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USU Industrial Hygienists Perform Noise Assessment for Army ROTC Cannon Crew

Firing the cannon by Utah State University’s Army ROTC Jim Bridger Battalion is a beloved, time-honored tradition at Aggie home football games. In exciting pageantry and delight to Aggie fans, cadets shoot off a round from a 75-mm howitzer at kickoff and after each USU touchdown and field goal.

During the Veterans Day game this past November, the cadets collaborated with USU industrial hygiene students, to conduct a noise assessment of the exuberant cannonade.

A peak noise level map the industrial hygienists compiled revealed the cadets performing racking and reloading tasks on the left side of the cannon received the highest noise level exposures. Cadets and others standing behind the cannon received lower exposures, but the noise levels still exceeded OSHA and Department of Defense safety limits.

USU President Cantwell Launches Podcast in Collaboration With Utah Public Radio

From the start of her presidency at Utah State University, Elizabeth Cantwell wanted to start a podcast. With the help and collaboration of the University Marketing and Communications team, Utah Public Radio, and currently enrolled students, that dream is now a reality.

The “Future Casting With Utah State” podcast ties perfectly with USU’s mission to envision the future and empower all people to lead successful lives of involvement, innovation, and impact.

The podcast explores our ever-changing world, technological breakthroughs, future planning, and proactive issues both now and for the years to come.

The collaboration with Utah Public Radio extends the podcast’s reach, bringing more public awareness to the statewide impacts of Utah State’s research and can be enjoyed on UPR.org or anywhere you get your podcasts.

USU Announces New Appointments to President’s Leadership Team

On March 1, John O’Neil and Kerri R. Davidson  officially stepped into new leadership roles at Utah State, as O’Neil was named vice president for operational strategy and special advisor to the president, while Davidson was named the vice president of institutional affairs, as well as president Elizabeth Cantwell’s chief of staff. 

O’Neil was formerly vice president of research at the University of Arizona, also a land-grant university. There he successfully led research administration, research development, and secure research operations for the university, which ranks in the top 20 for research and development expenditures.

Davidson is joining USU from Arizona State University, where she served as the first executive director and chief of staff of the ASU Public Enterprise. ASU is the largest R1 university in the U.S., and Davidson concurrently led its Office of the Executive Vice President and served as chief operating officer.

USU Professors Research Adapting University Instruction to Indigenous Learning Styles

Utah State University professors in the Department of Social Work have been researching how to adapt university-level instruction for Indigenous students. Julie Stevens, USU Southwest clinical assistant professor, collaborated with Charlie Bayles, USU Blanding clinical assistant professor, on adapting instruction to Indigenous learning styles and perspectives. Right now, their research is showing that, on occasion, these learning styles are not consistent with how content is taught.

Stevens and Bayles began to look at their course materials through an Indigenous lens. Stevens, who is of Navajo heritage, has personal experience with the challenges of adapting to collegiate coursework, having completed her bachelor’s degree coursework at USU Nephi, and later a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. Working together, Stevens and Bayles designed a test preparation course for students.

Aggie Ice Cream Celebrates Grand Opening of its Second Store in Logan

The makers of Utah State University’s iconic Aggie Ice Cream recently opened a second store location at Blue Square, 1111 N. 800 East, Logan, next to the Aggie Chocolate Factory. The grand opening event in September 2023 featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Aggie Ice Cream party.

With a storied history dating back more than 100 years, Aggie Ice Cream has been serving up delightful flavors produced from cow to cone by USU students and faculty, becoming an integral part of Utah’s cultural, educational, and culinary heritage. The new location’s opening represents a milestone in the university’s commitment to offering the community its handcrafted ice cream, which is made on-campus by dedicated staff and students in the food science program.

In addition to its ice cream, Aggie Ice Cream has long been an essential part of food science education in USU’s Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences, providing hands-on experience in dairy production.

Beyond Spiders and Abuzz With Possibilities: USU Researchers Explore Nature’s Ancient Biomaterials

For more than a decade,  Utah State University scholars have pioneered research on the production and structure of synthetic spider silk. Building on lessons learned, researchers in the lab of biology faculty member Justin Jones are branching into organisms beyond the eight-legged arachnids to explore a broader range of potential candidates for production of replicable, recombinant fibers.

Among these organisms are the eel-like hagfish and the transparent ctenophore. In addition to these rather exotic creatures, undergrad researcher Jackson Morley and doctoral student researcher Oran Wasserman, both Jones Lab members, are exploring an organism more familiar to Utahns: the bee.

Tradition, Innovation Combine as Themes During Investiture of USU’s President Cantwell

Tradition and change were recurring themes of the investiture of Utah State University President Elizabeth R. Cantwell held in the Daines Concert Hall on April 12.

At the event, an academic ceremony with centuries-old roots, Cantwell and other speakers spoke of overcoming new challenges while recommitting to central values.

“We are a public higher education institution that is, in fact, poised to play an even more critical role in the future,” Cantwell said. “We will remain, as we always have been, a key driver of innovation, of social mobility and societal well-being.”

Cantwell began her presidency in August 2023. Investitures traditionally happen during or at the conclusion of a university president’s first year in office and celebrate a new era of leadership.

USU Physics Students Practice STEM Outreach at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

This past November,  members of Utah State University’s NASA-funded Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) Science Team accompanied USU Physics faculty members to the Cape Canaveral launch of the AWE instrument, built by USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, to the International Space Station.

The student team members spent two days prior to the trip in intensive communications training with SDL public relations director Eric Warren, in preparation for three pre-launch days at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center explaining the mission to visitors of all ages.

“As a teaching assistant at Utah State, I’ve always enjoyed instructing peers,” says undergraduate student and AWE team member Joe Pigott. “But the trip to the Kennedy Space Center may have solidified my decision to make teaching my career. Seeing the kids at our exhibit struggle with new concepts, then finally connect the dots was one of the best feelings in the world.”

USU Researchers Use Last Year’s State-Record Snowpack to Investigate Predictive Models

More than 75 feet of snow in 191 days. That’s what Alta Ski Area reported during the 2022–23 season — beating the previous high, as calculated at the Collins Study Plot, by more than 150 inches. Across the state, snow totals accumulated to a high point of 30 inches of snow water equivalent — which broke a 40-year record by about 4 inches. By that same metric the state was, at times, more than 200% above the median snowpack.

This is all to say that from a statistical standpoint, the winter of 2022–23 stood out.

Because of that, USU researchers wanted to know how it aligned with what predictive models forecast it would be. Climate science doctoral candidate Matthew LaPlante, with help from faculty members Luthiene Dalanhese and S.-Y. Simon Wang, investigated whether tropical ocean sea surface temperatures predicted the precipitation anomaly that hit the state in force.

Corey Ewan to Retire After 25 Years at USU Eastern

After years of entertaining audiences and instructing theater students, USU associate professor Corey Ewan has announced his retirement.

Ewan began his university education at the College of Eastern Utah, earning his associate degree before transitioning to USU in Logan. After graduating with a doctorate from BYU, Ewan came back to join the USU Eastern faculty in 1999. During his early years, he worked with several of the professors that taught him when he was an undergraduate student. He enjoyed these times even though  they were fraught with extra hours building sets and creating costumes.

“I owe so much to the education    that I got here, and seeing those profess-ors again, they were so welcoming and proud,” Ewan said. “We would build sets and create costumes. The costume department used to be in the basement. We had a lot of responsibilities, and we were trusted to get things done. It was a fun time.”

USU Named Best Employer in Utah

Utah State University is the best employer in Utah according to a study by Forbes. More than 70,000 full- and part-time employees throughout the U.S. participated in the Forbes survey. The questions examined working conditions, diversity, compensation, development opportunities and more.

Mental health initiatives have been crucial for supporting employees. To address the need for increasing services, HR recently partnered with Aetna to expand talk therapy offerings for employees through Talkspace, as a component of the Aggies Thrive initiative in the university’s Employer Assistance Program.

Forbes considered 39 businesses in the state, although some also had head-quarters outside of Utah, such as Costco, Amazon, and Adobe.

USU Alumna, NASA Astronaut Mary Cleave Dies at Age 76

Utah State University alumna Mary Cleave, a trailblazing veteran of two NASA shuttle spaceflights, died Nov. 27, 2023. She was 76.

Cleave was the 10th woman to fly in space. She flew as a mission specialist aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis mission STS-61B in 1985, and again on Atlantis mission STS-30, in 1989. During the latter mission, Cleave and fellow crew members successfully deployed the Magellan Venus exploration spacecraft, the first planetary probe to be deployed from a space shuttle.

Cleave earned a master’s degree in microbial ecology in 1975 from USU and then embarked on a doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering, which she completed in 1979. While working at USU’s Utah Water Research Laboratory in 1979, a colleague urged her to apply for a position with NASA’s expanding space shuttle program. She did, and by 1980, Cleave became an official NASA astronaut.

USU Soccer Star Kelsey Kaufusi Drafted to the National Women’s Soccer League

Kelsey Kaufusi became the first-ever Utah State Aggie to be selected in the National Women’s Soccer League draft in January 2024, as she was selected by the Portland Thorns. She will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

Kaufusi’s impressive four-year USU athletic record includes Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year for 2023 and First-Team All-Mountain West for 2023 — a year in which the Aggies also won their first-ever Mountain West championship with Kaufusi as lead defender. She started all 76 games she played with the Aggies over her four-year tenure.

“Kelsey is a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field,” says Manny Martins, head coach of the USU women’s soccer team. “Her fierce competitive mentality and phenomenal athletic qualities make her one of the best ‘shutdown’ defenders in the country.”

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  • Mary Alice C. Telford April 29, 2024

    Hey Aggies!
    I always look forward to receiving and reading the Utah State Magazine.
    This is my first time to receive the magazine electronically.
    The part I can not find, is the list of graduates from each year who have
    passed away. This is the only way I have of keeping track of some of my
    classmates. Did I miss this feature?