Coeur d'Alene Newsletter - Spring 2020
From the desk of Charles Buck
Writing to you from my home office as I reflect on this season of unexpected turns. Why not take a moment to highlight the commendable efforts of our Vandal community — both in Coeur d’Alene and beyond — during this uncertain time?
Our semester has been full of nature’s surprises. April days beginning with snow flurries and giving way to beautiful sunny afternoons, an earthquake felt across the state and, of course, this insidious coronavirus pandemic. Cloistered at home, discussions have been wide-ranging with our families and colleagues (via video). There’s been a lot of discussion of ‘human nature’; stockpiling toilet paper and hamburger meat, failing to practice physical distancing, even calling groups together in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home order. These puzzling behaviors may reflect some aspect of our nature, but I think our human nature is better described by other behaviors. Consider, for example, the dedication and bravery of healthcare professionals working round the clock with inadequate protective gear.
It is heartening also to recognize Vandal human nature. Did you know that U of I students and faculty, including our Computer Science department here in Coeur d’Alene, are using 3D printers and shop machinery to produce personal protective equipment? Or that our WWAMI medical education program is providing coronavirus knowledge updates to the healthcare community via the ECHO telemedicine platform? U of I faculty and advisors are calling and texting students to check in to make sure they have what they need to persevere and thrive with online-only classes. Student Support Specialist Helena Harned personally texted our 260 local students and shared:
Know that our dedicated team at U of I CDA is working hard. We are developing outreach and recruitment opportunities, identifying new revenue sources to mitigate the effects of our financial crisis, and supporting faculty and students as we all adjust to a new reality.
We look forward to post-COVID but realize our institution will never be the same. Our goal is to work and plan for it to be better than ever.
Let me know your ideas and suggestions.
Encouragement from the CDA Vandal Team
U of I CDA staff and faculty worked together from their home offices to send a timely message to Vandals across North Idaho.
Dig’nIT Summer Season
We are cautiously optimistic that season eight of our Dig’nIT camps and internships will begin in June. Cosmetic Chemistry and the Magic of Math camps are planned at the Harbor Center. U of I Coeur d’Alene is also facilitating coding camps and STEAM labs for the Boys & Girls Club for a second year. Applications are open now through mid-May for the paid high school internship program. Select teens entering their junior or senior year spend seven weeks of the summer working with STEM-related businesses in Kootenai County. More than 1,000 students have engaged in Dig’nIT programs since its inception in 2013.
Voices to Hear
The National Science Foundation-funded project,Voices to Hear, just released its first lineup of podcasts. The three-year program connects Coeur d’Alene tribal youth with mentors including journalists, tribal elders, and U of I college students and professors to learn about environmental decision-making through storytelling. U of I Coeur d’Alene Associate Professor Anne Kern says she was amazed by the professionalism of young students. “I hope this inspires these students to pursue careers in these fields — STEM, communication, law — any of these things that will be instrumental in tribal leadership for the future.” The five podcasts, discussing how the Tribe is dealing with water and mining issues, are available online now.
Reflections from an Education Professor
U of I Coeur d'Alene Assistant Professor Elizabeth Wargo spoke with Panhandle Alliance for Education about strategies for parents juggling stress while working from home and homeschooling. The interview includes honest reflections from Wargo, who is a mom of a 7-year-old. Hear what she has to say about observing her daughter’s self-led learning, cats in Zoom meetings and thinking 40 years into the future.
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