WATER QUALITY INDIANA (WQI): HOW TO EXPAND A TRANS-DISCIPLINARY, PROJECT-BASED INITIATIVE TO OTHER STEM-STRAPPED INSTITUTIONS
WQI students contributed to a recently funded $100,000 Lake & River Enhancement (LARE) grant via the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that assists local landowners with removal of debris and hazardous materials that comprise logjams in the Mississinewa River. A student-produced website (www.waterqualityin.com) educates citizens about this regional issue. Beyond the LARE grant, this project has generated peer-reviewed publications, 11 media stories, and 15 conference presentations. In fact, 11 students have presented at 5 conferences, one of which was international, offering professional development opportunities that stem from work generated in this project-based, trans-disciplinary course.
WQI’s impact continues. The SWCD has steadfastly supported this alliance, committing to the program’s expansion to additional institutions with limited STEM resources: Taylor University and the Indiana Academy of Sciences, Mathematics, and Humanities. This presentation will outline a plan for trans-disciplinary cohorts of 15-20 students to collaborate during an annual, seven-week, project-based summer field course that will contribute to resource management and public outreach goals desired by designated community partners.