Area programs awarded grants

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— Two area programs received a total of $15,000 in grants from the Women's Foundation of Colorado. Steamboat Springs' Desert Research Institute was awarded $5,000; Craig's Yampa Valley Partners received $10,000, the fourth-largest amount given by the foundation.

The Desert Research Institute, working out of the Storm Peak Laboratory on Mount Werner, is one of several atmospheric research branches of the University of Nevada.

Grants and contracts fund 87 percent of the institute's $22 million budget; the Steamboat branch will use the money to conduct summer science camps for middle school girls in the area who are set to begin high school.

"One of our areas of big emphasis right now is women in the field of technology," said Cynthia Stone, communications director for WFCO. "Women are traditionally under-represented in this field; their engagement in the science and math courses that would lead them down the career path to great technology jobs falls off in middle school and high school."

Dr. Melanie Wetzel, a research professor at the DRI, along with Steamboat middle school teacher Lisa Lorenz, will have girls stay in the lab for a week at a time to learn various aspects of atmospheric science and alpine climate.

"This grant gives us our first opportunity to carry out this type of live-in science program," Wetzel said. "(The camps) will increase the awareness of students about atmospheric science as a career."

"Technology will be more women-friendly and user-friendly if there are more women on the ground floor," Stone said. "That is an emphasis right now, getting these young girls in science and math."

The foundation handed out $242,500 to 26 state organizations; the Yampa Valley Partners, along with several others, received the fourth-largest sum available, $10,000.

Executive Director Audrey Danner said the money will go to improving methodology and research the group uses to provide the local social, environmental and economic indicators to the community.

The group will also use the funds for its FOCUS 2001 community discussions, meant to develop a list of issues to address, based on the indicators.

The list will most likely include pay equity and job availability, as well as graduation rates and educational attainment in the area.

They will also update the Steamboat livable-wage statistics.

Danner said they were hoping to work together with WFCO to be able to compare statewide indicators with regional data they hope to collect for Routt and Moffat counties.

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