SCIENCE/EDUCATION

STEM to Them Mobile Lab Brings Technology to Schools

A robotics laboratory and makerspace on wheels will be pulling up outside elementary schools across Monroe County starting next fall as part of the school district’s fully accessible, interdisciplinary approach to STEM education.

Citizen Scientist: The Great Sunflower Project

From the burrowing mayfly to the rusty patched bumble bee, we’re losing a head-spinning number of invertebrates. Thanks to shrinking natural habitats and our dependence on agricultural chemicals—particularly neonicotinoid pesticides— we’re living through what some have dubbed an “insect apocalypse.”

IU Researchers Establish Living Museums in the Sea

How does a shipwreck become an underwater museum? By becoming a site for “in situ preservation” of the wreck, its artifacts, and the living ecosystem that has grown around it, says Charles Beeker, director of the Center for Underwater Science at the Indiana University School of Public Health.

IU Digitizing Early Recordings Made on Antique Instruments

Artists, historians, and ordinary folks have been recording sounds—music, speeches, religious rituals, and banal conversations—since the late 19th century. One of the world’s largest repositories of archaic but unique recordings is located at the Scholarly Data Archive at Indiana University.

Was Abe Lincoln Gay? Public Historian Brings LGBTQ Past to Light

Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg may be the first openly gay man to run for president, but according to some historians, if he wins the election, he won’t be the first gay man to hold that office. Because of the intimate friendship between Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed, some speculate that the 16th president of the United States was gay.

IU Institute Supporting Efforts to Reclaim Native People’s Languages

Forced into boarding schools bent on assimilating them, America’s indigenous children were once punished for speaking in their native languages. Students uttering words in Lakota, Arikara, or Pawnee might have been made to kneel on radiators or had their mouths washed out with soap.

Fighting Invasive Species Takes Community Effort

Monarch caterpillars are picky eaters, dining exclusively on the leaves of the milkweed plant. Monarch butterflies are equally picky, only laying their eggs on milkweed. Unfortunately for monarchs, milkweed is a native plant that disappears when invasive plant species disrupt an ecosystem.

Citizen Scientist: Help Researchers to Track Nesting Birds

I found the dead indigo bunting splayed on the ground near Graham Plaza. Flying high—but not high enough, I’m afraid—the iridescent bird either failed to clear the building or had smacked squarely into one of the structure’s large windows. Its neck clearly broken, the small bird looked even tinier in my palm.

Globe-Trotting With Brooke Bierhaus: Morning Meditations on Jerusalem’s Western Wall

You might not believe it, but 6:45 a.m. is my favorite time of day. It has been since I was 13 years old. Waking up while it’s still dark and watching my surroundings come to life as the sun casts its light on the world is my meditation. After traveling to and living in 28 countries, I have found that these early morning moments are the best way to really understand a city, town, or land.

Citizen Scientist: Help Save the Birds

Using data gathered in part by citizen scientists, researchers recently determined we’ve lost nearly three billion birds since 1970. Birds across the United States and Canada are in trouble. These include many migratory birds, as well as common species like warblers, blackbirds, and finches. And—spoiler alert!—like the veritable “canary in the coal mine,” such avian losses signal trouble for humans, too.

Stone Age Institute Designs Monument at Olduvai Gorge

Tourists to the East African nation of Tanzania, hurtling along the highway between the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, often rush past what is arguably the country’s most historically significant site: Olduvai Gorge, where the fossil remains of some of mankind’s earliest ancestors were discovered.

IU Researchers Develop BotSlayer: A Tool That Roots Out Fake News

Online news consumption can be complicated, but it has become even more so with the introduction of “astroturf” campaigns—coordinated attempts that use armies of bots (automated software applications) to convince readers there is grassroots support for fraudulent narratives on social media.

200-Year History of Bloomington Focus of Mathers Museum Exhibit

January 2018 marked the start of Bloomington’s bicentennial year, and in September, Indiana University kicked off a yearlong series of events celebrating its own 200 years. In honor of both occasions, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures has gathered materials that put an environmental spin on the history of the city and the university in an exhibit entitled “800 Seasons: Change and Continuity in Bloomington, 1818–2018.”

Ancient Lives Lets You Become a Papyrologist

Items buried within landfills certainly take their sweet time to break down—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. More than 100 years ago, researchers successfully excavated hundreds of thousands of legible papyrus scraps from a dry dump near Oxyrhynchus in Egypt.

Real Men Still Reading To Bloomington Kids

Since it started six years ago, the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s (MCCSC) Real Men Read program has offered some 875 kindergarten students per year the chance to listen to a story read by a man from the community.

Library Invites Community to Explore The Power of Words

We may live in polarized, angry times, but it isn’t a singular moment says author Margaret McMullan. “We’ve been there before, in the years leading up to the Holocaust and the Civil Rights era in Mississippi,” she says. “There were so many similarities in those times and now. The righteousness, the need to find scapegoats for our problems, the fear and fury. The hate. The violence.”

Citizen Scientist: Look Out for Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard isn’t the only botanical troublemaker thriving in our fields and forests, but it’s among the most insidious. Deceptively small at first, the biennial jumps from about 4 inches tall during its initial year to as much as 4 feet tall during year two.

Art-Based Learning in Schools Is Goal of Eskanazi Museum

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University will reopen this fall. When it does, guests will see four new centers have been created: education, conservation, curatorial studies, and prints, drawings, and photographs.

New State Law Gives Beekeepers a Boost

For years, governments and environmental groups have sounded the alarm regarding the demise of bee populations. And while honeybees aren’t native to North America, they pollinate more than 100 different crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ivy Tech Apple App Course Prepares Students to Code

Smartphone users are app-happy, and roughly 2 million apps—applications or programs for mobile phones or tablets—are available online. Now, a new course offered by Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington will teach students how to build their own apps.

Science Prof Creates Art to Make Biology Enjoyable

Jake McKinlay’s art features alien shapes and arresting colors, making his illustrations feel otherworldly, but his subject matter is actually much closer to home. An associate professor in the Indiana University Department of Biology, McKinlay creates original artwork to help his students understand complex biochemical concepts associated with metabolism.

IU Cancer Researcher Is Also ‘Beer Famous’

Back in 2013, when Matt Bochman arrived in Bloomington, breweries across the country were beginning to show interest in producing beers using locally grown ingredients. Malt and hops were accessible. “Yeast was the missing local ingredient,” Bochman says.

IU Bloomington Nursing School Sees Two More Firsts This Year

Of the 80 students to graduate from the Indiana University Bloomington School of Nursing this year, Larry Wilson is one of 11 men and the first black male to receive a degree from the Bloomington campus, which has been conferring nursing degrees since 2005.

More Grant Funds Means More High-Quality Child Care

Six Monroe County child care programs will receive funding to expand facilities, hire new educators, and implement educational curricula thanks to $247,858 in grants awarded to the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.

Spring into Action with Plant-Monitoring Projects

Most morel hunters know to start hunting in earnest when the dogwood leaves are as big as a mouse’s ear. Or at least that’s what my dad told me, and what his dad told him. And in years past, that’s been a pretty good rule to follow. But lately, things have been out of whack.

Local Student Fishing Club Growing and Competing

When Bloomington High School South juniors Colby Reed and Jenna Albertson, both 17, began fishing at age 10, they didn’t expect their angling ambitions to be anything more than a weekend pastime.

Ivy Tech ‘Day in the Life’ Program Added at Bloomington Campus

Lillian Lyle knows she wants to go into nursing, but the Eastern Greene High School junior wants to get a better feel for the college campus where she’ll spend a lot of her time and energy in a few years. She says the Day in the Life student visitation program at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington gave her that chance.

Lotus Blossoms Outreach Program Brings the World To Bloomington

If you had to summarize the Lotus Blossoms outreach program in one phrase, it might be: “Make the world a smaller place.” By bringing global storytellers, dancers, and musicians to the area each spring, Lotus Blossoms strives to connect local kids with cultures from across the world.

WonderLab Introduces STEM to Preschoolers

It may just be play to them, but the 4- and 5-year-olds at the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology Skyline Toolbox exhibit are engaging with an intentional STEM Starter.

Night Skies Monitoring Light Pollution & Mapping Galaxies

With darkness closing in early, winter was once my nemesis. Now, though, I recognize the season’s potentially significant citizen science value. Theoretically, the leafless trees and dark skies should provide stargazers with stunning views, but finding a vantage point that isn’t flooded with artificial light has become increasingly difficult. Government bodies, area schools, businesses—even individual homeowners—illuminate Bloomington’s night sky, and collectively contribute to light pollution.

500 Women Scientists Active & Growing at IU

After the 2016 election, and with the installation of the Trump administration, many felt that support for science was in jeopardy. And when scientists are under pressure, that pressure is particularly intense for women, says Sarah Schanz, one of the new leaders of the Indiana University chapter (or “pod”) of 500 Women Scientists.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Pushing for Carbon Tax

The vast majority of scientists agree that, unchecked, global climate change will continue to impact weather patterns, glaciers will keep melting in record time, and coastal lands will be flooded by rising sea levels. The problem is vast and can seem overwhelming. That’s how Marshall Saunders, a California real estate broker, felt before founding Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) in 2007.

Local Composers Create Modern Operas for Kids

Kim Carballo, a voice coach at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, says that in the 1950s and ’60s, a slew of children’s operas were composed to introduce children to the art form. “Kids used to graduate from sixth grade knowing Carmen and other famous works, but now there’s a different focus on arts education,” Carballo says.

A Dig at Wylie House Museum Unearthing 1859 Greenhouses

Even before I joined the dig at the Wylie House Museum, I knew my concept of archaeology—mostly dinosaurs, mummies, and Indiana Jones—was tragically oversimplified. Still, I didn’t know how oversimplified until I started working alongside some real archaeologists uncovering circa-1859 greenhouses.

Eskenazi Undergoes Renovation but School Outreach Continues

The Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) requires every second-grade student to visit the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art, but since the museum closed for renovation in May 2017, fulfilling that requirement has been impossible. The solution? Bring the museum to the students. 

Girls Inc. Camps Encourage Fun, Camaraderie & STEM

Summer camp is about having fun and making friends, and Girls Inc. summer camps are all that—and more. Unlike traditional day camps, the camaraderie and crafts at these camps are infused with academic enrichment, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Camp Yes And: Using Improv as a Learning Tool for Youth on the Autism Spectrum

Most people are familiar with improvisational theater—unscripted live-performance shows in which actors make up the scene on the spot. Improv works because everyone on stage agrees to play along, says Jim Ansaldo, a research scholar at the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University. “If improv has one rule, it’s the rule of ‘yes and,’” Ansaldo says.

Global Minded Project Expanding Horizons Through Travel

Even before she founded the Global Minded Project (GMP) last year, Bloomington native Malissa Waterford knew she wanted to bring two of her interests—travel and working with children—together for a common purpose. However, she says it wasn’t until she visited Europe as part of an educational tour group that she found the inspiration for her nonprofit organization.

Cardinal Stage Company Brings Drama to Fairview Elementary

Sixteen intently focused fourth-through-sixth grade Fairview Elementary School students sound out a complex string of nonsense syllables, a warmup for a drama class. They’re led by Connor Starks, an Indiana University freshman and Cardinal Stage Company intern. It’s all part of an arts-infused educational model Fairview adopted eight years ago.

IU Scientists Group Fighting Gov’t Anti-Science Policies

The 2016 election generated widespread concern about the anti-science rhetoric used by the campaigns of President Donald Trump and other Republicans. “In the past, science has gotten very strong bipartisan support,” says Michael Hamburger, a professor of geological sciences at Indiana University. “Something has changed significantly in the last few years.”

New NASA Planetary Protection Officer Enjoys the Sweet Life in New Unionville

There were about 1,400 other applicants for arguably one of the most important jobs on the planet—safeguarding our biosphere from extraterrestrial biological contaminants and preventing earthly organisms from wreaking havoc on planets we might explore in the future. But Lisa Pratt, formerly a geological sciences professor in the Indiana University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, now holds the out-of-this-world title of Planetary Protection Officer for NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. 

IU Photobioreactor Formula: Flue Gases + Algae = Fertilizer

Where others see waste, Stephen “Chip” Glaholt and Mark Menefee see opportunity. Co-leaders on the new Indiana University photobioreactor project, Glaholt and Menefee plan to put photosynthetic
algae to work high atop IU’s Central Heating Plant. There, carbon- and nitrogen-rich emissions will be condensed and diverted from plant smokestacks to a maze of algae-filled pipes. Add a little sunlight and the waste is transformed into nutrient-rich biofertilizer. 

IU Lecturer Donates His Spock Ears To Lilly Library Star Trek Collection

When Ben Motz, senior lecturer in the Indiana University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, was a boy, his parents instilled in him a fascination with science fiction, particularly Star Trek. He grew up knowing all about the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, and vividly recalls watching episodes of the original TV series with his mother. 

Archer Foundation Teaches Children How to Garden

With a mission “to help boys and girls learn about gardening,” the George E. Archer Foundation (GEAF) works with schools and nonprofit organizations by funding horticulture-based curriculum and activities. Formerly the Hilltop Educational Foundation, the GEAF was established in 1984 to support children’s gardening through advocacy, fundraising, and volunteer efforts.

IU Law Prof Who Wrote the Book 
On Sexual Harassment Is in Demand

Sexual harassment has surged into the public consciousness this past year as numerous prominent journalists, politicians, Hollywood actors and producers, and corporate magnates have faced assault allegations. While the public asks how it could have been so wrong about the character of so many public figures, perplexed columnists and commentators have repeatedly turned to Jennifer Drobac, a professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, to explain the complexities of the situation.

Herman B Wells’ Home Movies Offer Personal Insight into His Life

Herman B Wells left a remarkable legacy at Indiana University: expanding the school in both size and reputation, fiercely supporting academic freedom, and fighting racial segregation. He also left a detailed record of his 70-year career, including 23 reels of home movies.

IU Science Fest October 21: Learn How to Do Amazing Stuff!

At IU’s Science Fest, visitors can create their own baseball-size comets using water, dry ice, dirt, and syrup. That’s just one of the many activities planned at the free event taking place October 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in several buildings across the IU campus.

Digitization to Take IU’s Massive Herbarium Collection Into Modern Era

Indiana University’s Herbarium, a collection of 150,000 plant samples gathered over the past 130 years, has long provided a detailed catalog of Indiana’s plant life. Now this unique museum of native plants (and a rogues’ gallery of invasive species) is going digital. Herbarium staff hope to take the entire collection online by 2019. 

A Store Where Teachers Find School Supplies—For Free!

There are no cash registers, no price tags, nor any employees, but the supplies on the shelves of this unique store on Bloomington’s Near West Side are used in about half of the elementary and middle school classrooms in Bloomington.

Diplomacy Lab: Students Learning and Helping U.S. State Department

An innovative program initiated by the U.S. Department of State gives students the opportunity to help American diplomats tackle real-life problems. Diplomacy Lab, now in its second year at Indiana University, provides service-learning experiences for students in diverse disciplines that intersect with foreign policy—often in surprising ways.

The ‘Sugar Daddy’ Culture

Africa is a great unknown to most Americans, often thought of in monolithic terms rather than in terms of the diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities of individual African nations. Before visiting Uganda, a sub-Saharan East African country about the size of Oregon, I was guilty of thinking in a similar way. 

Life Inside a Refugee Camp

As my colleague Victor and I traveled along the dirt road from the Ugandan city of Arua to the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement along the South Sudanese border, I confided in him that I was incredibly nervous. 

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SCIENCE/EDUCATION

STEM to Them Mobile Lab Brings Technology to Schools

A robotics laboratory and makerspace on wheels will be pulling up outside elementary schools across Monroe County starting next fall as part of the school district’s fully accessible, interdisciplinary approach to STEM education.

Citizen Scientist: The Great Sunflower Project

From the burrowing mayfly to the rusty patched bumble bee, we’re losing a head-spinning number of invertebrates. Thanks to shrinking natural habitats and our dependence on agricultural chemicals—particularly neonicotinoid pesticides— we’re living through what some have dubbed an “insect apocalypse.”

IU Researchers Establish Living Museums in the Sea

How does a shipwreck become an underwater museum? By becoming a site for “in situ preservation” of the wreck, its artifacts, and the living ecosystem that has grown around it, says Charles Beeker, director of the Center for Underwater Science at the Indiana University School of Public Health.

IU Digitizing Early Recordings Made on Antique Instruments

Artists, historians, and ordinary folks have been recording sounds—music, speeches, religious rituals, and banal conversations—since the late 19th century. One of the world’s largest repositories of archaic but unique recordings is located at the Scholarly Data Archive at Indiana University.

Was Abe Lincoln Gay? Public Historian Brings LGBTQ Past to Light

Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg may be the first openly gay man to run for president, but according to some historians, if he wins the election, he won’t be the first gay man to hold that office. Because of the intimate friendship between Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed, some speculate that the 16th president of the United States was gay.

IU Institute Supporting Efforts to Reclaim Native People’s Languages

Forced into boarding schools bent on assimilating them, America’s indigenous children were once punished for speaking in their native languages. Students uttering words in Lakota, Arikara, or Pawnee might have been made to kneel on radiators or had their mouths washed out with soap.

Fighting Invasive Species Takes Community Effort

Monarch caterpillars are picky eaters, dining exclusively on the leaves of the milkweed plant. Monarch butterflies are equally picky, only laying their eggs on milkweed. Unfortunately for monarchs, milkweed is a native plant that disappears when invasive plant species disrupt an ecosystem.

Citizen Scientist: Help Researchers to Track Nesting Birds

I found the dead indigo bunting splayed on the ground near Graham Plaza. Flying high—but not high enough, I’m afraid—the iridescent bird either failed to clear the building or had smacked squarely into one of the structure’s large windows. Its neck clearly broken, the small bird looked even tinier in my palm.

Globe-Trotting With Brooke Bierhaus: Morning Meditations on Jerusalem’s Western Wall

You might not believe it, but 6:45 a.m. is my favorite time of day. It has been since I was 13 years old. Waking up while it’s still dark and watching my surroundings come to life as the sun casts its light on the world is my meditation. After traveling to and living in 28 countries, I have found that these early morning moments are the best way to really understand a city, town, or land.

Citizen Scientist: Help Save the Birds

Using data gathered in part by citizen scientists, researchers recently determined we’ve lost nearly three billion birds since 1970. Birds across the United States and Canada are in trouble. These include many migratory birds, as well as common species like warblers, blackbirds, and finches. And—spoiler alert!—like the veritable “canary in the coal mine,” such avian losses signal trouble for humans, too.

Stone Age Institute Designs Monument at Olduvai Gorge

Tourists to the East African nation of Tanzania, hurtling along the highway between the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, often rush past what is arguably the country’s most historically significant site: Olduvai Gorge, where the fossil remains of some of mankind’s earliest ancestors were discovered.

IU Researchers Develop BotSlayer: A Tool That Roots Out Fake News

Online news consumption can be complicated, but it has become even more so with the introduction of “astroturf” campaigns—coordinated attempts that use armies of bots (automated software applications) to convince readers there is grassroots support for fraudulent narratives on social media.

200-Year History of Bloomington Focus of Mathers Museum Exhibit

January 2018 marked the start of Bloomington’s bicentennial year, and in September, Indiana University kicked off a yearlong series of events celebrating its own 200 years. In honor of both occasions, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures has gathered materials that put an environmental spin on the history of the city and the university in an exhibit entitled “800 Seasons: Change and Continuity in Bloomington, 1818–2018.”

Ancient Lives Lets You Become a Papyrologist

Items buried within landfills certainly take their sweet time to break down—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. More than 100 years ago, researchers successfully excavated hundreds of thousands of legible papyrus scraps from a dry dump near Oxyrhynchus in Egypt.

Real Men Still Reading To Bloomington Kids

Since it started six years ago, the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s (MCCSC) Real Men Read program has offered some 875 kindergarten students per year the chance to listen to a story read by a man from the community.

Library Invites Community to Explore The Power of Words

We may live in polarized, angry times, but it isn’t a singular moment says author Margaret McMullan. “We’ve been there before, in the years leading up to the Holocaust and the Civil Rights era in Mississippi,” she says. “There were so many similarities in those times and now. The righteousness, the need to find scapegoats for our problems, the fear and fury. The hate. The violence.”

Citizen Scientist: Look Out for Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard isn’t the only botanical troublemaker thriving in our fields and forests, but it’s among the most insidious. Deceptively small at first, the biennial jumps from about 4 inches tall during its initial year to as much as 4 feet tall during year two.

Art-Based Learning in Schools Is Goal of Eskanazi Museum

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University will reopen this fall. When it does, guests will see four new centers have been created: education, conservation, curatorial studies, and prints, drawings, and photographs.

New State Law Gives Beekeepers a Boost

For years, governments and environmental groups have sounded the alarm regarding the demise of bee populations. And while honeybees aren’t native to North America, they pollinate more than 100 different crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ivy Tech Apple App Course Prepares Students to Code

Smartphone users are app-happy, and roughly 2 million apps—applications or programs for mobile phones or tablets—are available online. Now, a new course offered by Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington will teach students how to build their own apps.

Science Prof Creates Art to Make Biology Enjoyable

Jake McKinlay’s art features alien shapes and arresting colors, making his illustrations feel otherworldly, but his subject matter is actually much closer to home. An associate professor in the Indiana University Department of Biology, McKinlay creates original artwork to help his students understand complex biochemical concepts associated with metabolism.

IU Cancer Researcher Is Also ‘Beer Famous’

Back in 2013, when Matt Bochman arrived in Bloomington, breweries across the country were beginning to show interest in producing beers using locally grown ingredients. Malt and hops were accessible. “Yeast was the missing local ingredient,” Bochman says.

IU Bloomington Nursing School Sees Two More Firsts This Year

Of the 80 students to graduate from the Indiana University Bloomington School of Nursing this year, Larry Wilson is one of 11 men and the first black male to receive a degree from the Bloomington campus, which has been conferring nursing degrees since 2005.

More Grant Funds Means More High-Quality Child Care

Six Monroe County child care programs will receive funding to expand facilities, hire new educators, and implement educational curricula thanks to $247,858 in grants awarded to the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.

Spring into Action with Plant-Monitoring Projects

Most morel hunters know to start hunting in earnest when the dogwood leaves are as big as a mouse’s ear. Or at least that’s what my dad told me, and what his dad told him. And in years past, that’s been a pretty good rule to follow. But lately, things have been out of whack.

Local Student Fishing Club Growing and Competing

When Bloomington High School South juniors Colby Reed and Jenna Albertson, both 17, began fishing at age 10, they didn’t expect their angling ambitions to be anything more than a weekend pastime.

Ivy Tech ‘Day in the Life’ Program Added at Bloomington Campus

Lillian Lyle knows she wants to go into nursing, but the Eastern Greene High School junior wants to get a better feel for the college campus where she’ll spend a lot of her time and energy in a few years. She says the Day in the Life student visitation program at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington gave her that chance.

Lotus Blossoms Outreach Program Brings the World To Bloomington

If you had to summarize the Lotus Blossoms outreach program in one phrase, it might be: “Make the world a smaller place.” By bringing global storytellers, dancers, and musicians to the area each spring, Lotus Blossoms strives to connect local kids with cultures from across the world.

WonderLab Introduces STEM to Preschoolers

It may just be play to them, but the 4- and 5-year-olds at the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology Skyline Toolbox exhibit are engaging with an intentional STEM Starter.

Night Skies Monitoring Light Pollution & Mapping Galaxies

With darkness closing in early, winter was once my nemesis. Now, though, I recognize the season’s potentially significant citizen science value. Theoretically, the leafless trees and dark skies should provide stargazers with stunning views, but finding a vantage point that isn’t flooded with artificial light has become increasingly difficult. Government bodies, area schools, businesses—even individual homeowners—illuminate Bloomington’s night sky, and collectively contribute to light pollution.

500 Women Scientists Active & Growing at IU

After the 2016 election, and with the installation of the Trump administration, many felt that support for science was in jeopardy. And when scientists are under pressure, that pressure is particularly intense for women, says Sarah Schanz, one of the new leaders of the Indiana University chapter (or “pod”) of 500 Women Scientists.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Pushing for Carbon Tax

The vast majority of scientists agree that, unchecked, global climate change will continue to impact weather patterns, glaciers will keep melting in record time, and coastal lands will be flooded by rising sea levels. The problem is vast and can seem overwhelming. That’s how Marshall Saunders, a California real estate broker, felt before founding Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) in 2007.

Local Composers Create Modern Operas for Kids

Kim Carballo, a voice coach at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, says that in the 1950s and ’60s, a slew of children’s operas were composed to introduce children to the art form. “Kids used to graduate from sixth grade knowing Carmen and other famous works, but now there’s a different focus on arts education,” Carballo says.

A Dig at Wylie House Museum Unearthing 1859 Greenhouses

Even before I joined the dig at the Wylie House Museum, I knew my concept of archaeology—mostly dinosaurs, mummies, and Indiana Jones—was tragically oversimplified. Still, I didn’t know how oversimplified until I started working alongside some real archaeologists uncovering circa-1859 greenhouses.

Eskenazi Undergoes Renovation but School Outreach Continues

The Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) requires every second-grade student to visit the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art, but since the museum closed for renovation in May 2017, fulfilling that requirement has been impossible. The solution? Bring the museum to the students. 

Girls Inc. Camps Encourage Fun, Camaraderie & STEM

Summer camp is about having fun and making friends, and Girls Inc. summer camps are all that—and more. Unlike traditional day camps, the camaraderie and crafts at these camps are infused with academic enrichment, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Camp Yes And: Using Improv as a Learning Tool for Youth on the Autism Spectrum

Most people are familiar with improvisational theater—unscripted live-performance shows in which actors make up the scene on the spot. Improv works because everyone on stage agrees to play along, says Jim Ansaldo, a research scholar at the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University. “If improv has one rule, it’s the rule of ‘yes and,’” Ansaldo says.

Global Minded Project Expanding Horizons Through Travel

Even before she founded the Global Minded Project (GMP) last year, Bloomington native Malissa Waterford knew she wanted to bring two of her interests—travel and working with children—together for a common purpose. However, she says it wasn’t until she visited Europe as part of an educational tour group that she found the inspiration for her nonprofit organization.

Cardinal Stage Company Brings Drama to Fairview Elementary

Sixteen intently focused fourth-through-sixth grade Fairview Elementary School students sound out a complex string of nonsense syllables, a warmup for a drama class. They’re led by Connor Starks, an Indiana University freshman and Cardinal Stage Company intern. It’s all part of an arts-infused educational model Fairview adopted eight years ago.

IU Scientists Group Fighting Gov’t Anti-Science Policies

The 2016 election generated widespread concern about the anti-science rhetoric used by the campaigns of President Donald Trump and other Republicans. “In the past, science has gotten very strong bipartisan support,” says Michael Hamburger, a professor of geological sciences at Indiana University. “Something has changed significantly in the last few years.”

New NASA Planetary Protection Officer Enjoys the Sweet Life in New Unionville

There were about 1,400 other applicants for arguably one of the most important jobs on the planet—safeguarding our biosphere from extraterrestrial biological contaminants and preventing earthly organisms from wreaking havoc on planets we might explore in the future. But Lisa Pratt, formerly a geological sciences professor in the Indiana University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, now holds the out-of-this-world title of Planetary Protection Officer for NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. 

IU Photobioreactor Formula: Flue Gases + Algae = Fertilizer

Where others see waste, Stephen “Chip” Glaholt and Mark Menefee see opportunity. Co-leaders on the new Indiana University photobioreactor project, Glaholt and Menefee plan to put photosynthetic
algae to work high atop IU’s Central Heating Plant. There, carbon- and nitrogen-rich emissions will be condensed and diverted from plant smokestacks to a maze of algae-filled pipes. Add a little sunlight and the waste is transformed into nutrient-rich biofertilizer. 

IU Lecturer Donates His Spock Ears To Lilly Library Star Trek Collection

When Ben Motz, senior lecturer in the Indiana University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, was a boy, his parents instilled in him a fascination with science fiction, particularly Star Trek. He grew up knowing all about the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, and vividly recalls watching episodes of the original TV series with his mother. 

Archer Foundation Teaches Children How to Garden

With a mission “to help boys and girls learn about gardening,” the George E. Archer Foundation (GEAF) works with schools and nonprofit organizations by funding horticulture-based curriculum and activities. Formerly the Hilltop Educational Foundation, the GEAF was established in 1984 to support children’s gardening through advocacy, fundraising, and volunteer efforts.

IU Law Prof Who Wrote the Book 
On Sexual Harassment Is in Demand

Sexual harassment has surged into the public consciousness this past year as numerous prominent journalists, politicians, Hollywood actors and producers, and corporate magnates have faced assault allegations. While the public asks how it could have been so wrong about the character of so many public figures, perplexed columnists and commentators have repeatedly turned to Jennifer Drobac, a professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, to explain the complexities of the situation.

Herman B Wells’ Home Movies Offer Personal Insight into His Life

Herman B Wells left a remarkable legacy at Indiana University: expanding the school in both size and reputation, fiercely supporting academic freedom, and fighting racial segregation. He also left a detailed record of his 70-year career, including 23 reels of home movies.

IU Science Fest October 21: Learn How to Do Amazing Stuff!

At IU’s Science Fest, visitors can create their own baseball-size comets using water, dry ice, dirt, and syrup. That’s just one of the many activities planned at the free event taking place October 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in several buildings across the IU campus.

Digitization to Take IU’s Massive Herbarium Collection Into Modern Era

Indiana University’s Herbarium, a collection of 150,000 plant samples gathered over the past 130 years, has long provided a detailed catalog of Indiana’s plant life. Now this unique museum of native plants (and a rogues’ gallery of invasive species) is going digital. Herbarium staff hope to take the entire collection online by 2019. 

A Store Where Teachers Find School Supplies—For Free!

There are no cash registers, no price tags, nor any employees, but the supplies on the shelves of this unique store on Bloomington’s Near West Side are used in about half of the elementary and middle school classrooms in Bloomington.

Diplomacy Lab: Students Learning and Helping U.S. State Department

An innovative program initiated by the U.S. Department of State gives students the opportunity to help American diplomats tackle real-life problems. Diplomacy Lab, now in its second year at Indiana University, provides service-learning experiences for students in diverse disciplines that intersect with foreign policy—often in surprising ways.

The ‘Sugar Daddy’ Culture

Africa is a great unknown to most Americans, often thought of in monolithic terms rather than in terms of the diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities of individual African nations. Before visiting Uganda, a sub-Saharan East African country about the size of Oregon, I was guilty of thinking in a similar way. 

Life Inside a Refugee Camp

As my colleague Victor and I traveled along the dirt road from the Ugandan city of Arua to the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement along the South Sudanese border, I confided in him that I was incredibly nervous. 

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