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JUNE 2013

Students develop foreign language proficiency through study abroad programs » By Paul Morgan

Students looking to have an international experience currently have two study abroad programs provided for them by the Department of Languages and International Studies here at BYU Idaho; one to Beijing, China, and the other to Viña del Mar, Chile. The Department of Languages and International Studies has provided opportunities for students to study abroad for a number of years. It is from these educational expeditions that students become immersed in the language they are learning and receive greater understanding of how to use and improve their language skills. “Living or studying abroad in a country where one’s target foreign language is spoken is crucial to developing linguistic

and cultural skills that allow meaningful communication to take place,” said Scott Galer, instructor in the Department of Language and International Studies. BYU-Idaho has an exchange agreement with Capital Normal University in Beijing. The students who travel to China will be able to study as part of the Capital Normal student body. The trip is a full semester intensive language program that requires students to have had at least one year of Mandarin Chinese here at BYU-Idaho. This remarkable opportunity for students to live in and experience the culture of China will be a valuable and beneficial stepping stone towards the student’s comprehension and use of the language. The study abroad program to Chile commenced last year, with 14 students

spending four months living with local families in Viña del Mar. The time spent in Chile allowed students to become involved with the local community and church. Students not only had the chance to improve their language skills while on this trip, but also gained valuable life experience and an increased appreciation for the Chilean culture and people. The study abroad programs are specifically designed to focus students on improving both their familiarity and proficiency with the languages they are learning. As with all students who attend BYU-Idaho, those who take advantage of these fantastic programs will have the responsibility and privilege of representing the university and strengthening its reputation among other nations and cultures.

A group of former BYU-Idaho students visits the Great Wall of China.

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change along the way. But what has the former vice president been up to since his retirement in the fall of 2006? “I retired fairly early at 62 with the intentions of preparing to serve a mission with my wife Marilyn,” Gee said. “And in January of 2007 I received the call to serve as mission president in the Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission.” For the next three years Gee would labor as mission president in western Oklahoma and part of northern Texas. He returned home to Sugar City, Idaho, in July 2010.

Jim Gee began working for Ricks College in the fall of 1972. He started as a supervisor at the BYU-Ricks Center and finished 34 years later as the vice president of student life at BYU-Idaho. As the school grew larger, Gee was present for every

Since that time Gee and his wife have filled the hours by spending time with family, traveling, attending the weddings of their former missionaries, serving in the Rexburg Temple, and preparing to go on another mission. In an interview with Gee upon his retirement in 2006 he said, “In the future we hope to be away serving the Lord more than we are at home.” The Gees didn’t have to wait long for their next call to serve. They were planning to submit their papers for another mission when they received a call to serve locally as

full time, live-at-home missionaries in the Idaho Falls Temple Visitors Center. “The call was a surprise and we had very short notice to prepare,” Gee said. “We were contacted in the middle of April, and reported to the MTC on May 6 for training and have been serving since May 17.” “We have the opportunity to visit with travelers from all over the world who are not members of the Church,” Gee said. “It’s very exciting for us to be serving again.” In Gee’s absence a lot has changed at the university. “When I retired enrollment was capped at around 11,000 students,” Gee said. “When we returned home from Oklahoma it was at 15,000 and it just keeps going up.” Gee and his wife were also very excited about the completion of BYUIdaho Center and the expansion of the Manwaring Center, both of which had been approved for construction at the time they departed for their first mission. Two missions, countless weddings, and a lot of traveling later the Gees show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

BYU-Idaho community invited to participate in Envision Madison » By Spencer Allen

It’s no secret that Rexburg is growing. From 2000 to 2010, the town experienced a 47 percent increase in population. But Rexburg is not the only community experiencing change. Madison County as a whole has seen over 10,000 people move to the area during the same time frame. With high anticipation that the growth will continue in the foreseeable future, residents of Madison County and those interested in the affairs within the county are invited to participate in Envision Madison. Envision Madison is a group of workshops that provide an opportunity for individuals to discuss growth related issues and plan together for the future of Madison County. The workshop will include discussions on job growth, housing, recreation, and growth locations and patterns among other topics. At the core of these meetings are the values residents would like to preserve for future generations. Results of these discussions will be gathered by a consulting firm, analyzed, and presented to county officials. 2

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“We’re at a pivotal point in our community,” said Brett Sampson, Community Relations Manager. “Rexburg and Madison County have already experienced significant growth and will continue to do so in the future. It’s a unique opportunity to bring together a diverse cross section of Madison County residents and participate in planning for our community’s future.” So far there have been five events for members of Madison County to come together and voice their opinion. The kick-off summit was held at 7 p.m. on June 13 in the Madison High School auditorium. Workshops were held on June 18, 19, and 20 at various locations. The workshop on June 19 was held in the cultural hall of the Taylor Chapel at BYU-Idaho. To learn more about Envision Madison, visit

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Research by BYU-Idaho students benefits food and genetics companies » By Spencer Allen

As the alarm clock screeches, the emerging sunrays near the corner of the drapes confirm the unavoidable. It’s time to wake up. The warmth underneath the sheets is overcome with the chill in the air as the blankets are tossed to the side. Each step on the cold floor toward the kitchen feels like a plunge into the Artic. Just when you begin to expect another uncomfortable morning welcome, relief is spotted. In the corner of the cupboard sits your favorite cereal. With a bowl, a spoon, cup of milk, and your cereal of choice, the day and its positive potential begins to take form. This semester students in the Department of Applied Plant Science are working with a handful of organizations, including General Mills and Forage Genetics, to improve their understanding and efficiency with wheat. Each student has been assigned to assist in one of several projects including a seed treatment trial and irrigation testing among other options.

One project that tests seed planting rates is focusing on the maximum threshold for an acre of land trying to produce top quality wheat. The basic seed planting per acre is a million seeds. Wanting to push the envelope and compare the end results, a group of Blaser’s students recently planted 1.25 million, 1.5 million, 1.75 million, and 2 million seeds in individual plots. The group of students will then compare yield, quality, and the end use of the final product during the harvest season. Potential end results could enhance the way wheat is planted and harvested.

Professionals on the outside are taking notice to our students and the incredible work taking place on the campus.


“The various projects our students are doing this semester are providing an opportunity to enhance what we’re learning in the classroom,” said Greg Blaser, instructor in the Department of Applied Plant Science. “Their work during these projects will not only enhance their resumes and portfolio material, but it will be a great reference point for their future work. What they are doing for these projects is exactly what practicing professionals do.”

The Department of Applied Plant Science recently received national attention when two of their students finished second and third at the National Agronomy Meetings. “That was a huge momentum boost for us,” said Blaser. “Professionals on the outside are taking notice to our students and the incredible work taking place on the campus.”

For those interested in seeing the research in person, the department is hosting its annual field day on July 12 in Rexburg. The event gives students the chance to share their knowledge and get the community involved. In addition to members of the university and community being invited to join, prominent individuals within the agronomy field of study have also been welcomed to participate. J U N E 2 013


Not your typical lab experience


» By Spencer Allen

It might not be lions, tigers, and bears, but students in the Department of Animal and Food Science are working closely with a diverse group of animals. Straying from the typical association with horses and cattle, this semester the group is working with animals from the four corners of the world including penguins, zebras, and lemurs.

students have taken the project on with an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm. The stories that they bring back and the excitement in their eyes is exactly what I was searching for at the end of last semester. Their learning in and out of the classroom has grown. Their passion is contagious and the end result is an incredible learning environment.”

Toward the end of last semester, Jerry Severe, an instructor in the Department of Animal and Food Science, began to consider ways to make his class more meaningful. Knowing that the materials learned in class are best retained when applied in a lab setting, he focused on giving his students a “real world” lab experience. After a few phone calls and meetings, Severe established a working relationship with a handful of animal health organizations at which his students could volunteer. In addition to the Animal Shelter in Idaho Falls, his students are helping out at Cannon Dairy, the Tautphaus Park Zoo, and the Ashton Fish Hatchery.

While volunteering, students are involved in wide range of activities. Duties vary from vaccinating and palpating cattle, cleaning living areas and sterilizing toys for animals, preparing food and on some occasions, feeding the animals.

“The chance to volunteer at these organizations not only fulfills the 40 hours of lab time each student must complete by the end of the semester, but it provides a one-of-akind experience,” said Severe. “My

“I have really enjoyed volunteering at these organization,” said Zach Wright, a senior majoring in Animal Health and Veterinary Science. “Not only do I get a chance to interact with veterinarians, but the experience is opening up doors that otherwise could not be opened. For instance, it is near impossible to work at a zoo full-time without prior zoo work experience. This class has given me the necessary experience needed before I even think about applying for an internship. In addition, the labs have given me a chance to try out different areas within animal health and find what I enjoy the most.”

Campus Notes Seth Deming began serving as the Testing Center Director on June 3. Deming replaces Lynne Anderson, who now serves as the Campus Curriculum Development Director. The Math Study Center is in need of scratch paper. Please deliver it to McKay 266 or call Ext. 4289 to have it picked up.

On behalf of the Parson children we want to sincerely thank all of the individuals and families that have extended their feelings of comfort and support towards us during to the passing of our father, H. Oliver Parson. The graciousness and genuine expressions of love from the people of this community has been wonderful and has renewed again our faith in humanity. Thank you again. Sincerely, The Parson Children On behalf of the Parson family we want to thank you for your kind words, beautiful flowers, and remembrance at the passing of my dad, Oliver Parson. My dad loved teaching in the Art Department and talked many times of how wonderful it was to work here. Sincerely, Anita McPherson Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers and thoughtful notes that were sent during the time of my father’s passing. We really appreciate all your love and concern sent our way. Love, Euleza and Layne Hymas

FOR SALE 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. Excellent condition, 222k miles, third row seat, tow package. 5 bedroom, 4 bath home for lease. Indoor pool and 1.2 acre yard plus garden. $2,200 per month. Call Ext. 3630 Lapidary equipment, tools of all kinds. Min .270 rifle, $390. Camp Chef, $10. Porcelain collectibles. Chain saw. Jazzy 14 scooter. Call Ferron at 356-0219 or Ext. 4686

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A D V I S O R Andy Cargal A D V I S O R Marc Stevens W R I T E R S Scott Haycock, Stephen Henderson, Colleen Johnson, Kim Summers W R I T E R S Spencer Allen, Paul Morgan, Matt Urick P H O T O G R A P H E R S Michael Lewis, Doug McKay P H O T O G R A P H E R S Michael Lewis, Doug McKay, Marcus Journey, Lana Strathearn If you have any ideas for future issues, please e-mail If you have any ideas for future issues, please e-mail


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News & Notes June 2013  
News & Notes June 2013