2019 March Newsletter

bi color with students newsletter header

March 2019

picture of interim COAS dean Leslie Durham

Dear Friends,

Last week was Boise State’s spring break, but there was no lull in the outstanding activity of our faculty and students. And as the end of the school year starts to come into focus, you can expect that we will have more accomplishments to celebrate, talents to share, and events to challenge your mind and fill your spirit.

Thank you for your continued support of the College of Arts and Sciences, and for being an important part of our community.


Leslie Durham

Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences   

Boise State University                                                                                                                                                                                            

picture of Shawn EdringtonFine Arts Alumnus Receives Regional Award

Shawn Edrington has received the Western Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Project Award in the category of creative, visual and performing arts for his thesis project “Terrain Vague.”  The Western Association of Graduate Schools consists of accredited institutions in the Western United States, Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

Edrington graduated from Boise State with a master of Fine Arts degree in 2018.  He is the first Boise State student to win the award and will be honored at an event in Tucson, Arizona, in March.

“It’s really surprising. I was caught off guard,” said Edrington about the award. Receiving the recognition, he said, “has been a great kind of motivation for me and a validation that all of that effort was indeed worth it.”


picture of Chao Chen, Geoscience,
Chao Chen, Geoscience, outdoor portrait, Allison Corona photo

Geoscience Post-Doc Chao Chen Awarded a Fellowship

Chao Chen, a postdoctoral researcher in Boise State University’s geoscience department, has been awarded the Hydroinformatics Innovation Fellowship fro the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrological Science, Inc (CUAHSI) for an independently developed project. This one-year $5000 fellowship is the first of its kind to ever be awarded by CUAHSI, and will enable Chen and her colleagues to create an online computer application that will ensure quality control of data pertaining to hydroinformatics.

With hydrological research, while the guaranteed veracity of observed data is crucial to understanding, analyzing and predicting environmental systems, the validity and quality of many datasets cannot always be guaranteed,” said Chen. “With vast data contributors shared on the CUAHSI service, we proposed an application providing tools for configuring quality control tests to run on their data with customizable parameters, to ensure that all CUAHSI-hosted data will have, at minimum, a base level of quality control.”


High school students gather in the world language departmentWorld Language Department Welcomes High Schoolers to Experience Culture First-Hand

A group of 58 language students from Jerome High School made a special visit to experience Boise State campus culture first-hand.

The students spend the day touring the university, participating in language lab activities and a scavenger hunt hosted by the World Languages Resource Center. Casita Nepantla, the organization devoted to Latino issues and culture, hosted the students for lunch at the Student Diversity Center.  Later, students enjoyed a roundtable discussion with faculty members and current French and Spanish majors and minors.  They attended a screening of the film, “I Am Not Your Negro,” as part of Boise State’s Tournees French Film Festival organized by Mariah Devereux Herbeck, a professor of French in the Department of World Languages. Alicia Garza, an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and director of Casita Nepantla, introduced the film


picture of Carson MacPherson_KrustskyGrad Students Receives National Recognition for Natural Hazards Paper

Graduate student Carson MacPherson-Krutsky in the Department of Geosciences recently was awarded the 2018 Geological Society of America (GSA) Geology and Society Division Best Student Paper Award at the GSA annual meeting in Indianapolis. Mentored by Associate Professor Brittany Brand, MacPherson-Krutsky’s research tackles the goal of understanding people’s perceptions of the risks posed by natural hazards and disasters, and making information pertaining to these risks accessible and comprehensible to the public.

“One of the greatest aspects of being a graduate advisor is that I get to learn as much from my graduate students as they do from me,” said Brand. “I have already learned so much from her efforts on this project and look forward to seeing what direction she takes her research next.  I have no doubt that her work will make a significant contribution to both science and society.”


picture of dancersGet Ready for Idaho’s First Screendance Film Festival

Screendance, or “dance for camera,” is an art form that merges cinematography and choreography to create vibrant, often provocative short films. Dance is central, but camera movement, editing and sound – or the intentional absence of sound – all contribute to a finished piece. Screendance, say its fans, allows for effects not possible in a traditional live performance setting, including a mix of camera angles, close-ups and drone footage.

Boise State, The Idaho Dance Educational Organization and Idaho Dance Theatre will host the state’s first screendance festival April 26-27 in the Special Events Center. The all-ages festival will offer workshops on creating original screendances, four screening sessions, a quick-fire filmmaking contest, awards and more. The festival, said organizer Marla Hansen, an associate professor in the Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing, is open to the public. Admission is by donation.


picture of a hummingbirdIntermountain Bird Observatory Benefits from Zamzows Bird Food Sales

Boise State’s Intermountain Bird Observatory has gained lots of fans in the local community, including Zamzows Inc., the longtime Boise lawn, garden and pet store.

Zamzows organized a January fundraiser in which it pledged to give $1 for every bag of wild bird food sold to the IBO. On Friday, Feb. 8, Zamzow’s presented the observatory with a check for $2,300.

“The Intermountain Bird Observatory will use this donation to help us connect more students to our research programs, so that they can meet real scientists and learn about bird conservation in action,” said Heidi Carlisle, education and outreach director.


picture of geosciences club studentsGeophysics Club Works to Help Solve Mysteries in Historic Boise Cemetery

On a recent bright but chilly morning, the Boise State Geophysics Club used ground-penetrating radar, magnetometers and GPS to begin locating the graves of inmates buried in the cemetery at the

former Idaho State Prison, now the historic site know as the Old Idaho Penitentiary located off Warm Springs Avenue.

Of the 129 people who died there, at least 55 were buried on site, including six of the 10 inmates executed during the prison’s operations. All the graves were marked at some point, and several stones do remain, including two placed by the U.S. Army for inmates who were veterans. But years of weather and vandalism have taken their toll on other markers.

In addition, prison officials didn’t always keep careful records of burial sites to begin with, said Amber Beierle, a graduate of Boise State’s history program and historic sites administrator for the Idaho State Historical Society.


picture of the FY19 Talkin' Broncos Debate Team

Continued Successes for the Talkin’ Broncos

The Pi Kappa Delta National Championship Boise State Speech and Debate team continued their 2018-19 season with another strong showing at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.  This secures yet another win as they prepare for the upcoming Pi Kappa Delta National at Hofstra University in New York.

The Talkin’ Broncos wond first place in Overall Sweepstakes and first place in Individual Event Sweepstakes. The tournament featured more than 40 schools including Illinois State University, Lewis and Clark University, Purdue, Simpson College, Texas A&M and University of Western Kentucky.

“The Talkin’ Broncos impress once again by showing how versatile they are in conjunction with adapting to a different judging pool,” said Amy Arellano, interim director of forensics.


picture of Amber BeierleMeet Amber Beierle: Historian, Advocate and Teacher

Amber Beierle’s professional accomplishments are many, and they are notable.

After starting 14 years ago as a weekend intern giving tours at the Old Idaho Penitentiary, Beierle is now historic sites administrator for the Idaho State Historical Society. She is arguably the most knowledgeable person in the state about the Old Penitentiary – a significant site that opened before Idaho became a state and housed inmates until the early 1970s.

“As a historian, Beierle is always creative,” said Boise State Professor of History Emeritus Todd Shallat, whom Beierle calls her mentor. “She validates the notion of the public scholar who teaches without preaching.”


picture of student Trent GarrettPhysics Student Trent Garrett Wins 2nd Place at LSAMP Conference

The Boise State LSAMP Scholars Program took 15 students to the 10th Annual Pacific Northwest LSAMP Conference: Vision for the Future, Identifying, Developing, and Investing in Future Innovators in STEM at the University of Washington February 28 to March 1.

The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program is funded by the National Science Foundation and dedicated to increasing the number of historically underrepresented students successfully completing science, technology, and engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs. LSAMP also works to increase the number of students interested in and qualified for undergraduate research and graduate level studies.


picture of poet Terrance hayesAcclaimed Poet Terrance Hayes to Read on Campus

The work of award-winning American poet Terrance Hayes explores timely themes of race, masculinity, music and popular culture.

“I’m chasing a kind of language that can be unburdened by people’s expectations,” said Hayes in a 2013 interview with Hot Metal Bridge. “I think music is the primary model – how close can you get this language to be like music and communicate feeling at the base level in the same way a composition with no words communicates meaning? It might be impossible. Language is always burdened by thought. I’m just trying to get it so it can be like feeling.”



picture of professor Hortense Saget-Everett

Hortense Saget-Everett

French Lecturer
Department of World Languages

Hortense Saget-Everett, a lecturer in French in the Department of World Languages and the French honorary consul for the State of Idaho, recently organized the visit of Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, consul général of France, to Boise. While on campus, Lebrun-Damiens gave a presentation to university and high school students, faculty members and community members in the Student Union Building. Lebrun-Damiens addressed the challenges facing France and Europe, and the importance of France’s relationship with the United States. Lebrun-Damiens also emphasized the benefits for students that come from learning another language and studying abroad.

Read More About Hortense Saget-Everett>


picture of professor Bob Reinhardt

Bob Reinhardt

Assistant Professor
Department of History

Bob Reinhardt, an assistant professor in the Department of History, is organizing the Working History Showcase, a public educational event in which professionals in the history field meet with students and others to talk about their work, and about potential opportunities in the field.

The event will take place from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, April 8 in the Idaho Room at the Idaho State Museum in Julia Davis Park. It will include presentation tables for graduate student projects and local organizations, as well as a round robin networking session.



picture of professor Cliff LeMaster

Cliff LeMaster

Department of World Chemistry and Biochemistry

Clifford LeMaster, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, in collaboration with local surgeons Dr. Thomas Huntington and Dr. Ciara Huntington of St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, and Boise State students Jonathan Prince, Kerstin Hazelbaker, Bradley Lopes and Tyler Webb, recently published a manuscript titled “Safety First: Significant Risk of Air Embolism in Laparoscopic Gasketless Insufflation Systems” in the journal Surgical Endoscopy.

Read More About Clifford LeMaster>



The College of Arts and Sciences enhances the cultural, ethical, artistic, and scientific foundations of our society through education, research, creative activity, and community engagement, thereby improving individual and collective quality of life.  Our faculty, staff, and students discover and share knowledge, understand and appreciate diversity, create and analyze art, and engage and enrich our local and global communities. The College of Arts and Sciences is made up of sixteen departments, five interdisciplinary programs and six research units