Fall 2009

Education News

Grand Opportunity to Learn About Water

More than 850 grandparents and their grandchildren gathered at the UW–Madison in July to participate in Grandparents University, sponsored by the UW Alumni Association. Limnology, the study of inland waters, was one of 19 majors offered to this unique group of students. Children aged 7–14 and their ageless grandparents learned about the Great Lakes, groundwater, environmental chemistry, and Lake Mendota during the two-day session.

John Magnuson, professor emeritus, welcomed students aboard the Limnos by teaching them a secret handshake that doubled as a safe way to embark on the Center for Limnology’s research vessel. While out on Lake Mendota, they measured water clarity using a Secchi disk, tested the water for dissolved oxygen concentrations and temperature, took a sample of the bottom sediments, and collected concentrated samples of microscopic plants and animals that live in the water. In the basement of the Water Chemistry and Engineering Laboratory, grandchildren out-competed their grandparents while test driving two remotely operated vehicles, one of which had just returned from a research trip on Lake Michigan.

Sea Grant Outreach Specialists Jim Lubner and Phil Moy were two of the instructors in the program teaching students about the Great Lakes and their many aquatic invasive species. Carolyn Betz, Sea Grant science writer, assisted in sampling efforts aboard the Limnos. Ann Ross attended both two-day sessions of Limnology with two different sets of grandchildren. “The most amazing part was seeing the plankton under the microscope,” she said after the second session. “Maybe we will meet again.” She enjoyed the class so much that she plans to bring another granddaughter next summer.

For more information about Grandparents University, go to http://www.uwalumni.com/home/learning/gpu/gpu.aspx

Two Wisconsin Students Receive Prestigious Knaus Fellowship

Since February, two UW Sea Grant-sponsored students have been among 46 nationwide working in the Washington, D.C., area as recipients of the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. Sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, the one-year paid fellowship provides a unique educational experience to highly qualified graduate students who have an interest in the national policy decisions affecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources by placing them in positions within the legislative and executive branches of government located in the Washington, D.C., area.

Chelsea Lowes is expecting an M.S. in Biological Sciences from UW–Milwaukee, where she studied Lake Michigan phytoplankton and their ability to use alternative forms of phosphorus for growth. As an undergraduate, several summer internships with universities and nonprofit organizations greatly shaped her career path. “By exposing me to the role that policy and the government play, those opportunities greatly influenced my science perspective and really motivated me to pursue the Knauss Fellowship,” she said.

As a fellow, Lowes is working as a coordinator for NOAA’s Ecosystem Research Program, which conducts applied research and development to provide scientific information, tools, and forecasts for implementing and evaluating ecosystem management. “I strongly hope that I will be able to return to the Great Lakes region with my new knowledge of how the federal government views our valuable commodity,” she said, adding that her dream job is to work at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Sue Vang earned an M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from UW–Madison, where she examined community-based social marketing strategies for marine debris reduction. She is currently working as an environmental policy specialist in the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF). In addition to funding science and research, NSF manages the U.S. Antarctic Program which, along with other countries, supports Antarctic research and management.

“I’ve really enjoyed the camaraderie of the fellowship program and the doors it has opened for me,” Vang said. “Never would I have imagined that I would get the opportunity to participate in an international treaty consultative meeting, or assist in an Antarctic site visit! I’m grateful for the skills, contacts, and experiences provided by my fellowship, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me next.”

For more information about the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, visit www.seagrant.noaa.gov/knauss/knauss.html.

The Aquatic Sciences Center is the administrative home of the
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute & University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute.

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