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BSU awards research grants to undergrads to examine water, climate change issues

Eight Boise State University undergraduates will share $42,000 in research grants this spring and summer to study issues related to water and climate change alongside Boise State faculty.

The grants, according to a release, support participation of under-represented students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The student projects will target economic development, river and dam operations and ecosystem function.

“Undergraduate research is a unique experience for students who may never have had this opportunity otherwise,” stated Siân Mooney, a professor of economics and director of the Boise State portion of a National Science Foundation grant that is funding the research projects. “Experience with undergraduate research can help students discover a passion for inquiry and lifelong learning.”

The Boise State researchers, students and their projects include:

  • Biological sciences assistant professor Jennifer Forbey and junior Kristina Gehlken of Boise, rapid assessment of sagebrush nutritional quality
  • Geosciences associate professor Shawn Benner and senior Adrianna Hummer of Boise, the impact of climate change on soil carbon in rangelands
  • Civil engineering professor Molly Gribb and senior Esther Contreras of Nampa, soil hydraulic property studies in the Dry Creek experimental watershed
  • Biological sciences assistant professor Kevin Feris and senior Steven Lalor of Boise, chronic ecosystem stress
  • Economics assistant professor Scott Lowe, Economics associate professor Zeynep Hansen and senior Samantha Hobdey of Gooding, climate variability and water infrastructure: historical experience in the Western United States
  • Economics assistant professor Scott Lowe, Economics assistant professor Kelly Cobourn and senior Blair Vanderlugt of Boise, the impacts of climate change on economic development and land use change within Idaho
  • Civil engineering assistant professor Arturo Leon, junior Ashley Zumwalt of Meridian and senior Hadi Mirsadeghi of Boise, engaging undergraduate students in the operation and management of regulated river systems

The research is funded by Boise State’s share of a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation in 2008 to the university and its sister institutions in Idaho. It was Idaho’s largest NSF grant to date and is targeted at understanding the current and future impact of climate change on the Snake and Salmon River watersheds. The grant was secured through Idaho’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

In addition to this year’s undergraduate research projects, the 2008 grant – to be funneled to the university over five years – provided another $42,000 for eight undergraduate research projects in spring and summer 2009.

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