Eastern Oregon University https://www.eou.edu Oregon's Rural University Tue, 23 Jun 2020 18:51:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Over 700 viewers for EOU’s virtual ceremony https://www.eou.edu/news-press/over-700-viewers-for-eous-virtual-ceremony/ Tue, 23 Jun 2020 18:49:55 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31925 Over 700 viewers for EOU’s virtual ceremony

June 23, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University celebrated 840 graduates at its virtual conferral ceremony on June 13. 

“This was our first time attempting something like this and our staff went above and beyond to put it together over the last couple of months,” said EOU President Tom Insko.

More than 700 viewers tuned in to watch the conferral ceremony when it was streamed live over the internet, and the video has now been viewed over 7,000 times. 

“Graduation is our favorite time of year,” Insko said. “It’s always an honor to recognize our students who work so hard to achieve their goals. It was especially meaningful this year to still be able to do that even from a distance.”

So far in 2019-20, the university has officially awarded 343 degrees, and that total is expected to rise to 729 as staff process remaining graduation applications. Anticipating that all applicants have completed their degree requirements, EOU would award 641 undergraduate degrees and 87 master’s degrees in this academic year. 

“We are really proud of this spring’s graduates,” Insko said. “They overcame great challenges, and that resilience will continue to serve them as they take the next steps in their journey.”

The ceremony concluded with a multitude of videos of faculty and staff members applauding graduates, in a show of respect that echoes an honored commencement tradition. 

EOU plans to resume on-campus activities in the fall with classes in person and in flexible formats. An in-person commencement ceremony is also in development for those graduates who wish to participate. 

The virtual conferral ceremony is available to watch at livestream.com/eou. 

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GO STEM Hub announces new executive director https://www.eou.edu/news-press/go-stem-hub-announces-new-executive-director/ Wed, 17 Jun 2020 22:37:42 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31922 GO STEM Hub announces new executive director

June 17, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  The Greater Oregon STEM (GO STEM) Hub is pleased to announce David Melville as the new Executive Director, replacing Michael Jaeger who served as Interim Director during the nationwide search.

“David brings the ideal combination of experience, education, and interest to this position,” Jaeger said. “His strengths in program development and delivery, and his ability to work with the spectrum of partners in the region will be a tremendous asset in advancing the goals of science, technology, mathematics and engineering in eastern Oregon.” 

Eastern Oregon University hosts the GO STEM Hub, as part of its role as an educational engine for rural Oregon. 

“STEM education plays a vital role in developing 21st Century skills in our students as they grow and prepare for high-paying careers in the growing healthcare, natural resources and tech industries throughout our region,” Melville said. “In this ever-connected and increasingly online world, GO STEM is poised to support educators and industry leaders in developing the next generation of thinkers, innovators and explorers.”

GO STEM Advisory Board Chair Karen Patton pointed to Melville’s background in education and longstanding connections to eastern Oregon. Prior to joining GO STEM, Melville coordinated the 4-H SNACZ project, a partnership between Union County Extension Service and Oregon Health and Science University at EOU. He has served as an educator for over 15 years throughout the western U.S. and is excited to be back in eastern Oregon to serve in this new position.

“David has worked and established solid relationships in eastern Oregon and is a good fit to meet the diverse needs and large geographical area of the GO STEM region,” Patton said.

To contact David Melville, call 541-962-3566 or email dmelville@eou.edu. For more information about GO STEM visit go-stem.org.

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Student Awards announced https://www.eou.edu/news-press/student-awards-announced/ Tue, 09 Jun 2020 11:42:00 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31833 EOU honors class of 2020 Student Award winners

June 9, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University typically holds a Student Awards Assembly on Friday afternoon before commencement. However, this year in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, awardees will be recognized during the university’s virtual conferral ceremony on June 13. 

Nominating faculty members submitted brief statements describing the achievements and admirable traits of award-winning students. As graduates celebrate remotely this spring, the Student Awards Committee sought creative ways to inspire further engagement. 

Award plaques were mailed to recipients, along with a personal letter from their college deans. Additionally, personalized images with each awardee’s name and accolade are available below. Students can save the images to print at home or post to social media. Graduates are encouraged to share the images and tag their peers as a means of long-distance congratulation. 

Click the links below to download a customized congratulatory image. 

Cheyenne Baird, 2020 Outstanding Student of Education: MAT Secondary

Haley Bradley, 2020 Outstanding Student of Language Arts and Rhetoric

Haley Breen, 2020 ASTEO Scholar

Brandon Cederholm, 2020 Outstanding Student of Politics and Economics

Connie Cooper, 2020 Outstanding Student of Business Administration: Online

Carissa Cummings, 2020 Outstanding Student of Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing

Heather Cupples, 2020 Outstanding Student of Education: Undergrad Elementary Gresham

Mariana Banuelos-Delgado, 2020 Outstanding Student of Education: Undergrad Elementary Ontario

David Deniston, 2020 Outstanding Student of Education: Undergraduate Elementary On Campus

Quentin Durfee, 2020 ASTEO Scholar

Daniel Durrell, 2020 Outstanding Student of Music

Joshua Ebel, Male Scholar Athlete

John Essner, 2020 Outstanding Student of Communications

Jolie Fernandes, 2020 Outstanding Student of Emergency Medical Services Administration and 2020 Outstanding Student of Fire Services Administration

Jennifer Forrester, 2020 Outstanding Student of Education: MAT Elementary

Cassidy Freeman, 2020 Outstanding Student of Chemistry-Biochemistry and Runner-Up 2020 Della & Robert Burgess Research Paper Award

Timothy Handforth, 2020 Outstanding Student of Business Administration: Accounting

Laura Harwell, 2020 Outstanding Student of Anthropology :On Campus

Emily Hastings, 2020 Outstanding Student of Sociology

Darin Hauner, 2020 Outstanding Student of Computer Sciences and 2020 ASTEO Scholar

Daniel Holloway, 2020 ASTEO Scholar

Matthew Hoppe, 2020 Outstanding Student of Chemistry-Biochemistry

Jamie Jacobs, 2020 Outstanding Student of Health and Human Performance

Zachary Johnson, 2020 ASTEO Scholar

Jazmine Juarez, 2020 Outstanding Student of Mathematics

Mara Kalat, 2020 Outstanding Student of Interdisciplinary Studies

Meredith Matthews, 2020 Outstanding Student of Art

Maxwell McCullough, Male Ragsdale Scholar

Kiley McMurtrey, Female Scholar Athlete

Mariah Meyerholz, 2020 President’s Scholar

Alexis Milton, 2020 Outstanding Student of English/Writing Online

Madisen Morgan, 2020 Outstanding Student of History

Shelby Parks, 2020 Outstanding Student of Early Childhood Education

Sydney Peal, 2020 ASTEO Scholar

Tanner Pearson, 2020 Outstanding Student of Biology and 2020 ASTEO Scholar

Madison Pilon, Female Ragsdale Scholar

Aaron Reed, 2020 Outstanding Student of Anthropology:  Online

Jakob Sandhagen, 2020 Outstanding Student of Economics

Genevieve Smith, 2020 Della & Robert Burgess Research Paper Award  

Hannah Smith, 2020 President’s Art Award for “Sacred Grove”

Michael Smith, 2020 Outstanding Student of Master of Business Administration

Samantha Wegermann, 2020 Outstanding Student of Business Administration:  On campus

Pepper Wenzel, 2020 Outstanding Student of Psychology

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EOU Board approves budget, tuition for 2020-21 https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-board-approves-budget-tuition-for-2020-21/ Mon, 08 Jun 2020 16:48:22 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31888 EOU Board approves budget, tuition for 2020-21

June 8, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees held its final meeting of the academic year via Zoom on June 4 and approved a preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Trustee Dixie Lund opened the meeting with a motion of gratitude for EOU students and employees and their collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“A heartfelt expression of gratitude to the employees and students of EOU for their heart, service, leadership, creativity, resilience and grit as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lund said. “This board has a deeply felt appreciation for all of the work that has been done.” 

On a larger scale, statewide and national government response to the coronavirus will have lasting impacts for public universities, Vice President for University Advancement Tim Seydel said. He reported university, state and federal updates alongside Vice President for Finance and Administration Lara Moore. 

“Public universities are often hit hardest in recessions, but we are advocating that this is actually the time to invest in graduates who are workforce ready,” Moore said. 

Capital construction projects also present an economic recovery opportunity and can provide local employment while completing needed improvements and maintenance. EOU collaborates with other Oregon public universities and the Higher Education Coordinating Committee to make recommendations for construction funding. 

EOU received $579,000 for the institution and the same amount to be awarded directly to students through the federal CARES Act. So far, about $300,000 has been distributed to EOU students. As the university looks toward resuming on-campus activities in the fall, these funds will continue to be available. 

Moore also presented two tuition and fee proposals for 2020-21. After extended discussion, trustees approved the proposal with lower tuition increases. Under this plan, on-campus resident tuition will increase by 4.2% per student credit hour, a difference of $7 per credit. Mandatory enrollment fees for on-campus resident students go up by 5.5%, and overall cost of attendance, which is based on a student taking 45 credits and living on campus with a medium meal plan, increases by 3.8%.

“Note that whenever we have to raise tuition, we also increase our fee remissions budget, which will be at $3.03 million for 2020-21 so we can be responsive to student needs,” Moore said. “We’re using every lever in our toolbox to soften the impact of COVID-19.”

By holding tuition increases at a minimum, EOU will have to use about $2.6 million from its fund balance and also cut approximately $1.5 million from its Education and General Budget to offset anticipated State funding reductions. 

The preliminary general budget was approved, as well as the operating budget, which includes auxiliary functions such as housing, dining and athletics. As variables such as enrollment and state funding come into focus over the next several months, these preliminary budgets will be finalized. Trustees will approve final budgets for FY21 in the fall. 

Four trustees will likely have left the board by that time. Staff representative Helen Moore, faculty representative Gary Keller, student representative Quentin Durfee and at-large trustee Jer Pratton all will conclude their terms of service and rotate off the Board over the summer. Brad Stephens was nominated to continue serving for another term. 

Although Governor Kate Brown has not yet approved a student or at-large nominee, faculty member Karyn Gomez and staff member Danny Bailey have been nominated by the Governor to join the board for two-year terms beginning in August. 

“Thank you for the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong goal by serving on a board like this,” Keller said. “To the incoming trustees, you’re looking at a great group of people who make a difference at the university.”

In other business, the board also voted to begin investigating an in-depth presidential evaluation process that must be conducted every five years. This will be the first time EOU’s independent board has embarked on such a process, and it’s anticipated to take at least a year to complete. The board also completed its mandated self-evaluation, and shared governance leaders gave their final reports.

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Virtual ceremony to recognize EOU 2020 graduates https://www.eou.edu/news-press/virtual-ceremony-to-recognize-eou-2020-graduates/ Fri, 05 Jun 2020 20:20:53 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31826 Virtual ceremony to recognize EOU 2020 graduates

June 5, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – More than 800 Eastern Oregon University graduates will be recognized in a virtual conferral ceremony on June 13. 

The university will post a celebration video at 10 a.m. on EOU’s Livestream on June 13, the same day EOU’s original commencement ceremony would have taken place. 

Graduates, along with their families and friends, can tune in from around the world shortly before 10 a.m., Pacific Standard Time, for a series of video messages from university leaders, faculty and the 2020 President’s Scholar Mariah Meyerholz. Graduates’ names, along with their degree, awards and honors, will scroll along the screen while deans and professors share messages of congratulation. 

Viewers can interact with one another and recognize peers via the video’s live chat and reaction tools. The Registrar’s Office encourages graduates to post photos and videos of their remote “watch parties” with #EOUGraduation. 

Vice President for Student Affairs Lacy Karpilo will provide a welcome message and instructions for viewers. Trustee George Mendoza and EOU President Tom Insko will also speak, as well as Provost Sarah Witte. Leaders from EOU’s on-campus partners, Oregon Health and Science University and Oregon State University will also address the graduates assembled virtually. The ceremony will conclude with an official conferring of degrees from President Insko.

The video will also be streamed on EOU’s Facebook page. For more information about the virtual conferral ceremony, contact the Registrar’s Office at commencement@eou.edu or visit eou.edu/commencement

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EOU alumnus explores relationship between humans and monkeys in rural Japan https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-alumnus-explores-relationship-between-humans-and-monkeys-in-rural-japan/ Thu, 04 Jun 2020 06:27:19 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31819 EOU alumnus explores relationship between humans and monkeys in rural Japan

June 04, 2020, LA GRANDE, Ore. –  Recent EOU alumnus, Calvin Edward, ‘15, earned the nickname “The Monkey Guy” from peers and professors in Tokyo. Edward prepared a case study for his graduate school research in regards to human-monkey (macaque) conflicts in urban and forested areas of Nikko City, Japan. 

“The species has a very rich and interesting history within Japanese culture,” Edward said. “I immediately fell in love with the topic.”

Edward presented his research, “Primate Pandemonium: Wild Macaque Management in Rural Japan” through a virtual EOU Colloquium on Thursday, May 28. 

During his time at EOU, Edward studied anthropology and sociology. Now a master’s student at the London School of Economics, he has mingled elements of zoology with his work, making his official field of study anthrozoology. Anthrozoology is the study of human and nonhuman animal relations across culture and location.

Due to the confines of geography, humans and wildlife have conflicted in various parts of the world. In rural Japan, monkeys often steal from humans and cause significant damage to agriculture and property. 

The residents and local government of Nikko City feel these damages are not incidental, but malicious. They view the acts as a violation of the boundary that separates humans and wildlife.

Edward focused his master’s dissertation work on this phenomenon. 

“I hope to challenge the ways in which people understand themselves in relation to nature, animals, and so on by highlighting that we as a species not only think about other beings but are also thought about by other beings,” Edward said. “Humans are objects of others’ thinking.”

Edward’s Colloquium explored avenues to put monkeys back into their designated spaces as a means to protect human property, infrastructure and ideological placement in relation to wild animals. 

“Rethinking the placement of humans in relation to nonhumans (animals, environments, etc.) will be a necessary step in creating and facilitating a more just and sustainable world,” he said.

“Looking past the monkeys and people of Nikko,” Edward said, “I think there’s a little bit of something here for everybody, since we all have some kind of relationship to nonhuman animals that we often fail to think about critically.”

As a next step in Edward’s research, he plans to observe the relationship between feral dogs and humans in landfill settings.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.

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President’s Scholar commits to giving back https://www.eou.edu/news-press/presidents-scholar-commits-to-giving-back/ Wed, 03 Jun 2020 21:40:47 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31813 President’s Scholar commits to giving back

June 3, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  Eastern Oregon University’s 2020 President’s Scholar completed her degree in December and is already taking her next step toward a career in helping others. 

EOU President Tom Insko selected graduating senior Mariah Meyerholz as this year’s President’s Scholar after reviewing essay submissions from a range of students.

Meyerholz plans to pursue a Master of Social Work degree in integrated health, mental health and substance abuse at the University of Michigan, starting this fall. 

“Over my time at EOU, it became more clear that social work was where I should go,” Meyerholz said. “I always wanted to be in the medical field, but not deal with bodily fluid. Social work is an essential part of healthcare now and it’s growing. I want to be the person who helps guide people through the healthcare system and connect them with resources or support.”

A graduate of Grant Union High School in John Day, Meyerholz enrolled at EOU with an undecided major. After meeting with an advisor and taking her first sociology class, she knew it would take her to where she belonged. 

Almost five years later, Meyerholz has earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology/Sociology and a minor in Health Studies from EOU. Along the way, she learned to step outside of her comfort zone. 

“I grew up in an area that’s even more rural than La Grande,” Meyerholz said. “When I came and visited, it felt like I wasn’t just another person in the crowd. I felt like I could make an impact here. … As soon as professors knew I was willing to be involved and put my best forward, they were ready to connect me with opportunities.”

During her time on campus, she facilitated health promotion programs for EOU students, at-risk youth and La Grande School District employees. She also helped establish a new location for EOU’s Get Outside-After School Activity Program (GO-ASAP) within the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). 

“GO-ASAP got special funding to expand to the CTUIR, so it became more STEM-focused and about career development, as well as outdoor activities with the La Grande group. I was helping create the program to suit the community’s needs,” Meyerholz said. “I learned how important it is to make sure the people you’re working with have a voice. You can’t just assume that the same program will benefit different sets of people in different environments.” 

Meyerholz presents her capstone research in McKenzie Theatre as a keynote speaker at the 2019 Spring Symposium.

One of her most notable achievements is volunteering for the Union County Friday Backpack Program, which aims to address food insecurity among elementary school children. Other accomplishments include being a consecutive dean’s list recipient, a co-recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Student of Sociology award, and a keynote speaker at EOU’s 2019 Spring Symposium.

“It’s a really strange time to be a college graduate, and it’s difficult to go through years of school and not have that moment to celebrate together,” Meyerholz said. “Enduring all of these challenges and using that fear to better yourself—that’s essentially what everybody’s done.”

Meyerholz was born in Bend and raised in Canyon City, Oregon where she lived for 18 years with her parents and two sisters. She has worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry for five years on a Helitack crew out of John Day. She enjoys spending time with family, outdoor recreation, and volunteering for community projects that aim to improve quality of life and achieve health equity for all.

As the President’s Scholar, Meyerholz will speak during EOU’s virtual conferral ceremony. The ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 13.

She said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to address her class. 

“This is a unique graduating class,” Meyerholz said. “It makes students really relentless and committed to their education. Our society is going to be different after this, and we’ll have to continue adapting in our careers.

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Virtual student events create fun from afar https://www.eou.edu/news-press/virtual-student-events-create-fun-from-afar/ Sun, 31 May 2020 18:40:59 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31796 Virtual student events create fun from afar

May 27, 2020, LA GRANDE, Ore. –  In compliance with social distancing measures, campus leaders are getting creative to involve students from a distance. 

Large scale events planned by resident assistant (RA) trainees have been reimagined. This year, potential RAs are inviting students to join them virtually, including those who left campus due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Each year, a select handful of students interview to become RAs. Those who pass the interview are accepted into the training class. The most suited for the position are chosen at the end of the class to fill RA positions the following year. 

One requirement of the class is for students to break into groups and plan large scale events. This year’s trainees were challenged by unprecedented circumstances as many students chose to study remotely during spring term.

A student in the class and hopeful RA, Joseph O’Brien said connecting with students and building meaningful friendships is more important than ever.

“These programs are made to give students a break from these stressful and unpredictable times,” he said.

From hosting virtual events to doing Instagram takeovers, EOU’s Residence Life aims to keep students engaged with peers, coursework and co-curricular activities. 

One group is encouraging past and current on-campus students to post their memories by using the hashtag #EOUreslifemems. 

The first event showcased student talents with live or pre-recorded videos or pictures. Winners were rewarded with a movie gift basket delivered via mail. 

On May 27, students entered their pets into a pet pageant. Over a Zoom meeting, participants showed off their pets’ tricks, costumes or cuteness for a chance to win a prize.  

The last event uses the trending social media platform, TikTok. Over the course of one week, students can participate in a virtual scavenger hunt in an attempt to find items within their household. By following @eoureslife on TikTok, students can access more information. Once they complete the scavenger hunt, they record a video with the items, upload it and tag #eouscavenger2020 and move on to round two. The first 10 students to complete round two will receive a prize in the mail. 

“Our goal is for students to get active and have fun while remaining in the comfort of their own home or wherever they may be residing,” O’Brien said.

For more information, contact reslife@eou.edu

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.

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Incoming faculty member brings expertise to new program https://www.eou.edu/news-press/incoming-faculty-member-brings-expertise-to-new-program/ Wed, 27 May 2020 02:09:40 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31779 Incoming faculty member brings expertise to new program

May 27, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  Shannon Donovan, Ph.D., is one of the first Sustainable Rural Systems (SRS) professors at Eastern Oregon University. As a founding faculty member, Donovan will help shape the program as it grows. 

The SRS program implements a project-based learning model designed to give students hands-on experience and training in all aspects of a rural community. 

The innovative nature of the new program attracted Donovan. 

“I love the idea of bridging the gap between academia and community,” she said.

Donovan plans to give students project-based experience while working with community members, aligning university needs with community needs, and providing students with the knowledge and tools needed to complete projects. 

Donovan received a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management at the University of New Hampshire, a Master of Science in Recreation and Forestry at West Virginia University, and a doctorate in Environmental Science at the University of Idaho. Her experience extends to bioregional planning, working with animals, forestry, recreation and tourism, education and outdoor education, geography and environmental studies. 

She also worked in Costa Rica with coffee growers and analyzed ecosystem services.

Donovan is looking forward to coming to La Grande. After working at the University of Alaska, Anchorage for 11 years, she is ready for change. 

“Particularly during these challenging times, things are hard for a lot of people and it presents a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities to do things differently, address needs, and figure out how to meet them,” Donovan said. 

The SRS program includes environmental biology, economics and project leadership courses. Students will apply environmental science, resource ecology management and environmental policy to implement sustainable practices in rural communities.

After being awarded a $500,000 federal grant for its Brownfield Program, Baker Technical Institute will continue its restoration efforts of a historic central school building in Baker City. The SRS program has already established a meaningful partnership with BTI, and both programs will work to restore former industrial and commercial sites affected by environmental contamination.

Students will take on real-life rural challenges alongside community and industry partners. Projects might include restoration, refurbishing a historical building, analyzing industry changes after a timber mill closes, or exploring new methods of delivering healthcare in rural areas.

For more information, visit eou.edu/sustainable-rural-systems.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.

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Reopening plans in development https://www.eou.edu/news-press/reopening-plans-in-development/ Tue, 26 May 2020 21:30:21 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31775 EOU to develop reopening plan alongside employees, students

May 26, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – As universities wrap up spring term, Eastern Oregon University announced that it is developing campus reopening plans. 

Oregon’s public universities are working with state leaders and have developed a framework with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for review by the Oregon Health Authority. 

“We are looking forward to the gradual reopening of our main campus in preparation for fall term and a new academic year,” Vice President for University Advancement Tim Seydel said. “Our planning will be in alignment with public health guidance and with students and our employees at the forefront.”

To develop the operational details within this framework, EOU has created teams to work on specific resumption plans for each area of the university. These teams include employees and students who will help build out resumption plans for in-person classes, labs, office spaces, building access, athletics and residence halls. More specifics on these plans will be available over the next few weeks.  

While Union County was approved by the state to begin Phase I of the reopening process on May 15, EOU will continue to operate through remote access for the remainder of spring term. Campus offices and buildings also remain closed to the public during this time. 

“We continue our commitment to the health and well-being of our students and the continuation of their academic progress,” Seydel said. “Everyone—including the local community—has made an incredible effort to serve our students, not only academically, but also by reaching out to make sure students have the support they need during this time.”

Additional information about EOU’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources and FAQs, is available at eou.edu/coronavirus.

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Keeping the #EOUfun alive, even from home https://www.eou.edu/news-press/keeping-the-eoufun-alive-even-from-home/ Fri, 15 May 2020 17:16:31 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31762 Keeping the #EOUfun alive, even from home
EOU President Tom Insko reminds viewers that “there are no mistakes, only happy little accidents,” during his “Joy of Painting” video.

May 15, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Each week since mid-April, Eastern Oregon University President Tom Insko has sat down with his wife and two daughters to brainstorm content for online videos. 

Over the weekend, their family goes into production mode. Collectively a 6- to 8-hour process, they produce bits that will resonate with students, alumni and employees of the university. 

From “The Joy of Painting with President Insko,” to “The Great Mountie Baking Show,” to “Getting Back in the Saddle,” Insko finds ways to engage viewers on social media. The initial video, in which Insko does yoga poses in a suit and tie, introduces the lighthearted series and challenges viewers to exercise their minds and bodies in new ways while learning remotely. 

“The idea is to help people stay connected, bring a smile to their faces and pass along the Mountaineer spirit,” he said.

While pretending to be artist Bob Ross in one video, he paints a masterpiece while voicing positive, encouraging adages that the well-loved PBS host became known for. By the end, he displays his finished product — actually his daughter’s painting. 

“I am involved, so it is obvious there would be bloopers,” Insko said. “I hope these videos humanize me as the president of the university.” 

Insko shows off his daughter’s painting at the end of his Bob-Ross-inspired video posted in April.

Insko said he started creating videos to keep the university community connected during these challenging times. 

“I want our community to recognize I am doing these videos to show I care for them and want them to have a positive experience being a part of EOU,” Insko said. “I don’t want students to miss out on being a Mountaineer.”

With seniors in high school and college, Insko understands the moments students missed out on this spring. 

“Pride and connection with this institution help students be successful in higher education,” he said.

Using a camera or smartphone, Insko encouraged Mountaineers to share their at-home activities with the hashtag #EOUfun. 

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.

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Making housing a home https://www.eou.edu/news-press/making-housing-a-home/ Wed, 13 May 2020 22:51:21 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31749 Housing applications for fall 2020 now open

May 12, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  COVID-19 has significantly impacted the way students navigate higher education. In response to the pandemic, Eastern Oregon University’s Residence Life Office has adapted its plans for fall 2020. 

“We want to provide an experience as close to the ‘college experience’ as possible relative to what the conditions may be,” Director of Housing Jeremy Jones said.

Space per student has increased in EOU residence halls, and on-campus dining services now offer take-out options. Expanded cleaning practices have also been established within dining services and residence halls.

Jones said EOU is in a better position than many university campuses because of an abundance of physical space including suite style bathrooms.  

“Our residence halls were built with a significant amount of square footage per student, which is well above what is recommended. Our ability to protect students is pretty special. Really, at EOU, because of the space we have, we do social distancing naturally,” he said. 

Residence halls are often the first experience young adults have living away from their parents. Beyond the basics of housing, residence life nurtures friendships, personal growth, extra-curricular opportunities and independence. 

Jones finds students are better able to transition into adulthood and navigate through higher education when they live on campus. 

“One hundred percent of the students who have gone home that I have talked to are having an incredibly difficult experience being away from campus,” Jones said. “This is a big part of student development and to remove this piece, you lose out on a key developmental factor.”

EOU has one of the most cost-effective campus living arrangements in the region, and Jones takes pride in the experience his office provides — even while maintaining the required social distance.

“EOU’s small on-campus community allows for flexibility in designing personable programs that cater directly to what students want and need,” Jones said. 

Residence Life staff connect students to on-campus resources through different programming models. They use the metrics of “knowledge per resident,” which allows staff to gauge how well they are doing based on what their residents know. 

Studies show that students who become involved on campus are more likely to have better grades and complete their degrees. 

“Living on campus allows students to become more involved in the campus experience and culture,” Jones said.

Applications for fall 2020 housing are now open. For more information about on-campus housing, rates and residence halls, visit eou.edu/reslife

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz. 

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Study explores how food industries go green https://www.eou.edu/news-press/study-explores-how-food-industries-go-green/ Tue, 12 May 2020 15:56:51 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31738 Study explores how food industries go green

May 11, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  On a scale from one to 100, Eastern Oregon University business instructor Kat Yamamoto found that the global food industry’s sustainability engagement scored at about 26. The lower the score, the more improvements a food company has to make toward being more engaged in sustainability. 

Inspired by mentor Gary Keller, EOU MBA alumna and adjunct business instructor Kat Yamamoto is presenting her doctoral dissertation, “Institutional factors’ influence on the global food industry sustainability engagement” in a virtual EOU Colloquium on Tuesday, May 12.

Sustainability engagement, also known as Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental, Social, and Governance, data assesses how food companies use their resources, treat their employees, protect the environment and produce wholesome food for consumption.

Yamamoto tested six hypotheses to examine the relationship between sustainability engagement and individual countries’ institutional factors.

Yamamoto’s research examines four industries’ relationships with sustainability engagement in fiscal year 2017: restaurants, food sellers, beverages and food products. 

Yamamoto examined six institutional factors, including a country’s response to environmental performance, food loss or waste, sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges, national cultures’ risk-avoidance and long-term orientation. 

This study found statistically significant associations between food company sustainability engagement and three institutional factors: national sustainable agriculture implementation, national uncertainty avoidance, and national long-term orientation. 

Yamamoto’s research revealed a correlation between sustainable agriculture implementation and how food companies meet the regulations of the country they are in. Additionally, the more risk-averse a company is, the more likely they are to participate in sustainable practices. Lastly, Yamamoto found national long-term orientation increases a company’s effort in sustainability engagement. 

The Colloquium presentation begins at 4 p.m., Tuesday and will be held over Zoom at https://eou.zoom.us/j/99472297232?pwd=L3RqUzhoWkpHZzc1cmJKSEdLczFWZz09 or 1-346-248-7799. The Meeting ID is 994 7229 7232.

The event is free and open to the public.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz. 

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Gathering Latinx communities from afar https://www.eou.edu/news-press/gathering-latinx-communities-from-afar/ Thu, 07 May 2020 20:43:16 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31727 Gathering Latinx communities from afar
Roman Olivara, lower photo, used a Zoom background to symbolize elements of his personal journey.

May 7, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  More than 100 community members tuned in for the first-ever virtual ¡Conéctate! gathering hosted by Eastern Oregon University on May 1. Due to the event being virtual, attendees from Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Washington and more were able to access this resource.

Now in its fourth year, ¡Conéctate! is an annual one-day conference designed to create a support system for Latinx-serving organizations and their communities in rural Oregon and address specialized needs. The gathering also provides a space for nonprofits, state agencies, advocates and philanthropic organizations to connect and build community through sharing stories of personal experiences. EOU’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion played a significant role in organizing this year’s one-of-a-kind virtual event.

The day began with four Latinx speakers, including an EOU alumnus and a current student, sharing their life stories. Many have discovered the importance of identity and community. 

Director of the Blue Mountain Community College Student Success Center Roman Olivera took advantage of a Zoom background to symbolize his life story. Not only do the gates represent how he feels confined during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they also represent where he would have ended up if he continued to live his life the way he did when he was younger.

Storytellers saw value in being vulnerable and sharing even the sensitive parts of their stories. 

“Connecting with people and telling your story might help the next person,” Olivera said. “If we don’t tell our story, who will?” 

Attendees were surprised and thankful for the virtual experience. EOU Director of Career Services Justin Chin expressed his thankfulness for an opportunity to foster community during this time and hold a safe space to discuss the needs of the Latinx community. 

“The narratives of the panelists reveal threads of vulnerability, hope and community,” Chin said. 

During a short creativity break provided by the Pendleton Center for the Arts, attendees learned how to make Mother’s Day pop-up cards. The second half of the event was dedicated to discussing the needs of Latinx communities and identifying where community members could access resources.

During a work session with Executive Director of the Oregon Latino Health Coalition Olivia Quiroz and Program Coordinator Natalie Bonilla, participants identified housing and food insecurity as significant issues within Latinx communities

EOU student Jose Abrego video chats with Mirna Loreli Cibrian, a program officer with the Oregon Community Foundation’s Latino Partnership Program, during ¡Conéctate!.

A poll taken during the event revealed that most attendees were concerned about employment and healthcare access for the Latinx community. Additionally, 56% of attendees did not know where they could get tested for COVID-19. 

Quiroz and Bonilla’s data from the Oregon Latino Health Coalition breaks down how the Latinx community is at higher risk during the COVID-19 pandemic health crisis. 

“Frontline workers of industries in food, retail, hospitality and healthcare are largely made up of the Latinx community,” Bonilla said. “Only 16% of this population has the ability to work from home.”

With support from the Oregon Community Foundation Latino Partnership Program and the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, attendees received a variety of resources to help them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The event also inspired Maurizio Valerio of the Ford Family Foundation to support a “Cafecito por la mañana” or “morning coffee” session where community members can convene on a smaller scale to continue these conversations and discuss the support needed for Latinx communities. 

¡Conéctate! is sponsored by the Oregon Community Foundation’s Latino Partnership Program, the Ford Family Foundation, Energy Trust of Oregon, Euvalcree, Eastern Oregon University, Blue Mountain Community College and Treasure Valley Community College. EOU’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion and the ¡Conéctate! Planning Committee are actively engaging with students and community members to provide support and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit eou.edu/mc/conectate-2020

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz. 

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Trauma-invested teaching program debuts https://www.eou.edu/news-press/trauma-invested-teaching-program-debuts/ Wed, 06 May 2020 21:12:02 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31722 EOU debuts trauma-invested teaching program

May 6, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – As families around the world cope with isolation, illness and financial hardship, Eastern Oregon University faculty members shaped a new concentration to prepare teachers to respond to their students’ needs. 

The Trauma in Educational Communities concentration is the only program of its kind in Oregon. It’s part of EOU’s Master of Science in Education program, available fully online. The new concentration, which opens for enrollment in fall 2020, offers ongoing education opportunities for working teachers.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Dean of the College of Education Matt Seimears found that a significant need for trauma-invested teachers existed in the region. 

“Superintendents were calling me to ask what we can provide to help with traumatized students,” Seimears said. “We built this because of the demand in our schools.” 

A team of EOU faculty began developing trauma-specific courses in September 2019 and worked collaboratively with K-12 schools to refine them. 

“Faculty are in the schools seeing things first-hand. Most program developers never see that,” Seimears said. “We have the potential to be the leading institution in the state of Oregon with trauma and resilience.”

Associate Professor of Education Amanda Villagómez coordinates EOU’s Master of Science in Education Program and led the faculty team. She said many of the graduate students she works with had chosen to address trauma in educational settings as part of their thesis research. 

“School districts offer some training, but they’re often expensive or hard to access. Plus, we wanted to dig deeper than a one-time training,” Villagómez said. “The coursework looks at individual and systemic traumas. They consider the intricacies and the role educators can play, as well as self-care and how teachers who engage in this work can proactively take care of themselves.”

Curriculum addresses all student age groups, from elementary through high school. Interactive elements and a flexible start term mean that students can complete all five courses in just three terms. The content is accessible and applicable to a range of educational professionals, from administrators, recent undergraduates, to substitute teachers, and those who’ve spent years in the classroom. 

“We always have the lens of how this affects teachers in our area,” Villagómez said. “EOU is all about relationships, and that’s a big part of the coursework. A lot of what EOU stands for aligns well with principles of trauma-invested care.”

The curriculum development team was very intentional about addressing trauma through a culturally responsive and equitable lens. The College of Education has made culturally responsive teaching a priority across areas of study. In light of current global challenges, that inclusive approach has become even more valuable.

“The COVID pandemic is magnifying or bringing trauma to the surface,” Villagómez said. “Certain populations are having higher rates of impact, and it’s bringing inequities to the surface. Students who were stable before have been shaken up by this traumatic event. All that trauma has come to the forefront, according to what we’re hearing from partners and student teachers.”

The College of Education hopes to expand the concentration into a licensure specialization. For now, though, teachers across the region have access to up-to-the-moment relevant coursework that will assist them as they navigate the range of experiences students will bring back when their classrooms reopen for instruction.

More information about the Master of Science in Education program and the Trauma in Educational Communities concentration is available at online.eou.edu/programs/master-science-education

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Virtual Preview Day highlights fast-adapting services https://www.eou.edu/news-press/virtual-preview-day-highlights-fast-adapting-services/ Thu, 30 Apr 2020 20:56:21 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31695 Virtual Preview Day highlights fast-adapting services

April 20, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University held its most highly attended Preview Day on record on April 18, but unlike previous admissions events, all 150 prospective students and their families tuned in virtually. 

Incoming freshmen and transfer students listened to presentations about financial aid, student life and the admissions process over Zoom. The long-distance visit day was a hit.

“This was the most rewarding admissions event I’ve ever been a part of. It went really well and the student engagement was incredible,” Director of Admissions Genesis Meaderds said. “Students and families from Saipan, Colombia, New Jersey and Georgia joined us! Most times, families from distant locations can’t attend an on-campus event, but taking it online eliminated the barriers to visiting EOU.” 

Meaderds said the Admissions Office plans to hold more virtual events in the future. Meanwhile, the university’s enrollment services have shifted to accommodate social distancing requirements while assisting students and families. 

“EOU admissions staff have been working one-on-one with students to guide them through the application process remotely,” Meaderds said. “All of EOU’s enrollment services that had been offered in person are now offered virtually.”

Twice-daily campus visits now take place over the web, and admissions counselors meet with families over the phone and on video calls. Advising, academic support, Title IX resources, financial aid counseling, student accounts and other services are all available as incoming students navigate this unprecedented landscape. 

This fall, students can go far without going far away. EOU’s dedicated faculty are experts at mentoring and engaging with students in any modality. As many institutions and families adjust to this new environment, EOU offers modern learning tools operated with a practiced hand. Almost half of EOU’s student body was learning online last fall, and the university is well-equipped to provide high-quality education to every student wherever they are — online, on-campus or remotely. 

EOU has adapted, and continues to expand, to meet students’ academic and individual needs in this rapidly changing landscape. As Oregon’s Rural University, EOU is accustomed to reaching across wide-open spaces to foster tight-knit communities of support. 

Visit eou.edu/admissions for more information about the application process and to schedule a one-on-one meeting with an admissions counselor. 

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Keeping students engaged, successful from afar https://www.eou.edu/news-press/keeping-students-engaged-successful-from-afar/ Thu, 30 Apr 2020 18:46:48 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31687 Keeping students engaged, successful from afar

April 30, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mountaineer Success Team (MST) at Eastern Oregon University has expanded its reach to continue serving students from a distance. 

“This pandemic has sped ideas and processes up,” EOU Student Success Coordinator Kathleen Brown said. “With remote-access, we saw an opportunity to envision how the MST program might look with online students in the future.”

The MST is a network of staff, faculty, EOU Foundation Directors and other volunteer coaches who support “students of promise” in becoming self-motivated and successful community builders. “Students of promise” are those who have the potential of being highly successful, but may need additional help navigating higher education. 

Since the program began in spring 2019, it has yielded increased retention rates among students involved. Over the last year, 88% of students who participated in MST continued progress toward an EOU degree — 16 percentage points higher than those who chose not to meet with a coach.

Over 60 coaches across all departments volunteer to guide students through academic or personal obstacles. Coaches and students are paired strategically to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship. To offer different perspectives and additional support, the pairings are made outside of the student’s field of study.

The meetings are designed to be safe encounters, where students can talk through challenges they are facing. Coaches may connect students with the Financial Aid Office, the Counseling Center, tutoring groups or other resources. Brown said this additional go-to support person provides a reliable source of guidance and assistance when students are floundering.

Each pair has the freedom to choose when and where they meet. Some go on hikes together, attend athletic games or go to coffee. Temporarily, students and coaches are meeting via video chat to maintain social distancing.

“Students who are part of this group realize they are Mounties and that they are part of the EOU family,” Brown said. “They can see that EOU has a desire to see them succeed.”

In addition to the MST program, hands-on academic personnel support students through other retention programs. The Sense of Belonging Initiative is designed to engage students who were academically successful prior to spring term but might find the transition to remote-access learning difficult. The Athletics Department is also keeping up with student-athletes to ensure they are succeeding during this time.

In the transition to remote-access course delivery, the university developed a resource called the EOU Student Remote Access and Online Student Support. Available to every student, the resource provides tips and instructions on how to navigate classes virtually. Students have access to library resources, the bookstore, academic support, the Career Center, technology help, Title IX support and more.

For more information, visit the Mountaineer Success Teams website.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz. 

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EOU earns ‘Military Friendly’ gold standard https://www.eou.edu/news-press/eou-earns-military-friendly-gold-standard/ Mon, 27 Apr 2020 22:12:35 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31676 EOU earns ‘Military Friendly’ gold standard

April 27, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  Eastern Oregon University ranked among the top 15% of “Military Friendly” universities nationwide, qualifying for the gold standard.

“Achieving the gold award speaks to the continued improvements of supporting veterans on campus,” EOU’s Veteran Coordinator Kerry Thompson said. 

On-campus student veterans are eligible for financial, academic and social support during their higher education experience.

“Each veteran is a little different,” Thompson said. “All of them have different needs for support and EOU does a great job at taking care of our military and veteran students on campus.”

Veterans benefit from reduced tuition rates, scholarship opportunities, priority registration and academic credit for military service. 

“Veteran students are not your typical college student. Most of them are older and have been employed in combat situations. They have different life experiences than a normal college student would have,” Thompson said. 

EOU recognizes how veterans differ from their peers, which includes providing access to counseling services with professionals who are trained specifically to work with people experiencing PTSD.

In the classroom, professors often integrate the veteran experience into lectures.

“As a nursing student and retired army medic, I feel my professors do great at making lectures relatable to the military experience. They allow me to share my perspective and make suggestions in class,” said student veteran Shelby Lee. “EOU has always treated me well and I have always felt like I can go to my professors and have productive conversations with them.”

Lee is also a member of the Student Veterans Association (SVA) chapter at EOU, which meets in the Veteran Resource Center. This on-campus space provides a designated area where student veterans can participate in peer counseling and mentoring. 

“Though under-utilized, our biggest resource on campus is the Veteran Resource Center,” Thompson said. 

The center is equipped with a PlayStation, TV, coffee bar, lounge area, computer lab with printers and a meeting area.

“It is nice to have the privacy to discuss life with those who have been through similar experiences as me,” Lee said. “There is a mask we wear in public that we can take off when we get together.”

The Veteran Resource Center is in the process of being relocated to a more central, visible place on campus. 

“We want veterans to know we are here and that they are welcome,” Lee said. 

For more information, visit eou.edu/veterans.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.

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4th annual Conéctate goes virtual https://www.eou.edu/news-press/4th-annual-conectate-goes-virtual/ Thu, 23 Apr 2020 22:25:02 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31665 Connecting from a distance: 4th annual Conéctate goes virtual
Traditional dancers perform at ¡Conéctate! in 2018.

April 23, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  COVID-19 has called for a re-imagination of how individuals connect with one another. The fourth annual ¡Conéctate! is going virtual for the first time to gather organizations and individuals focused on serving the region’s Latinx communities.

Hosted by Eastern Oregon University, ¡Conéctate! will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Friday, May 1. 

Attendees discuss challenges and triumphs while sharing their organization’s work with peers, philanthropic foundations and regional partners. 

The planning committee considered canceling the event but determined that the communities and organizations most involved in ¡Conéctate! have greater immediate needs than ever. This year, there will be a special focus on how communities in Eastern Oregon are responding to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic as well as an opportunity to share vital resources and accurate information to meet the growing needs of Latinx communities in rural areas. 

“The driving force is to continue supporting our underrepresented and marginalized communities,” Assistant Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion and International Student Services Mika Morton said. 

“I feel that even in the shadows of COVID-19, we have the opportunity to come together to ‘Define the Feeling,’ and that we are all in this together,” said Roman Olivera, Director of the Student Success Center at Blue Mountain Community College and a member of the ¡Conéctate! Planning Committee. 

This event is sponsored by the Latino Partnership Program of the Oregon Community Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation, Energy Trust of Oregon, Euvalcree, Blue Mountain Community College, Treasure Valley Community College and Eastern Oregon University. 

“Attendees can build meaningful relationships with on-the-ground leaders, volunteers, students and allies in Eastern Oregon’s Latinx communities,” Morton said.

Topics of discussion include education, health and wellness, leadership and community engagement. 

Four local and regional community members are invited to share their personal stories in an effort to provide a better understanding of the people that make up these communities and the diverse backgrounds and experiences they contribute. 

“From my personal experiences, the thought has come to me: ‘If we don’t tell our story, who will?’” Olivera said.

Olivia Quiros, the Executive Director of the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, will speak to the advocacy work the organization is doing to support Latinx communities during the COVID-19 crisis and in general around the state.

Special attention will be paid to how communities in Eastern Oregon are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“During these uncertain and turbulent times, the need to connect—whether in person (at a safe distance) or virtually—is as strong as ever,” Morton said. 

This event is free and open to the public. 

To register, visit eou.edu/mc/conectate.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz. 

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Ballet study reveals key to avoiding injury https://www.eou.edu/news-press/ballet-study-reveals-key-to-avoiding-injury/ Tue, 21 Apr 2020 22:29:45 +0000 https://www.eou.edu/?p=31658 Technique is everything: Ballet study reveals key to avoiding injury

April 21, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  A 10-week course could protect ballerinas from knee injury. Ballet can be stressful on the dancer, particularly to the ankle and knee joints. 

Professor of Health and Human Performance Darren Dutto, Ph.D., studied knee mechanics in ballerinas to determine the influence on injury prevention. 

On April 23, Dutto will present his research, “The effect of instruction on leg joint kinetics during simple ballet movements” in a virtual Eastern Oregon University Colloquium.

Dutto’s primary field of interest is in biomechanics with an emphasis on joint movement in humans and horses. He worked alongside Morris Levy, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, to analyze the whole athlete and determine how to improve their performance. 

A 10-week course determined if dancers could change the direction and timing of forces to the lower limb joints in a way that would reduce the stresses to those joints. 

Researchers assessed how intermediate-level dancers performed a demi-plie and demi-plie releve at the beginning and end of the course. With planted heels and bent knees, a demi-plie prepares dancers to spring into jumps and turns. The movement progresses to a demi-plie releve when a dancer rises to their toes. 

Professional dancers experienced less stress on their joints than the intermediate-level dancers. 

“This study reinforces the importance of learning correct techniques,” Dutto said. 

Dutto’s next area of research will focus on how this data transfers to other sports to analyze how athletes’ control capabilities differ. 

The Colloquium presentation begins at 4 p.m., Thursday and will be held over Zoom at eou.zoom.us/j/282918952 or 346-248-7799‬. The Meeting ID is 282918952.

The event is free and open to the public.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz. 

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