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May-June 2020 Boise Newsletter

The U of I Water Center in Boise.

From the Desk of Mike Satz

I would like to take a moment to recognize and congratulate our University of Idaho Boise students who are graduating this year. This is certainly not the situation anyone would have hoped for to celebrate your accomplishments. However, what you have all achieved during your time at the University of Idaho is truly monumental, and I want to congratulate you on your upcoming graduation. U of I Boise will recognize you as we can in these times of social distancing and President Scott Green has announced a graduation ceremony, to be held in Moscow, on Saturday, Aug. 1. We will continue to explore ways to recognize your achievement in person here in Southwest Idaho in the future.

I want to thank all of our community for leaning in and helping to maintain the safety of our U of I Boise community during the COVID-19 pandemic. From shifting to online learning, working from home, to donating PPE from our labs and work projects, our Southwest Idaho Vandals are doing their part to help keep our community safe. I truly appreciate all of your efforts during this difficult time. As the university makes decisions with respect to reopening, the U of I Boise team will be in communication with you regarding the safest way to accomplish that. Until then, please stay safe and go Vandals!


News and Announcements

Confucius Institute

University of Idaho Confucius Institute instructor Robert Guowang Luo is offering a free beginning tai chi class, open to all U of I faculty and staff. About 20 people are already taking the Zoom class, which meets from 1-1:30 p.m. Mountain time every Tuesday and Thursday through May. Contact Abigail Margell at to register.


McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) Logo

MOSS has re-launched the MOSS Adventure Learning webpage. Through Adventure Learning, learners of all ages are invited to explore the natural world around them. The website provides prompts for exploration and healing outside in the environment; updates from the MOSS faculty, staff and graduate students; and showcases some of the impressive science communication projects from our community.

Alumni Office Presents Virtual Cooking Classes

A collage of a woman cooking and the overhead view of her kitchen workspace, with the text "Virtual Vandal Social Cooking Class"

The first U of I Alumni Association virtual coking class was such a success they decided to do it again! Join the second quarantine Cooking Class. Presented by Keely Garrity, a Vandal alumna and owner of the Ampersand Oil & Vinegar Taphouse, the May 6 "Oil & Vinegar 101" class will help participants prepare a gourmet meal and will be live-streamed from the Ampersand kitchen at 6 p.m. (MST). Participants will also learn about the scandalous industry of olive oil and the misunderstood industry of balsamic vinegar. Register online and learn about the menu and ingredients needed for the class.

Jaap Vos Presented Online Class About Virtual Classrooms

Jaap Vos

In the past weeks, the university has tasked faculty with moving their courses and meetings with students online. Virtual teaching can be rewarding but having the wrong hardware or software set up can make it a very frustrating and time-consuming experience. Since most of our computers are set up with different priorities in mind, some people struggled a bit. In this session, Jaap Vos showed participants simple things they could do to improve the experience for faculty and students, including how to create a virtual studio to make developing and teaching online and virtual courses fun. See recorded session.

Culture and Climate Committee Report: BINGO and Virtual Coffee Hours

Multiple screens of users in a Zoom meeting.

The Culture and Climate Committee (CCC) is keeping U of I Boise strong with events to maintain community. In April, they hosted a virtual coffee break along with a weekly quarantine BINGO. Be on the lookout for more events coming in May and June.

CEHHS Report

Michael Kroth presenting

Michael Kroth, professor at the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS), Davin Carr-Chellman, CEHHS associate professor, and Sue Wigdorski, Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership doctoral students in Boise, presented at the Serve Idaho annual conference which took place on March 4.

The Master’s in Education Rehabilitation Counseling and Human Services program achieved a student pass rate of 94% on the national certification examination (certified rehabilitation counselor), well above the national average. The program expects a graduating class of 18 students this spring.

Extension Report

The U of I Extension Ada County office at 5880 Glenwood St. is closed to the public, and all faculty and staff members are working from home. All classes, workshops and events have been moved online or postponed. The email address is being checked continuously.

All faculty and staff are still working full time and are available by email or in the case of 4-H, a Google Voice phone account 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some of the faculty and staff have set up virtual office hours during the evening — available by appointment — to meet with their clientele for consultations if they are not available during weekday hours. Horticulturist Susan Bell and the Master Gardener volunteers are available for gardening and landscape questions by leaving a message at 208-287-5900 or by emailing directly to Visit the Ada County Master Gardener Facebook page for updates and live problem solving.

You can also access the U of Extension publications catalog online for instant access, gardening bulletins and how-to guides.

Program Highlights and Community Resources from University of Idaho Extension

McClure Report

McClure/Preschool Development Grant

The McClure Center will participate in a $3.3 million early childhood education grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. This grant will be managed by the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC). During this one-year grant, the McClure Center will conduct a needs assessment that will help policy makers, administrators and stakeholders gain an understanding of how Idaho’s early childhood education system is functioning. Then, the McClure Center will create a statewide strategic plan that will chart a path toward a well-coordinated, aligned and integrated system of high-quality programs and services for all children and families that furthers Governor Little’s goal of improved early literacy.

Martin-McClure Ambassadors

In May, the McClure Center will welcome (virtually) two Martin-McClure Ambassadors, who will explore the intersection of international affairs and policy in local communities. The 2020 Ambassadors are Nicolas Schofield and Danielle Coleman. Coleman co-edited the 2019 edition of the Journal of the Martin Institute, is a senior majoring in International Studies and Spanish and studied abroad in Spain during spring semester 2020. Schofield is a 4.0 GPA senior with majors in International Studies and History and was the U of I candidate for the Truman Scholars program. In the summer of 2019, Schofield had an internship in Germany with a subsequent study abroad.

Idaho Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Inaugural Call for Applications

This spring, the Idaho Science & Technology Policy Fellowship (ISTPF) announced the inaugural call for applications. The program places scientists, social scientists and engineers in Idaho state agencies for a year of hands-on service and training. Evaluation of applications is underway, and the ISTPF is expected to announce the first class of fellows in early June. Learn more.

McClure Center Welcomes Postdoctoral Fellow

In June, the McClure Center will welcome postdoctoral fellow Megan Foster. Foster is completing her doctorate in geography at the University of California-Davis and a bachelor's in environmental studies and planning from Sonoma State University and a M.S. in community development from UC-Davis. Her postdoctoral fellowship will be focused on the Idaho Climate-Economy Impacts Assessment.

Idaho at a Glance

In April, the McClure Center is publishing an Idaho at a Glance focused on housing insecurity. This is the first in a two-part series and is a shorter overview piece; supplemental information will be available on the McClure Center’s website.


Kudos to former McClure Center-IWRRI Water Policy intern Sam Gautam, who received the 2020 Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service student award.

Congratulations to Elowyn Yager, CER director, who was promoted to full professor.

Congratulation to University of Idaho Boise College of Law second-year student Erika Melanson, who will represent U of I as one of the 26 national Next Generation Leaders (NGL) with the American Constitution Society (ACS). As an NGL, Melanson will work locally and nationally with NGLs from other law schools such as Harvard, U.C. Berkeley, Wisconsin and Arizona State to increase attorney and law student engagement with ACS, serve on its board of directors and network with ACS chapter leaders. Melanson is currently president of the University of Idaho’s ACS chapter in Boise and will serve a two-year term as an NGL. The Idaho ACS chapter has engaged with the community on current issues ranging from the Boise mayoral election, with seven candidates and a runoff election, to impeachment.

Kudos to all SW Idaho faculty and staff who received a University Awards for Excellence 2019-20:

  • Donald Crawford Faculty Mentoring Award: Ralph Budwig, Mechanical Engineering — College of Engineering. Budwig started working for the U of I as an assistant professor in 1985 and worked at the main campus in Moscow for more than 20 years, including six years as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Since 2007, Budwig has been at the University of Idaho Boise. Budwig enjoys doing project work with graduate students and has been major professor for more than 40 graduate students.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award: Teresa Cavazos Cohn, McCall Field Campus — College of Natural Resources. Cohn is director of the U of I’s Taylor Wilderness Research Station, research associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Society and a co-founder of the Confluence Lab. Based at the McCall Field Campus, Cohn is a human geographer who specializes in science communication and the environment, hydrosocial relations with emphasis on tribes of the American West and culturally-responsive STEM.
  • 2020-22 University Mid-Career Award: Karla Eitel, McCall Outdoor Science School — College of Natural Resources. Eitel is director of the McCall Field Campus, and research associate professor of place-based environmental education in Natural Resources and Society. She is interested in creating effective place-based programs for participants across generations and cultural groups, with a particular emphasis on enhancing participants' sense of place, skills for active community participation and identity as scientists and problem solvers. These interests are explored through teaching, research and outreach at the McCall Field Campus and beyond.
  • Outstanding Service/Maintenance: Betsy Delph, McCall Outdoor Science School — College of Natural Resources. Delph’s career has featured classical education at the Culinary Institute of America, farm-to-table restaurants, environmental learning centers and remote wildland fire lookouts, as well as side experience in life coaching, plant medicine and forest therapy work. Three years ago, she brought this experience to the McCall Field Campus’ historic Dining Lodge, where she strives to keep bellies and hearts fed in equal measure.
  • Outstanding Team: McCall Field Campus and Outdoor Science School: Jon Patton, Gary Thompson, Beth Kochevar, Leslie Dorsey, Betsy Delph, Holly Coleman, Sacha Jackson, Greg Fizzell and Darrell Stout. The school offers science programs on a 14-acre campus to more than 2,500 K-12 students from across Idaho every year on the shores of Payette Lake. They coach more than 20 graduate students and also support undergraduate programs.

U of I Boise in the News

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



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