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UW Science Professors and Students to Visit Sheridan Feb. 20

February 18, 2015

University of Wyoming professors and students, who have begun traveling the state to discuss UW’s Science Initiative, are scheduled to be in Sheridan Friday, Feb. 20.

Botany Professor Dave Williams and chemistry Professor Dean Roddick, along with student Jacob Yelton, who has deep family roots in Sheridan County, are scheduled to meet with the public in two events.

The UW delegation will be at the Best Western Sheridan Center from 11:45 a.m-1 p.m. to speak with the Sheridan Rotary Club. From 2-3 p.m., the group will be at Java Moon, 170 N. Main St., to meet with alumni and other members of the public. Anyone interested in learning more about the Science Initiative is encouraged to attend.

Yelton, who grew up in Big Horn, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in geography with a concentration in geographic information science after earning a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and the Honors Program in 2014. He decided to transition to the world of science after completing his first degree, “largely because of the incredible opportunities available for undergraduate research at UW.” He has been involved in research through the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics.

Endorsed by a governor-appointed panel of accomplished scientists, industry leaders and other professionals, the Science Initiative aims to transform science education and improve student success at UW and across the state, while creating world-class facilities to propel research on issues important to the state and nation.

The plan calls for programmatic and facilities improvements in two phases, starting in 2015 and concluding in 2021. It emphasizes collaboration among multiple disciplines by assembling researchers into a single complex with shared instrumentation, technical support and collaboration spaces.

The plan also signals a dramatic change in the way the foundational sciences are taught at the university, moving from traditional lectures and laboratories to an “active learning” format. That approach involves collaborative work among small groups of students and instructors, with traditional lectures replaced by a variety of learning opportunities including short interactive lectures, small-group discussions, case studies and Web-based opportunities outside of class.

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