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The Vandal Theory Podcast

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The Vandal Theory podcast asks, “What gets University of Idaho researchers’ brains buzzing... besides coffee?” These award-winning stories showcase researchers exploring and solving real-world problems. With interviews on all things Vandal, discover the world of U of I research with hosts Leigh Cooper and Kyle Pfannenstiel.

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Season 6, Episode 8: Kattlyn Wolf — Teachers Care

Question: Why do agricultural teachers stay in, or leave, their profession?

Meet Kattlyn Wolf, interim head of the Department of Agricultural Education, Leadership and Communications at University of Idaho. Wolf researches what motivates agricultural educators to keep teaching or leave the field. By and large, she and other researchers found that agricultural teachers like the work, are invested in their fields and care about their students. So, why do they go?

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More U of I Agriculture Stories

Agricultural Education Students Teach Over Spring Break

Passion for Animal Science

Partners in Sustainability


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

"Last Resort" by Avocado Junkie via soundstripe.

Season 6, Episode 7: Omi Hodwitz — Missing and Murdered Indigenous

Question: When it comes to complex social issues like gun violence, health care or in this case, the missing and murdered Indigenous population, how do we even begin tackling these problems? 

Meet Omi Hodwitz, an associate professor in the Department of Culture, Society and Justice at University of Idaho. Hodwitz and her students are compiling the most comprehensive database to date of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirits in Canada and the United States.  

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More U of I CLASS Stories 

Florian Justwan — How Our Brains Wrestle With Politics 

Junior Wants to Show Idaho’s Latinx Population Anything Is Possible 

Childhood Experiences Led to Bex Riehm’s U of I Journey to Become a Cop


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

Open Doors” by Anchor via soundstripe. 

Season 6, Episode 6: Matthew Bernards — Engineering A Better World

Question: What would you send to space?

Meet Matthew Bernards, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at University of Idaho and the director of the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium. He sends things to space to track how germs spread. And he explains how the search far and wide for answers that could make medicine more and make space travel work better.

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More U of I Engineering Stories

Super Smart Vineyards

Launching with NASA

Student Improves Robotic Devices to Advance Treatment for Survivors of Stroke


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

Still Young” by Desert Dive via soundstripe.

Season 6, Episode 5: Karen Humes — Water, Energy and Irrigation

Question: Nationally, where do you think Idaho ranks in the amount of water used for irrigation?

Meet Karen Humes, a professor in the Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences at University of Idaho. Idaho uses water for irrigation and to make energy. Idaho also uses energy to pump irrigation water. Humes models this convoluted water, energy and irrigation nexus and studies how to delicately balance water and energy use going forward.

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More U of I Earth and Spatial Science Stories

Vandal Theory 5.3 Tim Bartholomaus — Shifting Glaciers

Geology Student Travels to Iceland to Study Martian Climate 

Geology Students Learn Hands-On From Hecla Mining Company Professionals


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

Just Around the Corner” by Shimmer via soundstripe.

Season 6, Episode 4: Helen Brown, Erich Seamon — Tracking Idaho’s Health Trends

Meet Helen Brown, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Movement Sciences at University of Idaho, and Erich Seamon, a research scientist in the Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation. They’ve teamed up to track and publish data about health trends in Idaho. Before their project, this information was only available at a public health district level spanning several counties. But modeling work by these researchers is allowing Idahoans dig deeper into the health of their communities, by providing that data on a county-by-county basis. It turns out, when you zoom in, the story becomes much more nuanced.

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More U of I Stories


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

Analysis” by Falls via soundstripe

Season 6, Episode 3: Kenny Wallen — Natural Resource Management

Question: What makes an outdoor experience satisfactory?

Meet Kenny Wallen, an assistant professor of human dimensions in the Department of Natural Resources and Society at the University of Idaho. Everyone has opinions about how Idaho’s natural resources should be used. Wallen teams with Idaho Fish and Game to figure out what those opinions are.

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More CNR Stories

U of I and IDFG Partner to Improve Idaho’s Wildlife Management 

U of I’s Bat Girls Use Echolocation to Gather Info on Idaho Bat Species 

Vandal Researchers See Parallel Between Winter Tick Numbers and Moose Mortality


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

Places in Dreams” by Alsever Lake via soundstripe.

Season 6, Episode 2: Damon Woods — Energy Regulations

Question: How do you conserve energy in your home?

Meet Damon Woods, director of the Integrated Design Lab and a research professor at University of Idaho. Woods has helped state officials drill down which energy regulations — among hundreds on the books — protect Idahoans from wasting energy and money in their homes, businesses and elsewhere. He’ll break down the tedious work he and other researchers did to discover how these rules help.

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More U of I Stories

A Partnership Toward Sustainable Insulation

Building Resilient and Efficient Communities

Thinking Small


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

2 Days at A Time” by Sam Barsh via soundstripe.

Season 6, Episode 1: Adolfo Carmona — Latino Mental Health

Question: What barriers stop people from getting help when it comes to mental health issues?

Meet Adolfo Carmona, a second-year medical student at Idaho WWAMI. Between his first and second year of medical school, Adolfo worked in Jerome, which has a large Latino population. He discusses the barriers to help many Latinos face when experiencing mental health challenges and how he is attempting to help the community overcome those barriers.

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More Idaho WWAMI Stories

Passing Knowledge Down the Line

Talking About Teenage Suicide

Idaho WWAMI Leader Receives Honorary Degree


Young Republicans” by Steve Combs via, not modified.

Dark Cloud” by Ian Kelosky via soundstripe.

For more episodes of “The Vandal Theory,” visit our podcast archive.


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