John W. Jepsen is a PhD student in the Department of History, specializing in environmental, energy, and labor history, with an eye toward understanding state-formation in the Western Hemisphere. Jepsen received his B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana. A former laborer in the oilfields of the Intermountain West, he is concerned with the toll extractive industries take on laborers and the rural and indigenous communities that are often the sites of intensive extraction. Since coming to Iowa he has become interested in helping increase public outreach and education about the state’s water quality, and about the role Iowa plays in the Mississippi watershed. This winter he will take part in the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies Graduate Institute where we will develop the Watersheds Literacy Project. This project will pair University researchers and scientists with educators around the state to create accessible curricula about Iowa’s watersheds for middle and high-school aged students. In addition, Jepsen is also assisting Ashely Dorn with the 2018 Midwestern Labor and Working-Class History Colloquium, to be held in Iowa City on May 28, 2018.