Geography Jonathan Winter has won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, which recognizes junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher and researcher and who have the ability to integrate the two.
The 2019 Vermont EPSCoR Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium showcased the work of undergraduate researchers in the Basin Resilience to Extreme Events (BREE) program. The event took place on Thursday August 1st, 2019 at Main Street Landing in Burlington Vermont and was hosted by the Center for Workforce Development and Diversity. The symposium offers student researchers an opportunity to practice their science communication skills in a professional environment, and provides a critical capstone to the summer undergraduate internships. BREE research provides valuable insights on the Lake Champlain Basin for many stakeholders throughout Vermont. The many contributions from this year’s young scientists will help improve our understanding even more! Thank you to all for your effort and dedication.
Castleton Student Receives Vermont EPSCoR Center for Workforce Development and Diversity Scholarship
Tracee Turnbaugh, a Computer Information Systems major from North Clarendon, Vermont, was recently awarded the 2019 First Generation Student Scholarship from the Vermont Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research’s Center for Workforce Development and Diversity. The award is given to first-generation and Native American college students entering a STEM-related academic program at a Vermont college or university. Turnbaugh is the second Castleton student to ever receive the award.
Alan Betts, PhD presented a hands-on workshop about weather, climate, and climate change to seven students and three staff members from the Shader Croft School, a non-profit organization that provides specialized instruction to Vermont students, on July 9, 2019. The group met at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT, after which Dr. Betts led a discussion and journey up Lone Tree Hill. The walking trail from Lone Tree Hill offers visitors a 1/2-mile round trip from the site's Farm Barn, offering opportunities to explore the environment and plant life along the way. Dr. Betts led students in a discussion about measuring energy balance of living plants, the temperature of the sky on a sunny day, and more.
BREE project member Declan McCabe, PhD received the Accomplished Graduate Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Vermont (UVM) on May 17, 2019. He highlighted his BREE research during the Honors Day Award ceremony at UVM which led up to his acceptance of the award.
Professor of Geography Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation’s premier scientific and professional organization disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences.
Veronica Sosa-Gonzalez, PhD, Coordinator for the VT EPSCoR CWDD, and Tabitha Finch, PhD, Vermont Genetics Network (VGN) Director of Professional Development and Education Core, visited the Vermont State House on May 16, 2019 to discuss the missions of Vermont EPSCoR and VGN with state representatives.