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Key Media Mentions for February 2013

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

A few recent Media Highlights (January 2013):

Wells Brings in Talented 2013 Signees – Deseret News, Feb. 6

It seems that every football coach thinks that their most recent haul of athletes on national signing day is the best they’ve seen. For new Utah State head coach Matt Wells, that’s not hyperbole.

The first-year head coach brought in what, on paper, looks to be one of the best hauls Utah State has seen. Wells was able to carry over nearly all the recruits that had committed to previous head coach Gary Andersen and snagged a couple of big signees of his own to make up the 2013 class.

“The first thing I want to say about this class is that they remained very, very loyal. They were a dedicated class,” Wells said at a press conference announcing the 2013 signees. “With the transition that happened right after the bowl game we had quite a few of these kids committed, and they stuck with us.

“They had not just loyalty to a certain coach like me or Gary (Andersen), but to the university, the football program and the direction we are going.”

USU Seeks to Retain Engineering Students with Calculus Help – Herald Journal, Feb. 6

Officials at Utah State University hope they can get more undergraduate engineering students to stay in calculus and graduate in that field with the help of a research grant from the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation.

Led by Angela Minichiello, principal lecturer in the USU department of engineering education assigned to the USU Regional Campus and Distance Education center located in Brigham City, the grant will enable USU to implement and formally evaluate the use of online learning forums within distance-delivered sections of the engineering calculus course sequence.

Learning forums are a virtual platform designed for student/teacher communication, said Minichiello, and students can have discussions and work through homework. She said online learning forums “are a key component to try to retain more students in engineering.”

“We’re going to evaluate their use based on student learning outcomes ... interviewing them, finding out how these forums do help their achievement in calculus,” Minichiello said. “Hopefully, we can get more people through calculus and engineering. The first two years are pretty tough on students, and we tend to lose a lot of really good people. We need to retain as many of these new, promising engineers as we can.”

She added, “The good thing about this intervention is that online learning forums can be applicable in any course. They have implications for traditional classes, K-12. The things that we will learn in this study are applicable much more broadly.”

Educators in Utah Keeping Eye on Legislature, Proposed Bills – Herald Journal, Feb. 6

While the Utah Legislature works its way through new bills in its 2013 session, local educators are keeping a close eye on specific bills that could directly affect valley schools.

There are currently dozens of bills being discussed that involve education, but some will have a greater impact in Cache Valley than others.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only one bill has been passed that deals with K-12 education. State Bill 01, Public Education Base Budget, and appropriates funds for the operation of public education for the next fiscal year.

The Utah School Superintendents Association watched this bill and will closely monitor others dealing with funding.

“There are quite a few on educational funding,” said Marshal Garrett, superintendent of the Logan City School District and a member of the USSA. “And we're trying to determine the intent of the legislators, and we're waiting for some impact decisions. Will it limit us, or is it something that would be good for us?”

USU Study Shows Ag Industry Means $17 Billion to State – Standard Examiner, Feb. 10

Agriculture continues to play an important role in Utah's economy, according to a Utah State University study.

The study found that when taking into account related industries such as food processing, agriculture contributed $17.5 billion to the state's economy in 2011, or 14.1 percent of the total. It also found that agricultural production and processing directly and indirectly generated about 78,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in compensation.

The study, released Friday at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food offices, took a broader view of agriculture's impact than previous studies by examining all related sectors.

Study co-author Paul Jakus, an economics professor at USU, said most people tend to think of the industry in terms of growing crops and raising cattle and overlook the processing sector, which includes plants where dairy and meat products are made.

The food processing sector accounts for 15 percent of all manufacturing jobs in Utah, with the jobs averaging more than $18 per hour.

State Agriculture Commissioner Leonard Blackham said farming retains an important role in Utah's modern economy.

Utah State University Advanced Weather Systems Lab Begins Work on First Space-Based Sensor – Utah Pulse, Feb. 11

The Advanced Weather Systems laboratory at Utah State University announced today that it has initiated work to build the first Sounding and Tracking Observatory for Regional Meteorology sensor for delivery to its commercial partner GeoMetWatch.

The sensor, known as STORM, is a hyperspectral sounder that will collect and return to Earth sophisticated and critical weather data that is not currently available to weather forecasters. The procurement of this data will enable forecasters to predict severe weather and atmospheric instability more effectively, resulting in earlier evacuations that will increase the preservation of lives and property.

"The STORM sensor will provide unique and revolutionary weather and Earth observation capabilities that will benefit Utah, the United States and ultimately the world," says GMW CEO David Crain. "GMW is very excited that the Advanced Weather Systems lab at USU has begun production of our first geosynchronous sounder."

AWS board member and Utah State's vice president of commercialization and regional development Robert T. Behunin noted that, "It is not every day that you get to start building a sensor that could dramatically impact the way in which we think about weather. The initiation of this first sensor build is a significant milestone for Utah State University and for our USTAR Program."

"The STORM sensor is a sophisticated scientific instrument that our team is uniquely suited to build," said AWS lab director Scott M. Jensen.  "We are delighted at the opportunity to build this sensor and deliver it to GeoMetWatch."

Danny Berger: 'I'm Grateful for This Opportunity to Continue with Life' – Deseret News, Feb. 26

When Utah State Aggie basketball player Danny Berger collapsed in practice on Dec. 4, 2012, no one was sure if he'd live through the night. Two months later, Berger is on the mend and grateful for the second chance he's been given.

Berger was recently featured in a YouTube video produced by BYUtv. In the video, Berger reminisced on the episode that nearly cost him his life and the actions of athletic trainer Mike Williams that saved it.

In the video, Berger said, "It could have gone either way. I could have not been here, but I am, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to continue with life and to accomplish some things that I've always wanted to — having a family, serving other people and being a force for good in the world."

When asked how his near-death experience has changed his life, Berger said he is now much more humble.

"This is just a reminder — a really strong reminder — that I'm never going to forget," he said. "It's been humbling. I've been more dependent on God, and it's just a reminder to do the right things and to treat people with respect."

(Herald Journal, 02/06/2013)
(Herald Journal, 02/06/2013)
(Deseret News, 02/06/2013)
(Standard Examiner, 02/10/2013)
(Utah Pulse, 02/11/2013)
(Deseret News, 02/26/2013)
(PR & Marketing, 02/28/2013)

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