New Missouri Transect Newsletter!

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Missouri EPSCoR Newsletter is now out.  You can read it online here:

Read both issues of The Transect here.

If you want a hard copy, please send a request at missouriepscor [at] missouri [dot] edu (subject: The%20Transect%20newsletter) .

Missouri EPSCoR helps fund 1-acre permanent agriculture exhibit at SLSC

Monday, December 7, 2015

St. Louis Science Center announces new 1-acre permanent agriculture exhibit

St. Louis Post Dispatch

November 23, 2015

By Sarah Bryan Miller

The St. Louis Science Center announced details Monday of a new one-acre permanent exhibit on agriculture. Titled “GROW,” it will teach about “food from farm to fork.”

The $7.3 million project will be paid for primarily by private donations and bond money from 2014 and in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program. It is expected to open next summer. The first major addition of a permanent exhibit at the center since 1991, when the facility’s main building was constructed, it will be built on the former Exploradome site, at 5050 Oakland Avenue.

The idea for GROW arose before the by-then-outdated Exploradome was deflated in 2013, said Science Center president and CEO Bert Vescolani, who began his job in December 2011. In talking about possible new exhibits, he said, the staff realized that with the global population expected to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, a major increase in global food production will be required.

“We got excited about things that were happening in food and agriculture,” Vescolani said in a telephone interview. “We tested it with our scientific advisers, and it resonated with everyone.”

GROW, which will include more that 40 exhibits incorporating chemistry, economics, life sciences, culture and technology, will be open year-round. Along with an introduction to farming, there will be facts about water, weather and how plants work, and a greenhouse with a working aquaponic farm, in which fish fertilize the plants.

There will also be bees and the Fermentation Station, where visitors can experience what Vescolani called “the power of using microbes and the unique environment that these little critters live in to make the things we love, like cheese and wine and beer,” both during regular hours and as “after-hours opportunities to show off.”

Along with a large running tractor, GROW will have a flock of chickens, and a do-it-yourself farming area. The idea, said Vescolani, “is to learn more about the food that we eat.”

Most of the project will be outdoors, with interactive exhibits designed by Oakland, Calif., firm Gyroscope, and activities. Renowned architect Gyo Obata, working as the lead designer with architecture and design firm Arcturis, will design a pavilion containing permanent classrooms. (In April 2014, Zoo-Museum District board member Pat Whitaker resigned from the board after revelations that the Science Center had awarded Arcturis, her company, a contract worth tens of thousands of dollars.)

GROW seems to be a unique concept. Normally, when a new exhibition is considered, “we look around to see who’s done it really well,” Vescolani said. “But there’s not another exhibit like this anywhere in the world that we know of. Some science centers around the country have done something about farming, but nothing like this.”

2016 LSSP Symposium confirms dates and speakers

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Life Sciences and Soceity Program at the University of Missouri has announced three confirmed speakers for the upcoming 2016 LSSP Symposium. 

  • Richard Alley is climate scientist from Penn State University. He is a member of the AAAS What We Know panel on climate change, and has a long history of bringing his message the general public.
  • Marcia McNutt is former head of the US Geological Survey, current Editor-in-Chief of Science, and incoming President of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Naomi Oreskes is a historian of science from Harvard University who focuses on scientific consensus. She has written about the consensus on climate change, but is most well-known for her book Merchants of Doubt, on which the recent film was based.

Watch a TED talk by Dr. Oreskes given in New York, NY in 2014:

The Symposium will be held March 18 & 19, 2016, and focuses on climate change and the Anthropocene.  There will be many events leading up to the symposium.  Stay tuned for more news and annoucements!

Inaugural Missouri EPSCoR Statewide Meeting Brings Researchers Together from Around the State

Monday, June 15, 2015

Missouri EPSCoR held its inaugural Statewide Meeting on June 10-12, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri.  In attendance were collaborators, faculty, and students from the Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 1 award, Missouri Transect.  The University of Missouri System President, Mr. Timothy M. Wolfe, gave introductory remarks about the significance of Missouri EPSCoR research and outreach programs to the state.  He noted his personal interest in the Missourians Doing Impact Research Together (MO DIRT) project, a citizen science project that will involve communities across the state in soil science research and educational programs.

Project Director, Dr. John Walker introduced the keynote speaker of the night, Dr. David Fischhoff, Chief Scientist for The Climate Corporation.  In his talk, “Igniting the Green Data Revolution,” Fischhoff discussed climate variability and its consequences on the environment, agricultural outputs, and communities.  He asserted that data science—a combination of software engineering, scientific expertise, and statistics—and modeling will help farmers make informed decisions to increase their resilience and decrease negative environmental impacts.

Dr. David Fischhoff speaks about Big Data and the significance to farmers, climatologists, and agriculture scientists | June 10, 2015 | Stoney Creek Conference Center, Columbia, MO | Photo credit: Rebecca Ballew

Dr. David Fischhoff speaks about Big Data and the significance to farmers, climatologists, and agriculture scientists, June 10, 2015. Stoney Creek Conference Center, Columbia, MO
Photo credit: Rebecca Ballew
On June 11, Dr. Eugene Takle started the day of events with his talk, “Visioning Changes in the Missouri Transect: Perspectives from the North.” Takle is the director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University and serves as the chair of the Missouri EPSCoR External Advisory Board. In his presentation, Takle gave an overview of the U.S. National Climate Assessment on climate change and discussed the challenges of conveying climate science to policy makers.  The takeaway from his talk was that the Missouri Transect can create an enduring legacy of leadership by collaborating, discovering novel approaches in climate and plant science research, and supporting undergraduate research.

The meeting included a diverse array of presentations by members of the Plant, Climate, Community, Science Education and Outreach, and Cyberinfrastructure teams.  Teams also broke out individually to discuss their progress and opportunities for collaboration. Dr. Karen Cone, Project Director for the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB-BIO) introduced opportunities in the NSF BIO directorate.  Dr. Keith Gary, Chair of the Missouri EPSCoR Statewide Committee and Vice President of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, presented his vision for commercialization and technology transfer in Missouri through innovations in research by the Missouri Transect.  The full day of talks and events ended with a student poster session.  The research presented ranged from using automated ground vehicles for field plant phenotyping, to community engagement in state parks, to using optical hyperspectral imaging to assess plant health.  Poster prizes were given to the students who communicated their research most effectively with the posters as a useful visual aid.

Student pop-up presentations
Student “pop-up” presentations of their posters to introduce the audience to their research and invite them to visit their poster at the afternoon poster session.
Photo credit: Emily Haghighi

Approximately 100 faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows, and professionals from across the state attended the Missouri EPSCoR Statewide Meeting.  Researchers were able to spark meaningful discussions, and new collaborations began organically from these interactions.  We plan to host another fruitful meeting next year in St. Louis!

Student Poster Prize Winners

First Place: Brenden Kelly, PhD Student, Computer Science and Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis,
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Robert Pless
Poster Title: "Web interfaces for plant phenology from public webcams"

Brenden Kelly

Second Place: Nadia Shakoor, Postdoctoral Fellow, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Faculty Advisor: Todd Mockler
Poster Title: "Integrated controlled-environment phenotyping of whole maize plants"
Nadia Shakoor
Third Place: Chasity Henson, PhD Student, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri-Columbia
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Pat Market
Poster Title: "Climate variability impacts on regional Missouri crop yields"

Chasity Henson

Honorable Mention: Will McHargue, Undergraduate, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rico Holdo
Poster Title: "The use of thermography for quantifying plant transpiration"

Will McHargue


“Igniting the Green Data Revolution,” Dr. David Fischhoff, June 10, 2015

“Visioning Changes in the Missouri Transect: Perspectives from the North,” Dr. Eugene Takle, June 11, 2015

“National Science Foundation: Funding and Resources,” Dr. Karen Cone, June 11, 2015

“Missouri EPSCoR Commercialization,” Dr. Keith Gary, June 11, 2015

Climate Team Highlights, Dr. Pat Market (presented by Dr. Neil Fox), June 11, 2015

Plant Team Highlights, Dr. Todd Mockler, June 11, 2015

Community Team Highlights, Mr. Brian Dabson (filling in for Dr. Charlie Nilon), June 11, 2015

Education Team Highlights, Dr. Terry Woodford-Thomas, June 11, 2015

Cyberinfrastructure Team Highlights, Dr. Christine Elsik, June 11, 2015

Diversity, Education and Outreach Specialist Job Opportunity

Friday, May 15, 2015

Diversity, Education and Outreach Specialist

Initial consideration will be given to applications received prior to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 5th, 2015. Thereafter, applications will be reviewed on an as-needed basis. NCAR – Outreach Services Group at NCAR’s Computational & Information Systems Lab (CISL) Click here for more information and to apply.


This person oversees, promotes, participates in, and implements education, outreach, and diversity programs on local, regional, national, and international scales. These outreach efforts are generally focused on developing external community and student interest in and application of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines that support CISL’s computational mission in the atmospheric and related sciences.


  • Social Media Networking and Communication: Develops and implements a diversity-oriented Social Media Strategy. The Coordinator should be familiar with principal social media outlets and their use as marketing tools, focusing on diversity-related sites, particularly those in STEM fields.
  • Writes stories and takes photographs for CISL’s monthly newsletter. Creates written brochures and pamphlets describing CISL programs. Develops and maintains a creative, timely and appropriate presence in various social media venues.
  • Diversity Liaison: Works with Human Resources and the NCAR Diversity and Outreach Director to coordinate diversity efforts across the organization. Participates in the NCAR Diversity Committee. Collaborates with the State of Wyoming’s diversity program(s) and the EPSCoR program in support of diversity goals for the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC). Coordinates efforts in NSF programs such as the National Science Foundation’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE). Makes presentations to internal and external entities outlining program goals and achievements.
  • Relationship Building: Identifies and cultivates important relationships with key Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) for promoting atmospheric and computational science programs and as sources for prospective interns and students for other positions within the Lab. Creates a plan, builds and nurtures relationships with MSIs, and performs outreach visits to bolster CISL’s diversity and education goals.
  • The SIParCS Program Lead is a centerpiece of CISL’s efforts to integrate research and education. Continues the growth and success of this interdisciplinary internship program, which typically brings 10–15 student interns to work for CISL each summer. Supports the ongoing operation of all aspects of CISL’s SIParCS internship program, including recruitment, application tracking and candidate hiring process. Helps develop new proposal ideas and identifies appropriate funding sources, develops program budgets, and ensures that the program remains within budget.
  • Develops a successful and impactful outreach and community engagement exhibit and event portfolio in support of CISL’s mission. Helps develop and align exhibit concepts and ideas with the CISL Strategic Plan, then works with subject matter experts to design and implement these exhibits and events. Finally, the incumbent ensures that the exhibits and events are used effectively to realize CISL’s diversity, outreach, and education goals.
  • Works with partners such as the Wyoming Business Council, Minority Serving Institutions, and the broader university community to define messaging and implement exhibits and events for maximum collective impact. Coordinates with other internal and external organizational units on the effective use of exhibits at both at the NCAR Mesa Laboratory and the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center. Ensures that booth designs are cost effective and appropriate to planned venues. Defines, collects, manages, and reports all metrics required for these events.


Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s degree, at least four to six years of relevant program experience in outreach programs, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Specialized understanding of outreach, education, diversity, and internship programs.
  • Knowledge of and ability to interpret institutional policies and procedures and guide others.
  • Strong verbal, written, and presentation skills.
  • Strong knowledge of word processing and graphic design. Proficiency in database, presentation, and spreadsheet applications. Skill in working in a networked computing environment.
  • Advanced written and oral communication skills. Advanced knowledge of English composition, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage. Working knowledge of proofreading, editing, and publication production.
  • Proficiency in the use of spreadsheets, budgets, and financial tools systems (accounting and reporting systems).
  • Advanced skill in the use of Microsoft Office, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
  • Works with limited budgets that support quality exhibits, workshops, or meetings.
  • Ability to work under high pressure and be flexible in response to changing plans.
  • Ability to work independently, plus the ability to work effectively in team situations.
  • Strong ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing in a public outreach capacity.
  • Strong interpersonal, organizational, and multi-tasking skills. Sensitivity in working in multi-cultural settings.
  • Ability to represent the organization on entity-wide or institution-wide committees.
  • Ability to delegate work and provide training. May supervise staff and students.
  • Ability to travel.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, domestic partner status, disability, or veteran status.

Job Location

Boulder, Colorado, United States

Position Type


Appointment Type


Missouri EPSCoR Doppler Radar in the News

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Doppler radar, built by EWR in Kirkwood, MO, will be installed at the end of June on the MU South Farm Research Center in Columbia, MO. Already, it has received media attention state-wide in anticipation of the high-quality, real-time data available to researchers in the state, the National Weather Service, and to the public. An expert in radar technology, Neil Fox, has been collaborating with the Climate Team, headed by Pat Market, since the onset of the Missouri Transect project. On March 10, 2015, KBIA, a local subsidiary of NPR News interviewed Dr. Fox about the radar's predicted broader impacts on state-wide weather forecasts This Doppler weather radar that will improve Missouri microclimate datasets and enhance prediction of climate variability and extreme events. It will also provide high-quality, calibrated precipitation estimates that will be used to better understand precipitation over multi-use complex terrain. Many education and community outreach activities will benefit from using the radar during field trips to South Farm. In short, it is no wonder this state-of-the-art equipment is generating a buzz across the state.

Missouri Transect Annual Meeting

Event date(s): Wednesday, September 14, 2016 to Thursday, September 15, 2016
Location: Havener Center, Missouri S&T, Rolla

The second Missouri Transect Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity to collaborate with Missouri Transect researchers from across Missouri and to learn about research and education projects that are enhancing Missouri’s research and development infrastructure, capacity, and competitiveness.  Graduate and undergraduate students who attend will have the opoortunity to submit and present a poster on their research. Their lodging expenses may qualify to be covered by Missouri EPSCoR. The meeting website with online registration is coming soon.

Save the Date:

Wednesday & Thursday, September 14 & 15

Havener Center, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Rolla, Missouri

Strategic Planning Meeting Held on August 20

Event date(s): Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Location: Bradford Research Center

As an awardee of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), Missouri is required by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct Strategic Planning meeting within 90 days of the award date (August 1, 2014). Investigators, team leads, project administration and NSF Program Officers came together for a strategic planning meeting on August 20, 2014.

The strategic planning meeting was held at the Bradford Research Center and facilitated by an independent external facilitator, Dr. Carl Batt, a Liberty Hyde Professor in the Department of Food at Cornell University. There were approximately 50 participants. Researchers traveled from Kansas City, St. Louis, Jefferson City, Rolla and around Columbia to attend the meeting. External participants came in from California, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Researchers traveled from around the state to collaborate on the Missouri Transect strategic plan at the Bradford Research Center in Columbia
                                Education Team creating timelines and accomplishments with collaboration through Skype

The morning opened with an introduction and welcome from Dr. John Walker, the Project Director and Principal Investigator of Missouri EPSCoR. Dr. Kelvin Chu, Program Officer at NSF EPSCoR, outlined the expectations from NSF for the strategic plan. Each team lead gave short 5 to 10-minute presentations about their team’s research question, goals, and investigators.

After a short break, participants split off into their research teams. They drafted the expected accomplishments by the end of the five-year program, determined timelines for their activities in research and outreach and created a poster for further discussion.

Everyone reconvened and Dr. Chris Elsik, the Cyberinfrastructure (CI) team lead, led a discussion about integrating CI capabilities with each team’s research and database needs.

After the discussion, researchers split up to visit each poster and discuss timelines and accomplishments with other teams. They noted on other teams’ accomplishments posters possible individual or team collaborations to achieve each accomplishment

Participants visited other teams’ posters to discuss how the timelines and accomplishments fit into the Missouri Transect project

The full group reconvened for a presentation from the external evaluator about the EPSCoR evaluation process. Then the Statewide Committee Chair, Dr. Keith Gary spoke to the group about the role of the Statewide Committee and the Academic and CI subcommittees, the Missouri Science & Technology plan, and how to build commercialization partners and increasing communication with the State government. The meeting closed with comments from Dr. Walker.