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Vandal Explorer Series

Students Travel the World Performing Research

Research at U of I often takes place outside of the lab with experiments occurring across all of Idaho and even beyond the state’s borders. Check out the research of our students who have strapped on their boots and packed up their tools to investigate everything from the population of the local population of pygmy rabbits to local botany in Idaho's Selkirk Mountains. Watch our students delve into studies of antelope diets in Mozambique and teach evolution on the Galápagos Islands. While in the field, the students tackle problems such as archaeological excavations of Coeur d’Alene’s Fort Sherman and questions like what drives the evolution of new species.

2023 Vandal Explorers

A Road Once Traveled

University of Idaho student Jamie Dougall helps to unearth an ancient Greek road in Bulgaria and learn about the area's history and culture.

Whiz Wineries

Three computer science students built and installed artificial intelligence for Laurel Grove Wine Farm vineyard, reducing power consumption.

2022 Vandal Explorers

Hoot in the Night

By catching owls at night, senior Annie Vaage is learning how the birds use their Arizona desert habitat — where the climate is changing.

Sustainable Fish Food

Twice a day, Lexi Bishop feeds her fish. Her project at the Aquatic Research Institute identifies the most cost-effective and healthy diet for pen-reared trout.

A Long Trek

While working with a research team in the South African bush, U of I biology student Keegan Webb learned to see and distinguish between different giraffes despite their camouflage.

Wrangling Rabbits

A University of Idaho senior finds his career while reintroducing pygmy rabbits to the wild. Their team is monitoring the breeding of the rabbits.

Honeybee Health

Working in the lab of microbiology professor James Van Leuven, undergraduate Keera Paull looks for ways to kill the bacteria in bees that cause foulbrood disease.

Tracking Soil Compaction

Freshman forestry student Andrew Byrd measured the impact of new articulated tracks on a John Deere tractor used to move trees on soil compaction in the University of Idaho Experimental Forest.

Learning About Climate From Lava

Doctoral student Frank Wroblewski traveled to Iceland to study the local lava flows as they act as a suitable substitute for the red planet.

2021 Vandal Explorers

Unearthing Military History

Sophomore Savannah Johnson joined a University of Idaho archaeological team to study the complexities of military life at Coeur d’Alene’s Fort Sherman.

Historical Log Cabin in Chewelah

How do we pinpoint the age of a cabin built before the city built around it? Matt Franz uses tree-ring science or dendrochronology. University of Idaho’s Grant Harley and his students traveled to Chewelah, Washington, to age the Colville Indian Agency Cabin and answer questions for the local historical society.

2020 Vandal Explorers

The Plants of the Selkirks

Harpo Faust is spending her summer traversing North Idaho’s Selkirk Mountains. She is building on collections of past botanists and expanding what we know about regional plant life of the Selkirks.

Weather Balloons

An eight-student team will chase a solar eclipse to Chile to learn about the weather caused by such a rare event. But first, they're practicing their data collection with weather balloons.

Yellowstone Ripples

Does Yellowstone’s volcanic activity shape nearby mountains and valleys? Chloë Weeks' research took her to untouched places throughout Montana’s Gallatin Valley and Yellowstone National Park to study the region’s geology.

Saving Crops

How can Idaho farmers prevent diseases in their fields? Master’s student Lara Brown is working on that under the mentorship of James Woodhall. Their research aims to detect disease before symptoms appear — helping growers protect their crops.

Turner Glacier

How do you “listen” to water under a glacier? Chris Miele used seismic tools to understand water flow under Alaska’s Turner Glacier, which may provide insights on how climate change will influence the world’s glaciers.

2019 Vandal Explorers

Volcanism Across Planets

Kevin Cerna and Erika Rader investigate the environmental conditions surrounding past volcanic eruptions by studying crystal formation in the Pacific Northwest. Information from Earth's lava fields shows us how similar events could have formed Mars.

Evolution in the Galápagos

U of I researchers are digging into teaching evolutionary biology and biodiversity and what's driving evolution on the Galápagos Islands.

Answers from African Antelope

Matt Rafferty, Ryan Long and Hallie Walker are investigating how diets vary within a species — and perhaps how we get new species. They worked with three species of spiral-horned antelope in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.

Searching Peaks for Pika

Tara Kriz spent her summer traversing rockslides in Alaska while searching for pika, a relative of the rabbit. Kriz wants to know how the animals are adapting to climate change.

Designing a School

Architecture students traveled to Togo to create a conceptual design for a sustainable girls’ school. The Vandal students partnered with S H E | Style Her Empowered, a non-profit founded by a U of I alumna to create education and employment opportunities for women.

Updated July 2022.


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