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Western Michigan University's College of Engineering - file photo by Andrew Robins, WMUK
Andrew Robins / WMUK

Encouraging underrepresented groups to consider going into STEM fields, an incubator to help teachers develop ideas for science teaching and studying tipping points and reversibility of catastrophic events. The ideas from Western Michigan University are three of the 33 entries in the National Science Foundation’s 2026 Idea Machine.


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After an internal competition at Western Michigan University, the best ideas were sent on to the National Science Foundation. WMU has three of the 33 nationwide entries in the NSF’s 2026 Idea Machine.

Those ideas include #WhyNotMe: Stem Diversity Drivers from Western’s Vice President for Research, Terry Goss Kinzy, who is also Professor of Biological Sciences, and the Director of Research at WMU’s Evaluation Center Lori Wingate. The STEM Teaching and Learning Incubator from Western Geography and Science Education Professor Todd Ellis. Reversibility: Future of Life on Earth comes from Billinda Straight, Professor of Anthropology and Gender and Women’s Studies at WMU.


Earlene McMichael | WMUK

Did you know downtown Kalamazoo is believed to be home to the nation's first building financed and built by and for a women's club, and still used for its orginal purpose? The Ladies' Library Association of Kalamazoo building turns 140 years old this year. It'll be open for tours during the June 7th Art Hop.


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Remember the late celebrated astrophysicist Carl Sagan? An interesting tie exists between science phenom Neil deGrasse Tyson and him besides both having hosted the popular "Cosmos" show begun by Sagan. It's that Tyson met Sagan as a teenager. In fact, Sagan personally invited Tyson to visit Cornell University to convince him to enroll there. Sagan met Tyson in his professor's office on a Saturday, gave him a campus tour, then gifted him one of his books with a foretelling inscription: "To Neil Tyson, future astrophysicist."


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On Wednesday, May 22nd, preeminent astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will hit the stage at Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium. He's become a pop culture figure for his ability to excite people about science. Today we replay WMUK's Earlene McMichael's interview with him that originally aired on April 15th on the WestSouthwest news and public affairs show.


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