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
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Big Blue Commonwealth
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
College of Pharmacy Open House
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Pinterest Party
Employer Showcase
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
¡Baila!
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
28
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Dirty Dancing Trip
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
#TrendingTopics: Immigration Reform
Tue
 
 
 
 
Reset Page