422 Wyoming Hall
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Scientific research benefits greatly when scientists approach problems in a variety of creative ways. A diverse community is better able to generate new questions, research methods, explanations, and ideas. By building diversity within science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the State of Wyoming and the entire country will benefit from innovative ideas, insights, and approaches to answering complicated questions.
Wyoming EPSCoR’s supports a number of programs and initiatives to increase the number of students in STEM fields who are Native American, Hispanic/Latino, African American, women, and/or persons with disabilities.
Collaboration: Our goal is to develop strong collaborative partnerships with the Wind River Indian Reservation (WRIR), the only reservation in Wyoming. Relationship building for developing new community-driven programs on the WRIR is an essential current activity.
Establishing a SACNAS/AISES chapter at UW: The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) are national organizations designed to promote and support Native Americans and Latinos students and professionals in the sciences. EPSCoR supports student and faculty travel to conferences annually and supports the formation of student chapters.
Collaboration and goals: The High Plains American Indian Research Institute (HPAIRI) aims to promote positive and productive relationships between the University of Wyoming and regional American Indian communities. Assisting with research, education, and service, HPAIRI intends to facilitate tribal access to University resources and, at the same time, to help UW researchers connect with tribal communities in a coordinated fashion. HPAIRI facilitates collaborative research among tribal communities, UW and visiting faculty, and UW undergraduate and graduate students. Its research agenda will be based on the needs and interests of Native communities in the region and those communities will be full partners in research endeavors.
Accomplishments: In 2011, a survey was distributed among University of Wyoming faculty and staff to learn about research and educational activities between UW participants and tribal partners. The results, shown here, indicate that a variety of UW units do have relationships with tribal communities in the region and a significant number of those relationships involve science, technology, engineering, and/or math (STEM) activities. The survey results will assist with the continued development of the HPAIRI and with the implementation of its activities.
Complete survey results here (docx).
Transition Program for American Indian students at UW: A physical HPAIRI Center as a meeting area on the UW campus will provide for easier transition, a place for students, visitors from the reservation and faculty from UW and WRTC can gather for discussion, information and cultural exchange.
Collaboration and goals: The UW Office of Diversity has established Memoranda of Understanding with five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including Jackson State University (JSU), an institution with an area of distinction in Geology and Geophysics. To increase diversity and scientific integration, WyCEHG created an educational exchange program with JSU. Additionally, the geology, climate, and soils of Wyoming and Mississippi are distinct, so that students from each state will broaden their experience by working in the other state. This exchange will provide reciprocal scientific and cultural enrichment for students and will offer opportunities for graduate education in the natural sciences at UW.
Summer Field Camp: A two-week student summer exchange program was established in partnership with JSU in which students and faculty from both institution gain experience in near-surface imaging techniques, using geophysical imaging equipment acquired as part of FINSE. JSU joined UW students in fieldwork at the Snowy Range site June 12-20, 2013. Next year, UW students will travel to Mississippi for field-work at a site selected by JSU colleagues.
Mission and goals: Women are under-represented in STEM in Wyoming, although progress has been made under prior EPSCoR funding. Challenges remain in all arenas including female availability for fair representation on committees, attrition at upper levels and the need to enhance family-friendly work environments. In cooperation with UW's Diversity Office, EPSCoR will facilitate targeted hires, and provide support to women in STEM by increasing their visibility and supporting mentoring.
Seminar Speaker program: To increase visibility of woman scientists, EPSCoR funds a program to support female speakers on campus.
Travel grant program: EPSCoR supports travel of female faculty, postdocs, and graduate students to present their research at national conferences.
Mission and goals: According to recent census figures, 12% of the U.S. population is disabled, while only 9% of undergrads and 7% of grads in STEM have some form of disability. Knowledge, awareness and accommodation are ways to make STEM disciplines more accessible and encouraging to disabled persons. To work towards better accommodation, WyCEHG partners with the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND), to make use of "infusion units," which provide creative curriculum for familiarizing participants with disability issues. The WIND program provides background knowledge, sensitivity and awareness of disabled individuals and their needs. The infusion unit will be added to Undergraduate Research Symposium for all EPSCoR fellows and faculty mentors.
Annual seminar speaker: To increase disability awareness, EPSCoR brings scientists with disabilities to campus to give a public lecture and meet with WyCEHG scientists to discuss ways to make the program more accommodating of a wide range of disabilities.
Undergraduate student workshop for DA: Workshops are held as part of the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program under the guidance of UW's Disability Services.