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Nine UW-Eau Claire McNair Scholars Present Studies at National McNair Research Conference

RELEASED: Nov. 14, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — Nine University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire seniors from the sixth cohort of McNair Scholars recently attended the 14th annual National McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair in Delavan.

The McNair National Research Conference provides undergraduate students the opportunity to explore graduate study as a realistic option. Workshops, panel discussions and activities introduce McNair Scholars to the nature of graduate study and provide helpful tips and suggestions in writing an effective graduate admissions application. McNair scholars from around the country also share their research projects and experiences through oral or poster presentations.

The following UW-Eau Claire McNair scholars made oral presentations of their research:

Chad Conrady, Savage, Minn., presented "Policies & Tactics: Effectiveness of Gas Warfare in the Great War." Earl Shoemaker, senior student services coordinator/grants, was his McNair mentor. This study focuses on the international control and use of chemical warfare during the period 1899-1925. The project explores the perceived tactical advantages of such weapons, as well as their effects on combat soldiers in World War I. The study queries whether or not chemical weapons proved beneficial in combat, and how battlefield experiences influenced policy changes.

Tammy Lee Goss, Mondovi, presented "The Passion Narrative in Ojibwe as Authored by Frederic Baraga." Her McNair mentor was Dr. Lawrence T. Martin, professor of English and director of the American Indian Studies program. The research addresses the syntactical and semantical analysis of two of Frederic Baraga's works that concern the passion and death of Jesus Christ. This theme permeates several of Baraga's publications, though this research explores it in two of his better-known devotional works, Jesus Obimadisiwin and Tchibaiatigo-Mikana. These books, among others published by Baraga, present two of the richest sources of written Ojibwe in existence.

Carolyn Otto, Prentice, presented "The Moduli Space of 3-Dimensional Lie Algebra." Her McNair mentor was Dr. Michael Penkava, associate professor of mathematics. This research presents a novel approach to understanding deformations — changes in algebraic structures — by employing elementary linear algebra techniques. It demonstrates that a simple geometric description of spaces can be given for low dimensional Lie algebras. These descriptions illustrate many of the general features of moduli spaces of Lie algebras.

Shantih Spanton, New Richmond, presented "Tempered Deposition Study of Co on As-rich GaAs(001)c(4x4)." Her McNair mentor was Dr. Matthew Evans, associate professor of physics and astronomy. This research involved heating studies of the Co/GaAs interface. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy characterized all stages of the experiment to observe composition and intermixing.

The following UW-Eau Claire McNair students made poster presentations of their research:

Julie Ackerlund, Colfax, presented "Comparing Constant Delay and Simultaneous Prompting Procedures on Skill Acquisition for Children with Autism." Dr. Kevin Klatt, assistant professor of psychology, was her McNair mentor. The study explores the respective efficiencies of three prompting procedures (simultaneous, traditional, and modified) to teach communication and academic skills to autistic pre-school children in both clinical and home settings.

Rachel E. Anderson, St. Paul, Minn., presented "High Ratio Trench Fill." Dr. Kim Pierson, professor of physics and astronomy, was her McNair mentor. This research aims at developing a process of fabricating copper interconnect wires in high aspect ratio trenches that result in smaller and faster electronic devices. The project is on-going and has had promising results thus far.

Serena Davis, St. Paul, Minn., presented "Chain Migration from Latin America to St. Paul, Minn." Dr. Timothy Bawden, assistant professor of geography and anthropology, was her McNair mentor. This research involves the application of a "chain migration" model to explain the evolution of the Hispanic community in St. Paul, Minn., between 1860 and the present, including the rapid growth experienced in the last decade.

Jacquelyn Dumin, Park Falls, presented "Women on the Home Front During World War II." Her McNair mentor was Dr. Jane Pederson, professor of history. This study explores the lives of women in Park Falls and Butternut, Wis., throughout World War II and addresses the social, economic, cultural, and political consequences of the war for these rural women, as well as for their communities. The bulk of home front research has been conducted in principally urban settings; this research, by looking at a rural group of women, reveals quite different experiences.

Eric Ewan, Wisconsin Rapids, presented "Toward an Animal Model of Gambling." Dr. Gregory Madden, associate professor psychology, was his McNair mentor. The experiment examined the effects that random payoffs have on gambling behavior. The researchers' specific interest was to discover if pigeons would work harder when the food pellet rewards they worked for were obtained in fixed, predictable amounts or in random, but on average equivalent, amounts (mirroring the random payoffs received when gambling). Results indicated no difference in the amount of work pigeons were willing to do between the two types of rewards, indicating that random payoffs may not have a large impact on the decision to gamble.

Named to honor Ronald McNair, the African-American astronaut who perished in the Challenger explosion, the McNair Scholars program is a federal TRIO program that assists eligible low-income, first-generation students to prepare for and enter graduate programs leading to a doctoral degree. Each year at UW-Eau Claire, ten to twelve new undergraduate McNair Scholars embark upon two years of intensive mentoring, specialized curricular and co-curricular offerings, collaborative research and paid internships, all of which groom these candidates for graduate school. Participants include academically talented low-income, first-generation students and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in doctoral programs. McNair Scholars are chosen via faculty nomination.

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