Standardized testing exemption extended for two more years

Amy Choate-Nielsen
PR/communications manager, Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

The University of Utah will not require standardized test scores in their application process for at least two more years. Because of disruptions caused by COVID-19, the U first made standardized tests optional for applicants in 2020 for a two-year trial period. Now, that period has been extended through fall 2024 to broaden student access and allow further study of the impact test scores have on the application process.

“Two more years gives time for the landscape in testing to settle,” said Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president for enrollment management. “These additional few years get us to a point where we have more information on where testing stands as it relates to college access and student success.”

Students who were first admitted without test scores have now been at the U for one year, so comparison data is limited, but the rate of persistence from the first semester to the second semester has so far been similar to other years. The U received a record number of applications for classes starting in fall 2022, marking the first time that more than half of applicants did not submit test scores since the test became optional for many.

One benefit of a test-optional application is that it removes a barrier to those who are disadvantaged by the test requirement, but who are interested in going to college. Currently, none of the U’s peers in the Pac-12 Conference are requiring standardized tests.

“We look at an applicant’s GPA and the rigor of the curriculum the student enrolled in during high school, such as, whether the student took the most challenging courses their school offered,” Robinson said. “The holistic approach means we take all of the information we can find about students and meld that together to make a decision.”

There are some exceptions for a test-optional application. Students who do not earn a grade point average (GPA) that is directly comparable to other high school students, such as those who have a GED or those from non-accredited high schools, will still be required to submit a standardized test score.

More information on the application process can be found here.

$34M to prevent and treat epilepsy

University of Utah Health

Original post was written by Chris Palmer for U of U Health.

The University of Utah College of Pharmacy’s Anticonvulsant Drug Development (ADD) Program has been awarded a five-year $34 million contract renewal with the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to test and identify novel investigational therapeutics for preventing the development of epilepsy and treating refractory, or drug-resistant, epilepsy (Contract 75N95022C00007).

Epilepsy is the fourth most common brain disorder and affects people of all ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 3.4 million people in the United States and 65 million people worldwide have active epilepsy. There is no cure for epilepsy, a condition that characterizes a group of neurological disorders, and the standard treatment is antiseizure medications.

Many of the anti-seizure medications in clinical use in the U.S. today were tested in collaboration with the ADD Program.

PHOTO CREDIT: Charlie Ehlert

Karen Wilcox, PhD, is director of the ADD Program.

Since it was launched in 1975, the focus of the ADD program has been testing and identifying antiseizure drugs, including novel compounds, to help the nearly one-third of people with epilepsy that is refractory, or unresponsive, to currently available medications.

“People with refractory epilepsy often have to take two, three, or even four antiseizure medications (ASMs) at a time and still don’t have adequate seizure control,” said ADD Director Karen S. Wilcox, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmacology and toxicology and principal investigator of the contract. “So, one of our main goals is to find new compounds that might be efficacious in this population.”

Like the previous contract renewal in 2016, the latest renewal will also emphasize epilepsy prevention. “We’re not sure which people are at risk for developing epilepsy following brain insults, such as head injuries, central nervous system infections, or strokes,” Wilcox said. “A major goal of the program is identifying therapeutic agents that might prevent the development of epilepsy in those at risk.”

For the first time in the program’s history, ADD researchers, in partnership with the Center for Human Toxicology, will focus on what happens to antiseizure compounds once they enter the body. “Therapy developers want to understand the ability of novel investigational agents to enter the brain and how long they will last in the brain, so they can get a handle on dosing information,” Wilcox said.

Another recent addition to the ADD program is a rodent model of Dravet syndrome, a severe, lifelong form of epilepsy that begins in the first year of life. Also new is a focus on investigational compounds’ ability to stop spontaneous, rather than experimentally invoked, seizures in rodent models of epilepsy. “This addition brings our assay closer to resembling the clinical condition,” Wilcox said.

In collaboration, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) Epilepsy Therapy Screening Program (ETSP) and the ADD Program have evaluated more than 32,000 compounds in in vivo and in vitro models. Furthermore, the majority of new ASMs introduced to clinical use in the United States during the past 35 years have been evaluated, free of charge, by the ETSP and ADD programs.

ADD received the contract in a competitive bidding process. The renewal of the contractual relationship with the University of Utah reflects the ongoing commitment of the NIH and the ETSP to finding and developing novel therapies for epilepsy and represents a unique partnership between government, industry, and academia.

Independent from the ETSP contracted work and materials, the faculty and trainees affiliated with the ADD have their own funded research programs to perform innovative basic research that sheds new light on the pathophysiology of epilepsy and other central nervous system disorders and provides a unique training environment for students, research fellows, and visiting scientists.

Currently, the ADD program employs 25 researchers, technicians, and staff. Cameron S. Metcalf, Ph.D., is associate director and a co-investigator of the contract. Other co-investigators include Chris Reilly, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and Peter J. West, Ph.D., and Misty D. Smith, Ph.D., both research assistant professors of pharmacology and toxicology.

Wilcox and the ADD team will continue collaborations with SynapCell, H. Steve White, Ph.D., former ADD director and professor and chair of pharmacy at the University of Washington, and Melissa Barker-Haliski, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the University of Washington, who have made important contributions to ADD’s refractory epilepsy and epilepsy prevention efforts, respectively.

Remembering U

Student Affairs

The University of Utah has created a virtual space for students, faculty and staff to share memories of students who have passed away. is a virtual memorial where, with the permission of family members, deceased students’ photos and names will be shared. Memories of each student can then be submitted through an online form. All submissions will be reviewed for content and community standards before being shared publicly.

”The death of any student has a profound impact on our campus community and beyond,” said Jason Ramirez, dean of students. “We created this virtual space so those who knew and loved a deceased student have somewhere to share their thoughts and memories. We hope it is able to help in the healing process.”

Due to the pandemic, there has not been an in-person memorial for students who passed in the last three years. These students are currently included on the new memorial page. Moving forward, students who have passed will remain on Remembering U for one year.

Families of students who have passed can request to have their student included in the memorial by emailing

Learn more and view the new student memorial page here.

Salesforce contract updates

University Information Technology

University Information Technology (UIT) has signed a university master services agreement (UMSA) with Salesforce that allows the University of Utah and University of Utah Health entities to engage with the company on equal terms without the need to negotiate department- or college-specific contracts. A business associate agreement (BAA) with Salesforce is still under review.

UIT Enterprise Software Engineer Brandon Gresham said that because two vendors—Salesforce and Carahsoft—provide the university with Salesforce licensing, the U’s Purchasing department requires that contracts go to bid. However, Gresham said the process is a simple matter of requesting pricing from each vendor.

Gresham said UIT also has partnered with several Salesforce technical consultants who specialize in most Salesforce products. These contracts are applicable across the university. For more information or help contacting the U’s new Salesforce consultants, please email Gresham.


  • Due to contractual complexities, please reach out to Gresham at before initiating any bid process for Salesforce products or services.
  • To meet HIPAA requirements around protected health information (PHI), certain U of U Health entities may not be able to leverage the UMSA at this time without the university first completing a BAA. An alternative path is available by purchasing licenses through Carahsoft instead.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s 2022 Call to Action published for the anniversary of George Floyd’s death

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Following the murder of George Floyd, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) issued a Call to Action outlining what the university is doing and how any individual can become a partner in doing equity work. In recognition of this anniversary, EDI encourages each of us to pause and consider our role to learn more about what we can do as an individual, team, academic unit or division to educate ourselves and become part of the solution to name and dismantle hate in all of its various forms.

U of U engineering professorship

Lisa Potter

The University of Utah College of Engineering is proud to announce the appointment of Professor Bruce Gale as the Merit Medical Systems, Inc. Endowed Professor of Engineering.

Professor Gale, who is also chair of the U’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, was honored during a ceremony May 13 at the University of Utah James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building that included College of Engineering Dean Richard B. Brown and University of Utah President Taylor Randall.

“I was very surprised to receive this recognition. There are so many great professors here at the University of Utah College of Engineering,” said Gale. “I am grateful to Merit Medical Systems and Fred Lampropoulos for providing this Endowed Professorship. I am excited by the opportunities this will present for me and my team to engage in exciting new research projects.” 

Bruce Gale

Headshot of Bruce Gale wearing a suit and a red tie.

Bruce Gale, Merit Medical Systems, Inc. Endowed Professor of Engineering.

Professor Bruce Gale is chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering where he has graduated 28 Ph.D. students and currently advises 10 Ph.D. students. He has published over 150 journal articles and 300 conference papers. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University and a doctorate degree in bioengineering from the U. Gale arrived at the U as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in 2001, was named professor in 2013, and became chair of the department in 2018. He also is director of the State of Utah Center of Excellence for Biomedical Microfluidics.

Professor Gale has started six companies and served as their head of engineering, including for Microsurgical Innovations, Espira, Advanced Conceptions, wFluidx and Carterra. He has 25 issued patents.

His research is centered on biomedical applications of microfluidics. He also has expertise in biosensors, microarrays, micropumps, and microscale medical devices.

The professor has a long list of college, university, and national academic achievements. He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for 2021 and received the Fulbright Specialist Program award which enabled him to travel to the Rajalakshmi Engineering College in India where he helped develop a microfluidics research program. In May 2022 he was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.

Merit Medical Systems, Inc.

Headshot of man wearing a blue suit and a blue tie.

Merit Medical is a leading manufacturer and marketer of proprietary disposable medical devices used in interventional, diagnostic, and therapeutic procedures, particularly in cardiology, radiology, oncology, critical care, and endoscopy. Merit has made it a priority to understand customers, innovate, and deliver life-changing products and services.

Merit’s founder, Fred Lampropoulos, has been in the medical device industry for more than 30 years. He currently serves as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Lampropoulos holds more than 200 patents on devices used in the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of cardiac, peripheral, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary conditions. He is also highly involved in his community and serves on many boards.

Lampropoulos is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology and CEO of the Year. He was inducted into the Utah Business Hall of Fame, the Utah Technology Hall of Fame and was recognized as the 2019 Giant in our City.

Mindfulness Center summer 2022 programing

Mindfulness Center

Mindfulness Center services are offered, with a few exceptions, to all students, faculty, and staff of the University of Utah community. These offerings are are free, available by Zoom (excluding holidays and breaks), and require participant registration to attend. Informational flyers are provided via embedded links in each of the programs’ titles. Please share with your colleagues and students and JOIN US!

  • Drop-In Mindfulness are 30-minute facilitated meditations held on Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 11:30 a.m. Drop-ins are ongoing and registration is not required. Drop-Ins start Tuesday, June 7.
  • Feel Better Now is a 4-week skill building workshop that helps participants to build practical skills to cope with anxiety, depression, and stress. New series start on May 18 and offered on:
    • Wednesdays | 1–2 p.m. | May 18–June 8
    • Thursdays | 1–2 p.m. | May 26–June 16
    • Tuesdays | 11 a.m.–12 p.m. | June 7–June 28
    • Wednesdays | 1–2 p.m. | June 15–July 6
    • Wednesdays |1–2 p.m.  | July 13–August
  • Mindful Resilience is a  4-week skill building workshop series for U students, faculty and staff who want to learn and practice strategies to support emotional intelligence, stress management, and self-compassion. The workshop is offered on:
    • Series 1: Thursdays | 1–2 p.m. | May 26–June 16
    • Series 2: Thursdays | 1–2 p.m. | July 7–July 28
  • Mental Coaching is a 4-week skill building workshop series for neurodiverse students wanting to improve planning, follow through, and time management. The series runs on Tuesdays | 3–4:30 p.m. | June 28 – July 19.
  • Mindful Work/Life Balance is a 4-week workshop series for U faculty, staff, and graduate students. The workshop introduces participants to mindful strategies for managing work/life stress. First series runs on Wednesdays | 1–2 p.m. | June 1 – June 22.

The Mindfulness Center also offers mindfulness workshops in your office that may be relevant to your colleagues, staff, and/or team members. Please request a presentation! Please see the Mindfulness Center webpage for more information, resources for enhancing resilience, mindfulness practices, and more!

Free garden admission for full-time U staff

Red Butte Garden

Red Butte Garden is pleased to offer free garden admission to all full-time staff at the University of Utah beginning June 1, 2022. Just show your UCard at the front desk, and you’ll be able to enjoy all 100 acres of themed gardens, paved paths, hiking trails, lawns and picnic spots.

We look forward to seeing more of U soon.

March with the U in the Utah Pride Parade

University of Utah Communications

Join the U’s entry in the 2022 Utah Pride Parade. This year the parade will span 13 blocks and be hosted on Sunday, June 5, 2022, at 10 a.m. We are calling on all students, staff and faculty to join us in our walking delegation. Sign up today to secure your spot as one of 300 marchers in the U’s parade entry or bring your roller skates or rollerblades and skate with our QT (queer/trans) Roller Squad.

Participants will receive a free Utah Pride T-shirt! Visit for more information and to sign up today.

Upcoming Medicare, mental health and retirement webinars

Human Resources

Several vendors of the university will be providing webinars in the coming weeks.

Medicare 101 and Retiree Medicare Advantage Plans
May 10 | 10 a.m.
Register in advance here.

The Starting Line: Beginning to Save for Retirement
May 11 | 10 a.m.
Register in advance here.

The Power of Savings
May 11 | 1 p.m.
Register in advance here.

Estate Planning Considerations
May 12 | 10 a.m.
Register in advance here.

Lifetime Income: Marketproof Your Retirement
May 12 | 1 p.m.
Register in advance here.

Leverage: A Power Tool For Living A Great Life
May 11 | 12 p.m.
Register here.

Parenting: Anger and Emotional Meltdowns
May 17 | 2 p.m.
Register here.

Relationships and Money
(Every Tuesday for three weeks)
May 17, 24, 31 | 7 p.m.
Register here.

New portal streamlines software store experience

Jesse Drake
University Information Technology

A new online portal where University of Utah staff and faculty may purchase, download and manage software from the university’s Office of Software Licensing (OSL)is now live.

The portal replaces the OSL store, which was accessed via the “Shop for software” button on the OSL website. Faculty and staff may access the new portal using that button or the “Go to the OSL store” button on OSL’s Software Store landing page. The Office of Software Licensing tile in Campus Information Services (CIS) under University Resources continues to direct to

Jan Lovett, an IT product manager on the Finance and Auxiliary Product Management team in University Support Services (USS) said the new portal merges the OSL store used by U employees with the Student Software Catalog, an interface introduced to students in 2020. Merging the two catalogs, Lovett said, “provides a better user experience for employees and students, and allows IT professionals around campus to better support students and staff.”

The new software catalog is where members of the U community access free and for-purchase software licensed and distributed by OSL. Many software products are available at a discounted rate through campus licensing agreements.

Features of the new software catalog user interface:

  • Improved usability
  • Easier navigation, particularly the tabs:
    • Order History
    • Download Again
    • Returns
    • Submit Feedback
  • Sections on the landing page for:
    • Featured Products
    • Free and Specially Priced Software
    • Software Installation Files

Geoff Anderson, a user experience developer on the USS Content Management & Usability team, said that streamlining the software experience is “a big priority for university IT.”

“Before the pandemic started … we conducted focus groups with students about their experience using the OSL store and spoke to colleges and departments about the way they use academic software,” Anderson said. “One of the biggest insights from that research was the need to simplify the current software store, allowing for different presentations to students and university faculty and staff. The updated UI is a direct result of that feedback.”

Anderson noted that due to placement and other design factors, the duration of the academic license was difficult to spot in the original store, but in the new store UI, “the expiration date is prominently displayed in the product details. The customer is also given a clear warning if that product’s academic license expires in less than 90 days.”

If you have questions about software catalog enhancements, please contact Lovett at 801-587-1600 or If you have technical questions, your local IT support staff may be able to assist, or you may contact your respective help desk: UIT Help Desk at 801-581-4000, option 1; ITS Service Desk at 801-587-6000.

IT, Microsoft to host series of free O365 trainings

University Information Technology

In partnership with Microsoft, University Information Technology (UIT) will host a series of introductory-level Microsoft Office 365 product training sessions this summer semester for University of Utah community members. The free events are an opportunity for users to learn about the newest tools in O365, strengthen or refresh existing product skill sets, and leverage the expertise of Microsoft staff.

Sessions will take place each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon via Microsoft Teams Live. Registration is required. Dates, topics and registration links are below.

A video recording will be available after each session. To access the recordings, please visit this IT Knowledge Base article and select the link for the session you want to watch. Recordings will be available to all U community members, including those who did not register or attend the event.

If you have questions about the Microsoft O365 training or would like to schedule additional O365 product training, please contact UIT Senior IT Product Manager Clayton Norlen at

For O365 technical support, please contact your respective help desk: UIT Help Desk (801-581- 4000, option 1) or ITS Service Desk (801-587-6000).

Nominate a peer for a University of Utah District Staff Excellence Award

Human Resources

The University of Utah is now accepting nominations for 2022’s District Staff Excellence Awards! Established in 1992, this awards program recognizes superior service and ongoing contributions by full-time staff employees.

We invite you to take a few moments to nominate a peer who deserved to be recognized on our online nomination form. Nominations will be accepted from Monday, May 2 through Thursday, June 30.

A total of 24 awards will be given to staff from four districts:

  • Academic & Student Affairs
  • Administration
  • Hospitals/Clinics
  • Health Academics

From this pool of 24 district champions, eight will be selected as the final University of Utah Staff Excellence Award winners. All 24 winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony hosted by President Taylor Randall and Chief Human Resources Officer Jeff Herring during the Fall 2022 Semester.

Hard copies of the nomination forms are available to those without access to the internet or a computer; please contact your district chair for more information.

Who is eligible to be nominated?

  • The nominee should have at least three years of continuous service to the University of Utah by Thursday, June 30, 2022
  • The nominee must be a current, full-time (.75 FTE or greater) staff employee
  • The nominee must be in good standing (no disciplinary actions on file, etc.)
  • Faculty, director-level staff and above, part-time hourly staff, Staff Council members and District Team members are NOT eligible for this award; self-nominations are not accepted
  • The nominee must demonstrate superior performance specifically related to the university’s four major strategic goals:
    • Promote Student Success to Transform Lives
    • Develop & Transfer New Knowledge
    • Engage Communities to Improve Health & Quality of Life
    • Ensure Long-Term Viability of the University

How do I write an excellent nomination?

Provide specific and detailed examples related to the university’s four major strategic goals.

Address the university’s four major strategic goals in your nomination. Specific examples are highly encouraged.

Example: “This nominee ensures the long-term viability of the University because she is very creative, and goes above and beyond to make sure she brings back quality work.”

Better example: “The nominee used her creativity to brainstorm a new way to bridge the communication gap between patients, nurses and medical assistants. She helped establish a nurses/medical assistant exchange tool that allows RNs to easily communicate with medical assistants ahead of their patient’s appointment time. Patients have deeply appreciated this new communication strategy. Through this nominee’s creativity and quality work, she is ensuring the long-term viability of the university by ensuring patients are no longer frustrated by lack of communication and will continue to come back for hospital/clinics services.

While both examples are good, the second example contains clearer, more concrete details that relate to the university’s strategic goals.

Get the whole team on board.

Up to three letters of support are accepted for each nomination, so we recommend submitting all three support letters if you can. Ask members of your team who work closely with or have been impacted personally by the nominee to submit a one-page letter of support in addition to your initial nomination.

Though the total number of nomination letters does not impact overall scoring, different letters of support highlight different aspects of the nominee that may have been missed with only the initial nomination or provide more context on how the nominee demonstrates the university’s goals.

Include positive patient, customer or colleague comments in the nomination form or letters of support.

Some of our most successful nominations include comments collected from the nominee’s patients, customers, colleagues, etc. that highlight the nominee’s dedication to their job and the university’s strategic goals.

Provide background/context on the nominee’s role within their department.

It’s sometimes helpful to provide some background on the department, its programs, and the nominee’s role for our selection committee (consisting of Staff Council representation) so they have a better understanding of how the nominee’s efforts fit in the “grand scheme.”

For questions about 2022’s District Staff Excellence Awards process or nomination criteria, please contact Mandy Skonhovd.

New scholarship created for single parents

Morgan Aguilar
communications and marketing manager, Office for Student Affairs

A generous $600,000 gift from the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation in the name of Heidi and Greg Miller will create scholarships and a cohort designed to help single parents obtain a degree at the University of Utah.

Beginning in the 2022-23 academic year, the first cohort of six students will be offered full-tuition awards plus living stipends. The scholarship award may be used for tuition and fees for a bachelor’s degree or a certificate program, and can also go toward childcare or other costs associated with attendance. Awardees will also be involved in designated cohort activities through the Women’s Resource Center, which will administer the scholarship.

Recipient criteria:

  • Single parent with dependent children
  • Pursuing a bachelor’s degree or certificate
  • Demonstrated financial need based on the FAFSA
  • Student agrees to attend cohort meetings twice per semester and meet with the program coordinator once per semester

“We know that single parents, especially women, often struggle to stay enrolled in higher education as they face caregiving responsibilities and limited financial resources,” said Kirstin Maanum, director of the Women’s Resource Center. “We are so grateful for this donation from the Miller family which will have a transformational impact on the lives of many students who are single parents.”

Apply to be part of the first Heidi and Greg Miller Single Parent Cohort here. Applications are open until May 31.


Apply to be a SafeU Ambassador

University of Utah Safety Department

The University of Utah Safety Department is now accepting applications for the SafeU Ambassador Program—a year-long paid internship that gives students a leadership role in the University Safety Department.

The program started in fall 2021 and the first cohort of SafeU Ambassadors describe their experience as an invaluable opportunity to make real change and understand the role of public safety at the University of Utah. “Through this opportunity, I’ve gotten to voice student concerns from my peers and work on projects that address specific barriers that students face,” said current SafeU Ambassador Momina Sial. “It’s great to be a part of the change that is helping create a better campus for the community.”

This year’s SafeU Ambassadors had the opportunity to be a voice for their fellow students on important safety topics, including the introduction of body-worn cameras to the University of Utah Police Department (UUPD) and the improvement of campus resources for sexual assault survivors. They also got to pursue their own projects, such as facilitating conversations on safety topics with their peers and the University Administration, in order to identify areas of concern.

This opportunity is perfect for students that are passionate about gaining valuable leadership experience and making impactful changes on campus safety.

University Safety is accepting applications through July 18, 2022. A selection committee plans to conduct interviews in August. Questions may be directed to U Safety Administration Manager Nancy Dallum at

2022 Beacons of Excellence nominations open

University of Utah Communications

Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Division of Student Affairs recognize members of our campus community who go above and beyond to provide an exceptional educational experience.

This year’s nominations will honor those “[Re]inventing Excellence.” Each award will celebrate individuals and programs who have adapted to recent challenges by raising the bar, pushing beyond and reinventing excellence with creative and innovative solutions.


The inspiration that we garner from the award winners is long lasting. The 2021Beacons of Excellence award recipients were no exception. Award recipients were celebrated for disruption the status quo while creating positive change. Recipients were recognized for inspiring and advancing change by raising awareness around marginalized students, creating institutional change and advancing racial justice across campus. Honorees included Dr. Jennifer Follstad, Meligha Garfield, Tramaine Jones, International Health Scholars, Justice Lab, and the Psychology Dept. Diversity Committee.

Since 2012, the Beacons of Excellence Awards have celebrated over sixty-one “best practices” found across campus, including individuals, centers, programs, labs, student groups and more, who have engaged and supported students in extraordinary ways. The overall goal is to highlight the achievements of the many who make the university a beacon of excellence.

The deadline for submitting a nomination is 5 p.m. on Monday, June 6, 2022. 

GREAT summer camps

David Johnson
School of Computing

The School of Computing’s GREAT summer technology camps are open for registration. These camps have programs for upper elementary, middle school and high school ages

Camps cover programming topics using Python, Javascript, Processing, Scratch and Lego Mindstorms robotics. The week-long camp sessions run 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily and include lunch. No prior experience is needed for the introductory sessions in each sequence. Camps are typically 12-18 students with two to three instructors per camp. Students enjoy being on the University of Utah campus and get a chance to make lots of fun projects in a short time.

Click here to learn more about these camps.

New at UMFA: Art and the missing

Mindy Wilson
Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Courtesy of the artist.

How can art reconnect you with those you miss? A new exhibition by David Rios Ferreia at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) looks at community art-making, imagined time travel and spirituality as a vehicle for thinking about love, loss and memory.

David Rios Ferreira: “Transcending Time and Space,” featuring work and writing by artist Denae Shanidiin is the newest project in the UMFA’s award-winning, exploratory ACME Lab space. The exhibition is on view from Saturday, March 19 through Sunday, Dec. 4. On Friday, March 18, a free exhibition preview (5 p.m.) and artist talk (6 p.m.) will be held at the UMFA, with the talk also offered via livestream.

Merging science fiction with cultural and spiritual traditions, “Transcending Time and Space” asks visitors to contemplate those they might’ve lost, those they miss across distances and those they have yet to meet. The exhibition presents a collection of Ferreira’s abstracted drawings, collages and photographs that function as imagined gateways and portals through which we may connect with those we cannot reach on this plane. These gateways use imagery from history, pop culture, photographs and text to tell stories about the people we miss.

Ferreira was moved to create the work in this exhibition around the ever-growing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous people—something he explores in collaboration with Utah-based artist Denae Shanidiin and Restoring Ancestral Winds, a Tribal coalition responding to the violence perpetrated on Indigenous communities within the Great Basin and strengthening the traditional values of Indigenous relations.

“Exploring colonial history’s impact on our daily lives through a personal and emotional lens was central in making this body of work,” says Ferreira. “I hope visitors will find their own entry into the artworks and in so doing discover different ways to think about love, loss and memory.“

David Rios Ferreira is a visual artist, independent curator and museum professional. Ferreira is interested in how the past informs the present and their existence on the same plane. Issues around power, colonial history, deculturalization practices and missing or murdered Indigenous and LGBTQ people are at the root of his work. Borrowing images from historical etchings, old political cartoons, coloring books and films, Ferreira reprocesses this imagery through layering, tracing and collage, to create new forms, new bodies and new futures. In this unique moment in time, with old sociopolitical wounds resurfacing, and new ones opening, Ferreira asks us to question ourselves and the systems of power that we inhabit.

Denae Shanidiin, Diné and Korean artist, is born to the Diné (Navajo) Nation. She is Honágháahnii, One-Walks-Around Clan, born to the Korean race on her Father’s side. Kinłichíi’nii, the Red House People, is her Maternal Grandfather’s Clan, and the Bilagáana, White People, is her Paternal Grandfather’s Clan. Shanidiin’s projects reveal the importance of Indigenous spirituality and sovereignty. Her work brings awareness to many contemporary First Nation’s issues including Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.