2011. 09. 09
C of I professor leads student research trip to Thailand
It was a busy summer for College of Idaho political economy professor Dr. Robert Dayley, who led a team of C of I student researchers to Thailand, published two articles and presented research findings at an international conference.
Dayley’s eventful summer centered on his trip to Thailand with recently-graduated C of I students Morgan Bow, Alex Grande, Chris Kober and Nikki Watson as part of a $25,000 ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellowship grant. Dayley and his students focused on the Thai tangerine industry, interviewing farmers, migrant workers, government officials, activists and industry experts to learn about the local effects tangerine growing has on Northern Thailand. The group focused on political, economic, cultural, and environmental impacts of the troubled industry.
“This topic seemed perfect for faculty-mentored student research,” said Dayley, who has visited Thailand nine times. “We learned that poorly regulated markets subject to rapid demand are prone to overproduction, followed by boom and bust. The students documented firsthand the adverse effects the rapid rise and decline of the tangerine industry had on local Thai populations.”
Dayley’s group used its field research to create the video documentary Tangerine Dreams: Boom and Bust in Northern Thailand, which is available on the C of I YouTube channel. The group will present the video along with an associated paper and poster at an ASIANetwork conference in Portland, Ore., and at the 2012 C of I Student Research Conference next spring.
The C of I project was one of only 13 to receive funding this year from ASIANetwork, a national consortium of Asian studies programs.
“I’ve led C of I winter courses to Thailand many times, but this opportunity was singularly special,” Dayley said. “We engaged in real field research. I used to believe that real field-based student research in Asian Studies wasn’t possible for undergraduates, but I now know that it is possible with sufficient funding and a small research team of highly-capable students like Alex, Chris, Morgan and Nikki.”
In addition to his research with students, Dayley published a peer-reviewed article, “Thailand’s Agrarian Myth and Its Proponents,” in the August 2011 issue of The Journal of Asian and African Affairs. The article is based upon field research and interviews conducted across 12 provinces in Thailand during multiple visits between 2005 and 2010. Dayley presented the article in July at Payap University in Chiang Mai as well as in Bangkok at the 11th International Thai Studies Conference, a triennial event that attracts scholars on Thailand from Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. An abstract of the article is available online.
Dayley is also scheduled to publish the article “Imagined Futures: Post-Green Revolution Visions of Rural Thailand” in a Thai academic journal, Warasaan Borihaan Thongthin (Local Administration Journal), published by Thailand’s Ministry of Interior, Department of Local Administration.
To learn more about Dayley’s research or to read his published articles, contact him at (208) 459-5333 or email [email protected].
'Farm to Table' celebration of Idaho food coming to campus
The College of Idaho campus is set to celebrate Idaho farmers and food with an on-campus event Saturday, Oct. 1. “Farm to Table: Celebrating Idaho’s Food” will feature a variety of activities including a bus tour from Boise to the College’s campus in Caldwell with samples of local wine and beer, a dinner highlighting local food prepared by C of I food service provider Bon Appétit, presentations on local and sustainable food habits and a free public symposium that includes a lecture by visiting Idaho State University professor Dr. Susan Swetnam and a performance by the Fool Squad. Tickets, available at www.treasurevalleyfoodcoalition.org, cost $15 for the bus trip and $30 for dinner and must be purchased by Sept. 23. No ticket is required to attend the public symposium.
“Through this evening of delectable dining and informative entertainment, The College of Idaho demonstrates its commitment to the local food movement,” said Dr. Rochelle Johnson, a professor of Environmental Studies at C of I and a co-organizer of the event. “We are eager to welcome folks to campus to celebrate The Year of Idaho Food with us.”
“Farm to Table” is a joint effort between C of I and “2011: The Year of Idaho Food,” a grass-roots, statewide look at the surprising variety of foods grown in Idaho as well as the social, economic and environmental significance of those foods. The bus trip will depart Boise at 4 p.m. and event organizer Janie Burns, a local farmer and founding board member of the Treasure Valley Food Coalition, will give travelers a farmer’s view on the local food and agriculture scene.
Dinner will be held at 5 p.m. inside the newly remodeled Simplot Dining Hall. Guest speakers include Bon Appétit district manager Sam Currie and the College’s student sustainability stewards, who maintain an organic garden, raise chickens and promote sustainable living habits through various programs and activities on campus. The all-local menu will be freshly prepared and will include a vegetarian option.
The public presentation begins at 7 p.m. in Jewett Auditorium. Swetnam, a respected food scholar and author of multiple books, will be the evening’s first speaker. She will address early Idaho’s food culture. The Fool Squad – comedians Tom Willmorth and Joe Golden, a C of I theatre professor – will perform a new show on the local food movement. Finally, Scott Knickerbocker, a C of I professor of English and Environmental Studies, will give some brief thoughts on the challenges, opportunities and future facing Idaho food.
The bus will return to Boise by 9:30 p.m. “Farm to Table” is sponsored by The College of Idaho, The Year of Idaho Food, the Treasure Valley Food Coalition and the Idaho Humanities Council. For more information, contact Dr. Johnson at [email protected].
Freshmen build friendships in McCall
Over the course of 24 hours in McCall last week, The College of Idaho’s freshman class built friendships that will last a lifetime and received an introduction to four years of self-discovery at C of I.
The annual McCall Wilderness Experience at Camp Ida-Haven Aug. 29-30 is one of the most important opportunities for freshmen to bond with their classmates – from trying to fill a water barrel pock-marked by dozens of holes to asking questions about the challenges they’ll face during the next four years.
Clayton Gefre, a freshman from Meridian, enjoyed the opportunity to meet his classmates as well as talk to some of the College’s faculty and staff at the beginning of the year.
“This is a really great way to meet new people, explore some of the new options you have in college and get out of your comfort zone,” he said.
After arriving at Camp Ida-Haven and staking their claims in a cabin, the Class of 2015 gathered for an opening presentation that included a talk by English professor Eric Spencer on how faculty are both human and not human.
“What you secretly suspected all along is true, faculty are not from this planet,” Spencer said. “We actually like reading, even reading scholarly articles. We like writing, even writing scholarly articles, researching, experimenting, thinking hard and basically learning new stuff.”
Yet Spencer noted that he and his fellow College of Idaho professors are intensely interested in helping students succeed.
“The worst thing you can do is let fear prevent you from getting our help,” Spencer said. “We’re not going to unleash the Neptunian death ray on you.”
Ron Bonneau, director of fall orientation, said the experience that Gefre and C of I’s other freshmen have in McCall is an essential way for them to develop the relationships and resources that will make the rest of their college experience a success.
“This is an opportunity to establish relationships and to knock down some barriers and some perceptions that they have of themselves, the College and their classmates,” Bonneau said.
View a gallery of photos from the McCall Wilderness Experience – including President Marv Henberg’s flying trampoline cannonball into Payette Lake – on the College’s Flickr site.
C of I researchers examine cadmium effects on bone health
Talking on a cell phone or listening to a personal music player while exercising seem as natural to most people as walking or breathing. Yet most of the dozens of electronic devices we use contain the heavy metal cadmium, the culprit in a variety of maladies if ingested.
For the past decade, College of Idaho biology professor Dr. Sara Heggland and more than 40 of her students have studied how cadmium affects bone health and the onset of osteoporosis. Heggland said that better understanding how cadmium affects bone at the cellular level is crucial for doctors, scientists and public officials dealing with the health impacts of environmental toxins.
“People use cadmium every single day because it’s used in almost every electronic product out there,” Heggland said. “Those electronics eventually end up in landfills, and from there the cadmium can get into drinking water.”
Heggland and her C of I students – one of only a few research teams in the world studying cadmium toxicity and bone health – have already made important discoveries such as demonstrating that cadmium directly affects osteoblasts, the body’s bone-forming cells, by causing the cells to intentionally destroy themselves.
“In promoting the death of bone-forming cells, it therefore promotes the development of osteoporosis,” Heggland said. She and her students are now studying the cell signals involved in that process, known as programmed cell death.
The C of I research team also has determined that cadmium gets deposited in the extra-cellular matrix of bone rather than calcium, and is looking to answer what replacing calcium does to the strength of bone cells. In addition, C of I research students have begun examining whether estrogen is connected to the potency of the heavy metal since women are affected more severely by cadmium toxicity.
Shea Wright, a senior chemistry major who joined the research project as a fellow supported by the NIH Idaho INBRE (IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence) program, has enjoyed participating in the ground-breaking research.
“It’s exciting to be learning something you wouldn’t be able to learn in a regular classroom,” said Wright, who is considering a career in either medicine or research. “Being involved in the research process is teaching me a lot about perseverance and problem-solving.”
INBRE Fellow Thao Ha, a junior biology major, said the research experience is benefiting her plans for a medical career.
“Medical students need to be able to work independently and they need to learn how to think critically,” Ha said. “Those are skills I’ve enhanced working on this project.”
Two trends that show no signs of reversing make the research by Wright, Ha and the rest of the C of I team particularly valuable. First, cadmium is being used in more products – from consumer electronics to children’s toys and jewelry – that will wind up in landfills.
Second, the population of the United States and the rest of the world is aging rapidly. Since osteoporosis affects the elderly most dramatically, figuring out how to combat cadmium’s bone-destroying afflictions would improve the quality of life for this growing age group.
“We hope this research is used to protect the public, minimize the amount of cadmium that is getting into the environment, and ultimately, to help people live healthier lives,” Heggland said.
C of I Faculty Showcase kicks off Caldwell Fine Arts season
Caldwell Fine Arts launches its 51st season in Jewett Auditorium with The College of Idaho Faculty Showcase of Music and Art, set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. The opening performance will kick off a season featuring the music of Ireland and Scotland, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet, the family-favorite play King Arthur’s Quest, the acclaimed Boston Brass Quintet, flamenco dance and more.
The College of Idaho Faculty Showcase will include performances by C of I music faculty Robyn Wells, Lisa Derry, Paul Moulton, Marianne Saunders, Brent Wells and Sylvia Hunt as well as members of the Langroise Trio and C of I English professor Scott Knickerbocker, a member of the local Hokum Hi-Flyers old-time string band. The C of I art faculty also will have work displayed during the showcase. Tickets start at $8 and are available at the door. C of I students get in for free.
“This program amazes me with its vitality and originality,” said Hunt, a 1959 C of I alumna and longtime director of Caldwell Fine Arts. “Caldwell Fine Arts emphasizes the quality and variety of its artists. This program certainly aims to maintain that 50-year tradition.”
Saturday’s festivities begin with the Caldwell Fine Arts “Beat Beethoven” 5K Run/Walk, set to begin at 9 a.m. in Morrison Quadrangle. Participants will attempt to complete the course before Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (approximately 30 minutes) is played in its entirety. The event includes prizes, drawings and treats provided by Bon Appétit. Click here to register or arrive at 8 a.m. to sign up the day of the race.
CFA also is putting on a special dinner and art exhibit prior to the showcase. From 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., guests can enjoy art displays by C of I professors Stephen Fisher (in Rosenthal Gallery of Art), Garth Claassen and Michael Capell (in the Jewett Auditorium Foyer). Simplot Dining Hall also will be open from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with Bon Appétit offering a full buffet dinner service for $7.50.
The College of Idaho Faculty Showcase is the first of eight scheduled CFA events this school year. For more information and a full schedule, visit CFA online.
Whittenberger Planetarium to host autumnal equinox show
The Whittenberger Planetarium at The College of Idaho will recognize the autumnal equinox with a program that explains the reasons for the seasons in addition to a tour of September’s constellations. The program is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the planetarium, located inside Boone Science Hall on the C of I campus.
“The planetarium is a tool that can help us gain a better understanding for what is really causing the days to get shorter and cooler,” said planetarium director Amy Truksa. “The planetarium is a great place to rediscover the night sky and to remind us what is right outside our doorstep every night. We are really fortunate to have one of the few planetariums in Idaho right here in our community.”
The September program is geared toward adults and children middle school level and above. Tickets cost $2 for children ages 4-17 and $4 for adults. Reservations are required as space is limited. Reserve your seat by calling Kinga Britschgi at 459-5211.
The Whittenberger Planetarium is named in memory of Caldwell philanthropists Dr. Claude and Ethel Whittenberger. The facility includes a 24-foot dome with seating for 50 people and a projector which shows northern and limited southern constellations, all planets visible to the unaided eye, the sun, the moon and the respective nightly and annual motions of each. The planetarium serves as a community outreach tool with public shows, private shows and school fieldtrips making up the bulk of the annual shows. Church groups, scouts and various C of I classes and organizations also use the planetarium, which hosts an annual National Astronomy Day and other special events. For more information, visit the planetarium online.
Through October 29
Check out this College of Idaho Coyote Celebration video - and more than 100 others - on the C of I YouTube Channel. A gallery of photos from the mascot unveiling is also available on the C of I Facebook page and Flickr site. Be sure to check them out and join the C of I online social media community!
C of I alumnus Dr. Donald Mott '62 has been awarded the 2011 Tacoma Peace Prize, as chronicled by the Tacoma Weekly. Dr. Mott is the founder of China Partners Network, which created a training program to help Chinese healthcare professionals work more effectively with children who have cerebral palsy.
C of I was included in a recent Idaho Press-Tribune feature on local college enrollment.
The C of I volleyball team recently defeated No. 5 Biola (Calif.), the highest-ranked opponent the Coyotes ever have toppled. The victory earned C of I the "Verizon Team of the Week" award.
The C of I Coyote celebration received some nice coverage in the Idaho Press-Tribune, including an online photo gallery by Charlie Litchfield.
C of I alumnus Rex Blackburn '77 has been elected vice president of the Uniform Law Commission. Blackburn, a senior vice president and general counsel of Idaho Power in Boise, was elected to the prestigious position at the commission's 120th annual meeting July 28 in Vail, Colo.
C of I business professor Dr. Marilyn Melchiorre discussed "Blue Ocean Strategy" on the Aug. 20 edition of KTRV Fox 12's weekly show Business at its Best. Dr. Melchiorre will appear on the show again Sept. 24 to discuss behavioral interviewing.
The sustainability stewards have established C of I as a drop-off location (5 p.m. Wednesdays in Simplot Dining Hall) for Idaho’s Bounty, an online co-op that delivers produce from local farmers. New members ($10 per year to join) and volunteers are needed. Five percent of the funds from each order picked up at C of I is donated to the sustainability steward program. For more information, visit Idaho’s Bounty online or email the stewards.