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The Friday Letter

The Friday Letter is U of I’s long-running, weekly message straight from the president to members of the Vandal family. Each week during the academic year, and with breaks for holidays, the president offers an update on Vandal teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and notable initiatives and priorities. Alumni and friends are welcome to join students, faculty and staff in receiving the newsletter.

Letter from the President
Office of the President |
Dec. 6, 2019
Dear Vandals,
Research doesn’t have to take place in the lab. 

University of Idaho researchers prove that every day. Steelhead monitoring on the Clearwater River is helped by Associate Fisheries Management Professor Mike Quist and his graduate students. They’ve determined through tagging and interviews that most anglers have much more interaction with hatchery fish than wild fish, knowledge that will be used when fisheries managers set harvest limits.

That’s an important finding. Economic data show salmon and steelhead fisheries bring in around $90 million to the state economy each year.

The Idaho Botanical Garden and five Native American tribes of Idaho know their exact impact on the Gem State thanks to data crunched by U of I economist Steve Peterson and his students. His 2016 study on the economic impact of Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport prompted airport leaders to move forward with a multi-million dollar runway realignment that recently came online.

Students are central to Vandal research. Tara Kriz spent last summer in Alaska in search of the elusive pika, a relative of the rabbit. The Boise student is working with Assistant Professor Sophie Gilbert to test how encroaching vegetation affects the small mammal. Knowing how the smallest animals adapt to climate change will help researchers make predictions for the rest of the ecosystem.

Our student researchers studied everything from Northwest volcano eruptions to Galápagos Island snail evolution and antelope diets in the field last summer. This field work gives them hands-on experience to help them in their future careers and in grad school.

Significant work is also taking place inside the lab. U of I researchers including Shirley Luckhart and Brandi Torrevillas are working with Washington State University on ways to limit the spread of West Nile, Zika and dengue viruses by mosquitoes. And a U of I-led team recently identified and cloned a gene that can fend off a disease impacting wheat and barley.

Important scholarship takes place across Vandal Country. It’s a daily occurrence on our Moscow campus and at our locations across Idaho. But it’s also taking place in fields, streams, forests and mountains around the globe. 

U of I highlights this research through our Vandal Explorer Series, a project that showcases the far-off places U of I students travel in the name of discovery. You can also learn about our faculty researchers through The Vandal Theory, a weekly podcast on topics including early photography, single-use plastics and protection from cyber-attacks. 

We conducted $115 million in research last year as a university. Between half and two-thirds of our students participate each year. That experience is exactly why employees love hiring Vandals. They not only have the skills to do the job, they are at the cutting edge of their fields of study.

This work is the cornerstone of our land-grant mission – and it leaves an indelible imprint on the world. We’re eager to see what’s next. 

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
Latest News

from U of I

Vandal Brand Meats for the Holiday Season

Eight student teams from the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences created holiday-appropriate dishes that reflect the joy and comfort of the season. See all the recipes >

30th Annual Holiday Concert Dec. 13

Hundreds of Palouse-area school-aged singers will join the U of I Jazz Choir for the 30th annual Jazz Choirs Holiday Concert Dec. 13 in the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center. Admission is free. Get the details >
Did you know?
The U of I landscape crew sprays about 100 Moscow campus trees with a natural repellent of skunk scent and fox urine, as well as a sticking agent, to protect them from theft and destruction during the holiday season. Learn about the tree-spraying program >

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Physical Address:
Administration Building
Room 105
Moscow, ID


Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3151
Moscow, ID