GEL AwardsDrawing

GEL Awards

Spring 2014

Truancy Remediation in Community Schools

GEL 576

Project Lead: Grant Richards

Amount: $9,948.50

Description: This project will directly engage UVU students with at-risk students and families in the Alpine and Provo School Districts. These families will be struggling with truancy, academic and behavioral problems. They will be referred to the UVU program by the schools and the courts. Using skills they are learning in their mediation classes, first semester mediators will be working to create a positive environment for communication between the parents and teen. Students in the advanced mediation class will work directly with school administrators, counselors and the courts.

The Utah Data Dive

GEL 577

Project Lead: Barton Poulson

Amount: $5,000

Description: The Utah Data Dive (see represents the culmination of several years of effort by me and my students to develop a program of community-engaged analytics to UVU and its community. A data dive is an event that brings together a diverse group of volunteers to work intensively on data provided by local, service-oriented, non-profit organizations. Our goal is to hold the Utah Data Dive in the spring of 2015. We aim to promote this event to students across the UVU campus – especially the departments of Behavioral Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Information Systems and Technology – and from local universities such as BYU and the U of U. We will also identify training resources that are already available on campus and to develop new materials for online training. I will work closely with our data ambassadors to identify potential local nonprofits in early 2015. We will then schedule the Utah Data Dive for early April of 2015, running from Thursday night to Saturday afternoon on the campus at UVU.

Investigating PCB and Trace Element Levels in Soil, Plant and Fish Species in Utah Lake

GEL 578

Project Lead: Eddy Cadet

Amount: $10,000

Description: Introduction of the common carp in the early 1900s along with water runoff from the water shed and industrial discharges have caused some detrimental changes to the ecosystem of Utah Lake. Two major impacts include decreases in biodiversity (e.g. June Sucker) and the accumulation of trace metals and PCB contaminants into lake sediments and fish.  In an effort to mitigate these effects, in 2009 the Department of Water Quality (DWQ) launched a carp removal program. The goal was to remove 6 million carps from Utah Lake by 2017, in hopes of improving water quality and ecosystem conditions of Utah Lake. To date, approximately 2.5 million carps have been removed. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of carp removal on PBC concentration of Utah Lake soil sediments and four fish species, 2) to assess the metal and PCB concentration of plants, 3) to increase community awareness, and 4) to engage Earth Science students in the scientific investigation of a major environmental concern.

Identification of Utah Mosquito Blood Meal Species: A Collaboration with Utah Mosquito Abatement Districts

GEL 579

Project Lead: Janice Sugiyama

Amount: $9,998

Description: The goal of this proposal is to aid understanding of the transmission dynamics of mosquito-borne viruses. UVU biotechnology students, mosquito abatement districts of Utah, Salt Lake and Davis counties, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) will collaborate to identify the host species within blood meals of mosquitoes caught in different Utah locales. This knowledge may identify regions where mosquito-host preferences create a bridge for viral pathogens.

Anatomy Academy: An interdisciplinary educational intervention to fight obesity

GEL 580

Project Lead:  Heather Wilson-Ashworth

Amount: $10,000

Description: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has nearly tripled in the last 30 years, and has challenged communities to enact policy, system, and environmental initiatives focusing on obesity education and prevention to combat this growing trend. With the CDC challenge, a health initiative, Anatomy Academy, was developed. The curriculum, conducted by college students (Mentors) pursuing undergraduate pre-professional degrees and students pursuing post-secondary education in the biological health sciences, consists of classroom activities and outdoor activities. A portion of the grant will fund Anatomy Academy kits which are utilized in the classroom by the Students and the Mentors. Using accepted social science methods for making quantitative statements about qualitative data, UVU students and Dr. Wilson-Ashworth will develop an assessment tool which will allow us to analyze the seven Mentor reflections collected during Anatomy Academy. Both the assessment tool and the quantitative statements will be published in peer-review journals. A portion of the grant will be utilized to fund student salaries for developing the assessment tool as well as analyzing the Mentor reflections.

Insects of Capitol Reef National Park

GEL 581

Project Lead: Heath Ogden

Amount: $4,500

Description: UVU’s presence with a field station in Capitol Reef National Park (CRNP) has provided students with specialized research opportunities and valuable field experience, and not until recently, little emphasis had been placed on increasing our understanding of the insect diversity in the park. We were previously funded to complete two objectives: 1) publish an Insect Field Guide-pamphlet and 2) create an insect display (to be exhibited at UVU’s Field Station) of the most common and interesting insects of Capitol Reef National Park. Both objectives were successfully completed and now there are pamphlets and displays available for visitors to the park and UVU's CRNP Field Station. The purpose of this project is to provide opportunities for student research by collecting and classifying insects from CRNP. Our goals for the project will be to 1) collect and curate insects from new areas of CRNP in order to build upon the current insect collection; 2) create the first species list with associated photos documenting the various differences in insect life in CRNP, 3) present results at a scientific meetings (e.g. ESA, UCUR).

Identification of New Antifungal Compounds and Antifungal Genetic Targets

GEL 582

Project Lead: Daren Heaton

Amount: $7,977

Description: Aminoglycosides are a large class of clinically important antibiotics and have been widely used to treat serious infectious diseases such as septicemia and complicated intra-abdominal infections for over 60 years. Recently, Prof. Chang from Utah State prepared amphiphilic aminoglycosides by adding a simple alkyl chain (-C8 H17) to primary alcohol groups of the naturally-occurring aminoglycosides and found that these amphiphilic aminoglycosides possess remarkable antifungal activity contrary to its parent aminoglycosides. However, this unusual switch of biological activity from antibacterial to antifungal is not yet understood and presents a perfect opportunity for UVU students to investigate its mechanism of action by screening these amphiphilic aminoglycosides with a Saccharomyces cerevisiae library. Using GEL funding from last year, students achieved considerable success in developing the conditions to screen for the mechanism of action of the antifungal aminoglycosides. Our goal is to use this research as a springboard for external funding. 

Touring Production and Educational Outreach for Bocon, a Bilingual Play for Young Audiences

GEL 583

Project Lead: John Newman

Amount: $7,000

Description:A cast of seven, an outreach team of two, and a stage manager will perform a bilingual play, Bocon, for up to 4,000 elementary and secondary school students and provide interactive workshops in classrooms. The central character in the play is a Latino boy who crosses the border into the United States and is stopped by a border agent. The boy tells the story of his journey using stories and characters from Latin American folklore. The play contains dialogue in both English and Spanish and is comprehensible for speakers of either language. The touring production will be created by the THEA 222R class: Theatre for Young Audiences Tour. It will be presented in the style of Teatro Campasino, a form of improvised folk theatre traditionally performed by migrant workers. The outreach duo, one of whom must be bilingual, will conduct workshops in the schools based on the themes from the play.

Emphasizing STEM Subject through an Enrichment Robotics Program for Elementary Students

GEL 584

Project Lead: Elaine Tuft

Amount: $10,000

Description:  The project for which we are seeking GEL funding is an enrichment robotics program for 5th and 6th graders in Alpine School District. The program is a partnership between Utah Valley University’s School of Education, Alpine School District, and a local company Learning Through Robotics. In this program, personnel from Learning Through Robotics train UVU students (primarily elementary education majors) how to program, use, and teach classes with Lego Mindstorms robotics. The UVU students then teach the enrichment courses at the participating elementary schools. One purpose of this project is to increase elementary- and college-age students’ knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the use of Lego Mindstorms robotics. A second purpose is to provide UVU education students more STEM-based experience teaching children prior to receiving their teaching license, which we expect to increase their marketability. The final purpose is to improve the participating UVU and elementary students’ knowledge and attitudes related to STEM subjects, particularly in relation to the Lego Mindstorms robotics.

Partnering Education Majors with UVU's Summer Youth Math Camp

GEL 585

Project Lead: Roxanne Brinkerhoff

Amount: $9,813

Description:  Approximately 60% of incoming UVU students test into a remedial math course; many of these students suffer from math anxiety and a loathing of mathematics. Research shows that negative attitudes towards mathematics are fixed by the age of nine. To combat negative math attitudes, faculty members in the Developmental Math Department developed a summer youth math camp for elementary school children. Faculty members have presented exciting and fun math activities that promote learning by doing and experimenting with mathematics. The main goal of the math camp is to change math attitudes, which will affect their math performance throughout grade school. Partnering the camp with UVU education majors provides a broader scope of learning for the elementary school students, as well as increasing the impact of the camp on the community. The pre-service teachers will receive invaluable classroom training as well as ideas for engaged classroom activities. The elementary school students will gain a more inclusive math camp experience and will be exposed to adults who possess an enthusiasm for mathematics.

Fall 2013

One-Time Assistance to Establish Geomorphology Projects Engaging Students in Long-Term Monitoring of Utah's Active Landscapes

GEL 537

Project Lead: Suzanne Walther

Amount: $9,981

Description: During the spring 2014 semester we will establish two new research projects engaging ~18 students in active research related to fluvial and tectonic geomorphology. These projects will be the start on long-term research about the rates of change in arid land streams in Capitol Reef National Park and quantifying metrics of tectonic activity within the Intermountain Seismic Belt.

Developing a Student Driven High Altitude Research Program

GEL 538

Project Lead: Kim Nielsen

Amount: $8,213

Description: The proposed project is a UVU Society of Physics Students (SPS) lead endeavor into high altitude research of the atmosphere and near space environment, where students will be designing, building, and launching scientific payloads on high altitude balloon platforms.

Cooperative Research in Hydrology and Petrology between Utah Valley University and Tribhuvan University (Nepal) Undergraduates and the Department of Mines and Geology (Nepal)

GEL 539

Project Lead: Steven Emerman

Amount: $4,855

Description: There is no access to drinking water that is not contaminated with arsenic for 3.5 million residents of Nepal. The dominant paradigm is that arsenic contamination is naturally occurring and is unrelated to any human activity. However, Steven Emerman and his American and Nepali students have published seven papers and one book arguing that arsenic contamination results from deforestation. The objectives of this project are to search for further evidence for the deforestation model by: 1) determining whether there is a correlation among arsenic in rivers, soils and exposed bedrock in river watersheds in Kathmandu Valley, 2) determining whether there is a difference between arsenic in rivers and soils within and downslope of Shivapuri National Park, which is still largely forested and which contains much of the headwaters of Kathmandu Valley.

Investigating Anthropogenic Impacts on the Utah Lake Wetlands and Fish Species Using a Multi-proxy Approach

GEL 540

Project Lead: Weihong Wang

Amount: $8,700

Description: The wetlands around Utah Lake are critical for fish and wildlife resources, flood mitigation, and recreation, but the ecosystem is under increasing stress due to urban, industrial, and agricultural runoff from an ever-expanding population that now exceeds 500,000 people in Utah Valley. Regional land use changes have been shown to affect biodiversity, sedimentation dynamics, productivity, and nutrient recycling in lakes and wetlands. This project will investigate human impacts on Utah Lake wetlands and four popular fish species in the lake using multiple parameters which include stable isotope and trace metal analysis, sediment grain distribution analysis, and lead-210 and carbon-14 dating at multiple sites.

Emphasizing STEM Subjects through an After-School Robotics Program for Elementary Students

GEL 535

Project Lead: Elaine Tuft

Amount: $8,000

Description: One purpose of this proposed project is to increase elementary- and college-age students' knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the use of Lego Mindstorm robotics. A second purpose is to provide UVU education students more experience teaching children prior to receiving their teaching license. The final purpose is to improve the participating UVU and elementary students' attitudes related to STEM subjects, particularly in relation to the Lego Mindstorm robotics.

Acacia Shade: Ghana Project

GEL 531

Project Lead: Trudy Christensen

Amount: $5,000

Description: As part of a two-semester senior project capstone experience, a team of five UVU Digital Media (DGM) students plan to complete a service-learning project for Acacia Shade (, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of children with disabilities in Ghana, Africa.

For the Love of Reading: Strengthening the Impact of UVU's Forum on Engaged Reading

GEL 536

Project Lead: Nancy Peterson

Amount: $3,430

Description: The UVU Forum on Engaged Reading's unique purpose of fostering a love of reading distinguishes it from other literacy conferences occurring in the state. With a love and passion for reading, children are compensated for the hard and sometimes discouraging work in acquiring greater reading skills and achieving higher reading scores and reading levels. With a love and passion for reading, secondary students begin to see themselves as readers and thinkers with valuable insights. This annual conference inspires literacy stakeholders to sustain that arduous and imperative work of literacy achievement while adding personal inspiration and passion to validate, inspire, and empower readers to fall in love with reading again and again.

Gamification Framework in Canvas: Construction and Assessment

GEL 533

Project Lead: Jared Chapman

Amount: $2,000

Description: This year, returning UVU faculty heard a keynote address describing the importance of teaching today's students using the tools they are familiar with and an approach to learning environments called gamification. The premise of gamification is improving motivation and performance by using game mechanics in non-game contexts. This project applies gamification theory and techniques to the MGMT 3000 course.

Low cost, sustainable, renewable energy production using a balloon lofted wind turbine for poor, developing nations

GEL 541

Project Lead: Kevin Shurtleff

Amount: $5,200

Description: During the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters, my team of students will research, design, build, and test a low-cost, robust, balloon-lofted, wind-powered, air compressor, compressed air storage and air-powered electrical generator system. This method of energy production will produce sustainable, renewable energy that is much lower in cost than existing technologies making it suitable for use in poor, developing nations.

Paths to Lean Construction

GEL 532

Project Lead: Robert Warcup

Amount: $3,742

Description: 'Lean' is an emerging trend in the construction industry that is continually gaining momentum. Despite the momentum however, it is estimated that more than 90 percent of all construction firms are unaware of the concept and/or do not understand its potential. This project aims to help both students and practitioners experience the potential of lean construction by learning the power of lean principles.

UVUAMA (American Marketing Association) International Collegiate Conference

GEL 534

Project Lead: Paige Gardiner

Amount: $2,000

Description: We are writing to apply for funding for 12 students to attend the National AMA Collegiate Conference April 10-14, 2014. The four benefits our students will receive from attending the conference include the following: 1) Create a position of UVU Marketing as a leading Professional Sales Program in the West; 2) Expose UVU students to a national career fair; 3) Learn industry leading marketing strategy; and 4) Study best practices for how to run an AMA club.

Spring 2013

Strengthening Families Program

GEL 433

Project Lead: Roberta Johnson

Amount: $10,000

Description: UVU students, in collaboration with the Alpine School District, DCFS, and MADD, conducted simultaneous programs at four sites for at-risk families. These programs have proven to be effective in increasing resilience and reducing risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic and social problems in youth while improving family relationships and parenting skills.

Public Service Academy

GEL 506

Project Lead:  Luke Peterson

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  The Public Service Academy enables UVU students to build and apply advanced knowledge in their field, while creating public value for local government, and non-profit partners. Capitalization from a GEL seed grant will permit students to receive compensation for executing these public sector projects, thereby offering the opportunity to meet their personal financial responsibilities while gaining experience in their field. Over time, as proof of performance is established, contractual dollars from public partners will replace most subsidization, making PSA a sustainable generator of advanced engaged-learning opportunities.

Engaged Primary Research Project for English Students

GEL 507

Project Lead:  Linda Shelton

Amount:  $3,624

Description:  English students participate in an engaged learning project by doing primary research at Capitol Reef Field Station. These students then collaborate in group writing projects.

Challenge Day at Timpanogos High

GEL 508

Project Lead:  Tracy Golden

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  Introducing the Challenge Day program to Timpanogos High School and Orem Junior High to improve student engagement and connectedness, then to have those students go back and inspire their classmates to do the same.

UVU Conference on Writing for Social Change

GEL 509

Project Lead:  Wioleta Fedeczko

Amount:  $2,500

Description:  The Conference on Writing for Social Change is an annual interdisciplinary campus event held each fall semester at Utah Valley University. The 2013 conference will be held on November 14-15. The conference encourages students, faculty, and community members to submit and present research, writing projects, and creative works that address a broad range of social change issues. Dr. Cheryl Glenn, Co-founder of Penn State's Center for Democratic Deliberation, has already agreed to be the keynote speaker. And, Utah's Mary Dickson, author of the play "Exposed" and Director of Creative Services at KUER, has agreed to be a featured speaker about Utah activism.

Using eye tracking to increase research engagement and productivity in undergraduate students at UVU

GEL 510

Project Lead:  Jessica Hill

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  This project will be implemented in stages: (1) eye tracking equipment will be purchased, and interested faculty members and undergraduate students will be trained in the development of research projects using eye tracking technology as well as how to use the equipment; and (2) a week-long service project reaching out to local psychology high school students to encourage the perception of psychology as a science. This grant application is seeking funding for stage 1 of the project.

UVU Prep (Utah Valley University PREP - STEM Advantage)

GEL 511

Project Lead:  Liz Andrus

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  This "Grant for Engaged Learning" will pay for four UVU student mentor internships who will mentor tutor ten students each of the first year UVU PREP program, plus supplies and materials for Friday enrichment activities. UVU interns will work on the inaugural year--the work will begin in July of 2013 and occur periodically throughout the academic year then finish up June of 2014 to create a foundation for this UVU STEM project pipeline to prepare eighty (80) high achieving 7th grade students on the UVU campus for success in STEM studies in junior high, high school and beyond.

Celebrated Voices

GEL 512

Project Lead:  Doris Hudson de Trujillo

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  Celebrated Voices is a project that connects UVU with the expanding Latino and Hispanic students and community across the Wasatch Front through the art form of dance. The festival is designed to educate, inspire, and change perceptions through concert and workshop presentations of renowned and emerging artists of Latin, Spanish, and Hispanic descent.

UVU Chamber Choir Performance at the NCCO National Conference

GEL 513

Project Lead:  Reed Criddle

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  The UVU Chamber Choir (thirty-two students, one faculty conductor, and one staff pianist) have been selected by peer-reviewed, blind-audition to be the featured performers at the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference in Charleston, South Caroline, October 31-November 2, 2013. This is the most prestigious event of its kind in the United States and only a few college choirs are invited at each biennial conference.

Free Legal Clinic

GEL 514

Project Lead:  Jill Jasperson

Amount:  $7,700

Description:  Since 2009, I have been lead organizer and founder of the Free Legal Clinic sponsored by the Legal Studies department, Woodbury School of Business and various businesses. This is in connection with the American Bar Association's "Celebrate Pro Bono" October celebration held across the nation; this year the Free Legal Clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, October 22, 2013. We hold the largest free legal clinic in the state by hosting 25-35 lawyers and inviting the public to access free legal advice--we have experienced a history of success in the past.

Cooperative Research in Surface Water Hydrology between UVU Earth Science Students and the Utah Department of Natural Resources

GEL 515

Project Lead:  Steven Emerman

Amount:  $9,065

Description:  The Utah Department of Natural Resources (UDNR) currently uses the empirical Manning Equation for estimating stream discharge through artificial slots created for diverting rivers around coal mines. However, preliminary research by UVU Earth Science students has shown that existing methods for estimating the roughness coefficient in the Manning Equation can overestimate stream discharge through slots by up to two orders of magnitude, which implies that many existing diversions in Utah have been under-designed and cannot accommodate the 100-year flood for which they were intended. The objective of this project is to use discharge measurements in artificial stream diversion, in natural slot canyons and on a laboratory hydraulics bench to develop a new empirical formula for estimating stream discharge through slot-like structures.

Anatomy Academy: An interdisciplinary educational intervention to fight obesity

GEL 516

Project Lead:  Heather Wilson-Ashworth

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  Anatomy Academy combats childhood obesity through educational intervention by supplementing existing physical education curricula at elementary schools with an interactive learning experience designed to engage elementary students (Students) with immediately applicable biological concepts, empower them to take a proactive role in their personal health, nurture scientific curiosity, and encourage the pursuit of higher education. The curriculum conducted by college students (Mentors) pursuing undergraduate pre-professional degrees and students pursuing post-secondary education in the biological health sciences, consists of classroom activities and outdoor activities.

Antifungal Research

GEL 517

Project Lead:  Daren Heaton

Amount:  $9,975

Description:  Amphiphilic aminoglycosides are unexpectedly found to be antifungal whose mechanism of action is yet to be understood. We seek to investigate its mechanism of action by screening those amphiphilic aminoglycosides with yeast library and promote collaboration among chemistry faculty. This will serve an excellent opportunity for students to broaden and apply their classroom learning to real life challenges and help participating students develop various problem-solving skills.

UVU Native Regional Community Leadership and Enrollment Outreach

GEL 518

Project Lead:  Ken Sekaquaptewa

Amount:  $10,000

Description:  This multi-disciplinary project will provide a structured forum wherein current UVU students and potential students from local high schools, with a special focus upon Native American students, can receive essential leadership training and college preparatory skills through direct mentoring workshops and short-term internships on campus.

Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) Training

GEL 519

Project Lead:  John Fisher

Amount:  $6,590

Description:  This project will train UVU students to be C-CERT members and provide them opportunities for service in the university community. As the university counterpart of CERT, Campus-Commumity Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) educates college students about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact the university community and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises C-CERT members can assist others in their community following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. C-CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their universities and communities.

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