2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 273-1
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM


KUBAN, Adam J., Department of Journalism, Ball State University, 2000 W. University Ave., Muncie, IN 47306 and FLOREA, Lee J., Department of Geological Sciences, Ball State University, 2000 W. University Ave, Muncie, IN 47306, ajkuban@bsu.edu

Water Quality Indiana (WQI) began as a trans-disciplinary endeavor at Ball State University in Fall 2013, combining undergraduates from six different majors and two Colleges in a three-credit quest to provide scientific data and analysis along with multimedia deliverables for our community partner, the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The Fall 2014 iteration explored logjam obstruction in the Mississinewa River of East Central Indiana. WQI has helped students better understand the complexities associated with water quality, particularly how to analyze data, generate multimedia content, and communicate about this science in a way that has meaning.

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.