30 Women to Watch
Bonnie K. Baxter, Ph.D.
Director, Great Salt Lake Institute; Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Westminster College
Bonnie Baxter transformed the way Westminster College provides undergraduate science education by initiating a program in undergraduate research. “Now it has spread campus wide and influenced much of the way we teach,” she says.
Much of the scientific research has focused on the Great Salt Lake, and in 2006 Baxter created Westminster’s Great Salt Lake Institute, an interdisciplinary effort to promote appreciation and knowledge of the lake. The institute has educated thousands of residents with its web-based curriculum, engaged 200 students in undergraduate research and provided more than 1,000 school children with hands-on learning opportunities at the lake.
Another passion for Baxter is keeping young girls excited about math and science. “This is an area of study for me as well as a constant action item,” she says. “I have been involved in numerous ‘pipeline’ camps and programs for middle school girls as this ist he age where they drop out of science.”
In 2007, Baxter was awarded the Utah Governor’s Medal for Science & Technology for her Great Salt Lake work.