IANR KRVN Interview September 11, 2021

KRVN Author
09/13/2021 Added
16 Plays


IANR Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm joins us to discuss two lesser-known CASNR learning opportunities at UNL. In the long-form version, Mike reflects on the anniversary of 9/11.

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  • A member of my team got really excited and created a partial transcript of this week's interview with time stamps. INTERVIEWER: [00:00] It is time again for our weekly segment, which is focused on the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Joining us in studio this week is vice president, vice chancellor, Mike Boehm. Mike, before we get into today's topic, of course, we're reflecting on 9/11 today, and maybe hearing a little bit— We'll reflect a little bit more, but some of your initial thoughts as we look back 20 years since that day. MIKE BOEHM: [00:21] Yeah, Bryce. Well, good morning. It's hard to believe, 20 years, right? In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. Of course, you were still a little kid, I'm guessing, remember that. But none of us that were adults at that time will ever forget where we were on the morning of 9/11. And we can unpack that a little bit, but of course with the pullout in Afghanistan tied very much to 9/11, a lot of things to think about and reflect on, and a lot of learning, and a lot of hardship there. So yeah, basically I'd say thanks to everybody who who's served, who is serving, and to the families of those service for members, because it really is a team sport serving your country in uniform. So, we'll come back to that at the end, huh? INTERVIEWER: [01:09] That sounds good to me, Mike. Over the past few weeks here on the program we've talked about two very different kinds of learning opportunities that are really foundational to IANR, that includes the undergraduate education in the field days that take place at research and extension centers all across the corners state each year. Here on this week's program, we're rounding out the recent theme of education with two other opportunities. What can you share with us about those? MIKE BOEHM: [01:32] Yeah, absolutely Bryce. You know, it's not a one size fits all kind of a deal, learners. We all are learners, we're all teachers and we learn in different ways. Some read and that's how they learn, some are more tactile, experiential. Most of us are, you know, combination of both of those. So yeah, pretty cool. So, at the heart of what we do it's engaging with learners, at the end of the day, in the college of agricultural sciences and natural resources, as well as over at the Nebraska college of technical agriculture for our undergraduate programs. But we also work with our youth and youth development through 4-H and our extension programs, the learning child, which is really targeted more towards early pre-K childcare providers to help little ones learn. [02:26] We work with Ollie for our older Nebraskans, our colleagues there, and we work with graduate students in post-docs. So, there's a gradient of learners that are really amazing to work with and fun to work with. I'd like to highlight one today in particular that focuses on a high school program, it's really called— It's neat, It's called the Young Nebraska Scientists Program. And this is a program that got started back in 2008. The whole goal of this program was really to provide opportunities for high schoolers to stretch a little bit. And I'm going to talk about one of the participants there, Riley Grove, a Lincoln Northeast High School student who got engaged, who loves music, and didn't think science was in her future, but she found that the two really tied together. [03:26] The program is supported through a partnership with something called EPSCOR, E-P-S-C-O-R, t's a mouthful, it stands for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. And we're lucky to have an amazing EPSCOR program not too far from the studio over in the food innovation center that brings in tens of millions of dollars every year to connect it with our amazing researchers across the university of Nebraska, but in particular for us, IANR. [04:00] And so, Riley, let's get back to Riley, a Lincoln North high school senior, she spent the summer working with James Schnable. Dr. Schnable is a professor in agronomy and horticulture, and one of James’ doctoral students, Michael Trus, they are amazing, and let's talk about her work. INTERVIEWER: Yeah. I'd love to learn more about that. Tell us what she did, Mike. MIKE BOEHM: [04:25] Yeah. Riley worked with other researchers to identify the specific genes that control—This is pretty interesting, we're talking about sorghum, so everybody should have a sorghum plant in mind, and think about a fully grown sorghum plant, and think about the angle of the leaves, Bryce. So, you know, things tighten up when the plant gets really, really, really thirsty. We're talking sorghum, corn tightens up a little quicker but yeah. So, think about the angle of a sorghum leaf. And James’ group, of course, James and his team are responsible for delineating the sorghum genome. So, like the human genome project, James’ lab ran the sorghum genome project. So, they've got dialed in the genes that actually regulate structurally on the plant how erect or how flat those leaves are. [05:27] And so as part of that project, somebody has to go out into the field, I'm thinking about my sixth, seventh, eighth grade math classes, somebody has to go out in the field, Bryce, with a protractor and literally look at the angle and measure the angle and write it down. So that's the work that James’ lab does. So, what did Riley do? So, Riley— I've not met Riley, but my understanding from doing my research is she likes music and she got involved in this program, and she actually I think at the end of her— Kind of the spoiler here, she actually found that she liked science a lot too. What did she do in the lab? Well, she worked with the team in James' lab, with Michael in particular, and actually learned how to code, so computer coding. And she said, “Yeah, I get the protractor thing, but there's a lot of sorghum out there in that field. Was there a way to use digital technology, virtual or visual technology, kind of face recognition technology to go down a row, or with a handheld device, take a picture of that darn sorghum leaf and have the computer tell you what angle, rather than using that protractor?” [06:46] And that's exactly what she did, and what a neat project. And one of the cool things about this, and you know this for students in college, it’s kind of a— Well, we say this all the time in the science labs, when we bring undergraduate students into our program, graduate students, one of their goals is to be recognized for the science that they do, and they can do that through publishing. Here's a high school student from Lincoln Northeast High School, go Rockets, who actually published this scientific paper, she was co-author on a paper with Michael and James. It's a big deal. INTERVIEWER: [07:22] That is absolutely a big deal. Sounds like quite the experiment too. MIKE BOEHM: [07:26] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it was really cool. I think Riley's just one example of a student who didn't think she really was interested in stem science, technology, engineering, and math, but programs like the Young Nebraska Scientist Program aren't just about opportunities for those who are hardcore in science, it's about exploring. And Riley's a great example that brought a bright mind from here in Lincoln. But we have students from all over the state really to see the magic of science, technology, engineering, math come alive in agriculture and natural resources. INTERVIEWER: [08:09] Well Mike, I teased in the open that we were going to be talking about two educational programs here on the program today. What can you tell us about the second one? MIKE BOEHM: [08:17] Yeah. So, the second one is another CASNR program, and this is a fully online master's degree. So, all online of applied science. It's designed for professionals, Bryce, who are looking to expand their skills and advance their career. So, this is somebody who already perhaps has a bachelor's degree who's out there in the yield and they're looking to add to their toolbox. The degree is really designed to be customizable, highly nimble, highly plastic; students can tailor it to meet their degree needs in their particular field. [08:57] So, if you were working as a field rep, you could dial in and get your applied Master of Science. If you were working as KRVN reporter you could dial in your dynamic to meet your needs. It's really pretty cool. Graduate students who enroll in the online Master of Applied Science can also specialize, as I've mentioned, could do beef cattle production, we talked about science for educators or community development a little bit. It's really wide open. So yeah, pretty cool. INTERVIEWER: [09:35] You mentioned it's fully online. What kind of students are taking advantage of this so far?
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    James Schnable
    09/14/21 7:41 pm

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