In the News

  • Phys.org Monday, Sep. 19, 2022

    Understanding the new breach in the world's largest living thing`

    It's ancient, it's massive, and it is faltering. The gargantuan aspen stand dubbed "Pando," located in south-central Utah, is more than 100 acres of quivering, genetically identical plant life, thought to be the largest living organism on earth (based on dry weight mass, 13 million pounds). What looks like a shimmering panorama of individual trees is actually a group of genetically identical stems with an immense shared root system.

    Now, after a lifetime that may have stretched across millennia, the 'trembling giant' is beginning to break up, according to new research.

    Paul Rogers, adjunct professor of ecology in the Quinney College of Natural Resources and director of the Western Aspen Alliance, completed the first comprehensive evaluation of Pando five years ago. It showed that browsing deer (and to a lesser degree cattle) were harming the stand—limiting growth of new aspen suckers and putting an effective expiration date on the colossal plant. As older trees aged-out, new aspen sprouts weren't surviving voracious browsers to replace them. Pando was slowly dying.

  • The Herald Journal Monday, Sep. 05, 2022

    USU ranked 22nd among schools nationally

    Utah State University was listed as the eighth-best public university in the country and 22nd overall in a recent ranking of schools by Washington Monthly.

    The list ranks institutions on the criteria of social mobility, research and promotion of public service. USU scored highly on the first and last categories, ranking 14th for social mobility and 26th for promoting public service.

    Washington Monthly’s methodology calculates social mobility by looking at graduation rates, Pell grants, estimated future incomes, student loan repayment and tuition cost for families with lower incomes. National and community service scores were determined through AmeriCorps and Peace Corps data, military service, community service projects, student voter registration and “percentage of all degrees awarded in health, education and social work.”

  • Cache Valley Daily Thursday, Sep. 01, 2022

    Cache Valley native Devin Wiser named USU vice president

    LOGAN – Cache Valley native Devin Wiser is Utah State University’s new vice president for government and external relations.

    He will report directly to USU President Noelle E. Cockett and will serve on the school’s executive leadership team.

    According to an announcement Monday he will assume the position on Sept. 21.

    In his role of overseeing all levels of government relationships he will serve as USU’s external liaison by developing and communicating strategies for its campuses, centers and offices throughout the state. That will include development and implementation of federal and state legislative priorities. He will also oversee USU’s Institute of Government and Politics.

    Wiser succeeds Neil Abercrombie, who left USU in January to serve as senior advisor of legislative affairs and policy for Utah Gov. Spencer Cox.

  • CBS News Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

    From pest to protector: How beavers are helping fight climate change

    As nearly 40% of the country is currently in drought, scientists are looking to the largest rodent in North America for help: the beaver. Researchers in California and Utah found that dams made by the animals can help create drought- and fire-resistant landscapes. 

    "Beavers move in here and they slow this water down," California State University professor Emily Fairfax told CBS News national correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti. "It goes into recharging the groundwater and that's what we're pumping for irrigation. That's what we use for our food. That's what we use for our lawns."

    According to Fairfax's research, the dams beavers make out of sticks and mud help to prevent rainwater and snowmelt from draining down rivers and into oceans. Instead, the dams work as a natural fire break and reservoir capable of storing water for years that gets released into land slowly over time to create a more fire- and drought-resistant landscape. 

  • Cache Valley Daily Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

    Utah State University fundraising year nets a record $110 million

    LOGAN – Utah State University finished the fundraising year in record-setting fashion with more than $100 million in new funds, including the largest single gift ever: $41 million from the Bastian family.

    USU’s Vice President for Advancement, Matt White, said there are reasons for this year’s success.

    “We have just an exceptional group of deans, along with our president, that have really articulated the impact of giving, like I have said before,” said White. “We also have just an incredible development team here.

  • Cache Valley Daily Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

    USU Extension is making grass less water-reliant

    LOGAN – Discussions about grass has been in the news this week. It started with an announcement by the Salt Lake Area Water Conservancy District that they were launching a program called Salt Lake City Turf Trade, where they are offering large bags of grass seed at an inexpensive price to replace water-demanding turf with a more drought-proof type of grass, a type of grass that stays green and uses at least 30 percent less water to do so.

    It is hoped that this will expand statewide.  USU Extension has been right in the middle of this.

    On KVNU’s For the People program on Wednesday, one of the key researchers and leaders of this project, Professor Kelly Kopp of USU’s Plant Soils and Climate Extension Department, said this is a game changer.

  • The Herald Journal Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

    USU student, faculty identify object in centuries-old indigenous pouch

    Anthropologists sometimes work with animal remains in the course of understanding how human societies lived, but they rarely cross paths with veterinarians, who focus on treating living animals. However, when anthropology graduate student Alexandra Wolberg needed to analyze an unusual Indigenous pouch without damaging it, the College of Veterinary Medicine had a unique opportunity to support one of Utah State University’s anthropologists.

    Wolberg began her work with the pouch as part of Assistant Professor Anna Cohen’s archaeometry class, where she was tasked with studying an item from the USU’s Museum of Anthropology’s Keller Collection. The collection includes numerous artifacts from the Ancestral Puebloans, an Indigenous group from whom modern Puebloan tribes are descended.

    The item she selected for analysis was a pouch found in the Cedar Mesa area of San Juan County, Utah, in 1965. Made from leather and decorated with white animal fur, the artifact had a 1-inch cut on its side that revealed a smooth white object inside.

  • Cache Valley Daily Monday, Aug. 22, 2022

    USU physicist says James Webb Telescope sheds light on black holes

    LOGAN – Images emerging this summer from the James Webb Space Telescope are shedding new light on black holes, which are great amounts of matter packed into a very small area.

    Utah State University’s Dr. Maria Rodriguez, a theoretical physicist who is very interested in these images, says there is a super-massive black hole in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

    We think every galaxy in the universe has this huge monster in the center

    “We think every galaxy in the universe has this huge monster in the center,” says Rodriguez, “and this object in the center sort of balances this movement of the stars and this cosmic dance that we are doing around this super-massive black hole.”

  • Utah Public Radio Wednesday, Aug. 03, 2022

    New irrigation research & tech helps farmers produce food and save water

    Matt Yost is a Utah State University professor in Plants, Soils & Climate and USU Extension specialist. He knows farming first-hand. He grew up on a dairy farm in Burley Idaho.

    “My father still operates the farm, he milks about 200 cows and so I still get to go there with kids and still be involved with some aspects of the farm,” said Matt Yost.

    Yost will be discussing one of the biggest challenges in agriculture – water management – at the USU Research Landscape event Thursday afternoon at the O.C. Tanner headquarters in Salt Lake City.

  • KSLtv.com Wednesday, Aug. 03, 2022

    USU partners with Taiwanese program for new summer Chinese immersion

    SALT LAKE CITY — A new exchange has brought Chinese culture and language to the Beehive State.

    Utah State University has partnered with the National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) Language Center in Taiwan to provide Utah kids the opportunity to learn and practice Chinese in an immersive setting.

    The program allows students who have attended the K-12 Chinese immersion program to maintain their language skills during the summer break.

  • Cache Valley Daily Monday, Aug. 01, 2022

    USU Extension hosts "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshops

    Utah State University Extension hosts the “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” (BOW) educational skills workshops August 25 – 27 at the Holmstead Ranch Resort in the Central Utah area. Geared to women 18 years old and older, the workshops focus on outdoor activities in an environment conducive to learning, making friends, and having fun.

    During the three-day event, women can select to learn a variety of outdoor skills including: rock climbing, rappelling, firearm safety, rifle shooting, archery, outdoor photography, outdoor cooking, backpacking/hiking, Leave No Trace principles, camping, hunting, fishing, and more.

  • Cache Valley Daily Thursday, Jul. 28, 2022

    The College of Veterinary Medicine is USU's 9th college

    LOGAN – The College of Veterinary Medicine has been officially approved to become Utah State University’s ninth college. Serving as interim dean is Dr. Dirk Vanderwall, who has been affiliated with USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine for several years.

    USU has been part of the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine for about 10 years. Current training of USU veterinary students is done in what Dr. Vanderwall calls a “2+2” program.

  • KSL Monday, Jul. 25, 2022

    USU's Space Dynamics Lab supplies pivotal parts to Webb Telescope

    LOGAN — Standing within the confines of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Glen Hansen noticed a poster on the wall that intrigued him.

    The poster said, "Looking beyond the dark ages."

    "It's just great to see that the telescope is actually doing that. It's looked well beyond where we've been able to see before, not only in space but in time, as we look back at the early beginnings of the universe," said Hansen, chief engineer with Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory.

    Hansen wasn't just there as a spectator that day, either. He and his team at the lab we're actively involved in creating technology for the now famed James Webb Space Telescope.

  • The Herald Journal Friday, Jul. 22, 2022

    USU College of Veterinary Medicine approved

    The new Utah State University College of Veterinary Medicine is officially USU’s ninth college after receiving required approvals from university and state higher education governing groups. Leading the new college as interim dean is Dirk Vanderwall, who has served as head of USU’s Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences and associate dean for the School of Veterinary Medicine since USU became part of the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah (WIMU) Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine 10 years ago.

  • The Herald Journal Thursday, Jul. 14, 2022

    USU prof studying plastic movement in Bear River system

    In a study published in 2020, Janice Brahney, Utah State University associate professor in the Department of Watershed Sciences, made a startling discovery: microplastic particles are widespread in the Earth’s atmosphere. These tiny particles of plastic, ranging between 1 micrometer and 2.5 millimeters, are being deposited by the wind into even the most remote places in the Western United States. Brahney’s curiosity led her to wonder about USU’s own backyard, the Cache Valley mountains and the Logan and Bear rivers. Taking an atmospheric deposition sampling unit out into the mountains, Brahney discovered that there were indeed plastic particles in the Logan atmosphere, and these were being deposited into these mountain ecosystems. Brahney and a team of other researchers are looking to answer several resulting questions: How much plastic is out there; How much is moving through freshwater ecosystems; How does the quantity and polymer type differ between different types of land groups (remote, recreational, agricultural, urban), and ultimately, how does this affect the ecosystem?
  • KSL Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022

    How a USU website can help you fight inflation

    LOGAN, Utah — With nearly everything in our lives costing more money lately, some financial experts at Utah State University have made all of their resources easier to find.

    They created a website dedicated to fighting inflation.

    The website is new and creators have already seen some common concerns and mistakes.

    Gas prices have received a lot of attention but inflation is everywhere and it has impacted people like Margaret Hammond.

  • Agri Marketing Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

    USU Students Capture 1st In National Dairy Council Product Competition

    ROSEMONT, Ill. - A team of Utah State University students majoring in food science answered the challenge of developing a dairy-based product for "gamers" during National Dairy Council's New Product Competition.

    Students Nathan Pougher, Melissa Marsh, Chandler Stafford and Mackenzie Taylor defeated teams from Iowa State University and California State Polytechnic University-Pomona with its Moba Boba energy drink, which is 92-percent dairy.

    The students earned the first-place prize of $8,000 and were recognized at this week's Institute of Food Technologists' FIRST (Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology) conference in Chicago.

    The farmer-funded National Dairy Council has hosted this event since 2012 to inspire the next generation of food scientists and innovators. It gives college students an opportunity to experience a real-life scenario of working for a food company and helps secure the next generation of dairy industry innovators.
  • Cache Valley Daily Tuesday, Jun. 14, 2022

    Brian Steed leaving Utah's DNR to return to USU

    Utah State University graduate Brian Steed, who has been leading Utah’s Department of Natural Resources, is leaving DNR to become the first Executive Director of Utah State University’s Janet Quinney Lawson Institute for Land, Water and Air.

    He reports July 1 to take over at the Institute, which is a new creation.

    “We’re really grateful for the Janet Quinney Lawson family for their willingness to help stand it up,” Steed says. “But there is a real need.

    Utah State has been at the forefront of doing a ton of great research

    “Utah State has been at the forefront of doing a ton of great research and what this institute hopes to do is connect that great research with the policy makers and deciders at the state level and at the local level and even at the national level to make sure we get the best policy possible.”

  • The Herald Journal Friday, Jun. 10, 2022

    USU study finds higher rhythmic skill translates to better conversations

    Sometimes we walk away from conversations feeling rejuvenated and connected, but other times we come away feeling drained, disconnected, and perhaps even misunderstood. In both cases it can be a mystery as to why the conversation was successful, or … not so much.

    Researchers at Utah State University in the Department of Communicative Disorders are studying an aspect of communication called entrainment. Entrainment offers one explanation for why some conversations are full of connection and why others fall short. USU Associate Professor Stephanie Borrie, who directs the Human Interactions lab, defined conversational entrainment.

  • KSL Wednesday, Jun. 08, 2022

    USU research reveals what school bullying means, how to address it

    When Diana Meter was 13 years old, she experienced her first heartbreak and subsequently she began to notice her childhood friends begin to shift away.

    Now an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Utah State University, Meter's experience feels much different after years have passed. Yet as a child, the distance and the rumors spread about her felt devastating.

  • KSL Sunday, Jun. 05, 2022

    Satellite built by USU undergraduates completes space mission

    Ben Willard and Carter Page are undergraduate students at Utah State University and they've already sent a satellite into space.

    "This is an accomplishment that most people go their entire careers without even coming close to," said Willard.

    Willard and Page are both members of a group of undergraduate students at USU called the Get Away Special team. In December, their team launched the Get Away Special Passive Attitude Control Satellite, or GASPACS, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The CubeSat's destination was the International Space Station.

    The initial launch was successful and the team announced Tuesday that after spending 117 days in space, GASPACS concluded its mission, deorbiting and burning up in the atmosphere last week.

  • Cache Valley Daily Tuesday, May. 24, 2022

    USU schedules Juneteenth celebration for June 17-19

    For the second year a Juneteenth celebration is scheduled for the Utah State University campus, June 17-19.

    Cree Taylor, Juneteenth planning committee chair, says the day commemorates the 13th amendment which abolished slavery, Jan. 1, 1865.

    “What had happened, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas didn’t get the news that they had been emancipated, that they were freed,” Taylor explains. “So, about a year after the emancipation proclamation was signed, these enslaved folks were informed that, ‘Hey, you’re free. You don’t need to keep working the fields anymore. You can go off and try and live your best life.’

    “And that happened to be in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1866.”

    Since USU’s first observance last June, Juneteenth has become a national holiday.

    “And what was really cool, is that our committee members last year were able to interview Miss Opal Lee who is known as the ‘Mother of Juneteenth’ and she had been fighting for decades to get Juneteenth made a national holiday,” says Taylor. “And not long after we recorded an interview with her, which can be found on our Juneteenth website, she was at the White House with President Biden when he signed it into law, Juneteenth as a national celebratory holiday.”

    During this year’s Utah legislative session, Gov. Spencer Cox made it a Utah holiday.

  • AP News Sunday, May. 22, 2022

    Priceless seeds, sprouts key to US West's post-fire future

    A New Mexico facility where researchers work to restore forests devastated by fires faced an almost cruelly ironic threat: The largest wildfire burning in the U.S. was fast approaching.

    Owen Burney and his team knew they had to save what they could. Atop their list was a priceless bank of millions of ponderosa pine, spruce and other conifer seeds meant to help restore fire-ravaged landscapes across the American West.

    Next were tens of thousands of tree sprouts, many of which were sown to make them more drought tolerant, that were loaded onto trailers and trucked to a greenhouse about 100 miles (161 kilometers) away.

    Larissa Yocom, an assistant professor at Utah State University’s Wildland Resources Department, has plans for thousands of aspen seedlings that were rescued from the center. She and her team have worked in the footprint of a 2020 wildfire in southwest Utah. She’s holding out hope that the large New Mexico fire won’t dash plans for the latest experiment in an older burn scar just north of the fire line.

  • Cache Valley Daily Wednesday, May. 11, 2022

    Noelle Cockett reconfigures leadership roles at USU

    LOGAN – With the pending retirement of Executive Vice President and Provost Frank Galey, Utah State University President Noelle Cockett has turned to her existing executive team to reconfigure roles of executive vice president (EVP) and provost.

    When Dr. Galey retires July 1, Laurens H. (Larry) Smith will become the new provost and Robert W. Wagner takes over as executive vice president.

    Cockett said Wagner will focus on operations while Smith as provost will deal solely with academics. University vice presidents will continue to report to President Cockett with the deans still reporting to the provost.

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