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University of Idaho

Physical Address:
1031 N. Academic Way,
Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Phone: 208-667-2588

Fax: 208-664-1272

Email: cdactr@uidaho.edu

Web: uidaho.edu/cda

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Coeur d'Alene Newsletter - June-July 2019

An aerial picture of Coeur d'Alene overlaid with the text "June/July 2019"

From the desk of Charles Buck

Happy summer!

Eight years ago when I started with University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene, I asked a couple of key questions: “Can a university outreach center become vital to our community and region?” Or, more practically, “If the center were not here, would the community miss it?” Simple but heady questions we should be asking regularly.

We can point to many great successes over the years:

  • We initiated the CDA 2030 Visioning project, still shaping the direction of greater Coeur d’Alene after six years.
  • We launched Gizmo-CDA, the Coeur d’Alene Makerspace that has served many thousands of ‘makers’ of all ages over the last five years. Now relocated to North Idaho College, Gizmo is a sturdy and well-traveled bridge between institutions.
  • When the National Science Foundation funding for the Confluence Project program expired, our Community Water Resource Center (CWRC) stepped in to continue the important work of connecting high school students to authentic environmental science research. Last month nearly 500 high school students presented their year-long research efforts at the Youth Water Summit, organized by the CWRC (see intern Toni’s experience below).
  • Three years ago, regional legislators recognized diverse U of I Coeur d’Alene efforts to grow regional awareness and expertise in technology. They spearheaded a recurring state allocation that established a local Computer Science bachelor’s degree program.

I could go on (and on, and on… believe me!).

In spite of these successes though, I am not confident that most citizens in North Idaho would answer those two simple questions in the affirmative. A particularly sobering observation is that higher education attainment in North Idaho is not increasing. The state Board of Education has proposed a target of 60 percent of Idaho young adults with a post-secondary degree or certificate. Fewer than six in 10 area high school students even begin post-secondary education within two years of leaving high school. Clearly we will not hit the State Board target if we do not increase the number of students who opt to ‘go on.’

Collectively, our North Idaho communities are doing a good job recruiting companies that bring high-paying, clean jobs. A majority of these jobs require a college degree. Collectively, we must change the narrative around post-secondary education so U of I and other local institutions can provide a modern, well-trained workforce in support of this new economy. Booming economies across the nation support the results of nearly every scientific study in this space; more education attracts high tech companies, leads to substantially higher pay, promotes civic involvement, and provides higher levels of happiness (yes, this is measurable!).

We will work to increase the post-secondary education attainment rate, and you can help. Simply advocate for higher education in our communities. Talk to your legislators, other elected officials, local school principals, teachers and counselors about promoting ‘going on’ for more education after high school. Most importantly, talk to young people. Encourage them to start early with U of I dual credit courses in high school, like our Computational Thinking and Problem Solving course. Encourage them also to achieve the goal of a bachelor’s degree or higher that will better prepare them for the jobs of the future (preferably from U of I). The cost of a college education is going up, but U of I remains very affordable. The average student debt of U of I grads is $25K, but earners with a bachelor’s degree make on average about $20K more a year than those with an associate’s degree and $31K more annually than high school graduates.

More education continues to be a smart investment. If we can broaden the conversation on this topic, we can count on better recognition of the importance of the university in our communities. We welcome your participation and support.

Thanks for reading and be sure to send along any suggestions or questions!

Charles Buck
buck@uidaho.edu

The Confluence Project changed my whole perspective on science and the environment. It's so beneficial for students. It shows you the science of how things impact your everyday life. So now I'm studying environmental science at U of I." Toni Eells, 2015 Youth Water Summit Winner

Noteworthy

Congratulations to the following faculty and staff who are celebrating U of I Milestones: Five years: Gene Hamacher, Juli Anderson, Amanda Dormaier, Kara Carleton; 10 years: Phillip Sertich.

2019 Commencement

“Life — both personal and professional – is about making human connections and treating each moment as an opportunity, even if it isn’t going as planned,” said U of I Coeur d’Alene commencement speaker and local columnist Sholeh Patrick. Her message emphasized the importance of embracing uncertainty and giving your all, no matter how small or insignificant a job may seem. Patrick spoke to 33 graduates and hundreds of family, friends and supporters during the May 6 commencement held on the campus of North Idaho College.

"You know that uncertain feeling about the future? It never totally goes away, but that's OK because adventure thrives on uncertainty. The trick is to figure out how to use it because you never know where it will take you." Sholeh Patrick, 2019, Commencement Speaker

Sunfish and SURF

Two Coeur d’Alene computer science students earned spots as Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) with the U of I Office of Undergraduate Research. Seniors Amanda Ward and Devin Driggs are conducting research on the new underwater robot, Sunfish. The U of I Center for Ecohydraulics Research in Boise built a sensor pod that will help Sunfish understand its environment. Ward and Driggs are testing the robot in the pool at 360 Fitness and in Lake Coeur d’Alene. They intend to make Sunfish an autonomous instrument to assist other departments in water research.

A collage of two photographs: the Sunfish submersible underwater, and Seniors Amanda Ward and Devin Driggs testing the robot in the pool at 360 Fitness and in Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Inspire Idaho

Summer began with a series of Re-Charge events for Inspire Idaho. The U of I Coeur d’Alene Inspire team visited participants in Boise, Idaho Falls and Rexburg. During these stops, we invited current team members to continue their app development journey with new learners interested in the Swift curriculum. Our goal for the Re-Charge events is to provide the necessary support for learners to succeed in app development and beyond. For more information about the program, visit inspireidaho.com.

Anne Kern meets with lawmakers in Washington D.C. to share the Voices to Hear grant project. Engineering faculty John Shovic with his newly published book Pythin All-In-One for Dummies.

Vandal Day at Silverwood Theme Park

Join fellow Vandals from around the region for a day of fun and sun at Silverwood Theme Park on Thursday, June 25. Adult tickets are $28 for admission only or $45 for admission, a Pepsi drink wristband and dinner. RSVP online through Eventbrite or call the Office of Alumni Relations at 208-885-6154. Tickets will be available for pickup by 10 a.m. July 25 at the Vandal tent outside the entrance to Silverwood. Make sure to wear your Vandal gear!

Social Media

For more frequent updates, highlights and events at U of I Coeur d’Alene, join our community on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

A collage of three social media posts.

If you have an upcoming event or feature you’d like to see on the web, social media, digital displays or our next newsletter, send details to kmarshall@uidaho.edu.

University of Idaho

Physical Address:
1031 N. Academic Way,
Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Phone: 208-667-2588

Fax: 208-664-1272

Email: cdactr@uidaho.edu

Web: uidaho.edu/cda

U of I CDA Directory Directions