Division of Science & Mathematics, Upper Iowa University
Upper Iowa University invites you to take a close look at the Division of Science and Mathematics through the eyes of our faculty and alumni. This issue taps into the enthusiasm for the program and those that have found professional success and satisfaction because of their UIU degrees and educational pursuits.
Division of Science & Mathematics: UPPER IOWA UNIVERSITY Division of Science & Mathematics: UPPER IOWA UNIVERSITY A message from the Division Chair: DIVISION OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS I t is my great pleasure to invite you to take a closer look at the Division of Science and Mathematics at Upper Iowa University through the eyes of our grads and faculty. Who better to tell the story of how their lives have changed because of UIU? I have been involved in helping student learners on the residential campus in Fayette to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their career goals for the past 20 years. I am astounded at how much our division and our University has changed during this time period and continues to change. Our conversion from Division III to Division II athletics has helped spur an increase in dedicated student athletes interested in Chemistry and Biology majors that will prepare them for professional study in medical fields and graduate research. Resurgence in regional and national demands for quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is influencing growth in our Mathematics program as well as in some of our newer programs in Forensic Science and Information Technology. Our location in nor theast Iowa is a prime environment in which students learn about and develop an appreciation of the physical and natural beauty surrounding us, which has helped us maintain strong student interest in our Environmental Science and Conservation Management majors. Finally, our Nursing depar tment has done a phenomenal job with our RN to BSN program. In five shor t years, we have moved from reinstituting a nursing program with 10 students to an amazing total of 140 nursing students at four learning sites; and expansion to new sites is in the works. Full-time faculty in our division has more than tripled in the past 10 years, and we are currently in the process of trying to fill two new division faculty positions to meet our studentsâ€™ needs. Recent faculty hires in our division, as well as throughout the University, are demonstrating a tremendous ability to connect with students in our small classroom environments. They focus not just on teaching content, but they also emphasize the all-impor tant critical thinking and communication skills whenever possible. Many also have a keen ability to assess student learning in formats that really engage their students in the process. The dedication of our faculty to student learning is awesome! New faculty members also have totally transformed our undergraduate research oppor tunities and capstone experiences. More of our students than ever have been able to perform research relevant to their field of study, and many are also presenting their findings and par ticipating at professional meetings. On behalf of my division colleagues, I am pleased to present a showcase of just a few of the wonderful Upper Iowa Peacock alumni, who make us proud of them and their career accomplishments. Hopefully you will agree that I have one of the greatest jobs to be able to work with such a fine faculty and such dedicated student learners! Dr. Scott Figdore Professor of Science/Chair, Division of Science and Mathematics To Our Colleagues: Upper Iowa University is pleased to present the latest in the series of publications that highlight our academic programs and University achievements. The current publication examines the UIU Division of Science and Mathematics by tapping into the enthusiasm of faculty members and the stories of alumni who have found personal and professional success and satisfaction because of their UIU degrees. We are proud to bring you this latest chapter and look forward to featuring our Divisions of Business and Liberal Ar ts in the near future. Regards, Dr. Melik Peter Khoury Senior Vice President for Strategic Positioning Chief Strategic Enrollment and Marketing Officer Table of Contents: CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE: Par tnership Formula Yields Quality Candidates 1-2 JARROD VILLONT: Biology, Class Of 2011 3 RYAN BARNESS: Becoming The ‘Go-To’ Guy In The Lab 4-6 FORENSIC SCIENCE: Gaining Popularity And Recognition 6-7 Q&A WITH: Crystal Czarnecki, Forensic Science, Class Of 2011 7-8 RN-BSN MAJOR: Foundation In Evidence-Based Practice 9 DANIELLE BAKEWELL: RN-BSN, Class Of 2008 10 DR. JENNIFER STOFFEL: Undergraduate Research Makes It All Add Up For Biology Students 11-12 LINDY TOMMASIN: Biology/Chemistry, Class Of 2006 13 DANO GRAYSON: ‘Crazy White Guy,’ Credits UIU With Launching Career As Amazon Photographer 14-17 TROY MCQUILLEN: Success Is Par For The Course 18-20 DR. JAMES JACOBS: Scratch The Cat And Scribble Meet Cyber Campers 21 Q&A WITH: Jeremy Payne, IT And Conservation Management, Class Of 2012 22-23 DR. KATA MCCARVILLE: Fayette Topography Is Classroom Star 24 HOLLIS WEBER: Restoring The Wetlands 25-26 CHRISTOPHER PURCHES: Student Maps His Future In Geoscience 27-28 MARY STANIGER: PC Tablet Becoming Valuable Tool For Algebra Learners 28-29 JACOB DUDLEY: Mathematics Education, Class Of 2007 30 DR. LE GUI: Odds Are In Favor Of Success For Actuary Science Program 31-32 Q&A WITH: Breina Burgin, Chemistry And Mathematics, Class Of 2010 33-34 DR. RICK KLANN: Monitoring Water Quality Generates Steady Stream Of Student Research 35-37 JOHN MAEHL: UIU Degrees Set Grad On Career Path 38-40 ZAC SEDLMAYR: Conservation Management, Class Of 2011 41 Clinical Laboratory Science: PARTNERSHIP FORMULA YIELDS QUALITY CANDIDATES M edical laboratory scientists are in great demand and are highly sought after by clinical laboratories across the country. The forecast for job oppor tunities in the field is excellent. UIU’s Clinical Laboratory Science major offers two options to best fit students’ needs. Par tnering with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Upper Iowa University allows students to complete the program with a “3 + 1” option or “4 + 1” option. In the “3 + 1” program, students complete their first three years of preparatory coursework at Upper Iowa University followed by one year of coursework at a clinical institution like Mayo Clinic. The “4 + 1” option allows students to complete the biology major, along with all required Clinical Laboratory Science prerequisites, and obtain a bachelor’s of science degree in biology from Upper Iowa. With the “4 + 1” 1 3 4 + + 1= 3 years at UIU + 1 year at Mayo Clinic 1= UIU B.S. in Biology + 1 year at Mayo Clinic option, students may apply to be accepted into the one-year program at the Mayo Clinic leading to the completion of a cer tificate in Clinical Laboratory Science. “Our program prepares students for a career in one of the most rewarding and fastest growing areas in healthcare, clinical laboratory diagnostics,” said Kelly Nelson, MS, MT (ASCP), education specialist for the Mayo Clinic’s Hematopathology Morphology Laboratory. “Affiliations, such as the one we have with Upper Iowa University, help Mayo Clinic recruit excellent students into our workforce.” Medical laboratory scientists’ analytical, scientific and technical skills are a valuable and desired asset for employment oppor tunities. Through Upper Iowa’s par tnership with Mayo Clinic, medical laboratory scientists interested in advancement oppor tunities may choose from several tracks: • • • • • Development Technical Education Quality Management By completing the Mayo Clinic program, students have training in hematology, clinical chemistry, immunology, clinical microbiology, molecular diagnostics, transfusion medicine, laboratory management, quality control and method validation to function in today’s modern diagnostic laboratory. Through hands-on clinical experience, students have access to numerous specialized, cutting edge diagnostic laboratories for training that allows them to get a head star t on finding areas of special interest. After completion of the program, graduates are eligible for cer tification through the ASCP Board of Cer tification (BOC) and will be credentialed as Medical Laboratory Scientists or MLS (ASCP)CM. 2 “We have a strong relationship with Dr. Scott Figdore, UIU professor of science, who helps advise and mentor students who are interested in the field of medical laboratory science,” said Nelson. “Upper Iowa University and Dr. Figdore are truly invested in their students’ success. Dr. Figdore has been active in making sure students interested in MLS get exposed to the career by helping them find internships in hospital laboratory settings, which helps students make informed decisions about their chosen career path.” Jarrod Villont: BIOLOGY, CLASS OF 2011 “I am extremely appreciative of all the work, effor ts, and time that my instructors at UIU put in, toward preparing me for the clinical laboratory science (CLS) program at the Mayo Clinic. “Early on, Upper Iowa University placed me in a job-shadowing experience in a small nearby hospital’s laboratory. This experience not only gave me insight into what it is like to work in a small clinical laboratory, but also began to lay the framework of some of the knowledge that I would need to know. “My professors prepared me extremely well for the interview that is required to gain acceptance into the CLS program at the Mayo Clinic. By helping me prepare prior to my interview, I was able to go into the interview being calm, confident, and composed as well as being able to treat the interview as not only a chance to fur ther my education, but also as a job oppor tunity. I have since completed the CLS program at the Mayo Clinic, taken and passed my national cer tification board exam, and am now working in the Endocrinology Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic.” 3 Ryan Barness: BECOMING THE ‘GO-TO’ GUY IN THE LAB W hen Ryan Barness was hired to work in the electron microscopy laboratory at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., he found the work challenging, but knew he was well prepared. “Upper Iowa provided me with a good foundation,” he said. “Other lab technicians (who graduated from other institutions) struggled, while I just fell right into it.” “Upper Iowa provided me with a good foundation. Other lab technicians struggled, while I just fell right into it.” Barness said his professors in the UIU Division of Science and Mathematics went above and beyond to challenge him, and provide him with help if he needed it. Their obvious love of learning encouraged him to keep learning himself, he added. Continuing education was one of the deciding factors when he considered Mayo Clinic for a career. 4 During Barness’ senior year in molecular genetics class, he traveled with his classmates to the Mayo Clinic to tour the cytogenetics laboratory. He learned that if he got hired at the world-renowned clinic, he could also continue his education. He is currently working on his master’s degree in molecular neuroscience, all while conducting research that could potentially impact the lives of millions of people world-wide. Barness admits that he wasn’t the typical biology student on a trajectory to work in such a prestigious setting. In fact, Barness came to Upper Iowa as an undeclared student, and was on academic probation after his freshman year. Then he cracked open an advanced chemistry book. What he found inside interested him and he decided to test the waters with a botany class and biology. He was soon hooked. The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, and his Upper Iowa professors were more than helpful when it came to providing Barness and his classmates with more information. As he progressed into upper level biology and chemistry classes, he did better in school, and it wasn’t long until he was on the dean’s list. At Mayo Clinic, Barness is on the cutting-edge of research. He is involved in validation studies to develop a protocol to treat platelet disorders, such as Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome, and is par t of the renal team studying diseases associated with the kidney. “There is a controversy over what a dense body and an alpha granule are in platelets,” he explained. “Our research team is trying to validate that by doing x-ray microanalysis. The secretions from a dense body are different from what is secreted from an alpha granule. When platelets aggregate, the dense bodies release cer tain chemicals that attract other platelets to come, and that’s what causes a wound to seal up. People with Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome don’t have that.” As a research technologist, Barness also looks at samples submitted by pathologists – sometimes it takes up to two hours to thoroughly examine a microscopic sample. He said he does not like to be distracted during this time. “I always try to do my best. I think of it as if it were my sample, or someone from my family.” When he thinks he’s located an area of interest on the sample that could aid in a diagnosis, he sends an electronic image of the area to the pathologist. His attention to detail and careful analysis pay off. Just recently, Barness analyzed five glomeruli in a kidney cell “Ryan has and on the very last glomerulus, in a very small section, he become a key found tiny immune deposits. The pathologist called him personally and thanked him for his hard work. “You can miss it player in by just that much,” he said. electron Dr. Jeffrey Salisbury, Mayo Clinic professor and direcmicroscopy at tor of the Electron Microscopy Laboratory, stated, “Over Mayo Clinic” the past five years, Ryan has become a key player in electron microscopy at Mayo Clinic. He is skilled in processing tissues and cells; taking them from the living state to the point where they are embedded in plastic that can be cut with a diamond knife to a slice only a few molecules 5 thick. “Ryan is the ‘go-to’ guy in the laboratory when someone has a question or a par ticularly difficult specimen for processing, he usually knows the answer and if not, he knows where to go to find the solution. What is more impor tant though, is that he is becoming an exper t at using the microscope to make images of human tissues and cells so that a pathologist can determine just what disease the patient may have. To top this, Ryan is a most amiable enjoyable human being, who always has a positive can-do attitude and who is simply a pleasure to have as a coworker.” Forensic Science: GAINING POPULARITY AND RECOGNITION T he forensic science major may be relatively new to Upper Iowa University – it’s just five years old in 2012 – but it is gaining popularity and recognition, namely due to its alumni and the university’s commitment to providing in-depth instrumentation that not all college forensic science depar tments have. Forensic science alumna Crystal Czarnecki said it was her knowledge and ability with the high-tech industry-standard instruments that placed her above all applicants for her current position as an analytical chemist. Among the various technologies explored through the program, students learn to operate a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) and high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC). It’s this training along with research possibilities that according to Dr. Kerry Opel, assistant professor of forensic science, sets Upper Iowa University apar t from other universities of its size. 6 Czarnecki conducted a project determining how much DNA is left in the background that is not related to a crime. She presented her findings at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in Chicago, Ill. “I strongly encourage all students to do research projects,” said Opel. “They get hands-on learning, plus it can lead to other oppor tunities down the road.” Opel knows full well how impor tant it is to stay connected to the forensic science field at large. She reviews grant applications for the National Institute of Justice, and applies up-and-coming concepts from the industry to the classroom. This provides Upper Iowa forensic science majors with a close look at the trends in their prospective field. In addition to specific courses in forensic science, students receive a strong background in chemistry and biology. The forensic science major at Upper Iowa University is a rigorous curriculum that meets the standards set by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. In addition to the core courses in biology, chemistry, physics and math, students take courses in evidence collection and processing, as well as forensic practice and ethics. As a graduate, students are prepared for careers with state, local and federal crime laboratories as well as commercial laboratories and analytical science labs that process forensic samples. They are also ready for graduate study in forensic science, biology or chemistry, which Opel highly encourages. Q&A With: CRYSTAL CZARNECKI, FORENSIC SCIENCE, CLASS OF 2011 Crystal Czarnecki graduated in 2011 with a bachelor of science degree in forensic science from Upper Iowa University. She is currently employed at Albemarle-Catilin in Nevada, Iowa, as an analytical chemist. Q: WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN YOUR MAJOR? A: I already had an associate’s degree in criminology and mor tuary science, and decided I wanted to go back for my bachelor’s. I chose Upper Iowa’s forensic science program because I really liked the science side, and was not entirely ready to give up on criminal justice yet. Q: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS AT UIU? A: I really enjoyed my evidence collection and processing class because of the hands-on 7 component. Q: HOW WELL PREPARED FOR YOUR CAREER WERE YOU BASED ON YOUR COURSEWORK AT UIU? A: I was hired because of the coursework that I had taken at Upper Iowa, such as chemical instrumentation and organic chemistry. Because of these classes I was prepared in ways that the competing interviewees were not. I had learned extensively about the instruments that we would be using in the lab and most people have never heard of them. Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PROFESSORS/CURRICULUM IN THE DEPARTMENT? A: The curriculum is definitely not for the faint hear ted. It was extremely challenging to stay ahead of the homework and fully understand what you were learning at the same time. But it was the type of course load that we needed in order to be competitive in our professions. Q: WHAT TYPE OF RESEARCH PROJECTS DID YOU PARTICIPATE IN AT UIU? A: At UIU I did my student research on low-copy number DNA analysis. The title of the project was “An evaluation of the environmental influence of low-copy number DNA analysis of non-discrete samples.” A wide range of high-low traffic areas in public and private establishments were swabbed for DNA. This DNA was then quantified using PCR analysis to determine the probative value and impact it would have on low-copy number forensic specimens. Q: WHAT TYPE OF WORK ARE YOU DOING AT ALBEMARLE-CATILIN? A: I am conducting research as an analytical chemist. Albemarle-Catilin is a branch of a chemical catalyst company that is developing a solid heterogeneous catalyst that is used in the production of biodiesel. I prepare and analyze samples of biodiesel and its intermediates for GC (gas chromatography-tells us how far conver ted the sample is from oil to biodiesel) and ICP (inductively coupled plasma- tells us what metals are present in our samples and quantifies them) analysis. I do titrations to tell us the acidity of our samples (too acidic or basic and it would eat through the hoses in your car) and the moisture content. I troubleshoot instruments to try and make them work again. I assist the research and design specialist by carrying out small experiments (mainly trying to find ways to post-treat or purify the biodiesel). Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR A STUDENT LOOKING AT FORENSIC SCIENCE AT UIU? 8 A: Don’t give up! Yes it is very hard but definitely rewarding in the end… career paths are limitless with this degree. Get involved- ask your advisor for ideas on hands-on oppor tunities or get involved with the local police force. You can never learn too much! RN-BSN Major: FOUNDATION IN EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE As health care needs in the United States change, educational levels of nursing staff are now more in the spotlight than ever before. According to the American Nurses Association and the Institute of Medicine, research has indicated that more educated nurses result in better outcomes for patients. At Upper Iowa University, the RNBSN program continues to grow with the 2012-13 class being the largest yet. The UIU RN-BSN student population has increased by 60 percent each year over the last two years, and a record number of applicants are slated to star t in Term 4 in March 2013. This is good news for the program, which was cut in the early 1980s due to budget constraints at the University. In 2005, the University formed an exploratory committee to see if it was feasible to re-ignite the program. A year later, the University hired its first director for the program. In January 2007, 11 students began nursing classes, and later that fall, the program was expanded from the Fayette campus to the Des Moines Center. Today, Upper Iowa offers the RN-BSN program at five locations including its residential Fayette campus, Des Moines Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center located in Ames, Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Mesa, Arizona. “The University has been very suppor tive as we’ve grown in making sure we have the resources to continue to provide quality education and a quality program,” said program chair Sheryl Juve, RN, Ed.D., who is also a UIU alumna (’81). “The UIU RN-BSN program is student-centered and engages each student as an active par ticipant in the learning process,” said Juve. “The program is designed to be flexible to prepare nurses for leadership at the bedside or in management, to lay the foundation for graduate education if desired and to maintain the high quality training offered at Upper Iowa.” 9 27 Danielle Bakewell: RN-BSN, CLASS OF 2008 D uring her four th year as a registered nurse in the pediatric unit at Covenant Medical Center, Waterloo, Iowa, Danielle Bakewell felt the time was right to take her knowledge and abilities to the next level. Bakewell chose Upper Iowa University’s RN-BSN program to help her accomplish her goals. “Upper Iowa’s bachelor (of nursing) program was a perfect fit. It fit my lifestyle; it fit my need,” she said. “It gave me a good base for the masters’ program. If anyone is considering going back for their bachelor’s degree – whether for management experience or just to be a better bedside nurse, I would recommend Upper Iowa University.” Bakewell par ticipated in the one-year bachelor’s of science in nursing program comprised of online courses and an on-campus component every other week. She said Upper Iowa provided a good foundation in evidence-based practice, which has become an industry mandate. “We do what we do because research shows that this works,” said Bakewell of evidence-based practice. “Not long ago, the Institute of Medicine said it would like nurses to take their profession to the next level. Nurses need to have the evidence-based practice skills so that we can provide better care.” 10 The day after the BSN pinning ceremony at Upper Iowa University, Bakewell embarked on a master’s degree in nursing program at Clarke College, Dubuque, and became a nurse practitioner. She currently works as a nurse practitioner at Gundersen Lutheran Clinic, Decorah, Iowa, and is pursuing a doctorate degree, also through Clarke. Dr. Jennifer Stoffel: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH MAKES IT ALL ADD UP FOR BIOLOGY STUDENTS D r. Jennifer Stoffel, UIU assistant professor of biology, loves when a student makes connections through research-based projects. Suddenly, it all comes together – lectures, labs and student-initiated learning star t working together – and the student lights up with understanding. Research-based projects at Upper Iowa University are the keys to success for many pursuing a degree in the sciences. Dr. Stoffel said she appreciates that at Upper Iowa, research requirements are embedded within the science curriculum. Students may elect to do research earlier in their academic career and receive credit for it. Faculty are able to work with smaller groups of students or even one-to-one on the research projects. The faculty can then facilitate discussions with the students and address misconceptions and challenge students to integrate ideas. “Research-based projects are exciting because by doing research, students apply classroom experience,” said Stoffel. “Research allows students additional opportunities to practice the skills they will need in their careers, and it fosters their curiosity.” Stoffel, an educator and researcher who presents at conferences, said she has spoken to many colleagues at universities around the country about Upper Iowa’s 11 education model and has found that Upper Iowa is one of the few institutions that has both required and optional research components in the curriculum. At times, research projects conducted by students are also providing community service for organizations. For example, Upper Iowa biology students have recently worked with the Resource Conservation and Development Council, and Iowa Depar tment of Natural Resources, as well as the local West Union, Iowa, recreation center. “This is a valuable oppor tunity for all our students,” said Stoffel. “The students enjoy working with and helping others. They see how their projects can be research and service at the same time.” ”The students enjoy working with and helping others. They see how their projects can be research and service at the same time.” When conducting a project, a student is paired with a faculty member who advises him/ her when needed. Students are given the freedom to research a topic of their choice and they remain in charge of the project from beginning to end. The student collects the data whether in the field or the lab, and repor ts on the findings/outcome. “We want students to be independent with their projects,” said Stoffel, “but also able to know when to ask for help.” The science faculty make these projects a priority with each faculty member advising three to eight projects annually. As a way to showcase their work, students can present their research to the general public and the UIU community during Homecoming week and can also present at various local conferences like the Iowa Academy of Science in the spring. However, before they earn academic credit, the student presents his/her findings to all capstone faculty in a formal conference-like setting. Stoffel said that she often hears from past advisees that this presentation of their work is one of their fondest academic experiences. 12 Lindy Tommasin: BIOLOGY/CHEMISTRY, CLASS OF 2006 O f all the professors that Lindy Tommasin has had in her college career, none were more dedicated to their fields of interest or their students than her professors at Upper Iowa University. The nurse practitioner credits them with sparking her interest in the health care field and ensuring her success both in the classroom and now in her career. The relationships forged during her undergrad years are still as strong today. Tommasin, a biology major and chemistry minor, graduated in 2006 from Upper Iowa and went on to become a registered nurse. While working in the intensive care unit at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa, she took classes to become a nurse practitioner and was recently hired at Oelwein Family Medicine, Oelwein, Iowa. Tommasin credits earning her undergraduate degree at Upper Iowa University as the key to her success. “I got all my requirements through Upper Iowa,” she said. “I learned about the human body from the cellular level on up, and had it not been for my professors and their suppor t, I’m not sure I would have been as prepared as I was. They were there all the time and always helpful and willing to do more to help us learn. If I wanted to get more involved, they had ideas and projects ready to satisfy my curiosity.” 13 Dano Grayson: ’CRAZY WHITE GUY,’ CREDITS UIU WITH W ith an Upper Iowa University backpack strapped to his back, alumnus Dano Grayson (’10) approached a stand of strangler fig (Ficus ypsilophlebia). He quickly and deftly scaled its towering, thin trunks with the aid of a vine hanging from the rainforest canopy. Grayson recorded himself making this daring climb as par t of a digital montage to give others a glimpse of the terrifying beauty of the Amazon Rainforest. His trip earlier this year to the Amazon Rainforest was a “pretty legendary experience,” according to Grayson, capped off with a trek from the low-lying forest to the thin mountain air of the Andes. From May through July, Grayson worked as a wildlife photographer for the Amazon Aid Foundation, and was named the Foundation’s ‘Ar tist of the Month’ for June. In August, he embarked on a trip, sponsored by the University of Florida’s Natural History Museum, to be a documentary host as he traveled through southern Peru and potentially Bolivia via the Amazon. He planned to cap off the trip with a visit to Easter Island to study what ancient peoples saw and why they built statues on the island. Grayson has many stories to tell and the pictures to back them up – and he’s only 26-years-old. He has rescued an ocelot kitten from cer tain death, helped discover a new species of frog in the west Ecuadorian rainforest and witnessed the clandestine hatching of endangered crocodiles. And he knows, none of this would have been possible without his professors in the UIU Division of Science and Mathematics, and the oppor tunities presented to him through Upper Iowa University. 14 LAUNCHING CAREER AS AMAZON PHOTOGRAPHER “I’m very happy with everything that I’ve learned through Upper Iowa that’s led to these possibilities,” said Grayson. “Had I not come back to Upper Iowa, (the trip) to Ecuador wouldn’t have happened, Florida wouldn’t have happened, and the trip to the Amazon….it’s like trying to cross a river using stepping stones. You’re eyeballing the next one while you’re on the first one.” Grayson said he is very thankful to his professors for instilling the impor tance of the scientific method, which he uses in his daily life, and teaching him proper scientific terms which allow him to “jargon-in” with scientists on assignment in the Amazon. Grayson, a native of Arizona, initially came to Upper Iowa University to wrestle. He left school just three semesters shy of graduation. For a year and a half, he lived in Phoenix and hung around with his high school friends. He soon grew tired of the routine, and realized that what he missed most was learning. He returned to Upper Iowa in 2008, and immediately began his adventures. In 2009, Grayson was selected for an internship categorizing frog and snake species in the rainforest of western Ecuador. His goal was to become a biologist, and he took along a simple digital camera that he had won at the Upper Iowa wrestling team’s casino night. When he returned from the trip, he showed the pictures he had taken to his professors, one of whom volunteered Grayson to showcase his photographs at a symposium. The feedback from the presentation was very positive. For his next adventure, Grayson and roommate, Jacob Bruess, also Class of 2010, traveled to Key Largo, Florida, to work with snakes. Before they left, Grayson bought a new camera with the hope of capturing a basilisk lizard running on water. 15 Twelve days into their internship, he accomplished that feat. A friend of Grayson’s submitted a few of his pictures to various photography contests. He admitted that although his photos didn’t always do well, they were seen and he star ted getting calls. One such photograph is very popular – an American crocodile with its jaws open, the setting sun throwing pink and purple hues across the sky. Grayson was actually quite close to the croc while taking that picture with Bruess standing over him in the event that something bad happened. Grayson experienced five months of downtime after the Key Largo trip, but used that time to hone his photography skills and filming techniques. A year ago, Grayson spent four months living in the High Andes “The best thing is being able to Mountains studying birds under Gusshare with the world something tavo Landono, a then-Ph.D. candidate from the University of Florida. that has a high probability of Everyone involved in the project roamed the rainforest individually in never being there again.” assigned plots, doing forest searches, sensor installations, and cataloging data about nests including temperatures and egg/hatching counts. “We were living above the clouds for eight hours a day,” said Grayson, “where it was 90-degrees in direct sun and 20-degrees in the shade. At night it was below freezing. It’s a pretty extreme habitat.” It was during that trip that Grayson became acquainted with the Amazon Aid Foundation, which catapulted him to his next big project. One day, while he was out collecting data and pictures, the Foundation, along with Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter Esperanza Spalding (also an Ar tist of the Amazon), had come to the birding camp. Grayson had left his laptop open and it continually scrolled the photographs he had taken. When he got back that evening, a cluster of people surrounded his laptop “oohing” and “aahing” over what they saw. When he approached his computer, he was asked by a woman in the group if the photos were his. It turned out this woman was Sarah duPont, the founder of the Amazon Aid Foundation. 16 When Grayson was home in Phoenix, duPont called him and told him she had For more on Dano Grayson and his adventures, log on to www.amazonaid.org or find several of his videos chronicling his work in the Amazon and beyond on YouTube. a plane ticket for him and wanted to send him back to the Amazon – this time for the Foundation. His objective was to photograph as much of the Amazon as possible to help tell a story that fits with the Foundation’s aim to create awareness of the need for conservation effor ts in the rainforest. For six weeks, Grayson lived with everything he owned in three backpacks, each weighing over 100 pounds, trekking through the rainforest capturing images and video for the Foundation. He connected to the rest of the world using poor satellite internet to upload images and provide content for a blog through the Foundation’s website. “The best thing about being a photographer is being able to share with the world something that has a high probability of never being there again - something as delicate as a frog that breathes through its skin, in a place like Ecuador that’s going to sign over a lot of its land to oil, and turbidity in the water will cause animals to push away,” he said. Grayson goes about working, taking pictures knowing that animals and insects he photographs he may never see again. “It makes for a productive time in the forest, photographing as much as possible,” he said. His effor ts and the lengths he goes to capture those precious images have earned him the moniker, “Crazy White Guy” – especially among members of the Machaginga tribe of the Amazon. One night, Grayson walked into camp holding a five-foot long female crocodile without restraints. He had brought it back to camp for a group that was studying crocodiles. He set it on the ground and patted it explaining to the group that crocodiles are actually really nice if you don’t do anything to trigger their survival instincts. The Machaginga members of the camp asked Grayson to leave the crocodile because they wanted to eat it. He argued with them and said that he brought it back for measurements only, and then set it in the water so it could make its getaway. When he’s not hiking through the wilds of the Amazon, cataloging its abundant and unique inhabitants, Grayson is a salesman for Oakley Sunglasses in Scottsdale, Ariz. The stories of his adventures provide him many ways to connect with customers. He will be taking time in April 2013 to travel to all of the lower 48 states conducting seminars on the impor tance of conservation in places like the Amazon Rainforest. 17 Troy McQuillen SUCCESS IS PAR FOR THE COURSE W ith his associate’s degree in turf grass management from Kirkwood Community College, Troy McQuillen thought he was finished with his education. Then he made a last minute decision to travel with a friend to Fayette to attend orientation at Upper Iowa University. “It ended up being a great last-minute decision,” he added. 18 At Upper Iowa, McQuillen majored in applied plant science with the intent of working in the turf grass management industry. The summer before his senior year, he was working at a golf course in the Amana Colonies. One night, while out with friends, a former Kirkwood instructor approached him to let him know that a teaching position would be opening up at the community college. McQuillen replied, “That’s great, but I’m too young. I’ve got another year left at Upper Iowa.” The instructor encouraged him to apply anyway, and he did. To his disbelief, he got the job at 21-years-old – a position he’s held for the past seven years. McQuillen finished his senior year par t-time, traveling from Cedar Rapids every Wednesday for plant physiology and cell biology. He is grateful to the faculty and staff at Upper Iowa University who suppor ted him and helped him succeed as an instructor and student. “If it wasn’t for the flexibility that Upper Iowa had, and being able to make relationships with the faculty – all the way from the star t,” said McQuillen. “For me, being so young and star ting in a career that I wanted some day, if I hadn’t been able to make those relationships my first year at Upper Iowa, it really would have made those second and third years impossible.” In 2012, he earned a master’s degree in education from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. 19 21 McQuillen is also known at Upper Iowa for a unique campus landmark – the putting green located near Baker-Hebron Hall. “My whole passion, since I was in high school was turf grass management,” he said. “I always gave Dr. (Scott) Figdore a hard time in applied plant science, and he said, ‘Why don’t you, for your senior project, build a putting green on campus.’” “Another great thing is that, at Upper Iowa, you’re taking difficult classes, but the professors always have time for you.” At the time, he was a work study employee/ student for the Upper Iowa Facilities Management and Services Depar tment. He made the suggestion to the facilities crew, and set to work. The putting green was built to the specifications set by the U.S. Golf Association, and McQuillen found someone to donate the bent grass seed for the green. As par t of the project, he wrote a maintenance schedule for the green so that it can continue to be a feature on the UIU Fayette campus. McQuillen said he is proud to be a UIU grad and is glad to maintain a working relationship with Upper Iowa University’s Division of Science and Mathematics faculty. When Kirkwood students express an interest in continuing their education after obtaining their associate’s degree, he points them to UIU. “Our relationship has never been stronger,” he said. “I’m always sending students to Fayette to fur ther their education. Upper Iowa has an altogether great atmosphere for learning. It’s nice to have a campus all in one spot, and it’s so easy to communicate with everyone – from admissions to financial aid to faculty – everyone. I got that vibe right away when I went up for orientation. “The professors are the ones to actually teach you the material and help you understand – not a teaching assistant – for me, that was huge.” 20 Dr. James Jacobs: SCRATCH THE CAT AND SCRIBBLE MEET CYBER CAMPERS W hen Upper Iowa University’s Office of Student Development and the Office of Civic Engagement asked Dr. James Jacobs if he would facilitate two special sessions during a week-long outreach program for area children, he jumped at the oppor tunity. Although this was the first time Upper Iowa, and Jacobs, for that matter, had put on a camp of this kind, the assistant professor of information technology developed a crowd-pleasing – and educational – program. Jacobs introduced the children from first through ninth grade to robotics and programming, topics, which very few of them were aware of prior to the camp. The campers were exposed to the fundamentals of computers, including computer hardware, encoding and decoding, encryption and decryption, as well as applications using Microsoft Robotic Studio and Microsoft Surface. They also programmed ‘Scratch’ the cat to walk around and meow in a vir tual environment and the Scribbler robot to interact within the real world. Jacobs discussed possible careers related to information technology. “The future of the industry is progressive,” he said. “We’re always building on what we know today, expanding the usage of technology through education for tomorrow, and developing new technology for future demands”. “These kids were absolutely enthralled with what they learned during camp,” he continued. “It was great to see the cyber camp exceed their expectations.” Dr. Jacobs looks forward to next summer and hopes that the success builds even greater community interest. 21 Q&A With: JEREMY PAYNE, IT AND CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT, CLASS OF 2012 Jeremy Payne graduated from Upper Iowa University in 2012 with two degrees â€“ Conservation Management and Information Technology. He is currently working as an implementation/ desktop suppor t analyst for RuffaloCODY in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Q: WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN YOUR MAJORS? A: Conservation has always been something that I enjoy, I worked five summers as a seasonal DNR aide at Lake Darling State Park near Brighton, Iowa. While I was at Upper Iowa, a former professor of Information Technology inspired me to pursue a double major in I.T. and Conservation Management because he said I was very talented with computers and not afraid to be a leader. Q: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS AT UIU? A: My favorite class at Upper Iowa was an I.T. class over Cyber Security. It was a May-term class where I learned about hackers as well as ways to stop and/or prevent cybercrime. Q: HOW WELL PREPARED FOR YOUR CAREER WERE YOU BASED ON YOUR COURSEWORK AT UIU? A: Upper Iowa gave me a great set of skills that I was able to use when star ting out at my career. It made the transition from college to career very smooth. Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PROFESSORS/CURRICULUM IN THE IT DEPARTMENT? 22 A: Dr. James Jacobs, assistant professor of information technology, and Dr. Roman Yasinovskyy, assistant professor of information technology, were very helpful throughout my final year in I.T. I had a lot of fun working with my fellow classmates on projects; it gave us a chance to practice working as a team to accomplish challenging tasks. Q: WHAT TYPE OF RESEARCH PROJECTS DID YOU PARTICIPATE IN AT UIU? A: My senior project, ‘Vir tual Pheasant’, was a blast. It was a mixture of my two majors, I used real tracking data from wild ring-necked pheasants, which was collected by students for their senior projects, to create a vir tual world that closely mimicked the birds’ actual habitats. I got the oppor tunity to show off my work at a Pheasants Forever banquet, the Iowa Academy of Science, and a student symposium in Wisconsin. Q: WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF ATTENDING UIU? A: I learned not be afraid to talk to your professors; they want to help you succeed. When I was at UIU I would take time to stop by and visit with my professors to check in on how I was doing, if I had any questions about the material that was covered, or to engage in general chit chat. Also, it’s okay to ask questions in class. I learned very fast in my college career that asking questions is OKAY, professors love it! When you ask questions in class, it lets your professor know that you are engaged in the lecture and you’re actually paying attention. Nothing is more frustrating than teaching a class where no one ever asks questions. 23 Dr. Kata McCarville: FAYETTE TOPOGRAPHY IS CLASSROOM STAR T he showpiece classroom for the UIU Environmental Science program is the “great outdoors.” According to Kata McCarville, associate professor of geosciences, the setting for the UIU Fayette campus provides ample opportunities for field studies in ear th and environmental sciences. She notes that the town of Fayette is located on the Silurian Escarpment of nor theast Iowa, in an area of karst-influenced Paleozoic bedrock. The Volga River which flows through the city of Fayette, carves scenic limestone cliffs on its way to the Volga River State Recreation Area just outside town. The Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge is only 45 minutes away, which also offers diverse oppor tunities for student projects and collaboration with practicing science professionals. Other par ts of the area offer glacial landforms and agricultural landscapes. McCarville not only uses the area’s geological sites as classrooms for UIU students, but draws in community members to help locate glacial outliers to track the movements of ancient glaciers through the Iowa landscape or to identify rocks and fossils found in the fields and river valleys. “The Environmental Science major is an interdisciplinary program focused around developing an understanding of the Ear th as a complex network of interacting natural systems, and is built on a strong foundation of mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and ear th sciences,” McCarville said. “The program prepares wellrounded students for a wide range of oppor tunities including employment in fields such as environmental education, monitoring, management, remediation or regulation. Students also can leave prepared for professional training in law, business or public health, or fur ther study at the graduate level.” “We seek out those with the desire to learn,” she added. “At Upper Iowa, we strive to inspire and empower students by promoting intellectual curiosity, fostering the habit of critical inquiry, impar ting knowledge and skills, and instilling a global perspective.” 24 Hollis Weber: RESTORING THE WETLANDS P ublished author and environmental scientist Hollis Weber credits Upper Iowa University with exposing him to the possibilities for an environmental science major. Now at Ear thView Environmental, Coralville, Iowa, Weber works with his colleagues to provide exper tise in land use and natural resources planning to municipalities, land use planners, developers and individual homeowners through the regulatory compliance process and provides planning, innovative design options, funding options and project implementation and monitoring. Weber, an Anamosa, Iowa, native, enrolled in Upper Iowa University in 2002 intent on playing midfield for the UIU Peacock men’s soccer team. As with most college students, he was putting himself through school, and had to take a year off due to financial reasons. He then attended Kirkwood Community College par t-time, and with Upper Iowa’s discipline-focused ar ticulation options, was able to get back to where he star ted – and where he wanted to be. Weber chose to major in environmental science because he wanted to be in a profession where he could be outdoors, instead of behind a desk. The summer before his senior year, he had the oppor tunity to work with the Iowa Depar tment of Natural Resources conducting water quality testing at its parks or beaches to determine E.coli levels and if it would be safe for the public to swim in the parks. That experience was a jumping off point for his senior research project where he collected water samples at Volga State Park lake to test for E. coli levels. Through this, he determined if a beach was constructed there, the bacteria levels would be low enough for the park to keep the beach open. 25 27 With his bachelor’s of science degree from Upper Iowa University, Weber chose the University of Wyoming-Laramie for its traditional master’s program. There, he focused on rangeland ecology and watershed management (now ‘Ecosystem Management’) with an emphasis in water resources. With a solid foundation of knowledge from Upper Iowa and his undergraduate research experience, Weber said he was a much better candidate for the master’s program. His work in GIS at Upper Iowa, as well as experience presenting research to a crowd were very helpful as he took on more rigorous topics and intense research oppor tunities. Weber’s paper, Instantaneous Capture and Mineralization of Flue Gas Carbon Dioxide: Pilot Scale Study (Reddy, KJ, Weber, Hollis, Bhattacharyya, Pradip, Morris, Argyle, Taylor, David, Christensen, Mikol, Foulke, Thomas, and Fahlsing, Paul), was published in Nature Precedings. “There were four professors, one in renewable resources, one in chemical engineering, two in economics, one post-doctoral student in renewable resources and one master student in economics associated with this project,” said Weber. “The economists were looking into the feasibility of retrofitting this system onto already existent coal-fired plants. My focus was to get the pilot scale testing equipment built, installed at the plant and running properly. I also did multiple runs to test the effects of different moisture percentages entrained in the flue gas and how that affected the levels of carbon dioxide remaining in the flue gas after its reaction with fly ash. The project, called Seques Tech, is still ongoing, and has resulted in a few patents.” With Ear thView Environmental, Weber is now making a positive impact through wetland restoration – a topic on which he is both knowledgeable and passionate. “If you destroy one, you can’t just go out and buy another,” he said. “In the past 150 years we have drained over 90 percent of our (Iowa) wetlands for agriculture or development. A wetland is like a sponge, so if we had more, we wouldn’t see as much flooding as we do. They’re among the most diverse of all natural communities in Iowa and filter sediment and organic wastes, which impact our water quality as well.” 26 Christopher Purches: STUDENT MAPS HIS FUTURE IN GEOSCIENCE A s a child, Christopher Purches was interested in the geoscience field and everything associated with it, including dinosaurs, volcanoes, archaeology, etc. With his mother and aunt as mentors, Purches quickly learned the impor tance of getting a quality education. He wants to pursue a career in the geoscience field working with GIS mapping. Last summer, Purches, a Chicago, Ill., native conducted an internship and research with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Ill. The internship was made possible through the aid of the INSPIRE Iowa-Nebraska LSAMP Alliance for underrepresented and minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. As an African-American, Purches is considered a minority in the predominantly white field of geoscience. During the internship, he used geographic information systems (GIS) to create maps and maintain the forest preserveâ€™s database. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County acquires and protects public lands, including forests, wetlands, rivers, streams and landscapes. It works to preserve land in its natural state for the purpose of educating and providing a place of recreation for the public. As an integral par t of the staff, Purches enhanced his knowledge of practice using GIS. After completing his internship, Purches also worked with TeKippe Engineering of West Union, Iowa, to update the Upper Iowa University Fayette campus GIS data- 27 base, which in turn provided UIU Facilities with maps and analysis for future campus projects. Purches and classmate, DeShawn Benn, recently graduated from Upper Iowa as the first African-American environmental science majors intent on working in the geosciences. Like Purches, Benn grew up near Chicago, Ill., and came to Upper Iowa University because of its one-on-one attention with professors, which has in turn set him solidly on the path to becoming an environmental engineer. This summer, Benn was selected to par ticipate in the National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Minnesota. Mary Staniger: PC TABLET BECOMING VALUABLE TOOL FOR ALGEBRA LEARNERS N ow in its second year, the use of computer tablets in Upper Iowa University’s “Beginning Algebra” course has done its par t to actively engage and retain student attention as they work toward qualifying for college-level algebra courses. 28 Beginning Algebra is taught by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Mary Staniger. In her class she has seen remarkable results through the applied use of technology. Its positive impact on increased study skills and academic self-confidence is the topic of Staniger’s research and presentations she has given at the state level and nationally. Tablet PCs, with their capacity to create electronic handwriting, enhance the learning experience for students. Professors, like Staniger, are now able to face their class, display questions and step-by-step solutions clearly to all students, respond quickly to unplanned student questions, and record all the details of a lecture using screen capture and voice recording software. When Staniger models problem solving, students work along using color to digitally highlight impor tant concepts. Each student in the Staniger’s “Beginning Algebra” course at Upper Iowa University is issued a tablet PC. Staniger created a digital notebook using Microsoft Office OneNote. The notebook has par tial notes stored for students to engage in digital note taking. Students store their assignments digitally which is convenient to upload for grading. They often refer back to earlier lessons as they build a foundation for more complex problem-solving. “Having all of their notes handy (in their tablets), students look back at what we’ve talked about and they’re able to phrase their questions with confidence. They are very engaged in class par ticipation,” said Staniger. “I’ve conducted exit interviews with students that have been successful in the course with the tablet device and successfully passed “College Algebra.” Their experience was very positive and contributed to better organizational skills.” Staniger has read extensively on the topic of tablet use in the classroom. While some college campuses have gone to the one-to-one program (a laptop computer for each student), Staniger and many exper ts agree that one-to-one students are missing out if the laptop is not a tablet. “Take away the pen-enabled feature, and the math and science components are gone,” she said. Thanks to the suppor t from the President’s Teaching With Technology Grant 2011 and the Mathematics/IT Depar tment contributions, this project exemplifies the Upper Iowa University spirit of commitment to enhance student learning with technology, Staniger noted. 29 Jacob Dudley: MATHEMATICS EDUCATION, CLASS OF 2007 â€œI initially became interested in the mathematics education major at Upper Iowa University because I found that high school educators can make a difference in life. I wanted to share my love of mathematics with others and attempt to get students excited about the subject. The professors in the UIU mathematics depar tment offered me guidance, suppor t and knowledge that allowed me to accomplish my goals and contribute to society. They took time out of their schedule to help us understand the content. They offered suppor t beyond required lecture time, and had a greater sense that all students held value in the classroom.â€? 30 Dr. Le Gui: ODDS ARE IN FAVOR OF SUCCESS FOR ACTUARY SCIENCE PROGRAM When large corporations and governments want to minimize the impact of an undesirable event, they turn to actuaries – exper ts who evaluate the likelihood of future events using numbers. At Upper Iowa University, Dr. Le Gui, assistant professor of mathematics, said those looking to become an actuary would greatly benefit from the one-on-one classroom environment and personal attention each student in the program at UIU receives. Gui is a huge advocate for the actuarial science emphasis available to mathematics majors at Upper Iowa. She will gladly and enthusiastically showcase the program and in detail, explain why actuaries are sought after worldwide. Not only are they compensated very well – with the potential of earning $150,000-$250,000 and more – but they’re found in a variety of settings. While insurance companies can’t function without actuaries, they are also needed in consulting, government, private corporations, colleges and universities, banks and investment 31 firms, public accounting firms, etc. The earnings potential and wide variety of settings does not come without a price though – hard work and full course-load make a well-rounded actuary. Those pursuing a career as an actuary need to be very well versed not only in mathematics, but also finance, accounting and computers. Anyone embarking on an education to become an actuary must be in an environment that is conducive to learning and grasping several complex concepts, Gui said. Upper Iowa University can provide that atmosphere for actuary students. The actuary emphasis is a new venture for Upper Iowa, having begun in the 2011-12 academic year. The program is picking up momentum. Even as more college students look to the actuary science option, Gui said Upper Iowa’s location in Fayette, Iowa, is an excellent one. Students have no trouble finding actuarial internships, and campus itself is a great place to learn and focus on education, Gui added. “My hope for this program is that more students learn about the program and become interested in actuarial science,” said Gui. “I also hope that more actuarial science students pass the SOA actuarial science exams. I predict that this program will expand in the future and become one of the strongest programs students can be involved with at UIU.” 32 Q&A With: BREINA BURGIN, CHEMISTRY AND MATHEMATICS, CLASS OF 2010 B reina Burgin graduated from Upper Iowa University in 2010 with two degrees – Chemistry and Mathematics, along with a minor in General Business. She is currently finishing her master’s of science in Physical Chemistry at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, where she is studying mesoporous silica nanopar ticles with solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). She is a published author in the Journal of Physical Chemistry (Hara, K.; Akahane, S.; Wiench, J. W.; Burgin, B. R.; Ishito, N.; Lin, V. S.-Y.; Fukuoka, A.; Pruski, M. Selective and Efficient Silylation of Mesoporous Silica: A Quantitative Assessment of Synthetic Strategies by Solid-State NMR. J Phys. Chem. C 2012, 116, 7083-7090), and will continue her studies in Chemical Education Research. UIU caught up with the busy grad school student for a question and answer session on how Upper Iowa University has impacted her life for the better. Q: WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN YOUR MAJORS? A: My interest star ted well before I came to college, and my love for both subjects expanded as I learned more in college. When I was a freshman in high school, I was very bored with the content presented by the instructor, so the teacher, who was also a chemist, allowed me to take an independent study chemistry course. She lent me the same textbook that my older sister was using in her chemistry course in high school. I have always loved mathematics. When I was in fifth grade, my math teacher allowed me to work on algebra problems out of my mother’s textbook; she was taking algebra at Upper Iowa University at the time. Q: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS AT UIU? A: To be honest, I never took a course that I did not like at UIU. My favorite chemistry courses would probably be Quantitative Analysis and Physical Chemistry II. I also really liked Advanced Organic Chemistry. My favorite math courses would be Differential Equations and History of Math. 33 Q: HOW WELL PREPARED FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL WERE YOU BASED ON YOUR COURSEWORK AT UIU? A: In graduate school, we have many duties. We must take courses, be a teaching assistant at some point, and complete research. The coursework at UIU helped a great deal with graduate school. Dr. Erik Olson, UIU professor of chemistry, helped me find and obtain summer research projects. Those summer projects really prepared me well for graduate school research. I worked with Dr. Goodson at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on liquid-crystal NMR studies for one summer, and I worked with Dr. Pruski for two summers at Iowa State University on solid-state NMR studies of mesoporous silica nanopar ticles. You can see at least two of my posters from these summer projects in the hallways in Baker-Hebron. Dr. Olson and Dr. Jeffrey Butikofer, associate professor of science, allowed me the opportunity to be a Supplemental Instructor and then a Peer Assistant Leader. They also allowed me the oppor tunity to assist with the general Chemistry labs. This experience helped a great deal when I was preparing to be a teaching assistant the first time at Iowa State University. It still helps now, because I can reuse the games, problems and exercises I created. I am extremely thankful for the advice that all of the professors at UIU gave me, especially Dr. Olson and Dr. Nigel George, associate professor of mathematics and physics. Q: WHAT TYPE OF RESEARCH PROJECTS DID YOU PARTICIPATE IN AT UIU? A: For my senior chemistry research project at UIU, I synthesized a precursor to the materials I used in my first summer research project at SIUC. For my senior math research project at UIU, I looked at the theory behind the Fourier transformation. Q: WHAT WAS THE GREATEST ASPECT OF ATTENDING UIU? A: You will have small class sizes, which allows you to form great study groups. The professors are available, approachable and willing to help explain/guide you through the concepts that you may not grasp right away. 34 Dr. Rick Klann: MONITORING WATER QUALITY GENERATES STEADY STREAM OF STUDENT RESEARCH M ore than 16 years ago, Upper Iowa University’s Delano Professor of Science Rick Klann volunteered his time to “The Long-Term Resource Monitoring Project” – a multi-$100 million federal project aimed at keeping an eye on the water quality of the upper Mississippi River from its source in nor thern Minnesota to St. Louis, Mo. Since then, Klann has been involved in several water quality improvement projects in eastern Iowa and western Wisconsin. His involvement and Upper Iowa’s affiliation with such projects has been a boon for student growth and development as they gain hands-on, real-world knowledge and application of what they learn in the classroom. Klann, a parasitologist by training, learned everything about water quality from the Mississippi River project, where he collected samples and monitored the river at seven locations between Lansing, Iowa, and Prairie du Chien, Wis. Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts heard of Klann’s work on the Mississippi River and sought his exper tise in helping to evaluate the water quality of several eastern Iowa watersheds. In 2000, the Clayton County Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS) approached Klann to provide an evaluation of whether or not NRCS and “Upper Iowa University’s affiliation with such projects has been a boon for student growth and development...” 35 federally funded land-use improvement practices were having any effect on the water quality of streams and rivers in nor theast Iowa. His first project was Ensign Hollow, a trout stream just across the Fayette County border in Clayton County, Iowa. Since then, he has conducted several studies with the Fayette County NRCS office on Grannis Creek, Mink Creek, Otter Creek and is in the last year of a study on Nutting Creek. Since 2005, Klann, along with Upper Iowa University student researchers, has been Nutting Creek monitoring the Otter Creek water quality of the Nor th Fork Mink Creek of the Maquoketa Grannis Creek River watershed. Ensign “The Maquoketa Hollow North Fork of the Maquoketa River River gets a lot of bad press because it’s a huge watershed emphasizing intensive agriculture, but there’s just that one little stream draining through it and it carries a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Mississippi River. The greatest water quality challenges faced by streams in Iowa are overloading with sediment and nutrients,” said Klann. Farmers in the area, along with Iowa State University Extension, formed an organization to help tackle the issues related to field runoff into the river. Excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus were dumped into the river via tile lines and cattle pastures. In addition to implementing typical land-use improvement practices such as buffer strips and grass waterways to filter the runoff and limit erosion, landowners have been testing a new approach by installing bio-reactors at the end of the tile lines to filter out the nutrients from the existing water. Klann’s job was to monitor the water going into the reactor and the water coming out. He discovered that the reactors were doing an excellent job, pulling up to 90 percent of the nitrogen from runoff. Next year, Klann expects the project to get bigger as more bio-reactors are installed. 36 Students who assist with water quality monitoring projects can use the findings for their own student-research projects, as well as learn valuable skills. Monitoring watersheds can be time-consuming. Klann and a student researcher sample most sites once a month and within 24 hours of a significant rain, which is six-tenths of an inch or more (“A body of water can change significantly after a rain,” said Klann.) They Mayfly larvae take samples in the field, including temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH and turbidity. In the lab, they measure suspended solids, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, fecal coliform bacteria, and for some projects, Klann and his student assistant will conduct a benthic macroinver tebrate survey which samples the organisms living on the bottom. “Some can tolerate poor water quality and some can’t,” added Klann. “It gives you a good indicator about what is going on in the watershed.” In addition, Klann publishes his research and makes presentations on the impor tance of water quality. Through water quality monitoring, Klann has seen several positive changes. He counts Mink and Nutting creeks as a couple of successes. “Mink Creek showed great improvement, which had been a trout stream that was seeing very little use by anglers because the trout weren’t surviving,” he said. “Nutting Creek also showed positive changes. These improvements all came about because of the implementation of land-use improvement practices. “In Iowa, we use so much fer tilizer to generate high yields. The nitrogen soaks down into the groundwater. That’s why people should check their wells for nitrates. Trout hatcheries have to treat the spring water before they can add it to the hatchery. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is because so much nitrogen has seeped into the spring water.” Klann said that he will continue to provide quality and inexpensive monitoring to state and local agencies as he continues to learn more about the water quality of nor theast Iowa while providing unique oppor tunities for student research. 37 John Maehl: UIU DEGREES SET GRAD ON CAREER PATH F or the past four years, John Maehl has been the supervisor for the nor theast district of the Iowa Depar tment of Natural Resources (DNR). Having both a masterâ€™s of business administration and undergraduate degree from Upper Iowa University, Maehl feels confident that he has the tools he needs to be an effective manager and that heâ€™s able to communicate better to the general public and to staff. When Maehl was looking to transfer from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Promotion 1995 Kirkwood Community College 1997 B.S. Degree Upper Iowa University Natural Resources Technician I at Wilson Island (6 months) 38 Promotion Wapsipinicon State Park Manager - 4 Years (Pursuing MBA through UIU) Natural Resources Technician II at Springbrook Conservation Education Center (6 months) Rapids to a university where he could obtain a bachelor’s degree in conservation management, he looked to Upper Iowa University. “Upper Iowa was an easy choice,” he said. “It had a very streamlined process for transferring my credits from Kirkwood to Upper Iowa. It was a very polished process. Also, a great majority of DNR employees in eastern Iowa have degrees from Upper Iowa. These are very successful people who are leaders in conservation management. It just made sense to go to Upper Iowa.” After graduation in 1997, Maehl took a position at Wilson Island near Omaha, Nebraska, on the Missouri River. There he worked as a natural resources technician for the Iowa DNR for six months before he was promoted to natural resources technician II. He and his wife, Charity, moved so that he could take a position at Springbrook Conservation Education Center near Guthrie Center, Iowa. There he trained educators how to introduce natural resource curriculum into their classrooms. Six months later he was promoted to manager of the Wapsipinicon State Park near Anamosa, Iowa. Maehl then pursued a master’s in business administration degree. He realized that in order to fur ther his career, he would need to know how to better manage his own resources to get the most out of his chosen career path. “I knew that getting more science courses wasn’t holding me back,” he said. “The more you progress in your career, the less technical work you do. It becomes more impor tant that you are able to foster an environment for the people who work for you and best use the resources available.” Upper Iowa University’s online MBA program was an easy choice for Maehl. Once again, he knew immediately that he would be comfor table with the UIU program and it would fit his needs. Graduates with MBA from UIU and receives Promotion Lake Manawa State Park Council Bluffs Manager - 3 years Transfer NW Iowa District Supervisor 2 years NE Iowa District Supervisor Since 2008 39 With his MBA, Maehl felt he could accomplish anything, and he decided to put his education to the ultimate test by taking a manager’s position at the biggest, most intense park in Iowa. “I just said, ‘Let’s go for it. We’re going to learn. We’re going to grow. Let’s just do it,’” he recalled. For three years Maehl managed the park, and did it so well that when he was promoted to district supervisor for the nor thwest Iowa district, nine DNR employees put in for their chance at stepping into his role at the now well-run park. Two years later, he transferred to the nor theast Iowa district. “The MBA degree allows you to think critically about everything. You’re better able to think of ways to improve a situation, and it teaches you to think about every single detail to be more effective.” Maehl said that after obtaining his MBA degree through UIU, he really saw growth and a positive change in himself, and feels that his conservation management degree has been greatly enhanced by the master’s program. In addition to managing the 10 parks in nor theast Iowa, Maehl is also an adjunct instructor at Kirkwood Community College, conducts countless presentations to the general public and special groups, as well as effectively conducts the day-to-day administrative and budget planning needs of the nor theast district of Iowa DNR. He says that with his master’s degree he has become a better planner and is more intuitive to the needs of his staff and the position as a whole. “The MBA degree allows you to think critically about everything,” he said. “You’re better able to think of ways to improve a situation, and it teaches you to think about every single detail to be more effective.” Maehl said he feels very strongly that nor theast Iowa has the best resources for state parks and the best DNR staff in Iowa. He and his family were able to settle in Monticello, Iowa. Maehl is in the position that he worked hard for because of the education he earned at Upper Iowa University. “The most attractive par t about Upper Iowa is that you’re not just a number,” he added. “The personal attention that instructors gave is phenomenal. They worked with me one-on-one, and they assisted me from my undergrad years all the way through the MBA program.” 40 Zac Sedlmayr: CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT, CLASS OF 2011 “W hile attending Upper Iowa University in 2010, I was deployed to suppor t Operation Iraqi Freedom for the second time of my Air National Guard career. I was stationed at Balad Air Base (Joint Base Balad) in Balad, Iraq. The school and faculty gave me excellent suppor t and helped me work around obstacles that came up with school and the deployment prior to my depar ture. I was able to maintain my enrollment in classes while deployed due to their hard work and effor ts. “While I was overseas, I had some issues with my GI Bill and my advisor, Dr. Scott Figdore, professor of science, helped get those issues straightened out. They worked exceptionally hard and efficient for me on that issue so I could focus on the mission over there. It made deployed life much simpler knowing that I could rely on the solid suppor t and hard work of the faculty back home. “After graduation, I went on a voluntary deployment to Afghanistan and stayed in touch with several former instructors and friends from school. They helped me with job searching while I was gone and after my return this summer, I was hired as a conservation officer for the Idaho Depar tment of Fish and Game. I am very excited to star t this new oppor tunity in my life and hopefully can bring some more individuals from Upper Iowa out west to join me.” 41 7 P.O. 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