Lectures at Sheridan College

Please join us for these free lectures that are open to the public. Zoom links will be provided to watch the lectures online.

May 4th, 7pm – Franz Fuchs – Monitoring Local COVID Trends Through Wyoming’s Wastewater     
Zoom Link – https://nwccd.zoom.us/j/93629279176

Past Lectures

Practical Applications of Music and Neuroscience Knowledge

Speaker: Carly Flaagan, Adjunct Faculty Sheridan College

Watch the recorded lecture

Abstract:The lecture will cover the basic principles of cognitive neuroscience, music cognition and cortical activation and music, the benefits of music in relation to the brain, and practical applications of this knowledge such as purposeful music listening, music for relaxation, active engagement with music, and music in regard to child development.

Biosketch:Carly Flaagan received her B.M. in music therapy at the University of North Dakota in 2015 after completing her internship at Musicworx Inc. in San Deigo, CA. Since then, she has been a practicing music therapist providing individualized care for persons of all ages. In 2013, Carly was
selected as the winner of the E.Thayer Gaston writing competition for her research paper titled “A Survey on Music Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Collaboration” given by the American Music Therapy Association. Carly enjoys advocating for music therapy through public speaking and was selected to present at TedxGrandForks in 2014. More recently, Carly has presented at the national music therapy conference in 2018 regarding music and cognition research. Carly completed her graduate degree at CSU in 2020 earning a Master’s of Music Therapy during which Carly researched differences in cortical activation between live and recorded music. In addition to providing music therapy services and fulfilling her role as Internship Director for Integrated Therapy of Northern Colorado, Carly is currently an adjunct professor for Sheridan College and a STEM Grants Coordinator for Front Range Community College.

Ecotoxicology and Freshwater Stream Bioassessments

Speaker: Lora Hosman, Faculty Sheridan College

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Abstract: Ecotoxicology evaluates the effects of a toxicant on an ecosystem. Ecosystems vary in their complexity and evaluating if, or how, a system is impacted can be difficult. Freshwater aquatic ecosystems can vary according to climate, topography, soil type and size of water body, for example. In evaluating if a system is impacted, one would need to establish what the biological community in that region should look like if it were not affected and compare it to that reference condition. The EPA has developed a rapid bioassessment protocol for freshwater wadable streams to do just that in a cost
effective and time efficient manner. Sampling the biotic community and the physical parameters of an ecosystem can not only tell us if the system is impacted, but can also give some insight as to what the underlying problem may be. This presentation will discuss the use and application of EPA’s RBP for freshwater wadable streams and how biodiversity is used as a measure of health of an ecosystem.

Biosketch: Lora earned her Master’s degree in Environmental Biology at Arkansas State University in 2001 while working in an EPA certified Ecotoxicology Research facility. In eight years at the laboratory, she worked on
several projects funded by the USDA, the FDA, and numerous industries across the southeastern United States. These projects varied from EPA mandated biomonitoring and assessment of freshwater streams for EPA’s 303d list, to population assessments of endangered freshwater mussels and evaluating the fate and effects of aquaculture therapeutants on receiving streams. Lora started teaching at Arkansas State University in 2006 and found her way to Wyoming as an instructor at Sheridan College in 2019.

“Major Fourth Be With You – Music from Star Wars”

Speaker: Dr. Christian Erickson, Faculty Sheridan College

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Abstract: Dr. Erickson discusses some of the music from the Star Wars Suite that will be played by the SC Symphony Orchestra on April 2nd.
The lecture will include live and recorded audio examples, as well as numerous video clips. All lovers of film music and Star Wars will enjoy this presentation!

Biosketch: Christian Erickson is chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Division at Sheridan College. He holds degrees in music theory and composition from the University of Wyoming, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Colorado. Dr. Erickson currently makes his home in the mountain hamlet of Story, WY where he divides his time outside of teaching between completing commissions for original compositions, providing orchestration and notation services, and designing sound for live theatre.

Chemistry of the Fossils: Insight to Paleoclimate of the Kaiparowits Formation Using Stable Isotope Geochemistry

Speaker: Daigo Yamamura, Ph.D., Science Faculty, Miles Community College

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Abstract: The Late Campanian-aged Kaiparowits Formation (72.5–76.6 Ma) is a thick, fossiliferous fluvio-overbank-lacustrine complex deposited in south-central Utah.  Host to one of the richest, most diverse Campanian terrestrial fossil records in North America, the physical environment of the Kaiparowits ecosystem, particularly the dynamics of the hydrological system, remains obscure. Isotopic compositions of serially sampled tooth enamel phosphate (δ18Op) from tyrannosaur teeth were analyzed to see if they held data that could clarify the palaeohydrology of the Kaiparowits Formation. The δ18Ow calculated from tyrannosaur was low, suggesting that isotopically-light, high-altitude runoff strongly influenced the local hydrology of the Kaiparowtis Formation. This study provides unique insight to the paleoclimate during the Campanian, and conducting similar studies in Montana and Wyoming would provide greater insight to the Cretaceous paleoclimate and paleoecology.

Biosketch: Daigo is a new Science Faculty at Miles Community College and previously taught at University of Arkansas – Fort Smith as a visiting Assistant Professor.  Other professional experiences include mitigation paleontologist at SWCA Environmental Consultant and EXP.  His research focus is paleoclimate and paleoecology of the Cretaceous North America, and the majority of the fieldwork takes place in Montana and Utah.  Laboratory techniques employed include petrography, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and stable isotope geochemistry.  Daigo studied stable isotope geochemistry of vertebrate fossils from the Kaiparowits Formation in south-central Utah while completing his Ph.D. in Geoscience at the University of Arkansas in 2017.  He plans to expand this paleoclimate investigation into Cretaceous formations in Montana and Wyoming.

Radio Telemetry of Migratory Fishes in Clear Creek and Powder River, WY.

Speaker: Gordon P. Edwards Jr., Fisheries Biologist, Sheridan, WGFD

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Abstract: The Powder River and Clear Creek in north central Wyoming host an intact native fish community and the highest fish diversity in the state. Many of these fishes migrate upstream from as far away as the Yellowstone River in Montana, assisted by fish passage improvements at man made barriers. In 2021, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Fisheries Biologists began studying movements of Shovelnose Sturgeon, Sauger, and Goldeye with radio telemetry. These fishes demonstrated seasonal movements throughout the entire basin dependent upon connections among distant habitats and influenced by stream flow. A new passage structure at a dam on lower Clear Creek has restored access for many fishes to much of the creek after nearly 100 years of inhibited upstream migrations. Exciting changes to the fish community are expected to begin in 2022, when a major fish passage project is completed on the Yellowstone River in Montana.

Biosketch: Gordon P. Edwards has served the great State of Wyoming as a Fisheries Biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for 17 years, currently managing aquatic wildlife across northeast Wyoming, stationed in Sheridan. He enjoyed stints with the Department in Casper working on the fish management and statewide research crews after a couple formative years with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in Ogden. Gordon studied the influences of tournaments on bass populations while completing his M.S. at the University of Connecticut. His career went full circle in 2018 when he returned to his hometown with his family where he stewards the landscapes that inspired his career.

Conflict, Cooperation and Morality: Why Are We So Divided?

Speaker: Dr. Rachel Kristiansen, Psychology Faculty, Sheridan College, NWCCD

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Abstract: Whether you’re working with another individual, a group, a company, or even a nation, people often have incompatible goals that place them in conflict with each other. In this lecture, we will discuss common social dilemmas and the research behind human interactions. We will learn why threats are ineffective and why people often find it difficult to identify integrative solutions when trying to negotiate. Finally, we will discuss morality and group dynamics and how subtle changes can make a large impact on cooperation and success.

Biosketch: Dr. Rachel Kristiansen, a Sheridan native, is a full-time tenured faculty member at Sheridan College in the Psychology department. She received her PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011. During her graduate career, she studied various species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean, and served as a research assistant in several projects with small primates. Her doctoral dissertation examined a factorial analysis of personality in horses across the globe. Publications of her research may be found in peer-reviewed journals such as Zoo Biology, the International Journal of Comparative Psychology, and the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior and Cognition. In 2017, she completed a master’s degree in Veterinary Sciences with a focus on animal shelter medicine from the University of Florida, as well as a graduate certificate in nonprofit leadership. She currently serves as the Animal Care Director for Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue.

Thickman Faculty Lecture Series: From Many Came Few – Humanity’s Rise
Thursday, November 5 | 7:00 PM
Speaker: Bj Kristiansen

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Abstract: Humanity arose from its roots approximately 325,000 years ago. At that time there were eight to nine Human species alive on the planet, interacting with each other and our early ancestors. Over a period of 300,000 years they all vanished, except for one group…us. In this examination of our past, we will investigate each human species as fossil record portray them, and we will attempt to determine why we are the only species of humanity to survive into the present.

Biosketch: Bj Kristiansen was born in Norway and immigrated to this country when he was five. He grew up in Chicago, received a degree in Paleontology and History from Augustana College, and came to Wyoming while in his early twenties. He worked in the energy industry as a geologist for twenty-five years, working on drill rigs throughout the Rocky Mountain West. During that time, he also worked in Big Horn Coal as well as Decker Coal, working as a geologist and geo-archaeologist. He currently works for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, land Quality Division and is also the adjunct professor of Anthropology at Sheridan College. He is a board-certified professional geologist and has two hobbies: building computers and researching human origins.

The Faculty Lecture Series is funded by the Thickman Lecture Endowment.

For more information contact the Sheridan College Foundation at 307.675.0700.

Science Museum Lecture – CRISPR: The Future of Gene-Editing Technology

Speaker: Matthew Craig, Biology Faculty, Gillette College, NWCCD

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Abstract: CRISPR is a recent biotechnology that holds great promise for treating human genetic disorders, combating acquired diseases, improving the health and productivity of our cultivated species, and even controlling pest species and disease transmission in nature. As with any amazing technology, consequences, both unintended and intended can be substantial. In this presentation, Matthew Craig will review basic principles of DNA and discuss how the CRISPR/Cas9 complex uses bacterial immune mechanisms to insert an engineered sequence of DNA into a host organism. It is a gene-drive because it does not follow classic Mendelian rules, but can amplify itself in a target host species. The amazing promise as well as the possible concerns and ethics of this technology will be explored.

Biosketch: Matthew Craig completed a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology and a master’s degree with an emphasis in herpetology at West Texas A&M University. His Master’s work utilized radio telemetry in an ecological and behavioral study of the Cagle’s Map Turtle, a species endemic to the Guadalupe River in South Texas. Matthew went on to take additional graduate courses at the University of Oklahoma where he did research on community ecology of stream fishes with an emphasis in multispecies shoaling behavior. Matthew is in his 34th year of teaching college level courses. He and his family moved to Wyoming six years ago and he teaches Biology and Microbiology at Gillette College.

Science Museum Lecture: The Hydrogen Economy – Is Wyoming Ready?

Speaker: Robert McDowell, Catalyst Consultant

Title: The Hydrogen Economy – Is Wyoming Ready?

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Abstract: Wyoming and our nation are facing a transition from the fossil fuel economy which started in the mid-1700’s, to a future economy based primarily upon nuclear and renewable electricity.  In order to store and transport large amounts of that electricity, an energy carrier will be needed.   Hydrogen is being touted by many countries as the best alternative to be that carrier, because it is essentially pollution free.   What will Wyoming need to do to adapt to the new economy and how much time do we have left to adapt?  This talk will give a brief description of what the hydrogen economy may be like, as well as covering some of the issues Wyoming will face during the transition.

Biosketch: Bob McDowell graduated with a B.S. degree from Villanova University while working in the Research & Development group of Johnson Matthey, the world’s largest automotive catalyst company.  He was part of the team that brought the first commercial Three-Way Catalyst from concept into production, and has manufactured emission control catalysts on four continents.  He currently advises a diverse set of clients working in R&D and prototyping areas, including lithium ion batteries, biofuels, precious metal recycling, and of course, emission control catalysts.

Thursday, March 11

Speaker: Brittney Denham-Whisonant

Title: The Arrival: Motherhood and Art

Presented at Kinnison Hall in Sheridan College Whitney Center for the Arts and online.

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Abstract: “The Arrival: Motherhood and Art” highlights historical and contemporary artists such as Mary Cassatt, Alice Neel, Mary Kelly, Senga Nengudi, Rebecca Campbell, Lenka Clayton, and Brittney Denham-Whisonant while discussing challenges seen in historic and contemporary ways mothers and mothering have been represented in both art and popular culture. The talk will examine works that openly address the choices of becoming mothers, in particular pausing over the emphasis on childlessness in the arts. It will also tie these topics into Brittney’s most recent body of work, The Arrival.

Biosketch: Brittney Denham is a multidisciplinary artist, born in California and raised in Wyoming. Sher received an MFA at The Ohio State University in 2012 and is currently Gallery Director and Faculty of Photography and Printmaking at Sheridan College in Wyoming. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including most recent The Arrival: Works by Brittney Denham, at COS Gallery in Visalia California, Women’s Work, at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana, and Stay Home Gallery, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Science Museum Lecture Series: A Bug’s Life at Extremes

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Speaker: Michael Dillon, Associate Professor, Dept of Zoology, UW

Title: A Bug’s Life at Extremes: How the Humble Bee Thrives from Deserts to Mountain Tops

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Abstract: Native bees are crucial pollinators in agriculture and in wild ecosystems, so recently documented declines in bee populations may have dramatic and far-reaching effects. Determining the causes of these declines and how to address them requires research on the basic ecology and physiology of native bees. In this talk, I’ll discuss what we’ve learned about how bees cope with environmental and other challenges such that they can persist everywhere from the deserts of southern California to the high mountains of western China. But this remarkable adaptability has limits, forcing us to contemplate a world without the humble bee.

Biosketch: Michael Dillon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology & Physiology and Director of the UW-NPS Research Station. He has studied the physiology and ecology of insects, particularly bees, for over 20 years across the Western United States, China, and Central and South America. His students currently work on diverse topics, including distributions of threatened bees, effects of wind farms on insects, flight and thermal physiology of bumblebees, and overwintering of native bees. He recently published a Field guide to the Native Bees of Wyoming with UW colleague Lusha Tronstad aimed at engaging the public in understanding, appreciating, and protecting our native bees.

Science Museum Lecture Series: Your Local Drinking Water

Wednesday, January 27

Speaker: Matt Enger, USFS hydrologist, and Jon Warder, USFS forest fire management officer for Bighorn National Forest

Title: Your Local Drinking Water – Sheridan Municipal Watershed: Its Source, Threats, and Proposed Actions on the Bighorn National Forest

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Abstract: How often do you turn on your faucet and take for granted the amazing water quality we enjoy in Sheridan? We are very fortunate! However, managers from Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board and the Wyoming Water Development Office have recognized that the Sheridan Municipal Watershed, sourced almost entirely from lands managed by the Bighorn National Forest, is at risk. A study completed in 2019 has identified that wildfire can be a major source of sediment and other contaminants to the water supply, and that action is needed to reduce this threat. Wildfires in Colorado and Wyoming in the summer of 2020 burned many homes, but also impacted municipal watersheds. The Bighorn National Forest is proposing management actions to help reduce this threat. Join U.S. Forest Service employees Matt Enger and Jon Warder to learn about this invaluable resource and the potential ramifications of wildfire, and learn about ways to provide input to the proposed actions on your National Forest.

Biosketch: Matt Enger is a Hydrologist who has been with the Bighorn National Forest since 2016. An Illinois native, Matt attended college at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he earned a BS and MS in Forestry, while concentrating in Forest Hydrology and Soil Science. As a Hydrologist with the Forest Service, Matt has served on several Burned Area Emergency Response Teams with the Forest Service, tasked with assessing the post-fire effects following a wildfire.

Jon Warder has been an employee of the Bighorn National Forest since 2001, residing in Sheridan with his family. He has been the Forest Fire Management Officer since 2007, and was a wildlife biologist with the Forest Service beginning in 1989. He received a BS in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University in 1991, and has been fortunate to enjoy many outdoor recreation opportunities along the way in his career.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 – 7pm

Speaker: Vikram E. Chhatre, Research Scientist, Dept of Molecular Biology, UW

Title: Can We Save North American Forests from the Effects of Climate Warming?

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Abstract: Ecosystems thrive when environmental conditions are right. Health of natural forests is inherently linked to the health of the ecosystems in which they reside. Rapidly warming climate over the last several decades has led to disruption of this balance due to emergence of novel pests and diseases. These insect and fungal species have devastated and decimated many natural forests all over North America.

With global temperatures projected to rise significantly by 2050, many forest tree species once adapted to their local environments will become maladapted. How are forest biologists and practitioners thinking about these issues with the goal of preserving our forests for the future? The speaker will discuss magnitude of the problem, and various strategies scientists are employing in this endeavor. The speaker will also provide a list of further reading materials for those interested in learning more on this important subject.

Biosketch: Vikram Chhatre is a forest tree geneticist and is currently working as a research scientist in bioinformatics at the University of Wyoming. His research on population genetics of various forest tree species such as spruce, pine and poplar has been published in many prominent scientific journals. During 2018-19, he served on a National Academy of Sciences study committee that investigated the potential for biotechnology to improve forest health. Vikram obtained his PhD in Genetics in 2013 from Texas A&M University and did postdoctoral research at USDA Forest Service and the University of Vermont before joining University of Wyoming. You can learn more at his website: https://vc.popgen.org.

Indigenous Time-Keeping Depicted in Medicine Wheel and Rock Art/Science Technologies in North Central WY

Wednesday, Nov. 18th

Speaker: Ivy Merriot, PhD, Executive Director, Sky Traditions Research and Publishing

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Abstract: How do we track time? Join medicine wheel researcher and scholar Dr. Ivy Merriot on a journey exploring how ancient peoples observed and interacted with time as recorded in the stones of the Bighorn Medicine Wheel and the petroglyphs of Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site.

Time is based on Earth’s relationship to the rest of the universe, yet even today’s advanced computers have not perfected timekeeping technology. The time and date we use on our smartphones is not real; it is an arbitrary, cultural construct, disconnected from the real universe we live in.

To know and track time as the earth moves through changing cycles, we need a sophisticated technology that is not vulnerable to solar flares, EMP generators, or arbitrary changes by governments. Our ancient ancestors used such a technology. They scribed time into the designs etched in rock and created markers by the placement of stones. Their connection to the landscape and its interaction with the sky and visible universe shaped an accurate method of keeping time.

In the Bighorn Mountains, not far from Sheridan, Wyoming, the high altitude Bighorn Medicine Wheel gives evidence of multi-millennial time-keeping. Fifty miles to the south at a far lower altitude, pecked petroglyphs at Medicine Lodge Creek interact with Sky Beings and Shadow Beings, enabling humans to understand and keep track of our scientific relation to the Sun and Moon, the source of time for humans.

About the Presenter: Ivy Merriot is the Executive Director of Sky Traditions, a non-profit organization focused on exploring humans’ relationship to the sky. She is an archaeoastronomer who studies stone circles and rock art, conducting research in Montana, Wyoming, Peru, New York, Scotland, England, and Africa. She is the author of the book Star Circle: The Bighorn Medicine Wheel, her dissertation: Exploratory Research of the Big Horn Medicine Wheel: Acting as an Indigenous Place-Based Pedagogical Instrument for Learning Sky-Earth Relationships, Skywatching Fundamentals and Celestial Mechanics, and the Yellowstone National Park Star Map. She is currently developing a Bighorn Medicine Wheel star map to show how the Wheel’s cairns, spokes, and rim keep track of celestial time.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Thickman Faculty Lecture Series: Understanding the Electoral College

Thursday, Oct 22nd

Speaker: Michael Thomas, Adjunct Faculty at NWCCD – History of Wyoming & Wyoming Government

Abstract: This lecture will cover:

  • The history of the Electoral College – Why did the Founders write this into the U.S. Constitution?
  • Historical elections for President of the United States – Historical events when Presidential candidates lose the popular vote but win the Electoral College.
  • Contemporary issues with the Electoral College.
  • Why does Wyoming need the Electoral College?

About the Presenter: Michael Thomas serves as adjunct faculty at Sheridan & Gillette College teaching History of Wyoming and Wyoming Government. He holds an Associate’s degree in History from Casper College, a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Secondary Education and Social Studies from the University of Wyoming, as well as a Master of Arts degree in American History from American Public University. He is a public school teacher with ten years of teaching experience.