|UW-Eau Claire||News Bureau|
|Schofield Hall 218|
|Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
MAILED: April 4, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE - When a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior biology and geology major visits Washington, D.C., in April she'll be doing far more than sightseeing.
Heidi Rantala, Iron River, will make a poster presentation on Capitol Hill during a science policy meeting.
Rantala, UW-Eau Claire assistant professor of geology Dr. J. Brian Mahoney, and associate professor of geology Dr. Robert Hooper, were accepted through national competition to present their collaborative research efforts in the sciences for the Council for Undergraduate Research. The presentation will be April 10 as part of the CUR's "Undergraduate Research Poster Session on Capitol Hill."
The purpose of the national forum is to highlight the quality and necessity of undergraduate research for congressional representatives responsible for scientific and educational funding decisions, Mahoney said.
"The Council held a nationwide competition across all sciences for research topics that would highlight the highest quality and most applicable research being conducted by undergraduates," Mahoney said.
Rantala was one of only 46 applicants chosen display their research out of 215 submitted abstracts. In a letter announcing Rantala's selection, CUR Science Policy Committee Co-Chair John Mateja said competition was intense given the high quality of the abstracts submitted. "The selection of your student speaks highly of your commitment to education and to the strength of your academic program," Mateja stated in his letter to Mahoney.
"The university should be proud that one of our undergraduates placed in the top 20 percent in a nationwide science competition," Mahoney said.
The poster session is designed to introduce congressional representatives to the quality research being conducted by undergraduates, and is intended to generate discussion between congressional representatives, the undergraduate researchers, and the undergraduate mentors.
CUR has sent letters to all 535 members of Congress inviting them or a member of their staff to attend the poster session, Mateja said.
"This is a rare opportunity for members of the academic scientific community to interact with congressional representatives and positively influence congressional policy toward science and undergraduate education," Mahoney said. "This is not a scientific meeting intended to disseminate research results, but is a public policy forum intended to highlight the benefits of undergraduate research."
UW-Eau Claire recently became an institutional partner with CUR, and is an active sponsor of the activities and efforts of the Council.
"In this prominent national forum we will highlight the quality of UW-Eau Claire undergraduate research and the importance of this research to our curriculum and the education of our undergraduates," Mahoney said. "Rare is the opportunity for us to directly contact congressional representatives and emphasize the importance of undergraduate research to those ultimately responsible for its funding."
"This is a science policy meeting that will provide an excellent forum for promoting UW-Eau Claire's collaborative research efforts and has a chance to impact national science funding priorities," Dr. John Tinker Jr., acting chair of the geology department, stated in a memo in support of the project.
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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 10, 1997