The Friday Letter
June 8, 2012
Summer session is underway here in Moscow and at each of our three statewide centers. In addition to classes, activities and events are keeping things lively, as we host thousands of individuals and groups over the next two months.
For example, more than 700 students, teachers, and volunteers were on our Moscow campus for the 2012 FFA Career Development Events this week. These students and educators travel from across the state to the source of agriculture education in Idaho. Eighth through twelfth graders test their skills in seven national competition categories from livestock to forest and food science to natural resources. Last year, several went on to earn national honors, and they all leave with a greater sense of confidence, better communication skills, and leadership preparation essential for success in a competitive job market.
The annual event is a culmination of months and years of preparation, representing thousands of people and hours -- volunteers, teachers, school districts, University of Idaho faculty and staff, and the members of the State Department of Professional and Technical Education -- all committed to giving Idaho youth opportunities to develop and succeed.
Next week we’ll host another group of young leaders on our main campus for the 2012 4-H Teen Conference, formerly known as 4-H Congress. The five-day program includes educational, recreational, social, and service events. The programs differ in detail but not in intent.
The 4-H program, a component of the university’s outreach and extension efforts, celebrates is in its 100th year of developing young leaders. Our 4-H programs continue to engage our young people in citizenship and leadership activities that make a difference for our state. Four “H” stand for: hearts, heads, hands and health. I would also add “hope” -- hope in what the future leaders now in 4-H, FFA, and our other programs will do as they shape the future.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the Morrill Act created the national land-grant university system and set the course for the way we serve the people of Idaho. I will be in Washington, DC later this month for a special celebration of the Morrill Act. Here in Idaho, our hope for the future success of our state resides in our young people and how we prepare them for success through programs like FFA and 4-H as well as studies with the university. Idaho’s future leaders get their start with us.
I’m proud that the leaders of tomorrow benefit from our university programs today.
M. Duane Nellis
Silver Valley Upward Bound Students Head To Nation's Capitol. It’s upward and onward for 12 Silver Valley region students this summer as they prepare for higher education with classes at the University of Idaho and experiences at several universities and museums in Washington, DC through the Upward Bound program. The federally funded Upward Bound program will provide a six-week Summer Institute for 12 students from the Silver Valley region. Participants are high-achieving, low-income students, and the first in their families to be college-bound. The program is administered through the University of Idaho. The Summer Institute seeks to familiarize students with higher education opportunities, resources and knowledge students need to be successful in their college careers. For the first few weeks of the program, students will live on the Moscow campus, where they will focus on college exploration and readiness. They will also begin coursework addressing human rights and social justice, a theme they will further explore in Washington, DC at Carnegie Melon University and American University. In addition, they will tour museums and historical landmarks of pivotal human rights victories spread throughout the capitol city. Read more here.
Vandal Athletes Top WAC Commissioner’s Cup Race. Championships in women’s cross country and men’s indoor track and field, coupled with runner-up outings by men’s tennis and women’s golf propelled the University of Idaho the top of the Western Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Cup race with just a handful of sports remaining. “I am proud of how we have grown the competitiveness of our athletic programs,” Vandal athletic director Rob Spear said. “This is a great testament to the quality of our coaches and student-athletes as well as the quality of our athletic department.” The Vandals also picked up runner-up points in women’s indoor track and field, and third-place points in men’s cross country, soccer, volleyball, and women’s tennis to accumulate 59.25 points – three ahead of current runner-up Fresno State. New Mexico State and Utah State currently are tied for third (54.25) followed by Hawaii (47.50), San Jose State (39.25), Nevada (36.50) and Louisiana Tech (32.75). Points are awarded in order of conference finish, equal to the number of teams that participate in each sport and are averaged between a team’s regular-season finish (if applicable) and its WAC championship finish. Teams that do not qualify for a postseason tournament because of a smaller field, receive postseason points equal to their regular-season finish. Ties are not broken but instead are averaged between the tied teams.
Verizon Makes STEM Summer Camp Possible In CDA. The University’s College of Education and Extension faculty will develop and lead a new week-long science summer camp at the Coeur d’Alene campus that teaches grade school students to investigate their local communities through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Funded by the Verizon Foundation, the program will have students conduct STEM activities in their community, such as testing water quality of the lake, designing and testing dam archetypes to control flow stream of run-off into the lake and other community experiments. “The summer science camp is a down-to-earth, practical way to highlight the value of STEM education; and companies, like Verizon, need employees with technical, problem-solving skills to innovate and conquer future challenges,” said Scott Charlston, Verizon Wireless’s public relations manager for the Pacific Northwest. While engaged in community activities, students will also learn how to record their activities and share them through an interactive website. “Our abundant natural resources and the central role of lakes and rivers in our community provide a perfect laboratory for STEM training,” said Charles Buck, associate vice president for Northern Idaho. “Our program will build enthusiasm with kids for environment stewardship and, hopefully, for pursuing a STEM education.” For more information on this program or to learn how your company can make a difference at the University of Idaho, contact the Corporate and Foundation Relations Office at (208) 885-7060.