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Artistic Chemist or Creative Chef? | The Evolution of Personal & Professional Identity in an Interdisciplinary World
MRIC 2015/16

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Artistic Chemist or Creative Chef?

The Evolution of Personal & Professional Identity in an Interdisciplinary World

Lee Vierling

Department of Natural Resources and Society

Sponsored by the Office of the President and Executive Vice President and the University Honors Program


A basketball player? A guitarist? A scientist? If you had asked your 6th-grade self to describe who you were — to explain your identity — how would you have responded? And what is your reply to that same question today? How we view ourselves, and how those views and descriptions change over time and with different audiences, set the stage for achieving our own potential as professionals and as people.

During this colloquium, Lee Vierling will share his experiences working across a wide range of professional disciplines to solve problems, and use these experiences to discuss recent work by colleagues at the College of Natural Resources’ McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) to study how young learners develop their own sense of identity by practicing science. We will engage in a group exercise to understand how our own identities are shaped by those around us, and how this affects our ability to work as individuals and in teams.


Lee Vierling arrived at University of Idaho in 2004 after stints working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He now serves as executive director of the UI-CNR McCall Field Campus and MOSS. He is professor and incoming department head of the interdisciplinary Department of Natural Resources and Society. He has published more than 90 scientific articles, mostly interdisciplinary in nature. In 6th grade, he wanted to become a race car driver. However, when asked to describe himself now, Vierling identifies as an ecologist, environmental scientist, remote sensing scientist, sports fan, singer and father, depending on who is asking.

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