Sarah Geegan

By

College: Arts and Sciences

UK Professor Leads Water Research Project for Egyptian and Moroccan Students

Published: Nov 14, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 14, 2012) — Eleven students from the arid Middle East and North Africa convened in drought-stricken San Angelo, Texas, over the summer — to learn about water.

 

Through a grant from the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, UK Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Alan Fryar and colleagues focused on capacity building in the Middle East and North Africa, with a particular emphasis on hydrology. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Georgia and Western Michigan University, Fryar participated in a program called BOOST: Building Opportunity Out of Science and Technology.

 

"The State Department put out a call for proposals in spring 2011," Fryar said. "The idea was to work with 18- to 30-year-olds in any of several Middle Eastern and North African countries to address some of the issues that were underlying the Arab Spring, such as the fact that youth unemployment rates were very high."

 

Fryar said, because there is a sense that university education is not necessarily an automatic ticket to employment in these regions, the grant represents an effort to help engage young people, particularly the age of university students, with skills-development useful for future employment in fulfilling societal needs.

 

Fryar's colleagues in Egypt and Morocco selected graduate students from those two countries with experience in hydrology and geology to participate in a field course. Five students from Morocco and six students from Egypt traveled to the U.S. in June.

 

Though they originally planned to conduct the training in the students' home countries, political instability in Egypt required that investigators select a more secure location, comparable in terms of aridity, like Texas.  As a result, Fryar partnered with James Ward, an assistant professor of geology at Angelo State University and his former student at UK.  

The effort represented both an educational and cultural undertaking, as the students were largely unfamiliar not only with the U.S., but also with their international counterparts.

 

"Countries across the Middle East and North Africa, in terms of science and technology, have not historically collaborated with each other to the extent that they might have," Fryar said. "Most of it is cultural, I think. Arabic dialects differ across the region, and because of colonial history, higher education in the sciences is in English in some countries, like Egypt, and in French in other countries, like Morocco."

 

The students flew into Atlanta, where Fryar met them with a bus and drove the rest of the way to San Angelo, stopping at culturally relevant sites such as Vicksburg, Miss., before beginning the hydrology training.

 

The training involved various tests and applied skills in the field, such as measuring water infiltration, stream flow, depths to water in wells and water chemistry. Fryar said that the students arrived with varying skill sets, though no set was complete. The goal was to transfer knowledge in a holistic manner.

 

"I learned more about techniques such as infiltration testing and chemical analysis," said Ahmed Nosair, of Egypt. "We made chemical analyses from samples of ground water we gathered from wells around San Angelo. We also learned some geophysical techniques."

 

After the field activities in Texas, Fryar and the students returned to Georgia, where the students participated in a week-long workshop on geographic information systems, remote sensing, and hydrologic modeling at the University of Georgia.

 

Fryar said he believed the training would help facilitate further water research in Middle Eastern and North African countries.

 

"The students certainly weren't starting from zero," Fryar said. "They're very bright. Their departments are to some extent under-resourced relative to what we have in the States, but access to the Internet opens a lot of doors."

 

Ward was pleased with the outcome as well.

 

"I think it is just awesome to help train them to where they can go back home and apply some of these skills and maybe get younger people in that region into geology and hydrology so that they can educate people about how important it is to conserve water," Ward said.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

fryar1.jpgfryar2.jpg
October
 
 
 
1
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Wed
2
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Thu
3
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Fri
4
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Sat
5
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Sun
6
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Mon
7
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Tue
8
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Wed
9
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Thu
10
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Fri
11
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Sat
12
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Sun
13
 
Mon
14
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Wed
16
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Fri
18
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Sat
19
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Sun
20
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Mon
21
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Tue
22
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Wed
23
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Fri
25
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
26
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
What Makes You "YOU: with Brett T. Spear
Sun
27
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Kentucky Men's Basketball Blue/White Scrimmage
Mon
28
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Screening of the documentary Teached
Tue
29
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
UK Lab Safety Fair
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Wed
30
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
Thu
31
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Fri
 
Reset Page