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Author: Utah State University Office of Research

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Dishing out research experiences in the midst of Covid-19 | from inside the Office of Research at Utah State University.
49 Episodes
You really learn well by getting your hands on research and doing the activity,” says Dr. Joyce Kinkead. In this episode, we learn about Dr. Kinkead’s hands on approach to research and undergraduate mentorship as she talks us through the importance of writing history and her efforts as an undergraduate research mentor and administrator.
Dr. Brian Higginbotham is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at USU. In this episode, Brian talks about the step-family education courses he facilitates. He explains the stress and strengths that step-families experience while sharing why this research is meaningful to him. For more information on Smart Steps for Step-families visit
In this episode of Instead, Wyatt sits down with USU researcher Dr. Beth Fauth, The two discuss the difference between Alzheimers and dementia and the experiences of family caregivers, family conflict and  social support programs. Dr. Fauth also explains the frustrations with the marketing of these programs and how typical families could greatly utilize them if they only knew about them.
Established in 1975, USU’s undergraduate research program is one of the oldest in the nation. You will also learn about the history and future of undergraduate research from, Alexa Sand, associate vice president for research at Utah State. Wyatt also interviews two students with their mentors to understand how undergraduate research has benefitted them. Kelsey Bradshaw mentored by Dr. Elizabeth Vargis, and Cedric Mannie mentored by Dr. Breanne Litts.  
Professor Kelly Kopp’s research efforts are focused on landscape water conservation and sustainable turfgrass management. In this episode, Kelly takes us into the world of resource positive landscaping , a style of landscapes that gives more than it takes. Wyatt asks if decades-old patches of grass need to be upgraded, Kelly explains misconceptions about Xeriscaping, and we discuss what people care most about in their outdoor spaces.Dr. Kelly Kopp will be presenting her water-related research at Research Landscapes on March 2nd. Center for Water Efficient Landscaping is a research and outreach center designed to improve the efficient use of water for landscape irrigation.
Daniella Hirschfeld Specializes in environmental planning, climate adaptation, urban ecology, hazard mitigation, and spatial analysis. In this episode, you will learn how she keeps communities safe from floods, droughts, and the guilt of living in imperfect systems. Daniella Hirschfeld self-introduction–I weave together the fields of urban ecology and environmental planning to investigate resilient systems. I approach this investigation through three interwoven tracks. First, I look at the adaptive capacity of systems to understand their ability to change to meet future conditions. Second, I focus on the decision-making environment, unpacking the use of science and the connections to the cost of proactive adaptation actions. My third area of research is spatial analysis, which is primarily a tool I use to support the other two areas of work.More from Daniella HirschfeldThe Resilience Hub Lab: publication on adaptive capacity: cost of adaptation:
Dr. Maya Miyairi Steel promotes healthy relationships with food by educating pre-med students and parents about mindful eating. In this episode Maya talks about why eating mindfully is key. You need to pay attention to what goes in your mouths, slips off your tongue, and bounces around your brains. 
Whether it's electrodes in your bathroom scale or a sci-fi pod, accurate tools are needed to track progress. In this episode, Dr. Dale Wagner explains why understanding body composition is important, and he talks about how he makes sure that measurement tools are accurate.
In this episode, Gabriele Ciciurkaite explains her research into food insecurity, obesity prevention, and mental health. She talks about data sets that represent the entire US, interventions she studied in Appalachia, and she gives Utahn's health a report card.
Last week's conversation with Environmental planner Jake Powell continues. This episode focuses on how policy shapes communities. Learn how zoning affects housing needs in rural and gateway communities. Jake also talks about 3 strategies communities are using to wisely manage water.  He describes how communities can build resilience on both an economical and social level. Jake focuses on towns that have a potential to be "boom or bust" as they evolve, and the ways they can keep a name for themselves and prevent future diminishment
"A lot of these communities feel like they're inventing the wheel for the first time." In this episode of Instead, Wyatt sits down with USU researcher Jake Powell. The two discuss the Gateway, and Natural Amenity Resources Initiative aimed to provide resources to small towns seeing large growth.
How much do you think about your surroundings? Next time you're walking down the street, stop and look around. What do you see around you? How are the sidewalks shaped? How are the houses organized?In this episode of Instead, Wyatt sits down with USU researcher Dave Anderson from the Landscape, Architecture, and Environmental Planning department. The two discuss what exactly this line of work entails, and what LAEP means when it comes to the Kaysville Botanical Gardens.Research Landscapes Events on Building tours Tree Extension informaiton
Dr. Maureen Hearns takes us on a quick tour of the therapeutic power of music. You will learn how the arts can help people who have survived domestic abuse. How music therapy can help, and what a session might be like.
The same principals that allow you to wirelessly charge devices, can be used to juice up an electric car on the highway. having trouble wrapping your mind around how that would work or why people are making it happen? In this episode of Instead, Wyatt sits down with USU researcher and Director of ASPIRE program, Dr. Regan Zane. Dr. Zane ushers us into the future of electric vehicles, and paints us a picture of what roadways could look like if you never had to visit a gas station.
In this episode of Instead, Wyatt preps for an upcoming Blue Plate Research event with Equine Assisted Therapist Judy Smith. The two discuss the history behind this unique form of therapy. Judy explains how a horse's movements can help people regain balance. After that you'll learn how horses can feel anxiety in a person, leading them to psychological improvement. 
In this episode, you will learn– How streams and fish can benefit from wildfire. How much disturbance is too much. And, what Utah has in common with California wildfires. 
Wyatt brings us an update from Utah State University's Institute for Antiviral Research. Check-in on some golden hamsters and learn how perceptions of science change when the whole world is watching. 
Find out what makes Aggie Ice cream so special and how the Aggie creamery has been supporting agriculture in Utah since the 1890s.
Tourists love feeding the Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana. These herbivores are used to eating grapes and other human foods, instead of the local plants. But what happens when the tourists stop coming. 
When you need help managing the recreation experiences in your community, Jordan Smith is the researcher you need. Using Instagram posts, big data, and other tools, he figures out what all those recreationists are up to. Dr. Smith is a featured speaker for a virtual USU Research Landscapes event: “National Parks, Forgotten Resources, and Growing Wisely.” You can find more about the event at, including the recording, other podcast episodes from featured speakers, and links to useful resources.
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