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March-April 2021 Boise Newsletter

From the Desk of Chandra Zenner Ford

We are seeing hopeful signs of moving past COVID-19 as we head into spring. For starters, the College of Law is transitioning into more in-person classes this month and with that, we will soon launch the Vandal shuttle service. The shuttle will begin transporting students, faculty and staff between the ILJLC, Idaho Water Center, and common parking areas, beginning Monday, March 8. It will be exciting to see our Vandal shuttle moving around in downtown traffic. We ask for your feedback and patience as we work out the schedule and route to best serve students and keep in mind our goal to offer service to our faculty and staff. Feedback regarding the shuttle can be sent to Stephanie Fox at

While we have reason for optimism, it is still important to continue following the Healthy Vandal Pledge. As President Green and Provost Lawrence pointed out in a recent communication, they are working with our higher education partners around the state to advocate for moving front-line faculty and staff into a priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. We hope to hear soon if the state will move this group from the general population to an earlier group. To learn more about vaccination eligibility, visit Idaho Public Health.

Our U of I Boise COVID-19 Updates page is a great resource for information about where to get tested in Boise as well as information on Idaho’s vaccine distribution timeline.

I hope you read through the many kudos included in this newsletter. Our SW Idaho community has a lot to be proud of and this communication is our time to celebrate one another. I wish you all good health and a productive spring semester. Thank you for all your work on behalf of the Vandal Family and I look forward to seeing more of you in person in the near future.


News and Announcements

U of I Boise Updates

Boise shuttle van

The Boise shuttle van will run between the ILJLC and the IWC beginning Monday, March 8. Look for more information on how to take advantage of this transportation benefit.

Career Services Updates

Don’t forget about the Virtual Teacher Career Fair on Wednesday, March 24. Student registration is not yet open, but more information can be found online.

College of Law Updates

Johanna Kalb

Please welcome Johanna Kalb to the College of Law. She will join the law school as dean in May, succeeding Jerry Long. Kalb has extensive experience in managing teams and building consensus. She serves as the associate dean of administration and special initiatives at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Kalb has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a Juris Doctor from Yale.

Rangeland Center Updates

Eric Winford, Rangeland Center associate director, and a team of U of I researchers published the results of an interagency water research project on Pocatello’s Mink Creek in the journal Water Research.

College of Engineering Updates

Center for Ecohydraulics Research Faculty Publishes Two Papers on Water Research

CER’s Associate Professor Daniele Tonina’s research recently resulted in two published papers.

Global riverine nitrous oxide emissions: the role of small streams and large rivers,” has been pre-published in Science Direct. The paper explains how Tonina and his co-authors quantified the world emissions of nitrous oxide, a leading ozone depleting gas and a 300-times-more potent greenhouse gas from stream and rivers.

Survival of salmon eggs due to stream flow velocity and temperature,” mentioned in the Royal Society Publishing, is an international research team effort to understand how stream water temperatures and flows affect fish egg survival, especially those of salmonids who lay their eggs within the gravel of stream beds.

Building Electric Scooter Prototypes

A child on an electric scooter

Electric vehicle technology is changing rapidly with investment in electric bikes, scooters and mopeds exceeding $6 billion since 2018. Our very own mechanical engineering Professor Ralph Budwig is ahead of the trend with development of his own electric scooter for his 11-year-old grandson. Over the past two years, Budwig developed his scooter, now aptly named the Shelter-in-Place (SIP) Scooter.

“My first revelation was that an inexpensive 2.5-horsepower brushless DC motor was available,” he said. “I was amazed at this level of power for a motor about the size of a grapefruit that weighed less than 10 pounds.”

With thorough testing thanks to Budwig’s grandson, the scooter handles well on dirt roads and can climb a 20% grade.

“As usual, the prototype reveals all kinds of potential improvements,” Budwig said. “We will see if there is a SIP Scooter 2 on the horizon.”

Check out this video from April of last year.

Extension Updates

Harvest Heroes Program Accepting Applications

The Harvest Heroes Veteran Beginning Farming and Gardening Program is accepting applications from veterans. The program offers accessible, family friendly, season-long training and mentoring for a real world, hands-on experience planning, growing, harvesting, marketing and enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables. Download the application.

Idaho Victory Garden Courses are Back

Grow. Eat. Save. Idaho Victory Garden. Helping you raise homegrown, healthy food in small spaces and on a budget.

Looking to grow your best garden in 2021? The popular Idaho Victory Garden course is available free online as a self-paced, 10-module course through U of I Extension. You can also share your progress in a private Facebook Group for participants. Register online.

Hiring Summer Interns

University of Idaho Extension in Ada County is hiring interns this summer. These 10-week, paid positions are open to current U of I or other Idaho college and university students. Opportunities are available in food systems, urban agriculture, personal finance and nutrition. Read the postings and apply.

Updates from the McClure Center

McClure Center Publishes Idaho’s Needs Assessment: Early Childhood Care and Education

In 2020, the McClure Center was contracted by the Idaho Association for Education of Young Children (IDAEYC) to conduct a statewide needs assessment of early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Idaho. This needs assessment was an essential part of Idaho’s first Preschool Development Grant Birth-5, a $3.3 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that was initiated at the request of Gov. Brad Little. Published in February 2021, this is the first comprehensive needs assessment of the early child care needs of Idaho families, the quality and availability of ECCE in the state, and the barriers that prevent Idaho children from achieving early literacy and the early learning skills they need to succeed in school and life.

Read the full report and learn more about the McClure Center’s current research.

McClure Legislative Research Scholars Present to the Idaho Legislature

Each year, the McClure Legislative Research Scholars (a program in partnership with the Department of Politics and Philosophy) tackle in-depth research topics, guided by Professor Markie McBrayer, that are addressed by Idaho’s Legislature. During the spring legislative session, the scholars travel to Boise to present their research to Idaho lawmakers. This year, the scholars were able to use Zoom to continue the program from Moscow and deliver their presentations remotely. Students and reports this year include:

Hailee Gabbard (junior, political science and English major) – Idaho Education: Investment for the Future

Hailee Gabbard

Abstract: Idaho spent an average of $6,747 per pupil in 2018-19, ranking Idaho last in the nation in terms of per-pupil funding. In conjunction with low levels of spending, Idaho ranks 43rd in the nation in terms of education quality. This report examines both the short- and long-term effects of under-funding school systems.

Elizabeth Marshall (senior, political science major) – Addressing Alternatives: Exploring Three Alternatives to Traditional Incarceration in Idaho

Elizabeth Marshall

Abstract: Three alternatives to traditional incarceration and probation and the impact they have had/could have in the state of Idaho were studied. The alternatives researched are remote monitoring, drug treatment courts and mental health courts. The report discusses how the state of Idaho has implemented these alternatives to varying degrees and levels of success.

Niklas Kleinworth (senior, political science and pre-health professional major) – Coping with COVID-19: An Analysis of Pandemic Healthcare in Idaho

Niklas Kleinworth

Abstract: Much of the available scholarly literature on COVID-19 focuses on controlling the spread of the virus throughout communities. However, an area largely ignored is how hospital systems in states such as Idaho are managing increased patient load. Most issues particular to the Gem State’s patient volume management are related to pre-pandemic concerns within the healthcare system. By combining both short- and long-term solutions, the author recommends key points of interest for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updates from Project ECHO

ECHO Idaho on University of Idaho’s Research Podcast, The Vandal Theory

ECHO Idaho Director Lachelle Smith will be featured on an upcoming episode of the U of I research podcast, The Vandal Theory. Tune in wherever you get your podcasts to hear Lachelle talk with host Leigh Cooper about how ECHO Idaho helps improve the lives of Idahoans across the state.

ECHO in the NICU:

Attending ECHO Idaho’s Perinatal Substance Use Disorder series in 2020 helped Emma Henggeler, R.N., feel empowered to advocate for new mothers struggling with substance use disorders. It also provided her the chance to connect with specialists in the state who have since influenced her nurse practitioner capstone project. Check out Emma's story on the ECHO Idaho website.

Upcoming at ECHO Idaho

Two new ECHO Idaho series are launching this spring: Pediatric Behavioral Health and Hepatitis C.

U of I Boise in the News

See our faculty, staff and programs mentioned and quoted in the Treasure Valley media this winter and learn about their new projects and research:

January - February

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