Utah State University is a public research university in Logan, Utah. Founded in 1888 as Utah's agricultural college, USU focused on agriculture, domestic arts, and mechanic arts. The university now offers programs in liberal arts, engineering, business, economics, natural resource science, as well as nationally ranked elementary & secondary education programs. The university has eight colleges and offers a total of 176 bachelor's degrees, 97 master's degrees, and 38 doctoral degrees. It is a land-grant and space-grant institution accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.USU's main campus is located in Logan with regional campuses in Brigham City, Tooele, and the Uintah Basin. In 2010, the College of Eastern Utah, located in Price, Utah joined the USU system becoming Utah State University College of Eastern Utah . Throughout Utah, USU operates more than 20 distance education centers. Regional campuses, USU Eastern, and distance education centers provide degrees to more than 40% of the students enrolled. In total, USU has more than 180,000 alumni in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.With more than 16,000 students living on or near campus, USU is the largest public residential campus in Utah.USU's athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Utah State Aggies. They are members of the Mountain West Conference. Wikipedia.
Utah State University | Date: 2016-11-01
A linear-motion stage that is angularly or radially symmetric or asymmetric, or monolithic may be used as the moving mechanism in a Fourier transform spectrometer. In embodiments, a linear-motion stage includes a base; a first multiple-arm linkage extending from the base to a first carriage attachment end; a second multiple-arm linkage extending from the first carriage attachment end to the base; a third multiple-arm linkage extending from the base to a second carriage attachment end; a carriage extending from the first carriage end to the second carriage end. Also in embodiments, the first, second, and third multiple-arm linkages comprise a first arm rotateably connected to a second arm through a flexure, the angular travel of the first arm is configured to be different than an angular travel of the second arm as the carriage moves along the carriage motion line.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2016
We propose to develop a Photon-Counting Integrated Circuit (PCIC) detector and focal plane array (FPA) with highest sensitivity, lowest noise and hence highest signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) among all FPAs covering the shortwave infrared band, for incorporation into a prototype imaging spectroscopy CAMM instrument for real-time operation on a planetary surface to guide rover targeting, sample selection (for missions involving sample return), and science optimization of data returned to earth, thus improving science return from instruments used to study the elemental, chemical, and mineralogical composition of planetary materials. During Phase I, we have successfully proven the concept of a limited-size array of PCIC detector pixels as well as the imaging spectrometer CAMM instrument. In Phase II, we will develop and prototype a PCIC focal plane array (FPA) as well as the imaging spectrometer CAMM instrument.
Scheiner S.,Utah State University
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2013
Among a wide range of noncovalent interactions, hydrogen (H) bonds are well known for their specific roles in various chemical and biological phenomena. When describing conventional hydrogen bonding, researchers use the notation AH···D (where A refers to the electron acceptor and D to the donor). However, the AH molecule engaged in a AH···D H-bond can also be pivoted around by roughly 180, resulting in a HA···D arrangement. Even without the H atom in a bridging position, this arrangement can be attractive, as explained in this Account. The electron density donated by D transfers into a AH σ* antibonding orbital in either case: the lobe of the σ* orbital near the H atom in the H-bonding AH···D geometry, or the lobe proximate to the A atom in the HA···D case. A favorable electrostatic interaction energy between the two molecules supplements this charge transfer. When A belongs to the pnictide family of elements, which include phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, and bismuth, this type of interaction is called a pnicogen bond. This bonding interaction is somewhat analogous to the chalcogen and halogen bonds that arise when A is an element in group 16 or 17, respectively, of the periodic table.Electronegative substitutions, such as a F for a H atom opposite the electron donor atom, strengthen the pnicogen bond. For example, the binding energy in FH2P···NH3 greatly exceeds that of the paradigmatic H-bonding water dimer. Surprisingly, di- or tri-halogenation does not produce any additional stabilization, in marked contrast to H-bonds. Chalcogen and halogen bonds show similar strength to the pnicogen bond for a given electron-withdrawing substituent. This insensitivity to the electron-acceptor atom distinguishes these interactions from H-bonds, in which energy depends strongly upon the identity of the proton-donor atom.As with H-bonds, pnicogen bonds can extract electron density from the lone pairs of atoms on the partner molecule, such as N, O, and S. The π systems of carbon chains can donate electron density in pnicogen bonds. Indeed, the strength of A···π pnicogen bonds exceeds that of H-bonds even when using strong proton donors such as water with the same π system.H-bonds typically have a high propensity for a linear AH···D arrangement, but pnicogen bonds show an even greater degree of anisotropy. Distortions of pnicogen bonds away from their preferred geometry cause a more rapid loss of stability than in H-bonds. Although often observed in dimers in the gas phase, pnicogen bonds also serve as the glue in larger aggregates, and researchers have found them in a number of diffraction studies of crystals. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: TECTONICS | Award Amount: 168.45K | Year: 2017
Earthquakes generate heat on fault surfaces and exposed fault rocks that provide a temperature record of past earthquakes. Documenting temperatures and textures produced by fossil nano- to micro-earthquakes in seismically active fault zones has the potential to transform our understanding of the role of heat in fault strength during the seismic cycle and our ability to reconstruct the million-year history of earthquakes that refine modern seismic hazard analysis. This project develops a new approach for identifying and quantifying friction-generated heat from past earthquakes on now exposed fault surfaces in the Wasatch fault zone of Utah with field observations, nano- to microscale fault surface characterization, high-spatial resolution fault rock low-temperature thermochronology, and novel high-velocity, hematite deformation experiments to simulate laboratory earthquakes. The research and education components of this CAREER grant advance desired societal outcomes by offering mentoring opportunities at multiple academic levels from middle school through postdoctoral researcher designed to recruit, train, and prepare a diverse STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforce. The project will support a female, early career scientist, a postdoctoral fellow, two graduate students, and four undergraduate research assistants. The education plan supported by this award provides field and laboratory education and research experiences for over 300 middle school students, teachers, and their parents in a rural community located in the shadow of the seismically-active Wasatch fault zone. Education activity modules produced during this project will used to engage middle school students elsewhere along the Wasatch front. The education plan will shape and develop middle school students STEM identities at a critical time in their lives. This is fundamental for shaping future generation of STEM workforce and increases the likelihood that students will engage with STEM courses in high school, college, and graduate school. Natural and experimental fault textures, parameters, and paleotemperatures can be integrated into construction of hazard maps published by the Utah Geological Survey. Education of students, teachers, and parents about faults, earthquakes, and geohazards will enable stakeholders to understand these reports, their surroundings, and the significant seismic hazards they face.
Deciphering the fault damage zone record of microseismicity is critical for understanding in situ physics of processes promoting fault dynamic weakening, earthquake rupture and propagation, recurrence intervals, and earthquake self-similarity. This CAREER grant involves a transdisciplinary research and education plan to document paleotemperatures on mirroredor high gloss, light reflective hematite and silica slip surfaces to understand deformation mechanisms and fault strength evolution during the seismic cycle. These surfaces are hypothesized to preserve transient, elevated temperatures that yield textural and thermochronometric fingerprints of microearthquakes. Natural fault rocks in the Wasatch fault footwall damage zone, UT, are an ideal research and education laboratory and will be compared with hematite surfaces produced in novel rotary-shear experiments. Research phases include: field characterization of mirrored hematite and silica-coated faults; high-velocity, rotary-shear experiments to document hematite friction, temperature, microstructure, and helium (He) loss; nano- to micro-scale characterization of natural and experimental samples with atomic force microscopy, focused ion beam-scanning electron, and transmission electron microscopy; high-spatial resolution, low-temperature thermochronometry using hematite (Uranium-Thorium)/Helium (He), apatite He, and apatite fission-track dating; and synthesis of natural and experimental fault surface observations. Hematite He, apatite He, and apatite fission track thermochronometry strategies employed here reflect new approaches to decipher complex spatial and temporal thermal-resetting signatures. When coupled with microtextures and compared with experimental results, these in situ fault paleotemperatures proxies bear directly on potential hematite and silica fault dynamic weakening mechanisms such as flash heating of asperities. The integrated education plan applies place-based and research-based field and lab learning activities and sustained engagement with role models to facilitate middle school student interest in earthquake science and STEM, and inform an underprepared and underserved population about relevant seismic hazards. The 5-year plan develops and uses these learning modules for 5th-6th grade education along with teacher workshops in a rural community situated in the shadow of the seismically-active Wasatch fault zone. Education activities mirror project research activities to provide students experiences doing real science at a critical age when they are forming their potential STEM identities.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENG DIVERSITY ACTIVITIES | Award Amount: 560.66K | Year: 2017
Broadening participation in engineering is a major priority for the National Science Foundation. Because of its importance to workforce development, national security, and economic prosperity, there is a pressing need to fund broadening participation educational research with strong intellectual merit and that render findings that can be used to broadening participation throughout the engineering enterprise. This CAREER research project is motivated by the need to develop practical strategies and frameworks for helping underrepresented students successfully navigate hidden curriculum that often deter or impede their academic persistence in engineering degree programs. Research findings are likely to inform the engineering education community about negative impacts of hidden curriculum on underrepresented students academic persistence in engineering and how to create a more inclusive engineering academic culture for all students. In engineering, there is strong need to better understand the academic and social challenges that underrepresented students often face in engineering degree programs. Conducting research studies, such as this, offers immense potential to transform engineering education and engineering practice for underrepresented students.
This CAREER research project proposes to utilize a mixed-method, multi-institutional approach to study hidden curriculum in engineer degree programs and these curricula the motivations (i.e., emotions and self-efficacy), behaviors, and actions of engineering faculty and students at three Hispanic Serving Institutions, one Historically Black College and University, and one Predominantly White Institution. This research study comprises three phases: (a) an early stage exploratory study, (b) a design and development study, and (c) an efficacy study. More specifically, Phase 1 consists of conducting a quantitative study in civil engineering across different institutional types and classifications of institutions of higher education. Three unique surveys - focused on HC in engineering and the motivations, behaviors, and actions of engineering faculty and students - will be developed and validated. Phase 2 involves developing a set of custom-made advocacy mentoring training materials for each institution through member-checking qualitative interviews. Phase 3 focuses on expanding the project to other engineering specialties, beyond civil engineering, for each of the targeted institutions of higher learning. By including a targeted population first, followed by a wider spectrum of engineering disciplines, the findings from this project are likely to result in increased generalizability and transferability of the findings that could be used to improve engineering retention and graduation rates among underrepresented groups.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Cyberlearn & Future Learn Tech | Award Amount: 549.53K | Year: 2017
In the United States today, children whose home language is not English make up about 21% of the current K-12 school-age population. These children often enter school already behind academically because they have to learn English as well as the subject being taught. Academic struggles can result in children having negative perceptions about education and high dropout rates. There is an urgent need to break this cycle and foster childrens confidence so that they view themselves as valuable contributors to the classroom. This project explores the creation of an effective program for all children that recognizes cultural and linguistic diversity as an asset. The project seeks to understand how sociable, humanoid robots can be designed to guide collaborative interactions among children who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Through this understanding, the project addresses urgent societal needs for better integration of minority students into U.S. classrooms. Appreciating diversity is a life skill that is essential for all Americans living in an ever more diverse society. Taking advantage of social robotics, the project intends to create this mindset from an early age.
The project research is carried out in the context of developing and refining a set of robot-mediated interaction activities for kindergarten-aged, English-speaking and Spanish-speaking children. Grounded in socio-cultural theories, the robot (acting as a playmate) is designed to mediate interactions among children to create an inclusive learning community. The research questions include i) What does it take to design robot-mediated collaborative interactions to support childrens development? ii) How do the childrens identities and learning develop as they participate in the collaboration? Spanning two years, the project uses design-based research methodology by which the interaction activities are designed, tested, and refined in an iterative cycle. Data collection is done using the Wizard of Oz method, where a hidden person controls the robot to assist childrens interactions as they learn and play together. A representative corpus of social interactions between the children and the person allows the researchers to determine the needed robot capabilities for the ultimate implementation using a real robot. Ethnographic, participatory observations of childrens interactions and interviews with the children, teachers, and parents are also conducted. The project team consists of researchers from the fields of learning sciences, literacy, and computer science, public school personnel, and a three-member advisory board. The project outcomes will be disseminated through multiple channels that target academic and professional communities.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) | Award Amount: 2.69M | Year: 2016
Climate change is a major 21st-century challenge for science and society. In the American West, changing climate is increasing the threats of drought and fire. Such threats require both new science-based information and effective teams of scientists, managers, policy-makers and other citizens who can use that information to solve problems. This National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) award to Utah State University will train the next generation of climate adaptation scientists to meet those important needs. The project anticipates training eighty (80) MS and PhD students, including twenty-eight (28) funded trainees, from the natural, physical, and social sciences, engineering, and mathematics. This project will prepare STEM graduates for careers that integrate science with management and policy to understand and adapt to changing climate and will provide new science-based understanding of ways to adapt to changing climate.
This project will create a Climate Adaptation Science specialization within nine MS and eight PhD degrees, offered in eight departments and five colleges. The training program emphasizes interdisciplinary research and integrates training in informatics, modeling, communication, leadership, project management, risk assessment, decision-making under uncertainty, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Project research will advance understanding of changing hydroclimate (drought and flood), fire regimes (frequency, area burned, and severity), land cover (range shifts and invasions), social and economic effects, and potential adaptations. The project closely integrates research, instruction, and real-world experience and will foster collaborations among scientists, federal, state, and local land managers, policy-makers, trainees, and citizen stakeholders. Trainees will complete a novel two-part internship with a government, industry, or NGO partner that brackets a year-long research studio and embeds trainees in a cycle of creating actionable science. Other novel elements are an individualized communication plan and research-based curriculum supported with short-courses. The project team will test models for educational elements to better prepare the future STEM workforce for an increasing variety of interdisciplinary research, management, educational, and policy-related careers, including application of data-intensive techniques, cloud-based collaboration, communication with diverse audiences, and project management. Comprehensive assessments of the program and its elements will inform best practices in graduate STEM education.
The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The Traineeship Track is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ITEST | Award Amount: 804.09K | Year: 2016
The project will research the effects of single-gender computer science (CS) camps and gender aligned role models within that context. During the past 30 years, there has been a decrease of women earning computer science degrees and entering the CS workforce. To reverse this trend, there has been a surge of girls only programs for recruiting and mentoring girls in CS. Despite their popularity, however, there exists only minimal research on the efficacy of these programs to grow the population of women in CS and little is known about the most effective ways to implement these programs. The project will research the main effects and interactions between female-only and balanced gender CS camps and role models for middle school students. More specifically, the project will examine how gender influences girls self-efficacy, interest, perceived social support, and skill development in CS. The findings can increase the effectiveness of such efforts and contribute to the diversification of this key workforce sector. The project will directly impact over 400 middle school participants from low income and rural backgrounds by introducing them to concepts of computing and providing experiences to develop skill and confidence that can set them on a path toward a CS career. The project will directly impact 54 high school age mentors as they learn and teach computing skills. Project research findings and learning resources will be widely disseminated to educational researchers and practitioners through research publications, educational conferences, publications oriented towards educators, social media, and a project website including research and curriculum materials. This project is funded by the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program, which supports projects that build understandings of best practices, program elements, contexts and processes contributing to engaging students in learning and developing interest in STEM, information and communications technology (ICT), computer science, and related STEM content and careers.
The research goal is to contribute to the evidence about strategies and models that enhance girls interest in and capabilities to pursue CS programs and occupations. Building on a foundation of social cognitive theory, this study can identify empirically grounded principles to inform practice in this critical area. To research the influence of gender in these programs, the project will use a 2X2 quasi-experimental design guided by two research questions: (1) What are the main and interaction effects of gender-specific social competency modeling and single gender vs. balanced gender groupings on girls interest, self-efficacy, perceived social support, and skill in CS in a summer camp context? and (2)How (if at all) do gender-specific social competency modeling and single gender vs. balanced gender groupings affect girls interest, self-efficacy, perceived social support, and skill in CS camps? The research will directly inform best practice for recruiting girls into computing using evidence from a controlled study. Girls only programs are designed to create more empowering opportunities free from possible negative social pressures based on stereotypes of computing as a male activity. To date, no study has examined program outcomes in such a way that the differential influences of single vs. balanced gender environments and role models can be independently and jointly assessed.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Chemical Catalysis | Award Amount: 348.24K | Year: 2017
Biomass, obtained from waste agricultural materials or efficiently - grown plants, has the potential to be a significant, renewable source of clean energy and chemical feedstocks if appropriate methods of chemical conversion can be developed. Dr. Yujie Sun of Utah State University is supported by the Chemical Catalysis Program of the Chemistry Division to pursue research into the investigation of biomass conversion using a novel electrocatalytic process. Electrocatalysis uses electrons provided by an electric current to drive chemical reactions in the controlled and efficient process of catalysis, a chemical pathway that increases the speed and efficiency of the chemical converstion. Dr. Suns research elucidates the chemical reaction pathways, or mechanistic steps, of the electrocatalytic oxidation of biomass molecules and establishes the relationship between the catalyst composition and its catalytic activity for 1st-row transition metal-based electrocatalysts. For good conductivity and efficient catalytic activity, the transition metals are fabricated as very thin films known as two-dimensional ultrathin nanosheets. Broader impacts of the research result from the development of an efficient biomass conversion process to produce fuels and other chemicals from renewable biomoass resources. Dr. Sun also creates broader impact opportunities in his work with students in education and outreach activities. He is actively engaged in outreach programs focusing on attracting and mentoring students from groups that are under - represented in the STEM fields, such as Native American undergraduates and economically disadvantaged high school students, as well as creating cutting - edge research-based opportunities in experimental courses for undergraduate students at Utah State University.
Even though biomass valorization has been recognized as an attractive strategy in producing nonfossil- based chemical products, the conventional upgrading approaches often require harsh conditions, toxic regents, and/or expensive catalysts. With the support of this CAREER award from the Chemical Catalysis Program of the Chemistry Division, Dr. Yujie Sun of Utah State University is developing an alternative electrocatalytic approach for biomass upgrading utilizing 1st row transition metal-based electrocatalysts. In particular, this project elucidates the mechanistic steps of the electrocatalytic oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF, one of the top biomass-derived platform chemicals) under ambient conditions and establishes a composition - activity relationship of 1st-row transition metal oxides (TMOs) for HMF valorization. Using this information, ultrathin two-dimensional (2D) TMOs of the most promising compositions are prepared and interrogated to obtain their intrinsic electrocatalytic activities for HMF oxidation. The ultrathin electocatalyst thickness is designed to circumvent electric resistivity problems. The experimental activities are supported with density functional theory (DFT) calculations, conducted in parallel with the experiments, and are used to aid the interpretation of measured activity trends and other variables in the composition-activity relationship. Broader impacts of the research result from the development of an efficient biomass conversion process to produce fuels and other chemicals from renewable biomoass resources. Dr. Sun also creates opportunities for broader impacts in student training and mentorship in his education and outreach activities. He is actively engaged in outreach programs that are focused on students from groups under - represented in the STEM fields, such as Native American undergraduates and economically disadvantaged high school students, as well as creating cutting - edge research-based opportunities in experimental courses for undergraduate students in Utah.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY | Award Amount: 510.10K | Year: 2017
CBET 1653452 PI: Null, Sarah
There is a pressing need for innovation in the incorporation of environmental objectives in water resources systems modeling. A promising path is to test aquatic habitat accuracy as complexity increases, and analyze if more complex models lead to more robust water resources decision-making to incorporate effectively environmental objectives into water resources systems modeling. This project will advance representation of aquatic habitat in water resources systems modeling by enlarging the solution space to decisions beyond streamflow and reservoir releases. Evaluating aquatic habitat representation in water resources systems models with robust decision-making provides critical new paths toward stable water resources decision-making.
Integrated research and education tasks are: 1) test the accuracy and generality of large spatial scale environmental data to represent aquatic habitat with varying levels of complexity, 2) quantify the robustness of aquatic habitat and hydro-economic tradeoffs in water resources systems models with uncertainty, and 3) expand public science literacy for water resources decision-making by integrating science with art. Because decisions between economic and environmental water use benefits largely rest on the values and preferences of the public, visual art communicates aquatic habitat complexity and the tradeoffs between economic and environmental water uses. This project aspires to reach an estimated 130,000 visitors with museum exhibits at the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Swaner EcoCenter to foster a scientifically-literate public.