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UW-Eau Claire Student Chosen to Receive Allard Award for Ninth Consecutive Year

RELEASED: March 11, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — For the ninth consecutive year, the Wisconsin School Psychologist Association selected a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduate student as the recipient of the Allard Award.

The $500 award, given to the most outstanding non-doctoral level graduate student in Wisconsin, was presented to Sara Totten, a school psychology graduate student from Stevens Point.

Totten said she was honored and surprised to receive the award, particularly since it was the ninth year in a row that a student from UW-Eau Claire was selected. "I think the fact UW-Eau Claire students have won so many years in a row reflects very well on the school psychology program, and I am proud to be a part of it," Totten commented.

In the letter nominating Totten for the award, faculty members of the school psychology program noted that with a 4.00 cumulative grade point average after completing 46 graduate credits, they would rate Totten among the top two percent of all their graduate students over the past ten years.

Recognizing Totten as an outstanding student and leader based on her undergraduate career at UW-Marathon County and UW-Stevens Point, UW-Eau Claire awarded her a graduate assistantship during both years of her graduate studies. She was selected to work at the Human Development Center, an interdisciplinary clinic and research center at UW-Eau Claire, where she has been involved in a number of activities at the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation, including recruiting and organizing experiences for undergraduate students who participate in the Lac du Flambeau Multicultural service learning project, coordinating student participation and correspondence with Lac du Flambeau personnel, and assisting with the development of two successful grants to secure funding to continue the project in subsequent years.

The nomination letter also notes that while at UW-Stevens Point, Totten collaborated on a study that evaluated the effectiveness of the Conner's Continuous Performance Test for diagnosis of ADHD. This research project was presented at the Society for Research in Child Development conference held in Tampa, Fla. in 2002. In addition, results of the project were published in the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. Totten has also co-authored an article comparing the rate of ADHD and concomitant treatment with stimulant medication to treat ADHD in the United States and Sweden. This article is currently being reviewed for publication in the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education.

Totten is currently the lead researcher on a collaborative project with Dr. William Frankenberger, professor of psychology and Totten's faculty supervisor, identifying the number of children in early childhood special education classes who have psychiatric diagnoses and are receiving treatment with psychiatric medication. The project has been accepted for presentation at the National Association for School Psychologists conference in Atlanta, Ga. as well as at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research conference in Lexington, Va. Results of the project will be presented at the 2005 Wisconsin School Psychologists Association spring convention. The project will also be submitted for publication in a professional journal.

"I chose to attend UW-Eau Claire primarily because of the research that was, and is currently being done, as well as the program's positive reputation," Totten said. "Everyone involved in the program, from the program secretary and fellow students to the entire faculty, has created a wonderful atmosphere and I am very grateful for all of the opportunities they have provided me."

Frankenberger said he believes that Totten's exceptional academic and interpersonal skills, as well as her dedication to the field of school psychology, will lead her to be successful and to have a positive influence on the children and families with whom she works and on the profession.

"Sara has been an exceptional student in our school psychology program. I have been extremely impressed by her enthusiasm related to work on our research projects as well as her enthusiasm toward her classes," said Frankenberger. "Additionally, her clinical work has been excellent and she serves as an outstanding model for our first year students. She is always prepared for assessments and is very adept at establishing rapport with children and adolescents," Frankenberger said.

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AK/NW

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