outreach

Missouri EPSCoR Researchers Gathered for the Fourth Annual Meeting

Monday, November 26, 2018

Missouri Transect researchers gathered on October 4-5, 2018 for the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) campus. The event brought together over 100 Missouri Transect participants, including faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate students, and undergrads and featured 42 research poster presentations.

On the evening of October 4, Jake Jacobson, Director of Public Relations for Children’s Mercy Kansas City, led a workshop for the Missouri Transect Student and Post-doc Association on effective communication to the public using social media engagement and building relationships with journalists.  He presented videos, social media posts, and anecdotes of communicating with print journalists to help students brainstorm how to get their own research out to the public in organic and creative ways.

The annual meeting with all Missouri Transect participants took place all day on October 5.  Among those in attendance were several key UMKC faculty and administrators. Attendees from all across Missouri received a warm address of welcome from UMKC Chancellor, Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal.  Dr. Agrawal was introduced by the UMKC Host and Climate Team member, Dr. Jimmy Adegoke.  He shared UMKC research areas of strength and highlighted successful interdisciplinary projects on campus.

Pictured L-R: UMKC Chancellor Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal, Missouri Project Director Dr. John Walker, Dr. Anthony Caruso, and Dr. Jimmy Adegoke

Dr. Anthony Caruso, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UMKC, gave the Keynote Address.  Dr. Caruso is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering at UMKC.  Based on his own research at UMKC, Dr. Caruso discussed how each of the teams (Plant, Climate, Community, Cyberinfrastructure, and Education) could contribute expertise to urban agriculture, One Heath Intelligence (OHI), and counter UAV defense research. He spoke on multi-institutional large grant opportunities for Missouri Transect researchers, particularly related to OHI.  OHI revolves around mapping the environmental, dietary, psychological, and physiological factors that affect a single person and predicting the health and longevity of an individual based on these factors.  Funding to study OHI ranges from federal to private sources based on the type of individual being studied, such as adults, children, elderly, the disadvantaged, active service members, or veterans.

After a short networking break, UMKC faculty, Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, Associate Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and Plant Team Seed Grant Recipient, and Dr. Lawrence Dreyfus, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development led a panel of presentations of innovative technologies being developed and implemented by Missouri Transect researchers.  The session was called “Frontiers of Science: AVs, Autonomous Systems and Big Data Technologies and their Applications.”  The five presenters are Co-Investigators on the Plant and Climate Teams: Dr. Mikhail Berezin, Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL); Ali Shafiekhani, PhD student with Gui DeSouza, (Associate Professor) Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Missouri-Columbia (MU); Dr. Zhaozhang Yin, Associate Proffesor, Department of Computer Science, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T); Dr. Tim Eichler, Research Scientist at MU and University of Arkansas, and Dr. Neil Fox, Professor, Atmospheric Science, MU.

Graduate student, Ali Shafiekhani, presents on Vinobot and Vinocular technology out of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MU

As a representative of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Timothy VanReken spoke in the afternoon about the NSF INFEWS program and other “Cross-Cutting NSF Activities.”  Dr. VanReken is a Program Officer for NSF INFEWS and a Program Director for NSF EPSCoR. He has been with NSF EPSCoR since 2014 and came to Missouri for the Missouri EPSCoR Site Visit in 2017.  In his presentation, Dr. VanReken gave an overview of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus and the evolution of the INFEWS program at NSF (Program Synopsis: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505241).  Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) is just one aspect of the NSF’s Ten Big Ideas (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/) and he encouraged EPSCoR researchers to look closely at the proposals and Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) coming out of these initiatives.  One DCL that he highlighted was the Growing Convergence Research (NSF 18-058) (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18058/nsf18058.jsp) that aims to fund “research driven by a specific, compelling challenge inspired by deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.”  The proposed research should be interdisciplinary and innovative.  He also highlighted Rules of Life (RoL) funding opportunities because they fit well with Missouri EPSCoR research (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/life.jsp).  RoL: Epigenetics (NSF 18-600, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18600/nsf18600.htm), RoL: Forecasting and Emergence in Living Systems (NSF 18-031, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18031/nsf18031.jsp), RoL: Building a Synthetic Cell (NSF 18-599, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18599/nsf18599.htm) are all new initiatives. 

In the afternoon, four research and outreach highlights were given by students, Co-Investigators, and research scientists on the Missouri Transect Plant, Climate, Community and Education Teams. Lisa Groshong (Ph.D. Candidate, Community Team, MU) presented on “The community impact of climate change: Perceptions of state park visitors.” Abigail Aderonmu (Ph.D. Candidate, Climate Team, UMKC) gave her talk on “Missouri farmers’ perceptions of climate change and its impact on risk management practices.”  Dr. Nadia Shakoor (Senior Research Scientist and Tech Transfer Seed Grant Recipient, Plant Team, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center) talked about her research on “Natural diversity in maize drought stress response: Genome-wide association mapping of compositional traits and growth phenotypes.”  Dr. Sandra Arango-Caro (Education Programs Facilitator, Education Team, DDPSC) gave a presentation about her outreach education work, “MO DIRT: Promoting soil science in the state of Missouri.”

Graduate student, Abigail Aderonmu, presents her study of climate change and survey results of farmers' adaptation to climate change

After another networking break, students came to the front of the meeting room to give short “Poster Pop-Ups,” elevator pitches on their research to entice the audience to visit their research posters.  A poster session then took place and closed the annual meeting day of events.  At the end of the poster session, Dr. John Walker, Missouri EPSCoR Project Director, presented awards for the best posters and presentations, which were decided by a panel of judges.  The winning poster presenters where:

First Place: Carrie Merritt, UMKC, Undergrad (PI: Fengpeng Sun, Climate Team) “Midwestern Climate Modelling and Analysis: An Examination of Climate Patterns, Trends, and Sensitivities” (Poster 14)

Second Place: Shimin Tang, UMKC, PhD student (PI: ZhiQiang Chen, Plant Team) “Disaster-Scene Mechanics Understanding using Deep Learning” (Poster 21)

Third Place: Samuel Holden, MU, Undergrad (PI: Ruthie Angelovici, Plant Team) “Investigating the Genetic Architecture of the Seed Amino Acid Composition in Maize Using a Genome-wide Association Study (Poster 23)

Students give "pop-up" presentations of their posters before the poster session Samuel Holden describes his reserach to EAB member, Dr. Bonnie Bartel Carrie Merritt stands in front of her poster during the poster session

The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community is a statewide, collaborative research effort to understand how climate variability impacts plants and communities in Missouri. Researchers are collaborating with each other across disciplines and 10 institutions as part of this five-year project.  It is funded through the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program.

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) .

EPSCoR Outreach Investment Strategy

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research: Outreach Investment Strategy

Jurisdictional Procedures for Requesting NSF Outreach Visits

Outreach is an essential component of NSF EPSCoR’s investment strategies which seeks to strengthen the academic research competitiveness of EPSCoR institutions by informing the EPSCoR community of NSF strategic priorities, policies, and  funding opportunities. Outreach also acquaints NSF staff of the science, engineering and education accomplishments resulting from EPSCoR funded projects.
 
In FY17, the NSF EPSCoR Outreach Coordinator is Elizabeth (Liz) Lawrence. The NSF EPSCoR Outreach procedure can be found here with the contacted information for Liz Lawrence. Please submit requests, consistent with the procedures, to Liz with a copy to your cognizant Program Officer

MO DIRT Will Be in Kansas City on April 27 & 28 to Conduct Soil Health Survey Training

Monday, April 11, 2016

You are invited to the next soil health survey training sessions in Kansas City, MO. This training is part of MO DIRT, a state wide citizen science initiative. We hope you can join us as well as your colleagues and or students! Please share this information with others.
 
If you are interested in this project but cannot attend either of the two sessions, we want to let you know that we are continuously offering training in different locations. Please let us know of your interest in the soil health surveys.

Soil Health Survey Training in Columbia - March 3, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

MO DIRT and Missouri EPSCoR want to invite you to participate in a training in Columbia to conduct soil health surveys. You can choose to attend the morning session or the afternoon session.
 
When: Thursday, March 3rd. Morning session 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Afternoon session 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
Where: Room 322 Tucker Hall Building. GPS address: University of Missouri, Division of Biological Sciences, Tucker Hall, Columbia, MO 65211

Parking: See the map. There are two options for parking:

  1. Visitor parking lot west of the Tucker Hall building. It has parking meters that cost $1 per hour up to 8 hours. It is close to the Tucker Hall building but there is no guarantee that you will find a spot.
  2. Virginia avenue parking garage south of the Tucker Hall building, which is a 5 minute walk from the building. You will be mailed a day pass to park anywhere in the garage. Send me your mailing address if you need the day pass.

Who: Adults and teenagers (educational leaders, teachers, students, landowners, etc.) interested in soil science.
What to bring: Paper, pen, positive energy, and a camera (optional). We will be outside for a short period of time to show you the setup of a survey site, so be prepared for the cold weather.
What you will get: Training on how to set up and conduct soil health surveys, and if you decide to join the project, you will receive a backpack with a soil kit, and a manual.
Cost: Free
 
Contact Sandra Arango-Caro at the Danforth Center (SArango-Caro [at] danforthcenter [dot] org?subject=MO%20DIRT%3A%20Soil%20Health%20Survey%20Training" rel="noreferrer">SArango-Caro [at] danforthcenter [dot] org) if you are interested in participating.  If you cannot attend this training, we will be offering training across the state in the future. Please also share this information with others.
We hope you can join us, as well as your students and colleagues!
 
Read below for an introduction to MO DIRT, Missouri Transect, and soil health surveys:

MO DIRT - Missourians Doing Impact Research Together, has two main goals: (1) to further educate citizens on the societal importance of healthy soils and (2) to recruit as many individuals as possible to examine the current properties of our state soils and how these are being influenced by land use and management, as well as microclimate and climate change (see attached brochure). This project is funded by the National Science Foundation under the federal EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) initiative. Called “The Missouri Transect,” this working group of scientists, educators and community advocates will be generating data and models to better understand how climate influences agricultural and native plant systems, and how Missouri communities are affected and respond to this phenomenon over the course of five years. The leading institution for The Missouri Transect is the University of Missouri-Columbia, which is collaborating with eight other academic institutions including the Donald Danforth Plant Center, the Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis University, Lincoln University, Washington University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City and St. Louis.
 
Within MO DIRT we have a program on soil health surveys. This surveys are conducted by teenagers and adults, working as individuals or in small teams, in study sites of their choosing representative of natural systems (prairie, forest, woodland) or agricultural system (grassland, crop fields, animal fields). Urban or suburban gardens are not included. The sites are monitored monthly from February to November over the course of several years. You can join the soil surveys at any time. The data generated from the soil surveys include measurements of physical, chemical, and biological indicators of soil health. These data will provide baseline information to be shared through an open access on-line website. This electronic tool will allow participants to learn about data being deposited by others across the state, and how the data will be validated for use by scientists, as well as teachers for classroom learning, all for the endpoint of better tracking of how soil health is being affected across the state for long term prospects.
 
During the training, volunteer citizens (teachers, high school students, land owners, youth groups, etc.) will learn about soil science and how to monitor soil health by measuring soil physical, chemical, and biological indicators. Participants will also learn about data collection and data management. If you are a teacher, take into consideration that your high school students can attend the training to, even if you cannot attend.

The training last 3 hours and is free. If you decide to join the soil surveys project you will receive a manual and a soil kit.

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.”

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

Presentations

“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

Expand Your Broader Impact Skills: AIBS Communications Boot Camp for Scientists

Event date(s): Monday, October 15, 2018 to Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Location: AIBS Washington, DC, Offices, 1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20005


Rarely has the need for effective and influential communication about science been more important than it is today.

Politicians and political interests are redefining and reinterpreting science—with great persistence and impact. The public is routinely asked to make decisions about matters informed by science. The news media is endeavoring to share increasingly complex stories about science with the public. The majority of the public still respect scientists and value science, but they often find it challenging to discern who and what is legitimate.

Simply adding to the noise will not provide individuals with the understanding they need to inform their deliberations and decisions. Scientists must become more skilled at communicating in impactful ways.

As called for by many sources, the time for business as usual has passed. There is a real and immediate need for scientists to become effective and engaged communicators.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is responding to this need by offering scientists a professional development opportunity. The AIBS Communications Training Boot Camp for Scientists expands on our highly successful media and science policy training workshops. The program meets the needs of everyone from graduate students to senior researchers and program administrators.

AIBS is the scientific organization that promotes the use of science to inform decision-making that advances biology for the benefit of science and society.

AIBS has a long and successful track record of engaging, informing, and influencing the public and science policy decision-makers. Our audiences include members of Congress, federal agency heads and program managers, state officials, and university administrators. In addition to working directly with these groups, we routinely engage the public through traditional and digital media.

Our staff members have used their decades of science policy and communications experience to develop training materials and resources that provide scientists with the skills needed to successfully communicate about their research with decision-makers and reporters. To date, AIBS has trained more than 1,700 scientists.

AIBS Communications Boot Camp

The Boot Camp is an intensive, two-day, hands-on training program in Washington, DC.

Participants will learn: 

  • How to translate scientific findings for non-technical audiences
  • How to tell a resonant story that informs decision-makers
  • How to prepare for and participate in a news interview
  • How to prepare for and engage in a meeting with a decision-maker
  • How to protect your scientific reputation
  • How to identify and define the audience you need to reach
  • What policymakers want and need to know from a scientist
  • What reporters are looking for in an interview
  • How to leverage social media
  • How the nation’s science policy is developed and implemented

Participants will have the opportunity for formal and informal discussions with science policy and communications experts working in Washington, DC.

Dates: October 15–16, 2018

Location: AIBS Washington, DC, Offices, 1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20005

Cost: The registration fee covers instruction, materials and resources, breakfast and lunch during the program, and a reception on October 15th. 

 

$440/person      AIBS Individual Members. The course is not tax deductible, but a portion of an individual AIBS membership is tax deductible. A non-refundable $100 deposit is required at the time of registration. Join or renew now.
$440/person Individuals officially nominated to participate by an AIBS Member Society or Organization (MSO) in good standing. A non-refundable $100 deposit is due at the time of registration.
$495/person Individuals who are not AIBS members or nominated by an AIBS MSO. A $100 deposit is due at the time of registration.Join AIBS now to save $55.00. 
  Group Discount: For any group or organization that sponsors the participation of four or more individuals, the registration rate will be reduced by $30/participant in the group. Please contact jpalakovichcarr [at] aibs [dot] org for details.

Register now: https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/communications_boot_camp.html

Soil Health Survey Training

Event date(s): Saturday, June 30, 2018
Location: Library Station, 2535 N Kansas Expy, Springfield, MO 65803 (Frisco Room)


Pages