Education, Outreach & Workforce Development

Undergrad presents digital poster

Kansas Data Science Consortium (KDSC)

Launched in fall 2022 as part of the ARISE project, this consortium drives both workforce and economic development. Here’s how:

Businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations partner with the KDSC, sharing data for class projects. College students then work on those projects as part of a course. As they learn to wrangle and analyze data, students glean insights for their partner organization and gain training for in-demand careers.

Kansas Data Science Consortium homepage

Students class project informs Lied Center about ticket sales, audience sentiments

How students, organizations benefit from data science hub

Data science on display: workshop photos

Outcomes of spring 2023 course

New hub announced 

Contact: Gryffin Eason,

Konza trail REU students

Undergrad Opportunities

The ARISE project empowers undergraduates with the following opportunities. 

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in Equitable Pathways to Community Disaster Resilience – This immersive, 11-week summer program engages students in interdisciplinary research at three universities: Kansas State University (KSU), University of Kansas (KU), and Wichita State University (WSU). Undergrads learn about the research process while developing professional skills and exploring career paths. Research focused on data analytics, resilient infrastructure, community resilience, and social equity. 

Developing Scholars at Kansas State University – this program provides research experiences for first-generation and underrepresented students at KSU, focusing on early-career students (e.g., first-time freshmen, transfer students) with no prior research experience. Students work in research areas for 6-10 hour/week for upto 3 years while getting paid $1,250/semester. Scholars from all disciplines are supported through the program.

Emerging Scholars at the University of Kansas – this program provides supports low-income undergraduate students during their first year at KU. Scholars recieve ~$10/hour to work for a faculty member as a research assistant and participate in monthly professional development activities. These scholars work in departments from history to engineering to the arts. No prior research experience is required, just an interest in research and learning something new.

Kansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KS-LSAMP) – promotes the success of undergraduates from groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math. Students are recruited from existing programs and partner institutions across Kansas. This 8-week summer program is for KSU undergraduates and Kansas Community College students. 

Seminar Series – we invite speakers bi-monthly to give virtual seminars (or webinars) on topics related to resilient infrastructures and social equity. 

Contact: Claudia Bode,

30 students standing in front of water treatment plant

Supporting Kansas City Teens

The Saturday Academy is a K-12 youth program at Kansas City Kansas Community College. We began supporting this project in 2022 during its 22nd year of programing, with funding from ARISE. The academy engages roughly 200 middle school and high school students each year. Efforts are underway to create new content focused data science relating to the air quality, electrical grid, water infrastructure, and natural gas infrastructure of Kansas City, KS.

Message from Mary Patterson

Youth tour water treatment plant, learn about careers

Partnering for KCK youth

Real-time data point for the win

Contacts: Mary Patterson,; Jessica Rojas, 

Middle school youth look at plants and soils

Youth and Family Outreach

We partner with the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, regional TRIO programs, and Kansas libraries to build an interest in science and engineering among underserved youth and their families. Activities explore topics through a lens of resilience and socially equity, exploring connections between infrastructure, the environment, wellbeing, and a community’s response to hazards. These efforts are funded by the ARISE project.

Build Your Future engages middle school students in learning about extreme weather and how to cope with disasters. Led by Teresa MacDonald, the program offers three Saturday events in fall 2023 at the F.L. Schlagle Library in Kansas City, Kansas, and research exhibits for TRIO youth and their families on three Thursdays in spring 2024 at the Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Build Your Future Flyer 2023

Contact: Eleanor Gardner,

Professor Bergtold leads listening session for ARISE in Finney County Kansas

Involving Local Communities

Community partners play a key role in guiding  ARISE research toward practical, equitable outcomes. While not all researchers interact directly with local residents, we believe that building the skills to do this type of work is critical for Kansas scientists and engineers.

To build capacity for community-engaged research, we require all our researchers to take an online training on this topic. We also offer virtual roundtables with experts in this field and track activities using an online tool called the Community Tool Box.

Join Us! – We seek partners in 5 target counties in Kansas: Ford, Finney, Johnson, Seward, & Wyandotte. From utility providers to educators, church leaders to librarians, city workers to business owners — we invite local residents of all walks of life to join us in co-creating resilience in Kansas.

See how we co-create solutions with local communities

Contact: Alej Martinez,


EFC powerpoint presentation

Public Utility Workforce Support

We partner with the Environmental Finance Center at Wichita State University to help link research discoveries to community-level implementation. These partners help turn the outcomes of the ARISE project into practical resources–like Resiliency Tabletop Exercises–to train utility staff and decision-makers. A key focus is on where to invest resiliency dollars for water utility and local government organizations.

Contact: Tonya Bronleewe,

Previous Projects

Haskell Environmental Research Studies Institute (HERS)

This 8-week summer research program in Lawrence, Kansas, is led by faculty from Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas.  The program is designed to prepare Native American undergraduate students for scientific and technical careers.  Participants conduct research on climate and environmental change occurring in a Native community of their choice.  At the end of the summer program and during the following academic year, interns have several opportunities to present their work at professional meetings, workshops, and symposia around the country, including the Society for Advancing Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) or American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). Funding for this program comes from the MAPS project.

HERS Website

News story

The Ecosystems of Kansas Summer Institute

This immersive learning experience engages science teachers from across Kansas in activities focused on exploring outdoor environments and learning about microbiomes research of aquatic, plant and soil systems. Many participants also develop lessons they can use in their classrooms. Funding is provided by the MAPS project.

Workforce development outcomes: 56 teachers trained from 26 counties in Kansas 

Resources for High School Science Teachers:

Aquatic Ecology
Terrestrial Ecology
GIS Mapping
General Resources

Kansas Ecology for Elementary Students (KEES)

MAPS researchers and KU students visit elementary classrooms in-person or virtually multiple times a semester to teach small group hands-on ecology lessons related to research about the microbiomes of aquatic, plant, and soil systems in Kansas. Funding for this program comes from the MAPS project. 

Contact: Dr. Peggy Schultz 

Watch videos about the lessons on our YouTube channel.



Kansas Ecology for Elementary Students Resources


Meet MAPS Student Researchers

Meet MAPS student researchers and learn why they decided to study science.

Diana Diaz, Florida Gulf Coast University undergraduate and 2021 REU participant 

Hannah Nuest, University of Kansas undergrad and 2021 REU participant

Hannah Reid, University of Kansas undergrad and 2021 REU participant

Justin Oettle, Wichita State University undergrad and 2021 REU participant 

Theo Michaels, (part 1 and part 2), a doctoral student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at KU

Laura Podzikowski, a doctoral student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at KU

K-12 science videos posted on the KEES YouTube Channel

Diversity Resources