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Two UW-Eau Claire students receive awards at undergraduate research symposium

November 30, 2012

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students received awards at the 10th Annual Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium Nov. 9 at Viterbo University in La Crosse.

Senior Michael Kosiak, Shoreview, Minn., received the Best Poster Award for his research poster, titled "An Analysis of Personality Type and Relationship Desirability Within Hook-up Culture: Nice-Guys vs. Bad-Boys." Senior Steven Hochstetler, Clayton, co-authored the research and Dr. Blaine Peden, professor of psychology, was their mentor.

Kosiak said he thought the reason the poster was selected was twofold.

"First, our research deals with the psychology of popular culture, like the idea that 'nice guys finish last' or 'girls only like guys who are jerks,'" Kosiak said. "People are generally more interested in things that they are aware of or that they can relate to. Second, I think our poster was aesthetically pleasing. Our information was presented in a way that was clear and understandable to any audience."

Senior Wai Shan Chan, Hong Kong, received the Best Oral Presentation Award for her research presentation, titled "Algebra Associated with the Hasse Graph of the n-cube." It was co-authored by senior Cary Schneider, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and by Dr. Colleen Duffy, assistant professor of mathematics, was their mentor.

"This award gave me confidence in my communication skills," Chan said. "Being an international student with English as a second language, it is hard to communicate as fluently as native speakers, however, this award tells me that it doesn't matter."

Duffy said that the students have been working together on this project since last year.

"Their methods and experiences balance each other well. They have solved the original problem, and are now extending their results to other Coxeter groups," she said.

Chan and Schneider also will present their research in January at the prestigious 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego.

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