STEM Education Flows to Boise’s Youth through River Restoration Project
An innovative program designed to pair elementary students with river restoration researchers illustrates just one way that our university helps Idaho develop a STEM-educated workforce. Through funding from the National Science Foundation, associate professor Daniele Tonina and professor Ralph Budwig at U of I Boise’s Center for Ecohydraulics Research have combined their interest in using plants to clean and restore rivers with their desire to train future scientists.
“It has been a joy to work with the students who are with us each month,” said Budwig. “We hope their monthly hands-on participation will kindle a lifetime pursuit of learning and contribution in a STEM field, especially as related to stewarding our environment.”
The lab facilities located at the U of I Boise Center include a large-scale stream laboratory with the ability to manipulate flow and sediment load to better understand stream dynamics. The modern laboratory facilities and direct interaction with U of I faculty provide an immersive and engaging environment for the budding researchers, many of whom are from underrepresented groups. The experience has helped inspire them to pursue higher education degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.