MSES students present animal-based research during Voinovich School Energy and Environmental Luncheon Series

Two master of science in environmental studies (MSES) candidates will discuss their work researching native species during the next installment of the Voinovich School Energy and Environmental Luncheon Series Friday, March 24 from 12 – 1 p.m. in Bldg. 22, Room 221 at The Ridges.

Eileen Wyza, a second-year MSES student, will present on “Space Use and Activity of Fosa (Cryptoprocta ferox) in Madagascar and Implications for Conservation.” Her work follows the fosa, Madagascar’s largest native carnivore, that faces many threats due to deforestation and population growth. This species is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with only about 2,000 remaining in highly isolated populations in the wild today.

Despite evidence that fosa are sensitive to deforestation and human presence, little is known about their space use and activity patterns in close proximity to human settlements. By using GPS radio-collars, Wyza monitored the fosa inside Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar. These collars reveal the species’ spatial and activity patterns around many settlements inside and bordering the park.

Second-year MSES candidate, Merri Collins, will discuss her work with the mudpuppy salamander in southeastern Ohio. Her project is entitled “The common mudpuppy salamander: not so common anymore?” The mudpuppy salamander, with a wide-reaching range in the Midwest, has suffered severe population declines due to habitat degradation and human-caused pollution. Little is known about the current population of mudpuppies in southeast Ohio.

To learn more about their presence, Collins used environmental DNA, a new and innovative biological monitoring tool. This method uses only water samples and PCR polymerase chain reactions (PCR) to establish the presence or absence of aquatic organisms in lentic and lotic ecosystems. Coupled with traditional surveys, eDNA monitoring can be a useful tool for conservation of cryptic species like the mudpuppy. This research was aided by Collins’ membership to Kuchta Labs at Ohio University.

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Energy and Environmental Luncheon Series runs each semester. These Friday forums include an informal lunch presentation and Q&A related to environmental topics of interest. The events are open to all Voinovich School students, as well as OHIO faculty, staff and students and the community. Free pizza will be served, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.

Not sure how to get up to The Ridges? Check out the Red Line CATS Shuttle, the Athens Public Transit routes, walk or ride your bike.

For additional information, contact Loraine McCosker at mccosker@ohio.edu.

Voinovich School Energy and Environmental Luncheon Series features “Making Bike Commuting Possible for All”

Bikes

Megan Buskirk from the Athens City-County Health Department will discuss safely and comfortably biking to work during the next installment of the Voinovich School Energy and Environmental Luncheon Series Friday, March 17 from 12 – 1 p.m. in Bldg. 22, Room 221 at The Ridges.

Buskirk will teach attendees how to outfit their bike and themselves to safely and securely commute. She will also cover common bicycle commuting myths, and offer solutions to make active commuting possible. The session will touch on community resources and share recent local bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements.
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Buskirk has been a public health educator since 2011. She currently serves as the Environmental Strategies Coordinator for the Communities Preventing Chronic Disease grant at the Athens City-County Health Department. She facilitates the adoption of policy, system and environmental change to create a healthier Athens County. Currently, she is working on strategies to increase connectivity of all modes of transportation including bus, bikes, vehicles and pedestrians through a “Park and Go” system.

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Energy and Environmental Luncheon Series runs each semester. These Friday forums include an informal lunch presentation and Q&A related to environmental topics of interest. The events are open to all Voinovich School students, as well as OHIO faculty, staff and students and the community. Free pizza will be served, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.

Not sure how to get up to The Ridges? Check out the Red Line CATS Shuttle, the Athens Public Transit routes, walk or ride your bike.

For additional information, contact Loraine McCosker at mccosker@ohio.edu.

Athens Food Policy Council: A space for grassroots organizing

The Athens Food Policy Council is a voluntary group of small business owners, non-profit staff, Ohio University students and community members. The organization’s mission is to grow healthy, equitable, and sustainable food systems in the Athens region through understanding and policy work around food security, economic development and renewable energy.

The council members are currently working on two initiatives. One is a community needs assessment and the other involves researching a potential sugar tax, which would ideally generate funds to support increasing fresh food in schools or creating access to more water fountains throughout Athens.

Anyone with a passion for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy or local economies is welcome to join the Athens Food Policy Council. The organization has no membership requirements and encourages people of all interests to join. Full council meetings are open to the public.

“Contributing to the Athens food system has been a way for me to combine my love of the Athens community with the work I am doing in the MPA program every day,” Megan Conkle, Voinovich School Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidate, said.

The council is an opportunity to gain experience working in a team-based environment at a grass roots level. It is a chance to network both locally and statewide by connecting with other councils across Ohio. The organization also serves as a community for feedback on new ideas.

For more details, contact gracek@acenetworks.org or visit the Athens Food Policy Council Facebook page or website.

 

Center for Entrepreneurship hosts franchising event

The Center for Entrepreneurship hosts, “Your Future in Franchising,” March 15 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Baker Center Theater. Points of discussion include franchisees, franchisors, financing and legal concerns. Students, faculty, staff and the rest of the campus community are invited to learn about a market that is growing exponentially.  Leaders from many different types of industries will discuss their perspective on franchises.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a partnership between the College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

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Student Research and Creativity Expo prep sessions

Two Prepare for the Fair sessions will take place in March to help students develop strong visual presentation skills for the Student Research and Creativity Expo on April 6. Sessions will be held in Baker Center, room 226. Pizza will be provided at both events.

The first session will take place on Tuesday, March 14 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Voinovich School faculty and staff will discuss how to create a great poster, what it takes to make a strong presentation and why these concepts are important.

The second session will be held on Tuesday, March 21 from 5 – 6 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring the electronic file of their poster and come prepared to practice their presentation in small groups. Students and Voinovich School faculty and staff will provide valuable feedback and last minute tips.

The Voinovich School will pay for the cost of poster printing.

Poster printing deadline dates:

Submit by March 13 to get: Proof, correction, proof, print poster

Submit by March 27 to get: Proof, print poster

Submit by March 31 to get: No proof, print poster

Submit by April 3 to get: Print poster, you pay for rush fee

RSVP for prep sessions and questions regarding poster submission can be directed to Cheryl Hanzel at hanzel@ohio.edu or 740.593.9358.

Sustain OHIO essay competition now open

Ohio University will be hosting an essay competition called Sustain OHIO in which students have the opportunity to share their innovative ideas for how to create a more sustainable campus. Participants can make suggestions through a variety of ways, both discussing technology Ohio University currently has or technology that has not yet been utilized. Participants are encouraged to review page seven of the Ohio University Sustainability Plan when forming ideas.

Rules of participation:

  • Must be currently enrolled at Ohio University
  • Essay must contain 300-500 words; significantly over or under will not be evaluated
  • Entries should include name, year in school, and major
  • Essays must be submitted to sustainohio@gmail.com

Faculty, staff and students will judge the competition. Participants’ essays will be evaluated on clarity, creativity, potential to implement, economic impact and environmental impact. Cash prizes of $250, $150 and $100 will be awarded to first, second and third place entries respectively.

The deadline to submit essays is Friday, March 24, 2017. Any questions regarding the competition can be directed to sustainohio@gmail.com.

Ohio EPA joins Voinovich School Energy and Environmental Brownbag Series to discuss careers and internships

Representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will discuss careers and internships this summer during the next installment of the Voinovich School Energy and Environmental Brownbag on Friday, February 24 from 12 – 1 p.m. in Bldg. 22, Room 221 at The Ridges.

Erica Fetty-Davis from the Division of Air Pollution Control along with Andrew Phillips, an environmental specialist/fish biologist from the Division of Surface Water, will describe the positions available within the various programs in the agency. A representative from the Ohio EPA Human Resources department, Sarah Lemananski, will also provide insight on the application process and answer any questions about the opportunities available.

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Energy and Environmental Brownbag Series runs each semester. These Friday forums include an informal lunch presentation and Q&A related to environmental topics of interest. The events are open to all Voinovich School students, as well as OHIO faculty, staff and students and the community. Free pizza will be served, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.

Not sure how to get up to The Ridges? Check out the Red Line CATS Shuttle, the Athens Public Transit routes, walk or ride your bike.

For additional information, contact Loraine McCosker at mccosker@ohio.edu.

Ohio Family and Children First – The Line in the Sand

“Our aim is to make an unprecedented commitment to one priority that I believe ranks above all others – the health and education of our children… The only way to do it is to pick one generation of children – draw a line in the sand – and say to all: ‘this is where it stops.’ Today, we draw that line” (1991 State of the State Address, Senator Voinovich).

Senator Voinovich made this promise to all of Ohio at his first State of the State address in 1991, and this promise was not one he made lightly. Rather, ensuring that all children were well cared for became one of the largest initiatives throughout his years as Governor. To achieve this goal, Senator Voinovich created the Ohio Family and Children First Council through an executive order in 1992 (Riffe, 1999). By 1994, the initiative became a statewide implementation with the goal of the OFCF Cabinet being, “A partnership of state and local government, communities, and families that enhance the well-being of Ohio’s children and families by building community capacity, strategically coordinating systems and services, and engaging and empowering families.” The multiple partnerships were essential to achieving the goal to life all children and family up, as supporting these individuals does not fall under one sphere.

One of the main actors in working to achieve this goal was Senator Voinovich’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Jacqueline Romer-Sensky. Romer-Sensky was charged to essentially take the challenge Senator Voinovich created and make it real for families all across Ohio; families that deal with incredibly different issues. Romer-Sensky, and the rest of her organizational team and key agency leaders, realized that dynamic and worked to involve a variety of actors: “Trying to lift children up is a multifaceted issue. It is not the domain of any one particular part of government. It’s also beyond government and the only way to tackle some of these really complex issues is to set a table where all of those different components are at the table, including the family’s voice.” To bring in all of these factors effectively, OFCF created councils across Ohio that worked within their specific communities to find out what families need and how to address these issues with the support from the Council at the state level. Together, these groups worked to achieve Senator Voinovich’s motto: “We need to work harder and smarter and do more with less. Together, we can do it.”

Much of this was able to occur because of Senator Voinovich’s passion for supporting children and his recognition that families face different challenges and may need differing types of support. Voinovich was up for the challenge and, as Romer-Sensky expressed about Senator Voinovich, “Ultimately, this is a guy that will do what he thinks is right… This was his passion and he just wanted this to happen. He cared about these kids.” Through the work of the councils, program partners, local groups, and families themselves, OFCF was able to make incredible achievements. The combined effort during the Voinovich Administration resulted reducing infant mortality, increasing the amount of adoptions by 59%, fully funding state Head Start and supporting the growth of publicly funded child care from 18,000 children to 82,000, as well as increased use of Medicaid waivers for home care for medically fragile families and increasing access to Individual Education Plans (JRS_GVV Reflection, 2016; Riffe, 1999). Supporting families and children has continued to be a priority in Ohio even after Senator Voinovich left the governor’s office and is an instrumental part of his legacy.

Public Administration scholarships now available

Scholarships are currently available to graduate students majoring in Public Administration, Civil Engineering, or a closely related field. The Ohio Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) is issuing two $1,000 scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year to provide financial assistance to deserving individuals.

Criteria includes:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.25
  • Successful completion of no less than nine credits in the applicant’s graduate program
  • Permanent residence within the state of Ohio
  • Demonstration of leadership qualities
  • Interest and activity in public administration or public works

Submission requirements include:

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • At least one letter of recommendation
  • Essay demonstrating why the applicant should receive the scholarship and where the applicant sees themselves post-graduation in a public administration or public works career
  • Official transcript or report of grades showing that a GPA of 3.25 or above has been maintained throughout graduate school
  • List of courses to be taken in the 2017/2018 academic year required for the graduate degree sought
  • Completed application and certification

Scholarships will be reviewed in the beginning of March 2017 and decisions will be made by the end of the month. The deadline to apply for these scholarships is February 24, 2017.

Scholarship applications and complete details surrounding scholarships can be found here, here, and here. Questions can be directed to Mrs. Simpson at 740.323.5202.

Exploring the micro-brew industry with the Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship will host local, craft distilleries for a micro-brew panel on Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. in Baker 240/242.

The Athens craft distilleries will gather for a night to discuss the entrepreneurial venture of micro brewing. Faculty, staff and students are all encouraged to attend this event to learn about one of the nation’s hottest growing industries. Hear how these entrepreneurs started their own breweries/distilleries.

The following breweries/distilleries will be in attendance:

  • Little Fish Brewing Company
  • West End Cider House
  • Fifth Element Spirits
  • Multiple Brewing
  • Fifty West

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a partnership between the College of Business and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Come learn about the emerging world of micro brewing from some local favorites of Athens.

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