Boise State enjoys literally hundreds of partnerships across the state and region that help us focus our priorities on the needs of the community and its economy. I’d like to report on one of these initiatives that perfectly reflects the principles behind our growing research programs.
Funded with a $2.26 million grant – the largest National Science Foundation grant ever awarded to Boise State – graduate student researchers are partnering with three Treasure Valley science education centers. The five-year project to create locally relevant lesson plans is designed to stimulate an interest in science among up to 40,000 of the region’s school children each year while giving invaluable training to our young scientists.
As part of the NSF’s Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education program, 32 Boise State graduate fellows in biology and the geosciences will work with educators at the Discovery Center of Idaho, and the City of Boise’s two science education centers, the Foothills Learning Center and the Boise WaterShed Environmental Education Center. Over the next five years, their charge will be to develop new science curriculum in their fields using local and regional themes for the K-12 classes that regularly visit the centers.
Led by geosciences professor Karen Viskupic, this project embodies the kind of research with impact that’s becoming the norm across campus. This project combines Boise State experts with the outstanding success of these invaluable community science education centers. Spurring an interest in science among the region’s children is a timely and very important endeavor. The program is growing strong bonds between Boise State and important partners in our community. And Boise State graduate students will gain invaluable experience in communicating their expertise to non-technical audiences.
I can’t think of a program better suited to the philosophy behind our progress as a metropolitan research university of distinction. With every endeavor, we seek to improve the quality of life for residents of Idaho, create closer ties with our community partners and improve the education each Boise State student receives.
Thanks to Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and our friends at the Foothills Learning Center, the new Boise WaterShed Environmental Education Center and the Discovery Center of Idaho.
Thank you for all that you do for Boise State. Go Broncos!
Here are a few recent or upcoming items of interest from Boise State University:
- Boise State was recently named one of six Wind Application Centers in the nation through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind for Schools program. During the three-year program, Boise State undergraduates in engineering will manage the siting and construction of small 1.9-kilowatt wind turbines at up to 12 rural Idaho schools. The purpose of the $41,000-a-year program is to educate rural K-12 students about wind energy and engage rural communities in a discussion regarding the applications and benefits of a robust wind energy future for rural America. Meanwhile, Boise State’s engineering students will develop real-world experience in wind energy project development. The program makes Boise State the only DOE Wind Application Center in Idaho.
- The 26 members of the inaugural group of graduates from Boise State’s two-year Executive MBA program have left a lasting impact on the university and community. The class established — and each member contributed to — the “Executive MBA Class of 2008 Scholarship.” Their $5,000 contribution to the endowed scholarship was matched with an additional $5,000 by Boise State’s College of Business and Economics. Beginning in fall 2010, proceeds from the invested money will be awarded annually to a business student.
- Enrollment in Boise State’s summer programs is up nearly 10 percent — or about 500 students — over last summer. The first three-week session began on May 19, followed by the start of five, eight and ten week sessions in June. Enrollment in those classes is tracking 8.7 percent to 9.7 percent ahead of last year. An increasing number of students have enrolled in core and upper-division undergraduate classes, particularly in the sciences. As classes fill, Boise State has added new sections to accommodate more students.
- A record number of Boise State students participated in the Service-Learning program during spring semester. The 1,029 students contributed 25,090 hours of service at local non-profits while applying concepts from their courses. Service-Learning makes community involvement an essential part of class coursework and is offered in everything from social work to chemistry classes, and in every college at Boise State. It is designed to foster active citizenship and enhance learning through academically based community service. Many of the students who participate stay on with their community agencies long after their courses end and develop career paths, job experience and community contacts.