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Utah Public Radio Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018

'Whose Streets?' A Documentary About the Ferguson Uprising

The Culture & Mental Health Lab, Merrill-Cazier Library, and Cache Refugee & Immigrant Connection have partnered to host a college and community screening of “Whose Streets?,” a documentary about the Ferguson uprising. The event is made possible with funding from Utah State University's Diversity Council. Following the screening will be a panel discussion with scholars, organizers, and community leaders. Please join us for this important event and panel discussion.

Herald Journal Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018

Jazz, Swing Night Returns to Elite Hall

Three nights of jazz music and swing dancing are on tap at Hyrum’s historic Elite Hall starting Thursday night, supporting restoration of the dance venue and helping to provide scholarships for Utah State University students. Serving as a fundraiser for the Larry Smith Jazz Scholarship since 2005, the annual Jazz Night at Elite Hall brings together live music from student musicians and swing dancers from USU. Event producer KaDee Hoffer said having the event at Elite Hall allows participants to have a true dance hall experience as the spring-loaded floor makes the venue come to life. ... Hoffer said members of the USU Big Band Swing Club will be on hand to provide basic interaction for attendees starting at 6 p.m., with the dance starting at 7 p.m. and lasting until around 11 p.m. each night. ... Aside from Thursday’s dance-only night, Friday and Saturday will feature a catered dinner from Firehouse Pizzeria. The cost for the dinner and dancing is $25 per couple. “Not only is this great for swing dancers, but it is really good entertainment. The jazz bands play really great music,” Hoffer said. “The USU jazz bands put on a good show and have amazing singers.”

Deseret News Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018

Rock-n-Fossil Day is Saturday at USU

Utah State University’s Department of Geology invites inquiring minds of all ages to the 2018 USU Rock-n-Fossil Day Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Geology Building on the USU Quad. Admission is free. “We welcome the community to join us for a day of science learning,” Dave Liddell, geology professor and event coordinator, said in a statement. “We’re offering a variety of engaging activities.” The day’s activities include tours of the USU Geology Museum, demonstrations of how rocks break and how streams flow, as well as opportunities to view sections of rock under microscopes. Guests are also invited to bring a rock, mineral or fossil for identification by USU geologists. ‘Fossil dig’ activities, along with dinosaur cookies, will be provided for young children.

Cache Valley Daily Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018

Inspire and Wonder During Engineering Week at USU

It’s been known as Engineering Week for many years but this year it’s shortened to Engineers Week at Utah State University. Events kick-off Tuesday with the week-long theme Inspire – Wonder. Engineering students Erik Olson and Clint Ferrin were guests on KVNU’s For the People program last week. ... “I found as I’ve been going through this program, I’ve been receiving more and more creativity than ever before in my life. You have to create correct models of everything that you’re doing and if you don’t bad things happen. ... explained Ferrin. ... “Engineering is something that Utah State is known for. Our mechanical engineering department, specifically, its reputation precedes itself. And so what we wanted to do this year (is) to give students real practical experience at networking, really how USU engineering can set them up for a meaningful and valuable career,” Olson said. To see what other events are going on during the week-long schedule go to

Standard Examiner Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018

Climate Change Expert Uses Art, Music to Communicate Scientific Concerns

Rob Davies is an accomplished scientist. He worked in Russia helping with the International Space Station. He researched quantum optics in Oxford, England. He’s now an associate professor at Utah State University in the Department of Physics. Above all, however, Davies might best be known as a talented science communicator. ... The Standard-Examiner spoke with Davies about communicating science, why it matters and why people need to take action now to leave a better world for the future. ... The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity. Audio from the entire interview is available online, along with musical clips from the performance, on the Standard-Examiner’s Out Standing in a Field podcast.

Standard Examiner Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

3 USU Officials Freed from Civil Liability in Fraternity Rape Lawsuit

Three Utah State University officials have been dismissed as defendants in a former student’s lawsuit that alleges the institution failed to act on reports of sexual assaults at two fraternity houses before she was beaten and raped. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer ruled Feb. 8 in Salt Lake City that the officials qualify for immunity from legal liability under the Utah Governmental Immunity Act. The Logan university remains as a defendant, but Nuffer’s ruling said, “... no clear law has been established sufficient to impose ... liability against a state (employee) for underreacting to a known potential threat of sexual harassment or assault by a third party acting outside of the mantle of state position and authority.” ... Defendants in the civil suit include USU, the nonprofit Gamma Kappa Alumni Association and the Illinois-based Sigma Chi. ... In its answer to the suit, USU said officials had known of “an anonymous allegation of sexual assault,” not a reported 2014 incident detailed in the woman’s complaint. “If Utah State learned of any of the allegations being true, Relopez would have been potentially subjected to the penalty of expulsion from school,” the university said.

Herald Journal Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Angela Davis Speaks on Intersection of Art, Social Justice at USU

From the moment she walked onto the floor of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Thursday night bearing a bright smile, social justice activist Angela Davis was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. And it was not the only one, either, for the 74-year-old UC Santa Cruz distinguished professor emerita, who spoke for nearly an hour on “the intersection of the arts and social justice” in a talk sponsored by USU’s Center for Women and Gender. ... On Thursday night, Davis noted she had been asked to build her talk around the Year of the Arts initiative at USU. ... Davis’s talk was warmly received by the people who filled one side of the Spectrum. ... Ann Berghout Austin, director of USU’s Center for Women and Gender, said she thought Davis would be the perfect fit for USU’s arts initiative in part because her personal story spawned a lot of artwork. ... In an interview with The Herald Journal, Berghout-Austin said she hoped everyone who listened to Davis speak at USU felt “just uncomfortable enough that they can continue to work in their own sphere for social justice — not just for women, but for everybody.

Herald Journal Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Campus Sex Assault Bill Advances in Utah

A panel of Utah lawmakers approved a campus sexual assault bill Thursday despite concerns that encouraging colleges to alert police to serious allegations could keep victims from reporting assaults. Rep. Kim Coleman pointed to cases where women reported assaults only to find school officials already knew about multiple allegations against the perpetrator. “No woman should go to the police after a brutal rape and find out the institution knew about five other victims before her and did nothing to prevent her rape,” Coleman, a West Jordan Republican, said. Her plan passed with an 8-2 vote and now goes to the full Utah House for consideration. ... The proposal says schools may report sexual assault allegations to police in serious circumstances, like when multiple victims are involved. ... Speaking in favor of the bill were representatives for a woman who sued Utah State University after she was assaulted by a fraternity brother. ... Utah State, for its part, has said the suit doesn’t tell the whole story.

PhysOrg Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Using Stick Insects to Study Natural Selection, Predictability of Evolution

"Evolution often appears random, even when driven by the deterministic process of natural selection, because we just aren't aware of all the environmental fluctuations and other factors taking place that drive change," says Utah State University biologist Zach Gompert. "If we had a better understanding of the mechanisms at play, we might have a better picture of evolutionary change and its predictability." Gompert, with colleagues Patrick Nosil, Romain Villoutreix, Clarissa de Carvalho and Victor Soria-Carracso of England's University of Sheffield, along with Timothy Farkas of the University of Connecticut, Jeffrey Feder of the University of Notre Dame and Bernard Crespi of Canada's Simon Fraser University, explored these questions and report findings in the Feb. 16, 2018, issue of the journal Science. ... "We used a rare and unique data set of 25 years of field data documenting the evolution of cryptic body coloration in terms of frequencies of three 'morphs' – flavors, if you will – of stick insects," says Gompert, assistant professor in USU's Department of Biology and the USU Ecology Center. "Using the first 10-15 years of the data, we tried predicting, or forecasting, the changes that would occur in the subsequent years of the data." ... "Our findings support previous discoveries and suggest evolution of morph frequencies in these stick insects is indeed a result of selection," Gompert says. "They also suggest poor predictability of environmental variation and how it affects selection, rather than random evolutionary processes, might be the main limits on predicting evolution." While we can use the past to predict change, he says, we're constrained by our lack of knowledge of the future and complex ecological processes that contribute to change.

Utah Public Radio Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Utah State University Program Leading in Virtual Design Research

A community in the mountains is being designed by students at Utah State University. They’re using a new technology to get a bird’s eye view of the project. The project on Powder Mountain in the Ogden Valley is being designed using virtual reality, a design method Benjamin George, a professor of landscape architecture design at USU, said is more useful than older physical models. ... Jennifer Coates, one of the design students says these live virtual interactions help them know where and how to build structures on the mountain. ... According to Professor George, USU is one of the first universities to use virtual reality for design and will most likely lead the way in virtual design research.

Herald Journal Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018

USU Club Invites Anti-Koch Group to Campus

A Utah State University student group is organizing two events this semester related to the $50 million donation the school received from the Huntsman and Charles Koch Foundations last year. The Organization for Society and Natural Resources will host a representative from UnKoch My Campus at 5:15 p.m. Feb. 20 in room 105 of the Quinney College of Natural Resources Building. Then, a panel discussion at 5 p.m. March 20 in the Taggart Student Center Auditorium will focus on academic integrity and donations to USU, including the Huntsman-Koch gift. ... The latest gift agreement between USU and the Charles Koch Foundation came last year, with $25 million to pay for a new USU-affiliated nonprofit called the Center for Growth and Opportunity. Another $25 million came from the Huntsman Foundation to pay for more students to participate in the Huntsman Scholars program. The two sums combined for USU’s biggest single gift to date. ... The UnKoch My Campus visit and the upcoming panel discussion were announced just one week after USU faculty senators approved a task force to investigate the $50 million Huntsman-Koch gift.

Cache Valley Daily Monday, Feb. 12, 2018

Assistive Technology Lab at USU Helps Family Continue to Bike Together

The Assistive Technology Program at USU serves individuals with disabilities of all ages in Utah. They do remarkable things in providing assisted technology devices and services. Two volunteers at the assistive technology lab, Mike Stokes and Todd McGregor, collaborated on a specialty request from the Layton family. The Laytons love to bike together. They have an 8-year old son, Parker, with Down Syndrome. They were searching for a way to go on their bike rides that allowed Parker to sit in front of the person pedaling for him. They found a solution that would work online…for $5,000. “We were initially contacted by Parker’s father. We got his ideas for the project and he gave us a link to that $5,000 solution; obviously they could not afford that,” said Mike Stokes. “We got to work and Todd designed and put together the layout of this bike. Through resources locally, we were able to bring this project together. The local Deseret Industries contributed five bicycles and we were able to tear those apart, then cut, then re-weld and re-assemble it all into a final product.”

Herald Journal Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018

Bill Calls on USU Extension to Create Jobs in Rural Utah Counties

A Utah lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create a pilot Utah State University Extension program to help people in rural communities find remote employment. Rep. Michael Noel, R-Kanab, sponsored HB 327, “Rural Online Initiative,” which was numbered and distributed last week. It now stands before the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee. ... HB 327 proposes a nearly $2 million appropriation for USU Extension to create a pilot program that helps people in rural areas gain employment or find freelance opportunities online so they don’t have to relocate. ... USU Extension would fulfill the mission of the initiative by providing training modules, scholarships and one-on-one coaching to adults and high school students. ... By 2020, USU would be required to report to a legislative committee and tell lawmakers the number of individuals who receive training through the pilot program and whether there is a reduction in the unemployment rate. Ken White, vice president of USU Extension and dean of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, said this program is “perfect for USU Extension.”

Utah Public Radio Wednesday, Feb. 07, 2018

USU Students 'Sip And Sing' at Nationally Recognized Art Event

In 2015 the National Association for Campus Activities recognized a Utah State University social event, PoBev,  that three years later has grown in popularity. As part of our Year of the Arts reporting project, USU journalism student Meghan Nelson tells us students in Logan meet monthly to share their talents on stage.

Deseret News Friday, Feb. 02, 2018

Businessman, Philanthropist Jon M. Huntsman Sr. Dies at Age 80

Jon M. Huntsman Sr., billionaire, businessman, political organizer, philanthropist and former Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Friday afternoon, Feb 2, 2018. He was 80. ... Huntsman died early Friday afternoon, surrounded by his family. He had been in declining health in recent weeks. Tributes poured in throughout the afternoon — from religious leaders, politicians, leaders of organizations he'd given aid and others. ... Among recent gifts were a joint $50 million donation from the Huntsman Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation to Utah State University to establish the Center for Growth and Opportunity and more than $10 million from Huntsman family members and entities for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in southeast Texas. ... The University of Utah is home to the Jon M. Huntsman Center, a nod to his first large-scale donation, and his name graces facilities at Brigham Young University, Utah State University and other institutions. 

Deseret News Thursday, Feb. 01, 2018

USU-Eastern Chancellor Retiring After 8 Years

The first chancellor of Utah State University-Eastern is retiring, the college announced Thursday. Chancellor Joe Peterson aided the school during its transition period when USU merged with the College of Eastern Utah in 2010, USU President Noelle Cockett said in a news release. “Dr. Peterson worked tirelessly to lead that transition and help us navigate the many complexities of the merger,” Cockett said. After serving for eight years as chancellor, Peterson will retire at the end of June. Gary Straquadine, the university's current senior administrator, will then step in as the interim chancellor, the college reported. “I have cherished my associations with colleagues and friends within the University and within the communities of Southeast Utah,” Peterson said in a news release. “Serving as chancellor has been the highlight of my career.” ... “Dr. Straquadine’s experience and expertise will allow for continued innovation in the delivery of the highest quality academic programs for southeast Utah,” Cockett added.

Utah Public Radio Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018

USU Offers Free Depression Screening for Students

 Utah State University’s health fair is full of students wandering the booths, collecting the small offerings from various local businesses. Students get their blood pressure tested and spin wheels for prizes ranging from hand sanitizer to bags of goldfish crackers. In the ballroom of the student center where the event is held, students can get a free, confidential mental health screening, courtesy of university Counseling and Psychological Services. ... University President Noelle Cockett recently a guide to help faculty support students struggling with mental health issues; these resources are one way the university is working to provide its students with support. ... During the first two hours of the event, nearly 100 students filled out questionnaires. Monday, Jan. 29, 2018

What Your Face Says About Your Heartbeat

Researchers at Utah State University don't need an Apple Watch or stethoscope to measure your heartbeat. They only need a video camera. Professor of electrical engineering Jake Gunther and his former student Nate Ruben are the inventors of a USU-patented technology that estimates heart rate using a video camera and specialized software. ... The system processes the color data and computes an average over regions of the image where skin is visible on the face, neck or arms. This contactless monitoring system could revolutionize medical equipment and consumer products including baby monitors and exercise gear. ... The inventors are expanding their patented technology with the creation of a new company called Photorithm Inc. Gunther and Ruben are also developing a new baby monitor system called Smartbeat that uses similar software to detect breathing in a sleeping infant. They say the technology will be a game changer.

Herald Journal Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018

USU Hosts 'Global Game Jam,' Imparts Anti-Misogynistic Game Message

With a pen in hand, Emily Price sat with a large digital drawing tablet on Saturday morning, sketching out one of the characters to a virtual reality game she was developing. Price, who lives in Salt Lake City, was participating in Global Game Jam, or GGJ, which brings youth from all over the world to develop video game concepts over a 48-hour period. “You make something based on a theme and hope that it works,” Price said, laughing. Sponsored by USU’s Center for Women and Gender, this year’s event called on participants to “build awareness and encourage learning and experience for women,” according to the GGJ website. GGJ participants had to have gender-diverse teams and include a “women-empowering” or “gender-equality” theme in their game concept. In coordinating a GGJ at USU, Josh Jones, a Utah-based game developer, asked officials at the Center for Women and Gender if it would be interested in sponsoring a GGJ with a empowerment theme. ... More than an awareness of how women are portrayed in video games, Jones said he hoped participants came away from the GGJ with the “satisfaction that they’ve been able to spend their creative energy on something worthwhile that they can share.”

Utah Public Radio Friday, Jan. 26, 2018

'Work In Progress' Mural Comes to Utah State University

Arie French, a student at Utah State University, chose to make a stencil portrait of Maya Angelou at Friday’s “Work in Progress” workshop in the Merrill-Cazier Library. “Right now all of the parts with shadows on the picture, I’m cutting those out, because those are the ones that are going to get the paint,” French said. “And then, there’s this big elaborate headpiece, so I’m going to cut that out and then do the finer details on it later and color those in.” When it’s finished, it will be added to a mural project called “Work in Progress” by artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake. The project is Haworth’s brainchild, inspired by her work as one of the artists who created the iconic cover of the Beatle’s album “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.” ... This formed the basis of her project SLC Pepper, a mural full of influential figures. Work in Progress is the next step — a community project honoring hundreds of influential women. She said the majority of the people who contribute to the mural in her workshops don’t consider themselves artists, which can make for a challenging start. ... “When they have cut the stencil, pushed the paint through the holes that represent the face and they unstick the masking tape and lift it up and see what they’ve done that is a recognizable portrait of somebody of significance, somebody that is a catalyst for change, there is a wonderful moment there that’s really pretty emotional,” Haworth said. “They’ve made something they didn’t know they could, and it’s happened in a couple of hours. So it’s really thrilling.” A replica of the mural is on display at USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library until Mar. 29. 

Herald Journal Monday, Jan. 22, 2018

USU's Center for Persons with Disabilities Helps Website Developers

Cyndi Rowland, an employee with Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, was at a conference in the mid-1990s when she realized that some people had a harder time viewing the internet than she did. ... Today, Rowland is the executive director of WebAIM, which provides web accessibility services, be it training from professional to schools, governments and businesses; evaluations to make sure websites are accessible; or consulting and technical assistance. They provide all of those services with the goal of making sure websites can be viewed by people with all types of disabilities. “Statistically, all of us here will probably develop a disability in our lifetime,” said Jared Smith, associate director of WebAIM. ... Since its creation in 1999, WebAIM has helped tens of thousands of people and over 1,000 entities, including universities and Fortune 500 companies.

Herald Journal Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018

USU Students, Faculty Launch Campaign for Sustainable Transportation

Several Aggies concerned about Cache Valley’s poor air quality are encouraging students on campus to take advantage of alternative forms of transportation to help clear the air. So it may be fitting that they have titled their campaign “Keep Logan Clear.” The effort runs from now until Feb. 23 — a time when the valley is prone to winter inversions. ... “I wanted to do something that would get students engaged to keep the air clean here,” said Sarah Ross, a USU senior who is also an air quality intern with the school’s Sustainability Office. ... To encourage students to use alternative forms of transportation, the Aggie Commuter Club is offering prizes to those who follow the club’s Instagram account, @aggiecommuter, and post a picture of themselves engaged in those activities with the hashtag #keeploganclear during the campaign. ... She said “Keep Logan Clear” may include other activities before Feb. 23.

UB Media Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018

USU-Uintah Basin Hires a Local with Over a Decade of Nursing Experience

This January, Uintah Basin local and Registered Nurse (RN) Monte Hardinger will begin working at Utah State University-Uintah Basin (USU) as an assistant professor of nursing. Hardinger has 14 years of experience in healthcare and is looking to add to USU-Uintah Basin’s already successful nursing program. “I have several generations of family in the Uintah Basin and deep ties to nursing and healthcare provided here,” said Hardinger. “Taking this position allows me to have a greater impact on the healthcare provided to my family, friends and in the community, I grew up in." ... Monte believes the Uintah Basin is a great place for students to foster and grow their careers as nurses. ... Individuals interested in becoming a nurse in the Uintah Basin can find out more information at the upcoming open house events on January 31 in Vernal and February 1 in Roosevelt. The upcoming application deadline for USU-Uintah Basin’s nursing program is March 1.

Herald Journal Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018

One Hundred Years and Counting: Logan Centenarian has Stories to Tell

Lloyd Clement of Logan, a retired Utah State University professor, said in 1998 he believed his lifetime was approaching its end, so he wrote in his journal and made sure all of his affairs were settled. Twenty years later, Clement is celebrating 100 years of living that has taken him everywhere from an isolated farmtown in central Utah to the Mariana Islands, Bolivia, West Africa and ultimately Cache Valley. ... The first world war ended before his first birthday, and his earliest memories are a time of prosperity between 1920-30. He went to school, where he excelled in his studies, and he worked with his father on the farm. ... By war’s end, the Clement family had moved to Washington, so that is where he went home to, and it was there he met a young Billie Wilson a few years later. ... They were married there in May 1950, and a year later, they found themselves on the side of the road at the mouth of Sardine Canyon.They were on their way to Utah State University where Clement planned to study economics on the recommendation of an aptitude test provided in the military. “When we came down the old highway in Sardine, we came around the last turn, as we come out of the canyon — it was the end of May or the first of June and it was a bright sunshiny spring day — and we looked out over the valley,” Clement recalls. “From that point you are high enough to see over the valley. The temple jumped out at us and everything looked so beautiful and green — what we did was pull off the side of the road and just sit there and look. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, and right then we decided this was where we were going to stay, and we did.” ... He retired from Utah State University as an economics professor.

Herald Journal Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

USU Trustees Approve New Center Named After Late Stephen Covey

Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business wants to establish a leadership training center named after the late Stephen Covey, a national bestselling author who taught at the school. On Friday, the USU Board of Trustees approved the proposal for the Stephen R. Covey Center for Leadership, backed by a $3 million gift from the FranklinCovey Company. The proposal now goes to the Board of Regents, Utah’s higher education governing board, for approval. Vijay Kannan, USU Huntsman School associate dean for academic affairs, said in an interview talk of such a center began years ago, when Covey was the Huntsman presidential professor of leadership. ... Covey, who died in 2012 after complications from a biking accident, was a prominent businessman known nationally for his 1989 book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” ... Kannan said the center in Covey’s name will be open to all students. ... If approved by the Board of Regents, the center named after Covey would not be the first “center” based at the Huntsman School. Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018

Between the Lines: Tree Rings Hold Clues About a River's Past

Hydrologists are looking centuries into the past to better understand an increasingly uncertain water future. By analyzing centuries-old growth rings from trees in the Intermountain West, researchers at Utah State University are extracting data about monthly streamflow trends from periods long before the early 1900s when recorded observations began. Their findings were published Jan. 6 in the Journal of Hydrology and, for the first time, show that monthly streamflow data can be reconstructed from annual tree-ring chronologies—some of which date back to the 1400s. "By linking tree rings and flow during the past 100 years when we have recorded observations, we can use trees as a tool for measuring flow long before there were gauges on the rivers," said USU's Dr. James Stagge, a hydrologist and civil engineer who led the research. ... "One data point per year gives a very limited picture," said co-author Dr. David Rosenberg, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at USU. ... The model overlaps the tree-ring chronologies and combines annual streamflow information and climate data to arrive at a monthly streamflow estimate. 

Herald Journal Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018

USU Continues Provost Search, Considers Fourth Candidate

After a year-long search for a new provost and executive vice president at Utah State University that turned up three finalists, the school is currently considering a fourth candidate. USU President Noelle Cockett made that announcement at a Faculty Senate meeting on Monday. She did not mention the name of the candidate or the institution that person works for, but said the candidate would likely visit campus next month and the campus community would have a chance to meet him or her and give feedback. “This is another candidate who the search committee has interviewed and vetted,” Cockett told faculty senators. ... The other three finalists are: Paul Layer, dean for the College of Natural Science and Mathematics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Laura Woodworth-Ney, executive vice president and provost at Idaho State University; and Douglas Freeman, dean of Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. ... In an interview, Cockett talked about the qualities she wants in a provost, since she was one herself before she became president. “I want somebody that the vast majority of campus feels really strongly about,” she said. “Energy, good relationships with people across campus, an attitude of facilitation, an attitude of excellence, a resource for deans and department heads.”

Herald Journal Monday, Jan. 08, 2018

USU Students Sign Aggie Blue Piano During 'Welcome Back Week'

Hitting the snooze alarm, drinking from a coffee thermos or making the trek across campus with a full backpack are all things Utah State University students might associate with the first day of a new semester. Signing their names on a painted piano inside the Taggart Student Center probably was not one of them, yet that was just one of the many activities sponsored by the Utah State University Student Association during Welcome Back Week. The festivities are designed to get students back into the swing of things during the first week of spring semester. Classes began Jan. 8 and conclude April 27. ... Meghan Tatom, USUSA activities director, helped organize the activity. ... “It’s not just for the students coming back, but it’s also for the students who start in the spring,” Tatom said. “It gives students an opportunity to be able to walk around, meet new people and enjoy USU.”

Deseret News Tuesday, Jan. 02, 2018

USU Extension Receives Grant to Help Beginning Farmers

Utah State University Extension recently received a grant worth $599,615 from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to help increase the number of beginning farmers in the Mountain West. ... The project places a special focus on Native American and refugee beginning farmers as well as high school students involved in the National FFA Organization and 4-H. ... USU Extension will partner with New Roots, an agriculture and food access program that already provides farmer training for refugees and immigrants. ... Additionally, two incubator sites in rural areas will be focused on assisting Native American farmers with their operations. 

Arizona Daily Star Friday, Dec. 29, 2017

Arizona Bowl: New Mexico State Defeats Utah State 26-20 in Overtime

Larry Rose III’s 21-yard touchdown run in overtime gave New Mexico State a 26-20 victory over Utah State in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Friday at Arizona Stadium. NMSU — making its first postseason appearance since 1960 in front of a partisan crowd in Tucson — finished the season 7-6. Utah State finished 6-7. USU got the ball first in overtime but had to settle for a 29-yard field-goal attempt. Dominik Eberle’s kick caromed off the right upright – his fourth miss in six tries. On NMSU’s second play, Rose raced through the USU defense for the winning score. His teammates came screaming onto the field. Even some of the maroon-clad NMSU fans jumped the fence and joined the celebration. Rose finished with 142 yards on 16 carries.

Deseret News Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017

From Ranch Hand to the President's Office ...

It has become a common sight on the Utah State campus: a tall, slender woman jogging from room to room and building to building in a skirt and high heels, bags and papers in hand. This would not be noteworthy except the woman is Noelle Cockett, the president of the university. She has a reputation for being late to meetings, which is why she is frequently seen dashing out of Old Main to the student center or elsewhere to another meeting. ... Cockett tells her assistant that she likes her schedule to be busy and full, and she obliges. What do you expect from a woman who grew up on a Montana cattle ranch, working from dawn to dusk and never took a vacation until she went off to college. She not only oversees a university, but also continues to do animal genetics research — her original career — and has a husband and two children. ... She was a scientist first and then was recruited into administration, but she remains passionate about the former. ... “I’m embarrassed,” she says. “I probably should light up when I talk about Utah State. I love the university, as well.” ... “I guess in some sense I’m a still a teacher, or I love giving new information,” she says. “And it’s helping people. I could help the rancher. It really was part of what I was always doing.”

The Salt Lake Tribune Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

USU Comes under Fire for Policies that Threaten Free Speech

A national free-speech advocacy group is highlighting the policies of Utah State University in Logan this month, but not in a good way. The Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, named USU as ‘Speech Code of the Month’ on Thursday, citing a campus rule that students be civil in their interactions with classmates and faculty. ... Harris said that civility is subjective, meaning a rule like USU’s is open to the interpretation of administrators. And while the policy may be well-meaning, Harris said, it could have a chilling effect on students engaging in otherwise protected forms of speech. ... USU’s student code of conduct includes a provision that “All interactions with faculty members, staff members, and other students shall be conducted with courtesy, civility, decency, and a concern for personal dignity.” The policy is currently under review, USU spokesman Tim Vitale said, and an update has been drafted that would replace “shall be” language with a clause that students are encouraged to act with civility. ... FIRE keeps a database of colleges and universities, color-coded based on the relative protections or restrictions of free speech in campus policies. USU is currently rated as red— the poorest rating from FIRE — meaning the school has “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

Good 4 Utah Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017

Utah State Signs 12 Players on Early Signing Day

Utah State head football coach Matt Wells announced portions of his fifth signing class on Wednesday, as part of the new NCAA early signing period. The class, which includes 12 total players, is comprised of nine high school athletes and three junior college transfers. Of those 11 signees, six will enroll at Utah State for the spring semester in 2018, while one will serve a two-year LDS Church Mission before beginning his collegiate career. The state of Utah produced the most signees during the early period with four, followed by two players from California, and one player each from Hawaii, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. "We are really excited about this signing class and the young men who will represent Utah State University both on and off the football field," said Wells. ... In all, Utah State's early signing period class includes nine recruits on offense, two defensive players and one athlete. The six new players who will enroll at Utah State for classes beginning in the spring semester of 2018 include junior RB Darwin Thompson, junior DB DJ Williams, sophomore OL Kyler Hack, freshman OL Heneli Avendano, freshman OL Wade Meacham and freshman QB Andrew Peasley.

The Utah Statesman Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017

USU Students Conduct Research Through Augmented Reality

A Utah State University research study has been conducting workshops for children to examine how they learn through making. The kids participating in this research have the opportunity to play games and create through AR, or augmented reality. ... The platform this technology is being produced on is called ARIS. ARIS is an open-source app that anyone can download to play and create games on. Along with USU students, Dr. Breanne Litts is directing this study. ... “We are looking at the design skills kids learn through making and programming,” Litts said. Ayla Stults-Lopez is gaining research through this experience under the supervision of Drs. Breanne Litts and Kristin Searle as part of a National Science Foundation award. ... USU students have learned through this study that technology in the classroom will be more important than ever in the future.

Cache Valley Daily Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 Ranks USU #1 Four-Year College in Utah

A new national analysis by ranks Utah State University the number one 4-year college in the state. Utah’s schools were scored on a 100-point scale using the most recent data available from government sources. The university is known for affordable tuition rates, a wide range of degree options and solid retention and graduation rates. It is also one of the best online colleges in Utah with nearly half its students enrolled in distance education. USU ranks first in the state for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. It is also third in the state for graduating students with the lowest median amount of debt. Utah State University has other residence campuses in Price and Blanding as well as dozens of regional campuses and centers across the state. The website is a hub for higher education topics and trends.

Herald Journal Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017

USU Community, Supporters Top Off New Life Sciences Building

Utah State University students, administrators and supporters of the school braved the cold on Tuesday to sign their names on the last steel beam needed for the new Life Sciences Building before watching crews put it into place. ... The brief “topping off” ceremony was just one of the ways USU marked the construction of the new Life Sciences Building — a $45 million, 103,000-square-foot facility school officials consider long overdue. College of Science Dean Maura Hagan credits the builder, Salt Lake City-based Jacobsen Construction, with the idea to have a topping-off event. The idea came in a telephone conference between USU and the construction company last week, she said. ... Administrators and students say the Life Sciences Building is needed to replace current outdated facilities and alleviate a shortage of laboratory space. ... These days, topping off ceremonies are conducted at major universities as well as at institutions and businesses around the United States and the world.

Herald Journal Monday, Dec. 11, 2017

Virtual Reality Lab Opens to Students in Merrill-Cazier Library

Study Room 113 in Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library isn’t just a space to hit the books — since last Tuesday, it also functions as a virtual reality lab. ... “I think it’s going to be really popular,” said Todd Hugie, director of library information technology at the Merrill-Cazier Library. It’s no Holodeck — the VR Lab is a small study room with a powerful PC connected to a Vive headset. The Vive is a “room-scale VR” platform from Taiwanese electronics manufacturer HTC and the U.S.-based Valve Corporation, which runs the popular Steam video gaming service. With more traditional VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, users stay in one spot but can look around at a virtual world completely surrounding them. With room-scale VR, users can move as well as look around. Two sensors up in the corners of the room track the position and motion of the headset and the two handheld controllers, and when a user approaches a wall, a green grid appears in the virtual world to show its location. And while an onlooker can’t see the 3D virtual world surrounding someone using the VR Lab, they can see a 2D version on a flatscreen monitor. ... The study room can only be reserved by USU students, but Hugie said students are free to bring interested faculty and family members.

Herald Journal Saturday, Dec. 02, 2017

USU Teach Teens to be 'Upstanders' Against Violence, Bullying

“What we’d like to do, as a state and as a community, is to get more people to be that interventionalist; more people to be the one who steps in, inviting others to help,” Marty Liccardo, a specialist with the Utah Department of Health said. “When we are that person, the diffusion of responsibility disappears and bystander intervention comes in.” ... That was the main message of the Upstanding Youth Leadership Conference at Utah State University on Saturday. The conference — sponsored by the Logan-based nonprofit Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse, partnering with USU and others — sought to teach teenagers how to effectively conduct bystander intervention, and become what event organizers called “upstanders” in their schools and communities. ... Jill Anderson, executive director of CAPSA, hopes teens who attended the conference learned how to be “up standers” in their schools and communities. ... Whether it’s skills he can use in high school or college, Ames is “grateful” for the Upstanding Youth Leadership Conference.

Herald Journal Friday, Dec. 01, 2017

Cache Valley Native Did White House Christmas Decorations

The handiwork of a Cache Valley native has been in the international spotlight recently, since the son of a former Logan mayor helped decorate the White House for Christmas. Nicholas Watts is currently an event planner with HMR Designs in Chicago, but he graduated from Utah State University in 2006. He was tasked with decorating the inside and outside of the White House according to First Lady Melania Trump’s wishes. ... This year’s holiday theme for the White House is ”Time-Honored Traditions,” paying homage to 200 years of White House holiday customs, according to information provided on the White House’s website. ... USU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences congratulated Watts on Twitter, mentioning he graduated 11 years ago with a degree in American studies and a minor in Russian. Evelyn Funda, an associate professor of English, knew Watts as a student at USU. She remembers him interning for then-Sen. Ted Kennedy and developing an interest in politics, as well as an interest in event planning by helping organize the annual Small Satellite Conference. ... HGTV will air a special on the White House holiday decorations on Dec.10 at 4 p.m.

Utah Public Radio Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017

Students Around the Country Display Art in Utah State University Show

Various prints hang on the white walls. Clay mugs and colorful sculptures sit on pillars resting against the sparkling wooden floor of the Tippetts and Eccles Gallery during an art showcase called Paper and Clay. “There’s functional stuff, utilitarian, also a lot of sculptural stuff, so it has a full range of work that’s in there. Same with printmaking. There’s stuff that’s much more derivative of the landscape and then stuff that’s more conceptual,” said Tom Alward, a USU graduate student in the ceramics program. “It set out to unify some of the elements that bring those mediums and components together. A big part of the show for the jurors and people that put together the show was what are the pieces that showcase the material and really speak to the authenticity of printmaking and clay work, so those were really the unifying elements that brought the work together,” he said. Students from around the western United States applied online to enter their work, and the show is almost fully funded by the art school’s differential tuition. 

Cache Valley Daily Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017

USU Extension Awarded Grant from Yamaha for Sage-Grouse Conservation

Utah State University Extension’s Utah Community-based Conservation Program (CBCP) was recently awarded a $12,500 grant and two ATVs from the Yamaha Motor Corporation. The grant will support field research designed to balance recreation on public lands with sage-grouse conservation, and was awarded as part of Yamaha’s Outdoor Access Initiative to promote safe, responsible off-road vehicle riding and open, sustainable riding areas. USU Extension CBCP and the Yamaha Motor Corporation, along with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Utah Public Land Policy Coordination Office, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Cache Honda Yamaha, of Logan, Utah, partnered to create The Sheeprock Sage-grouse Management Area Sage-grouse Conservation Initiative. ... “The work USU Extension is doing is a great example of institutions and agencies coming together to find ways to create and protect access to public land for all types of recreation,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/SxS marketing manager. ... Terry Messmer, USU Extension wildlife specialist and CBCP director said that innovative partnerships are the future of wildlife management and conservation. ... Through partnerships like this, Messmer said USU Extension has a long history of serving the citizens of Utah and the West by providing the best information on the management of western lands.

Utah Public Radio Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017

Crossing Borders: Women's Associations in Morocco - A Source of Inspiration

Facilitated by an International Initiatives Grant through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, a nine-person research team from Utah State University traveled to Morocco to find their academic objectives spark realizations of global proportions. “My goal was to introduce others to how the majority of the world lives, which is not how we live in this country. And insure that those who go, come back understanding that not every Muslim is a terrorist.”vThat’s Peg Petrzelka, Utah State University professor of sociology, describing a recent study-abroad trip to Africa, specifically Morocco, in a rural community near Marrakesh. The research team focused on the role of civil society organizations, or women’s associations. Rebecca Walton, professor of English explains. ... The research team accomplished many of their goals – creating meaningful cultural exchanges, seeing how the rest of the world lives, and observing civil society organizations in a non-industrialized country context. The next step in this journey is applying the inspiration of Moroccan women’s associations to community life at home.

Cache Valley Daily Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017

USU Aviation Program Purchases Helicopters from Mountain Ridge Helicopters

For nearly 80 years Utah State University has been providing flight training programs. As planes and aviation technology have evolved since then, so has USU's approach to preparing students for a career in the skies. “We’ve had a relationship down at the airport since 1939 training pilots," says Bruce Miller, Department Head of the School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education at USU. ... In 2013 the university began a partnership with private flight school Mountain Ridge Helicopters at the Logan-Cache Airport. ... Now, that relationship has evolved as the helicopters have been sold to the university and the instructors are now USU employees. ... Miller says the relationship with Mountain Ridge Helicopters and USU has been a good one. They are located next to each other at the airport and the efficiencies of combining both a fixed wing program with a helicopter program makes a lot of sense for the university. ... Miller says many of the students will have had some kind of triggering event in their lives that made them want to become a pilot, like taking a helicopter ride as a tourist over the Grand Canyon, Hawai'i or Las Vegas. And then they focus on achieving the goal of becoming a pilot, themselves.

The New York Times Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017

Seeking the Source of the Vanishing Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake in Utah is roughly the same area as 75 Manhattans. It feeds and houses millions of birds of hundreds of species, provides the namesake of Utah’s capital city and some credit it for the state’s trademarked claim to “the greatest snow on earth.” And it’s vanishing. ... “Do we want to in 50 years change the name of our city to Salt City because the lake has gone away?” asked Wayne A. Wurtsbaugh, a retired aquatic ecologist at Utah State University. He and his colleagues reported in an analysis published in Nature Geoscience last month that human consumption — not seasonal fluctuations or climate change — is primarily to blame for the Great Salt Lake’s desiccation. They hope that creating a better understanding of water flowing into and out of the lake may serve as a model for managing salt lakes that face similar threats. ... In the case of the Great Salt Lake, the researchers warn that another 30 square miles of lake bed could be exposed in the next 30 to 50 years if planned development and overuse continue. ... To save bodies of water like Great Salt Lake, reducing consumption will be critical in arid basins, the authors argue. They recommend a careful analysis of how lake water is moving in and out of lake systems to identify distinct sources of declines, as they have with Great Salt Lake. Doing so will help regulators better weigh trade-offs between water use and maintaining lakes at sustainable levels.

Deseret News Monday, Nov. 27, 2017

USU Names New Chief Fundraiser

Utah State University has selected Mathew T. White to be its new chief fundraiser as vice president for advancement and president of the USU Foundation. ... His fundraising experience includes major gifts, endowments, principal gifts and annual giving. ... White will spearhead a new universitywide fundraising campaign that builds off a previous endeavor in which the university raised $512 million — more than doubling its original goal by the time the campaign ended in 2012. White replaces Dave Cowley and Neil Abercrombie, who have been acting vice presidents for advancement since April 2016. 

Herald Journal Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017

USU, Tech Council Encouraging More Women to Graduate with STEM Degrees

When Joanna Boyd arrived at Utah State University several years ago, she thought she wanted to major in statistics because she enjoyed it so much in high school. But her thoughts about that subject later changed. ... So Boyd switched her major to mechanical engineering. Set to graduate next year, she has her mind set on a job in the field at a time when women make up less than a quarter of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs in Utah. Not only that, but advocacy organizations, including the Women Tech Council, say retaining young women like Boyd in STEM majors and getting them to graduate with such a degree is difficult. Cydni Tetro, co-founder of WTC — an organization of women and men focused on the economic impact of women in the technology sector — said there’s a significant number of women who initially pursue a STEM degree and later switch to another program of study.Though some state and national data doesn’t show a lot of good news for women in STEM, there are some bright spots. ... USU’s enrollment of women in STEM degrees is seeing an increase of 21 percent over the last three years, according to data provided by the school.

Herald Journal Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017

Students Tackle Homelessness at Annual HackUSU Coding Marathon

The fight to end homelessness in Utah got a push this weekend from a group that may surprise some — college hackers. Scores of college students circled their laptops in the Eccles Conference Center for the third annual HackUSU “hackathon.” From 9 a.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Saturday, students worked in teams to plan and author computer programs. While in the public consciousness hacking is often associated in the public eye with cyber crime, HackUSU Director Haley Manning said they use the term to mean building and repurposing technology to solve problems. ... This year, the hackathon added a special competition category: Hack Homelessness. One of HackUSU’s sponsors, Utah Open Data Catalog, brought a vast collection of data about Utah’s homelessness problem and resources, and they introduced students to the issue in workshops Friday afternoon. ... At the end of the marathon of development, students submitted projects to be judged in several categories.

The Times-Independent Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017

County, City Sign New Agreement with USU

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set the stage for the development of a satellite campus of Utah State University (USU) in Moab was signed on Thursday, Nov. 9 by Grand County Council Chair Jaylyn Hawks, Moab City Mayor Dave Sakrison and USU President Dr. Noelle Cockett. The memorandum, which calls for a $5 million fundraising effort to be undertaken by county and city leaders, was signed during a meeting of the USU-Moab advisory council at the campus of USU-Extension. The MOU, while offering the promise of a new campus in Moab, is non-binding, stating, “It is understood and agreed that this letter of intent is a preliminary expression of our general intentions. The parties intend that no party shall have any contractual obligations to the others ... until a definitive agreement has been fully executed and delivered.” According to Grand County Councilmember Curtis Wells, the MOU, which expires Dec. 31, 2018, is a “formal handshake to move forward in good faith on the infrastructure development of the future campus.” ... The campus will be part of a larger complex that includes zoned housing areas that will help address the affordable housing needs of the community. 

Herald Journal Monday, Nov. 13, 2017

USU International Students Bring Cultures of Home to Campus Event

Utah State University student Abdullah Haggi said that before he came from his native Saudi Arabia to study in the U.S., he believed in a lot of the stereotypes of America because of what he saw on social media. But Haggi issued himself a challenge: He would come to the U.S. with an open mind, “listening with my ears, seeing with my eyes,” he said at the “Around the World Night” event Monday evening on campus. ... Around the World Night gave international students an opportunity to share their country’s culture with others at USU. The evening included manning informational booths, samples of food, a fashion show and musical performances. ... Around the World Night, conducted in the Taggart Student Center International Lounge, kicked off weekday festivities for the university’s International Education Week, Nov. 11 to 17. The week’s worth of activities stems from a joint initiative between the U.S. Departments of State and Education, according to Janis Boettinger, USU vice provost and the director of the school’s Office of Global Engagement.

Deseret News Monday, Nov. 13, 2017

USU Partners with Operation Hat Trick to Support Cache Valley Veterans

Utah State University will honor Cache Valley veterans during its “Salute to Service” football game against Hawaii on Saturday. As part of the celebration, USU has partnered with Operation Hat Trick and local vendor Locker 42 to sell merchandise featuring a camouflage design paired with the American flag. Proceeds from the sale will go toward the Cache Valley Veterans Association and, in addition, Operation Hat Trick is providing a donation of $3,500 to the organization with a check presented by John Hartwell , USU vice president and director of athletics, during the game. Merchandise is currently on sale at both Locker 42 locations in Logan and North Logan. Items will also be available at USU football game. The public may also purchase discount tickets to Saturday’s game for military personnel, veterans and their families at with the code, SEATSFORSOLDIERS17.


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