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UW’s Saturday U Scheduled March 7 in Jackson

March 2, 2015
woman seated at table with boxes and teaching electronics of it
Tonia Dousay, UW College of Education instructional technology assistant professor, will discuss how robots can help students learn about math and science during UW’s one-day educational program Saturday U in Jackson Saturday, March 7. (UW Photo)

The spring term of Saturday U, the University of Wyoming’s free one-day college education program, comes to an end Saturday, March 7, in Jackson.

Three UW professors will lecture on immigration, how conductors make music, and robotics during Saturday U from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. No pre-registration is necessary and the lectures are free and open to the public. The day wraps up with a lunch and conversation with the UW professors. Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures in Jackson.

In its seventh year, Saturday U is a collaborative program that connects popular UW professors with lifelong learners. Offered six times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan -- Saturday U is sponsored by the university, the UW Foundation and Wyoming Humanities Council, and is presented locally by Central Wyoming College, National Museum of Wildlife Art and Teton County Library Foundation.

The day begins with coffee and pastries at 8:30 a.m. followed by opening remarks at 8:50 a.m.

Listed below are program topic descriptions and UW professors lecturing:

9-10 a.m. -- “Immigration Comes Home: Immigration Law and Policy in Wyoming,” Noah Novogrodsky, College of Law professor.

Immigration, both legal and illegal, is an explosive subject with significant economic, human rights and community character impacts, Novogrodsky says. He will discuss how the national debate will impact Wyoming's economic, cultural and political landscape in the coming years.

“While the debate about these complex and shifting issues often occurs at a national level, the legal and policy choices we make have repercussions here in Wyoming,” Novogrodsky adds.

10:15-11:15 a.m. -- “From the Mysterious to the Mundane: How Conductors Make Music,” UW Department of Music Professor Michael Griffith, director of orchestral activities.

Orchestra conductors: they make no sound, yet get much of the applause. They make no sound, yet the Cleveland Orchestra under Szell sounded different from the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy. And it was the “magic” of Bernstein that shaped the sound of the New York Philharmonic, Griffith says. How does a conductor do this? Griffith will unlock this mystery -- with some video help from Leonard Bernstein and other notable conductors -- and explain how the conductor’s artistic planning, rehearsal technique and physical presence all shape an ensemble’s sound.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. -- “Teaching with Robots: Math and Science,” Tonia Dousay, UW College of Education instructional technology assistant professor.

Without practical application, science and mathematics are just abstract concepts, Dousay says. Even the brightest high school students may struggle to link equations and concepts with the real world but, in school classrooms and hallways across Wyoming, students are racing robots, programming them to solve increasingly difficult mazes, and even building bigger and better robots, she adds.

“Is it fun? You bet. Applying math and science knowledge? Absolutely, but don’t tell them that,” Dousay says.

She will discuss how Wyoming high schools -- assisted and supported by UW faculty -- teach students how to make and program robots, compete in state and regional venues, and learn math and science along the way.

For more information, visit the Saturday U website at

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