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Brian Reisinger Wins UW System Liberal Arts
Essay Competition

RELEASED: May 23, 2007

Brian Reisinger
Brian Reisinger

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student Brian Reisinger, a senior from Spring Green, has been selected as one of two winners of the Second Annual UW System Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Award. The award is sponsored by the UW System Advisory Group on the Liberal Arts.

Reisinger will receive a $2,000 scholarship from the UW System Foundation to be used for UW-Eau Claire educational expenses during the 2007-08 academic year.

Reisinger's essay was one of three chosen at UW-Eau Claire for the local campus competition, which included $1,000 awards, and then moved on to compete at the UW System competition. His essay was entered into a pool of essays from UW comprehensive and doctoral institutions and was then judged at system level.

"My Liberal Education: Repairing the Foundation of Journalism," describes an experience that helped Reisinger better understand "the difference between the ideal journalism of the classroom and the journalism of practice." Reisinger was news editor for The Spectator, UW-Eau Claire's student newspaper, when UW-Eau Claire began dealing with the controversy over whether resident assistants could hold Bible studies in their dormitory rooms. His experience of covering that issue led to the essay.

"It's a great honor to know that what I had to say about journalism, following my experiences in the classroom and the newsroom alike, resonated with people," Reisinger said. "To know that the problems in journalism and what I thought some of the solutions might be garnered the attention of the judges makes me hopeful that, as a society, we can push our news media to evolve."

To be eligible to enter the competition, students were required to have a current GPA of at least 3.4, to have completed at least 60 credit hours by the end of the fall 2006 semester, and to have at least one semester remaining as a full-time student.

Eligible students were asked to write an essay of 1,000-1,250 words in which they discussed how their liberal arts and science education had helped them to understand, contextualize and address a significant contemporary issue or problem of their choice.

Reisinger currently works as a part-time reporter for the Leader-Telegram in Eau Claire and will intern with the Janesville Gazette this summer. He plans to graduate in December 2007 and will pursue a career in print journalism.

"Ultimately I hope to work for a newspaper or magazine that appreciates hard-hitting enterprise journalism and will allow me to dig beneath the surface of the news, covering the political and social issues that shape public life," Reisinger said. "I want to tell in-depth stories about our government and society that explore how real people are affected on a daily basis."

UW-Eau Claire senior Matthew Brewer, Clintonville, received one of three Honorable Mention awards in the Essay competition. His essay, "Cow Manure and a Liberal Arts Education: The Road to Success for Students," describes a research project he undertook in collaboration with his adviser. Brewer, who majors in biology, with a minor in chemistry, worked with farmers, farm workers, veterinarians and experts in the field of parasitology to study the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, which infects animals all over the world and is common in Wisconsin dairy cattle.

Sponsored by the UW System Advisory Group on the Liberal Arts, the second annual Liberal Arts Scholarship Competition was funded by private funds. The competition is one of many activities of the UW System's Currency of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Initiative, which seeks to make the goals and outcomes of liberal arts education accessible and valuable to all UW students, regardless of major or degree program.

Through a partnership with the Association of American Colleges & Universities and its national campaign, Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP), the initiative further seeks to spark public debate about the kinds of knowledge, skills, habits of mind, and values needed to prepare today's students for their future roles as citizens. More information about the initiative is available online.

-30-

BC/NW

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