C of I Newsletter

2013. 07. 26

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The College of Idaho raises $6.5 million

Sterry Hall

Alumni, friends and supporters have answered the call again for The College of Idaho, which marked another record-breaking year of fundraising during the recently concluded 2012-2013 fiscal year. Overall giving increased 22 percent to $6.5 million and a new record was set for the number of alumni making gifts to the College in a given year.

“We are humbled and amazed by the support our alumni and donors continue to show for the College,” said C of I development director Jack Cafferty. “The College of Idaho is poised to reach incredible new heights, and none of it would be possible without their heartfelt support.”

Gifts from alumni increased 27 percent to $2.25 million during the past fiscal year ending June 30, while gifts to the Boone Fund – the College’s annual unrestricted giving program – exceeded $800,000. In addition, the College received gifts from 100 percent of its trustees, 94 percent of its faculty members, 94 percent of its graduating seniors and 93 percent of its staff members.

“It is amazing to see the outpouring of support from all parts of our campus community,” said Katie Miller, director of the C of I Boone Fund. “Achieving such high giving percentages not only from alumni, but also from staff, professors and students shows how deeply people believe in the College’s mission and the quality of the education it provides.”

At 36 percent, The College of Idaho has the highest alumni giving rate amongst Idaho schools. It also ranks in the top five amongst all colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest. To date, the C of I has raised $158 million toward its Advance The Legacy campaign to raise $175 million by 2016. To learn more about the campaign, please visit www.collegeofidaho.edu/campaign.

C of I group uses crayfish to study ecosystem toxicology

Crayfish (16)

Shy, elusive and able to fit into the smallest of underwater cracks, the signal crayfish isn’t the easiest animal to get one’s hands on. But this summer, a group of students at The College of Idaho is diving right into a study of the crayfish and its ability to serve as a key indicator of contaminants in Idaho’s aquatic environments.

Funded by grants from the M.J. Murdoch Charitable Trust and the Idaho INBRE program and led by C of I biology professor Dr. Mark Gunderson, the C of I group is spending ten weeks collecting crayfish throughout southwestern Idaho and studying them in a campus biology lab. The project aims to learn more about how different chemicals affect aquatic ecosystems by collecting crayfish from field sites where a variety of land uses are taking place and measuring the animals’ responses to contaminants through lab exposure studies.

“Crayfish often serve as keystone species in aquatic ecosystems,” Gunderson said. “They feed on a variety of plant and animal matter, and they’re also an important food source for fish and terrestrial organisms. We’re using the crayfish as an invertebrate model to serve as an indicator for exposure to contaminants in the environment.”

Gunderson and his six-student team of Collin Clovis, Patrick Erstad, Laura Holden, Alicia Latta, Connor Lineberger and Juan Carlos Cervantes Reyes are traveling throughout the Treasure Valley to collect crayfish from the Boise River, Snake River and Payette River watersheds. The students get right in the water, using hand nets and buckets to collect samples from each site.

“We’re using crayfish as a biomarker so we can see how certain chemicals might affect us in the end,” said Clovis, a senior biology major from Boise. “Not only do [humans] pollute the water, we also use it for drinking and watering crops, so it all circles back to us.”

In addition to its scientific merits, the project is giving Gunderson’s students an opportunity to perform high-level undergraduate research both in the field and in the lab.

“It’s been really cool to work so closely with [Dr. Gunderson],” said Erstad, a junior biology-religion double major from Boise. “It’s great hands-on experience, and it’s really important to have the opportunity to learn this closely and interactively where you can synthesize your own knowledge and figure things out on your own.”

College of Idaho launches computer science major

Computer Lab

Starting in fall 2013, The College of Idaho will offer a new major in mathematics-computer science that capitalizes on its strong liberal arts curriculum and its proximity to the vibrant high-tech business center of Boise.

John Ottenhoff, vice president for academic affairs, said the C of I offers an ideal environment for studying computer science.

“If you talk to the people who make decisions at places like Micron and Hewlett-Packard, they'll tell you that ‘high-tech’ really depends on ‘high thinking’ – and on workers who can think critically, communicate and solve difficult, complex problems,” Ottenhoff said. “Those are the kinds of skills the C of I computer science program – and our entire PEAK Curriculum – focuses on. We believe our new computer science program will be especially successful in producing those thoughtful and innovative leaders of tomorrow's high-tech fields, whatever they may be.”

Frank Jones, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, said computer science is cross-disciplinary by nature, yet is often studied largely independent of other fields such as the social sciences or fine arts.

“Our objective is to provide majors with a strong foundation in the theory and practice of computer science while encouraging them to investigate and integrate these concepts within the context of other areas of knowledge,” Jones said. “Qualified computer science graduates are in high demand in virtually every field. The kind of well-rounded graduates that a liberal arts education can produce are especially sought-after.”

Courses will cover core topics including programming languages, computer architecture and algorithms as well as more advanced classes in numerical computation, operating systems and software engineering. Jones noted that the C of I’s courses will focus on learning and reinforcing theory through application and investigation as early and often as possible.

“In this way, students can immediately see and experiment with meaningful applications of the knowledge they are gaining,” Jones said.

All senior computer science majors will take a capstone course in which they will be required to apply fundamental practices of software engineering in a project that aids a business or charitable organization. In addition, majors will be encouraged to work on self-defined independent projects such as mobile computing or to collaborate with faculty on research activities.

C of I students already have formed a chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, offering additional opportunities for computer science and other majors to learn outside the classroom.

For more information about studying computer science at The College of Idaho, contact the Office of Admission at admission@collegeofidaho.edu or 208-459-5305.

C of I students develop Android game app

Android App Students

Dunegeon Raid app creators Greg Johnson, Kushil Samarasekera and Dharmjeet Rattan.

Just about everyone has wanted to be the boss at some point in their lives.

Now, thanks to an application created by three College of Idaho students, Android users will have a chance to make that wish a virtual reality through the game Dunegeon Raid.

The card-based game, brought to life by C of I seniors Greg Johnson, Dharmjeet Rattan and Kushil Samarasekera, puts the user in the shoes of a disgruntled employee. By building the right deck of cards, users can fight their way to the top of the corporate ladder by systematically outsmarting the bosses.

“Most people can relate with wanting to improve their career situation,” said Rattan, a senior mathematics-computer science major from Sacramento, Calif. “The game is geared toward people probably college-aged and younger, but I think just about everyone can appreciate the humor.”

The app began in January as a project for the C of I winter term course “Special Programming Languages,” taught by Professor Frank Jones. The students kept the project going through the spring, presenting their findings on Android application development during the C of I Student Research Conference in April. The game currently is in beta phase, with the group working to iron out the bugs and improve the graphics before finalizing the app. Once finished, it will be available for free download.

“We’re not looking to sell it, we are more interested in looking into what it’s like to develop an app,” said Samarasekera, a senior math-physics major from Sri Lanka. “People might think it’s too difficult, but it’s a very doable thing. All the tools are available, they are free, and it’s not hard to learn.”

The students’ success in developing Dunegeon Raid has them thinking about creating more applications, including programs for iPhone and the new Windows Phone. Rattan said the group would like to expand its scope beyond games to more useful applications, such as a safety beacon app for joggers.

Meanwhile, Rattan and Johnson, a senior from Caldwell, look forward to graduating next summer with The College of Idaho’s newest degree – a major in mathematics-computer science. The new program was just announced this summer, and Rattan says it will be a boon for the College and its students.

“I think it’s great,” Rattan said. “I know of several students who would love to pursue it now that it’s available, and I’m sure the same holds true for incoming students. Computer science is an important field, and having these courses available at the College is going to open up a lot of opportunities not only for majors, but also for students across math-physics and other disciplines.”


Summer 2013

College Events Calendar

Every Friday

Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History hosts public open house, 1-5 p.m., Boone Hall basement. Click for more information.

August 5

Must See Monday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., C of I campus. Click for more info.

August 15

Alumni and Friends Night at the Caldwell Night Rodeo, 7:45 p.m. Discounted tickets available and RSVPs required! Call (208) 459-5301 or email alumni@collegeofidaho.edu

August 17

McCall Area Alumni and Friends Reception, 5:30 p.m., Bistro 45. Click for info and registration!

August 22

C of I Professor Diane Raptosh releases her new book 'American Amnesiac.' Click to pre-order through Rediscovered Bookshop in Boise!

August 22

Book signing for C of I Professor Diane Raptosh's new book 'American Amnesiac,' 6 p.m., Rediscovered Bookshop (Boise). Click for more info!

August 23

Alumni and Friends Night at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, 7:30 p.m. (Boise). Discounted tickets available for $15. Plus, don't miss a special 6:30 p.m. lecture on the evening's play, 'King Richard III,' by C of I history professor Dori Johnson '00. For more info or to RSVP, email alumni@collegeofidaho.edu.


Check out the latest Coyote Classics football video featuring Bill Young '63, who took the lessons he learned on the football field and applied them to a long and successful career as a coach and educator in the Treasure Valley. To view more Coyote Classics stories, visit www.yoteathletics.com/kickoff2014.

College of Idaho alumnus and IT systems administrator Alan Price ’10 was featured in the summer 2013 issue of Cisco’s Unleashing IT magazine. The article focuses on modernizing IT for education on a budget and talks about strides Price and the IT team at the C of I are making to enhance the student experience. Click here to read the article online or here to view a PDF of the full print version.

Congratulations to C of I alumnus and U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge '57, who is celebrating 50 years on the bench, making him the longest-serving judge in Idaho history! Click here to read more about Lodge's exemplary career in the Idaho Statesman.

C of I student Tanya Greenwood recently had a letter to the editor published in the (Sun Valley) Idaho Mountain Express. Greenwood, who is fulfilling an internship with the Idaho Conservation League this summer through the College's Environmental Leadership Initiative, wrote about the need for water conservation in Idaho.

The Idaho Business Review recently published stories about the upcoming construction of the College's new Athletics and Outdoor Education Center, the College's newly added major in mathematics-computer science, and a photo from the Coyote Reunion featuring 1973 alumnus Joe Glaisyer's $100,000 gift in honor of former football coach Ed "Buzz" Bonaminio '56.

C of I football recruit Taylor Watkins is the subject of a recent feature in The Spokesman Review. Watkins, a three-sport standout at Spokane's East Valley High, is joining the Coyotes as a quarterback and also plans to play baseball.

C of I political economy professor and local political expert Dr. Jasper LiCalzi weighed in on Idaho's 2014 gubernatorial election race in this recent Idaho Statesman article.

Congratulations to Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History curator Dr. Gerald R. Smith, whose research recently was recognized with the first “Joseph S. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award,” given to a member of American Society of Ichthyology and Herpetology for an outstanding body of work in ichthyology. Smith was selected both for the quality of his research and the educational and service impacts of his career.

The College of Idaho dominated this year's NAIA Scholar Team awards, with 15 Coyote squads earning the honor by finishing with a team GPA of 3.0 or better. Go Yotes!!!

The College of Idaho's new major in mathematics-computer science received coverage on the "In the Classroom" blog of Idaho Statesman education reporter Bill Roberts.