GEOBRIDGES Aims to Expand & Diversify the Geospatial Workforce


GEOBRIDGES combines classroom instruction with research and monitoring internships in the Wind River Mountains.


GEOBRIDGES at Central Wyoming College is gaining momentum in its second summer of using Advanced Technological Education grant funds to provide stipends for students to assist with applied geospatial science and technology (GIST) research and monitoring in the Wind River Mountains.

In 2023, 20 students participated; 30% were Native Americans. There are Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal communities in the service area of the college, which is a Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institution.

This summer there is a waiting list for GEOBRIDGES, which teaches geospatial information science (GIS) and other skills ranging from first aid to data analysis in credit courses that apply toward CWC's Expedition Science certificate and associate degree. This credential qualifies students for entry-level technician roles with the U.S. Forest Service, local tribes, and private employers. The condensed format also accelerates associate degree completion.

“We're putting the capstone first in a sense. They're getting these amazing opportunities that are usually for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. And as they're doing these projects, they're going to conferences and presenting. They're writing hypotheses. They're doing scientific research projects,” Jacki Klancher said during a recent interview. Klancher is the director of Research and Innovation at CWC’s Alpine Science Institute, an environmental health and science professor, and principal investigator of GEOBRIDGES.

Aside from the significant knowledge boost, the GEOBRIDGES project (National Science Foundation Award 2202230) provides students with comprehensive access to expensive wilderness learning experiences that are usually out of reach for individuals who have to work summer jobs or who have expended their financial aid during fall and spring semesters. CWC and other funders (listed at the end of the article) cover participants’ tuition for their summer courses and expedition-related expenses.

In the ATE Impacts Video featuring GEOBRIDGES, Klancher says, “I’m really proud to be able to offer something that’s so practical that you can apply it with a two-year degree or you can build on it and take it where you want to. I feel great satisfaction that when they leave at the end of the summer, their pockets won’t be empty and their minds will be full.”

The ATE Impacts Video series at added four videos in May in conjunction with the release of the book ATE Impacts 2024-2025: 30 Years of Advancing Technician Education. The cinematic videos were created by Vox Television in partnership with the Internet Scout Research Group, part of the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Both the book and the videos feature ATE community members—students, industry partners, instructors, and administrators—explaining the ATE program’s positive impact on their lives and the people served by the NSF grant-funded programs across the United States. The book and video series were prepared with NSF support under grant 2033738.

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From the Archive: Teaching with Snack Foods - Engage. Educate. Enjoy!


A photo of a person using flour in a baking scenario

Who said teaching complex STEM concepts couldn't be as easy as pie—or perhaps as crumbly as a cookie?  Within the ATE community, some inventive educators have transformed everyday snack foods into meaningful learning opportunities. By utilizing everyday pantry treats, they present scientific and mathematical principles in ways that are not only more approachable for students but also delightfully delicious.

In this month's From the Archive blog post, we highlight three ATE projects and centers that have creatively used common confections as educational tools. First, a marshmallow becomes the focal point of a lesson on measurement and calculations. Next, chocolate chip cookies serve as a model for understanding the process and impact of surface mining and land reclamation. Finally, we delve into the practical and experimental aspects of candy making, discovering melting point, temperature, and emulsions. Each resource is crafted to engage, educate, and, of course, entertain.

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ATE Impacts is also a book! Copies are available upon request or at the annual ATE PI Conference in Washington, DC.

ATE Impacts also has a video series, that tells the stories of students, educators, administrators, and industry partners who have had their lives positively impacted by the work of the ATE program.
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