Pocatello, ID, United States
Pocatello, ID, United States

Idaho State University is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research high and teaching institution founded in 1901. At the main campus in Pocatello, and at locations in Meridian, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls, ISU offers access to education in more than 280 programs. Almost 14,300 students attend ISU, receiving education and training in those programs. Idaho State University is the state's designated lead institution in health professions and medical education.There are 48 US states and 59 countries represented at ISU and 285 programs, including Master's and Doctorate programs. The student-teacher ratio is 17:1, gender of students is 44% male, 56% female, and ISU has 160+ Clubs and Organizations.Enrollment for the fall semester in 2012 stood at 14,209, including 12,143 undergraduate students and 2,066 graduate students. Wikipedia.

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Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCTIC SOCIAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 120.06K | Year: 2016

The primary goals of the proposed research are to reconstruct changes in salmon abundance and explore human use of salmon in central Alaska from the earliest occupations during the last Ice Age (~13,000 years ago) through the late prehistoric period. Today, salmon make up the largest proportion of wild foods harvested by rural Alaskans, but the availability of this important subsistence resource is declining in many upriver areas. Research on prehistoric salmon abundance and use can provide data critical to understanding natural variation in salmon availability and how northern riverine peoples have responded to fluctuations in this important resource in the past. By providing a long-term perspective for sustainability and food security planning, project data will benefit a variety of salmon stakeholders within Alaska and beyond. The project has a strong educational component, including the development and delivery of a project-based course for the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (a college preparatory program for rural and Alaska Native college-bound students), thus enhancing opportunities for underrepresented groups.

This project will address three questions: (1) How has salmon abundance varied over time in central Alaska? (2) When did prehistoric foragers begin to use salmon, and when did they begin to intensively exploit this resource? (3) How did foragers respond to changes in salmon availability? To address these questions, a multidisciplinary team will use independent approaches: (a) stable isotope analysis of human and faunal remains will reveal the contribution of salmon to the diets of prehistoric salmon consumers (e.g., humans, dogs, bears); (b) zooarchaeological and ancient DNA analyses of fish remains from existing faunal assemblages will allow reconstruction of past fish procurement and processing strategies; and (c) stable isotope analysis of interior lake sediment cores will track natural fluctuations in salmon abundance. These data will be integrated with models of forager economy and mobility to explore cultural responses to salmon abundance through multiple prehistoric periods. This research will provide the necessary faunal isotope data to accurately reconstruct overall paleodiets of newly discovered multiple human individuals at the interior sites of Upward Sun River (~11,500 yrs old) and Tochak (~1000 yrs old), where faunal and initial isotopic data suggest significant salmon use. This project provides unprecedented time depth on natural variation in salmon abundance in the North Pacific and in understanding how northern peoples have responded to changes in this critical resource in the past. The study will produce much-needed direct data bearing on prehistoric subsistence strategies in the Alaskan interior throughout the period of human occupation.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 615.38K | Year: 2015

The Department of Chemistry at Idaho State University (ISU) will implement a five year project to recruit and support six incoming freshman throughout their four-year degree program (four-year cohort, three enrolling in each of the first two years) and 14 continuing or transfer students (flex cohort) during the last two years of their education. The project will capitalize on three TRIO programs (U.S. Department of Education) at the University that target low income individuals (Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services) and the American Chemical Societys Project SEED that fosters interest in chemistry and biochemistry careers among high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The project offers significant benefits to national, regional, and local communities. On the national level it fulfills the primary purpose of the S-STEM program by increasing the number of highly qualified STEM graduates in the domestic workforce. At the same time it enhances opportunities for disadvantaged and underrepresented students to be full participants in the economic growth of the region and it strengthens the department and university.

Specific objectives for the projects will be to (i) enable at least 20 students to focus their attention and time on completion of chemistry and biochemistry degrees to ensure that at least 80% of scholars enter STEM employment or graduate school; (ii) increase the participation of underrepresented groups and first generation college students to 30% of scholarship recipients, by increasing recruitment efforts through the TRIO programs; (iii) use the S-STEM advising framework to expose all scholars to the professional practices of chemistry and biochemistry, through participation in undergraduate research and participation in major chemistry meetings. The objectives of the project include clear, quantified targets against which actual achievements will be evaluated both annually and at the close of the project. Complementary formative and summative assessment information will be collected through surveys that ask scholars to describe the impact of the project on their education and offer feedback for improvement. The GPAs, course schedules, and graduation times of scholars will be compared to those of chemistry and biochemistry majors as a whole. These data will allow for more nuanced, qualitative evaluation of the programs impact on student performance.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCED TECH EDUCATION PROG | Award Amount: 796.64K | Year: 2015

The over-arching mission of Providing Opportunities for Women in Energy Related (POWER) Careers is to help women achieve equity in STEM-related technical career fields. POWER Careers will increase enrollment and completion of women in STEM two-year degree programs that lead to energy industry careers. This pilot project is designed to evoke transformational change in the way that women are recruited to and retained in energy systems programs. Education and industry have not been successful in obtaining equitable participation of females in historically male-dominated technical fields. POWER Careers addresses the need to increase female participation, with a focus on non-traditional college-aged women (ages 25+) who need or want to begin a new career. Entry level energy technician jobs offer attractive salaries, excellent benefits, and career paths with promise and opportunity. POWER Careers will implement focused strategies aimed at increasing the successful participation of women in high quality, proven Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs within the Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) at Idaho State University (ISU) College of Technology. These strategies will retain women students through graduation and placement in professional positions. The project is important because it can help participants make dramatic moves into higher paying STEM-related careers. It will employ a system of supports and activities that form a continuum across the student experience. For ESTEC, the best and most powerful voices to recruit students are those of successful female students and graduates. POWER Careers will serve as a pilot project to help identify and address the challenges of recruiting age-diverse women in a rural area, in part by working closely with program graduates who will be role models and mentors, and with community-based agencies that are in contact with potential adult students. The project will also engage industry in efforts to build a more diverse workforce and create workplace environments that are welcoming to female technicians. Efforts to recruit women will include those from underrepresented populations - Latinas, Native Americans, and military veterans.

The specific goals of POWER Careers are to: (1) recruit and enroll 45 women age 25 years and older into ESTEC AAS programs; (2) retain students to graduation with a supportive student learning community; (3) place graduates in professional jobs in the energy industry; (4) strengthen ESTEC partnerships with energy employers to further careers for women; and (5) promote a culture of mentorship to encourage women who pursue STEM technical careers. Attainment of project goals will be evaluated using direct measures such as enrollment, retention, graduation and job placement data, and by conducting surveys to assess affective outcomes related to the culture and climate, as well as program effectiveness. The investigators will address two specific research questions related to the projects goals: (1) How do improvements to educational strategies enhance student learning and performance for non-traditional college-aged women in rural areas within the energy field? (2) How do innovative and targeted recruiting and retention strategies increase the effectiveness of energy technician education programs in retaining, graduating, and placing non-traditional college-aged women in STEM-related and energy-specific careers? The investigators will develop a combination of strategies that will likely serve as a model for other institutions interested in improving STEM technician education and career opportunities for women.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: EXP PROG TO STIM COMP RES | Award Amount: 291.86K | Year: 2017

Over 1/3 of the United States population relies on temporary streams--channels that do not always have water flowing in them--for their water supply. The U.S. Supreme Court and the Environmental Protection Agency have both recently noted the importance of understanding these streams to ensure fishable, swimmable, and drinkable waters throughout the country. Surprisingly, it remains challenging to predict where and when streams will run dry, and which streams will be most likely to shift from flowing year-round to occasionally running dry during droughts. This project will address that gap by mapping where streams are flowing, and linking these maps to expected controls including rainfall, snowmelt, plant water use, and below-ground characteristics. We will collect water samples to test whether these different controls on flow affect water quality. These samples will also indicate how long ago the stream water fell as rain or snow, which may affect how often a stream dries up. In addition, the project will train a diverse group of students from elementary school through graduate school in cutting-edge temporary stream science. New courses will be developed to train college students in environmental field methods and to engage river guides in sharing temporary stream science with whitewater enthusiasts. Finally, the project will work with watershed managers to develop cheaper and better scientific insight into the temporary streams they manage.

Temporary streams ?channels with either intermittent or ephemeral flows ? supply water for ~1/3 of the US population and sustain stream ecological health in many headwater systems. Research is needed on the dynamics of channels with flowing surface waters--the active drainage network--and the sensitivity of this network to changes in climate and land use. This work examines potential controls on active drainage network dynamics across a suite of sites, including multiple NSF Critical Zone Observatories. This project will lead to mapped active drainage networks as well as models linking precipitation, evapotranspiration and inferred transmissivity patterns to the active drainage network, including potential effects of intermittency on water quality. The central hypothesis is that transmissivity is the primary control on flow permanence, and that spatial variations in the active drainage network reflect hydraulic conductivity, geometry, and water age. This project will integrate teaching and research by training a diverse undergraduate and graduate student population in temporary stream science, and by engaging them in field research through an intensive environmental field methods course, mentored undergraduate research, and outreach with K-12 students and river guides in collaboration with the U. Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School. Finally, the project will improve regional stream management outcomes through iterative collaboration on targeted joint research and restoration efforts with local watershed managers.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 612.38K | Year: 2015

The overall goal of the Idaho State Universitys Energy Systems Scholars (ESS) project will be to recruit, retain, and graduate 35 academically promising students and place these graduates in high skill/high wage jobs in energy and related fields. The project will serve students with significant financial need from Idaho and surrounding states. This scholarship initiative will be managed by the Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC), a provider of energy education that prepares individuals for careers as technologists. ESTEC received an ATE project award in 2007 that helped to launch the energy education center, which operates in close collaboration with the Idaho National Laboratory. ESS is an initiative that will broaden the participation of students in two-year energy systems programs.

Key support services for ESS participants will be: 1) 1-1 faculty mentoring for scholars; 2) a Personal Effectiveness Program; 3) ENERGIZE ESS group meetings to address academic and professional issues/opportunities; 4) 1-1 matching of scholars with ESTEC alumni using a distance mentoring system; 5) expanded work experience opportunities; 6) supported energy conference attendance; 7) participation in an enterprise development seminar; and 8) career placement assistance. The project will increase the visibility and influence of S-STEM graduates seeking energy-related careers. The ESS program will focus on increasing the average mathematics strength of ESTEC students and expanding the number of ESTEC graduates from surrounding states. Efforts to recruit underrepresented populations to STEM-related energy systems programs will create more role models and mentors, and will help to increase the diversity of the energy workforce. ESTEC industry advisory council will help disseminate the results of the project. Content will be placed in STEM education and related journals, websites, blogs, and social media. Formative and summative evaluation efforts will identify key challenges, lessons learned, and promising practices that will serve to enlarge the knowledge base regarding the attributes of successful scholarship programs that are tied to regional industry needs.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Nuclear & Hadron Quantum Chrom | Award Amount: 264.60K | Year: 2016

The Idaho State University medium-energy nuclear physics group will conduct several key measurements at Jefferson Lab using high-energy electrons to precisely probe the underlying substructure of nucleons, where a nucleon is a proton or neutron, and they will make fundamental measurements on how force and matter interrelate. The group seeks to understand the nature of the strong and weak nuclear forces and how these forces govern the nucleons constituents (quarks). Due to these forces, protons and neutrons are arranged slightly differently inside large nuclei as evidenced by neutrons tending to occupy the outer layers of heavy nuclei, with the protons being closer to the center. The group will lead an experiment to probe this outer neutron skin by making use of telltale signatures of the weak force in scattering electrons off complex nuclei. This issue further bears upon the structure of neutron stars. The group will also determine the precise and accurate diameter of the proton, where there are currently several conflicting measurements. This group has a strong tradition of bringing undergraduate and graduate students into their research program.

The CoPIs in this proposal are all co-spokespersons on experiments at Jefferson Lab to perform measurements on the underlying symmetry and structure of the quark and gluon components of the nucleon, the size of the proton, and the characteristics of the skin or surface of a nucleus. Dr. Tony Forest is continuing a measurement of the down quark fractional polarization in the nucleon to test predictions of pQCD via JLab experiment E12-06-109. Dr. Philip Cole is co-spokesperson on E12-09-003, an experiment that will measure the change of the dynamical quark mass as well as the nature of the nucleon structure and internal quark interactions as the probes distance scale enters a regime that directly accesses quarks decoupled from the meson-baryon cloud. Dr. Cole is also a collaborator on the ELSA experiment BGO-OD, which will anchor N* measurements at the q2=0 point. Dr. Mahbub Khandaker will conduct a high-precision measurement of the proton charge radius
in experiment E12-11-106 to resolve a current discrepancy between the proton radius extracted from muonic and electronic hydrogen experiments. Dr. Dustin McNulty is continuing his work using parity violation to precisely measure the neutron skin of lead and calcium to test nuclear model predictions of the difference between the radii of protons and neutrons in a heavy nucleus, E12-12-004.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 1.52M | Year: 2015

Idaho State University (ISU) proposes to add four new cohorts of undergraduate and graduate students to their existing CyberCorps(R) Scholarship for Service (SFS) program in cybersecurity combined with MBA degree. A unique feature of this program is a mandatory participation in a weekly 20-hour Practicum, generating a variety of student research projects focused on the broad theme of organizational information asset protection. Program provides students with hard and soft modalities via emphasis in technical skills as well as policy, operations, and project management. Students need to demonstrate a strong cybersecurity background, critical thinking skills and second language competency. Another feature of the ISUs CyberCorps(R) SFS program is a requirement to complete three standard cybersecurity certifications: Security+, SSCP and CISSP. Integration of MBA business skills with cybersecurity knowledge results in attractive graduates that are in demand by hiring managers of government agencies. The program uses community of scholars approach to learning, case-based cybersecurity projects, Saturday classes for critical thinking topics, hands-on experience in specialized labs, and peer-led learning in policy, procedures and technology.

The project is having an immediate impact on the cybersecurity capabilities of the federal workforce by providing graduates with security skills to federal agencies. Through directed work, students may emphasize industrial control systems, cloud security, forensics, secure software, health care security as well as National Security Information procedures. The program has evolved from certification and accreditation focus to continuous monitoring and defensive simulations, including development of cyber competitions and infrastructure simulation. Recruitment of underrepresented groups expands upon the regular recruitment of women and minorities at ISU and is resulting in a better diversity in the SFS program than the overall campus percentages. The PIs have developed a strong partnership with Hampton University, an HBCU, which is creating a strong minority pipeline to the ISU program. Our cyber-range is used worldwide. An annual student led effort during October Cyber Security Awareness month embraced media outlets, including radio PSAs, and cybersecurity lectures at the local schools.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY | Award Amount: 406.36K | Year: 2016

Decision making is a process that is an essential, but challenging, aspect of peoples personal and professional lives. Important decisions about another person are often based on first impressions. Impressions can include the emotional state a person is feeling at that moment, or affect, and how that person generally thinks and acts: his or her personality traits. Making accurate judgments has vital effects on the actions people take. Judging that a persons affect is positive or negative allows people to decide whether approach or avoidance is best at that moment. Accurately judging traits is useful for the who and how of social living. People determine whom to approach with what goal in mind, and they anticipate how such interactions might unfold. Making good decisions in a variety of contexts is likely to lead to quality relationships or collaborations and avoidance of negative ones. This, in turn, may increase well-being, employee satisfaction, and productivity. Although accurately judging both affect and stable traits is crucial to making high quality decisions, researchers have developed models of these two kinds of judgments independent of each other. The current project provides an innovative merging of these areas of research, producing a model of how accuracy across these judgment areas may be related. The investigators will test the newly developed State and Trait Accuracy Model in four experiments. In addition, the project provides research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and engagement in science for students in primary schools.

This project tests two hypotheses about the relationship and causal direction of peoples accuracy in judging affect and judging traits. The State and Trait Accuracy Model predicts a positive relationship between such judgments, and further predicts that judgments of affect precede accurate judgments of personality traits. To test hypotheses about the accuracy of judging strangers, it is essential to have stimuli that display genuine emotions and responses, rather than staged or artificial affective displays. Thus, researchers from the three universities involved in this project have developed a validated database of stimuli consisting of videotapes of individuals whose personality traits and emotional state have been assessed. In the current project, experiments will use segments of these videotapes as stimuli for observers to make affect and trait judgments. Four experiments involve manipulating observers judgmental focus and manipulating the validity of affect and trait information, either by mislabeling or by natural incongruences. Undergraduate and graduate students will be involved as researchers and participants in the project, providing research training opportunities. Children in local primary schools will benefit by exposure to presentations and research design experiences provided in their schools. Another benefit of this project is that the infrastructure for research is enhanced via this collaboration of researchers at three North American universities. In addition, society can benefit from an increased understanding of how affective states and personality traits can be judged more accurately--something useful to people in daily life as well as to professionals. For instance, the U.S. economy may benefit from employers being better able to determine the fit between applicants and jobs.

Devices and methods are presented for converting energy from radiation into electrical power. In one illustrative embodiment, a device for converting energy from radiation into electrical power includes a diode formed of a semiconductor material capable of mitigating radiation damage by operating at temperatures greater than 300 C. The device also includes a radiation source comprising an isotope emitting alpha particles. In another illustrative embodiment, a device for converting energy from radiation into electrical power includes a diode formed of a semiconductor material comprising uranium oxide, UO_(2x), where 0x0.5. The device also includes a radiation source comprising an isotope emitting alpha particles. The semiconductor material may include a single-crystal of uranium oxide. Other devices and methods are presented.

Systems and methods are presented for regulating electrical power generated from a decay of radiation-emitting isotopes. The systems include a diode formed of a semiconductor material capable of mitigating radiation damage by operating at temperatures greater than 300 C. In some embodiments, the semiconductor material includes uranium oxide, UO_(2x), where 0x0.5. The systems also include a fluid comprising an isotope emitting alpha particles. The systems additionally include a closed circuit having the fluid disposed therein and configured to bring the fluid in contact with the diode. The methods involve flowing a fluid across a surface of a diode and generating electrical power from the diode in response to radiation absorbed therein. The fluid includes an isotope that emits alpha particles. The surface of the diode defines a portion of a closed circuit in which the fluid flows. The methods additionally involve extracting, from the fluid, decay products of the isotope. Other systems and methods are presented.

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