FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT
THE FOSSIL TRAIL
Sidebar: New center lands big grant
WOMEN OF SCIENCE
SCIENTIST Q & A
Cover: UM paleontologist George Stanley holds a rhinoceros jaw fossil in the storage room of the University’s paleontology research collection. Found in Montana, the fossil is from the Miocene epoch, which extended from 23 million to 5.3 million years before the present.
Vision is published annually by University Relations and the UM Office of the Vice President for Research and Development. It is printed by UM Printing & Graphic Services.
PUBLISHER: Daniel J. Dwyer. MANAGING EDITOR AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Cary Shimek. PHOTOGRAPHER: Todd Goodrich. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Brianne Burrowes, Alex Strickland, Judy Fredenberg, Erik Leithe, Rita Munzenrider and Patia Stephens. WEB DESIGN: Patia Stephens. EDITORIAL OFFICE: University Relations, Brantly Hall 330, Missoula, MT 59812, 406-243-5914. MANAGEMENT: Judy Fredenberg, Office of the Vice President for Research and Development, 116 Main Hall, Missoula, MT 59812, 406-243-6670.
president: Science reveals
an interconnected world
One characteristic of human nature is that it’s easy to get caught up in daily life. While well aware of the larger world, we focus on what’s at hand: paperwork, projects, “to-do” lists. Sometimes we forget that we each are a small part of something bigger.
And sometimes that something is much, much bigger — like a Tyrannosaurus rex. Our cover story in this issue of Vision finds UM researchers working in partnership with Fort Peck Paleontology Inc. to study fossils of prehistoric Montana. This new Paleontology Center establishes a field station at which UM students will spend summers exploring and learning about one of the most fossil-rich sites on earth. Yet the partnership also reaches beyond UM and Fort Peck, as efforts are under way to integrate educational opportunities for Montana middle and high school students (see page 11). Research and education are, by their very nature, intertwined. Few projects, however, better demonstrate this symbiotic relationship more effectively than UM’s Paleontology Center, where curiosity and understanding of the past enrich the present and help guide the future.
As one continues through this magazine, it becomes clear that satiating curiosity is the driving force behind discovery. While the subject matter between paleontology and women in science is significant, curiosity also is at the root of the article highlighting five respected UM scientists. While representing different academic disciplines, these women all share a desire to learn, understand and know more. Through their scholarship, these researchers — like all scholars — work diligently to connect to “something bigger” by making valuable contributions to their respective scientific communities.
As I continue to reflect on the supporting role University scholarship plays in the big picture, I want to highlight the successful evolution of a project started nearly 20 years ago. When UM’s Rural Institute received a grant to study secondary health conditions among people with disabilities, who could have anticipated that this study would result in the development of a nationally recognized health-promotion program? This effort has improved the quality of life for people with disabilities while reducing medical expenses.
It’s true that we will all continue to get caught up in our daily lives where we worry about crossing T’s and dotting I’s, where our personal satisfaction is sometimes measured by how many items on our to-do lists are crossed off at the end of the day. While we may not always think about the larger world, hundreds of scholars at The University of Montana in varied disciplines work as agents of change in that world. Their valuable contributions run the gamut from cutting-edge research and academic advancement to innovative entrepreneurship. It is their interconnectedness to “something bigger” that makes a difference, and many of those differences are reflected in this issue of Vision. Enjoy!