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Public Is Welcome During UW-Eau Claire
Student Research Day April 28-29

RELEASED: April 17, 2008

Student Research Day 2007
Students displayed their research posters in Zorn Arena during Student Research Day 2007. Student Research Day 2008, featuring the research findings and creative projects of nearly 400 UW-Eau Claire students, will be held April 28-29. (UW-Eau Claire photo by Rick Mickelson)

Behind the Scenes …
Student Research Day 2008

View a slide show featuring UW-Eau Claire student researchers Matt Brewer and Nathan Butler and their project, "Identification of Cryptosporidium Species in Wisconsin Dairy Cattle."

EAU CLAIRE — Elementary-age children whose schools have participated in the Wisconsin Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program are eating more fruits and vegetables and asking their parents to buy healthier foods, according to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire researchers who will share their findings this month during the annual Student Research Day.

"Our research suggests that the program has been effective in increasing student willingness to try new fruits and vegetables served in school," said Beth Lutz, a senior physics and history major from Eau Claire. "However, we've also found that for the program to succeed in the long run, the effects must reach beyond school and into the home."

Lutz — along with psychology majors Kathryn Glodowski and Brandon Lauersdorf and faculty mentors Eric Jamelske from economics and Lori Bica from psychology — will share the research findings during UW-Eau Claire's 16th annual Student Research Day April 28 and 29 in Zorn Arena.

More than 400 students will present the results of their research and creative projects during Student Research Day, said Dr. Karen Havholm, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Researchers will represent disciplines across campus, ranging from health care to business to education to the sciences, she said.

The Student Research Day poster session will be open to the public from noon-5 p.m. April 28 and from 8 a.m.-noon April 29. Student presenters will be with their posters from noon-4 p.m. April 28 to answer questions and discuss their work.

"Like the fruits and vegetables research, many of the projects have Chippewa Valley connections and will be of interest to people throughout the region," Havholm said. "Our students will be available to discuss their projects and answer questions."

UW-Eau Claire has a long tradition of scholarly collaboration between faculty and students, Havholm said. In 1988, the university was designated as the UW System Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research Collaboration. Ten years later, students elected to help fund these kinds of research experiences through differential tuition.

In addition to presenting their results at Student Research Day, about 150 students received financial support this year to travel to professional conferences to present their research, Havholm said. Some also collaborated to publish their work in scholarly journals, she said, noting that these activities help students prepare for graduate school or employment.

The university supports undergraduate research initiatives in a variety of ways, including providing funding through ORSP and other programs, Havholm said. For example, the Blugold Fellowship program matches high-achieving incoming freshmen with faculty mentors who involve them in their research during their first two years on campus. It's not unusual for fellows to pursue multiple research projects during their undergraduate years, she said.

"Beth Lutz is an example of how, given the right opportunity, Blugold Fellows can go far in their research," said Dr. Matt Evans, director of the program. "She — like many other Blugold Fellows — has been a valuable contributor to a variety of research programs as a student."

Lutz has presented multiple posters in UW-Eau Claire's 2006, 2007 and 2008 research day events, Evans said.

"I have worked with many student researchers, yet every year when I walk into Student Research Day I'm amazed by the amount and quality of their work," Havholm said. "Visitors will be impressed by what our students have accomplished."

Examples of other projects to be presented during the 2008 Student Research Day are:

  • "A Descriptive Analysis of Health Care Coverage and Concerns in Western Wisconsin," by Kathy German, Ian Hansen and McKenzie Johnson. Faculty collaborators: Jamelske, economics; Dr. Jennifer Johs-Artisensi, management and marketing; and Dr. Lois Taft, nursing. Researchers will present statistics that show the level of health care coverage and attitudes regarding health care reform among respondents to a 2007 survey. Findings include: 68 percent of respondents felt Wisconsin health care has at least major problems; about 60 percent were worried about affording health care; and more than 70 percent were worried that insurance companies care more about profits than patients.
  • "Clean commuting and college campuses: Network analysis to identify car-free travel routes in Eau Claire," by Amy Wichlacz and Eugene Boyd. Faculty collaborators: Dr. Christina Hupy and Dr. Paul Kaldjian, geography and anthropology. The research identifies safe and efficient bike and bus routes to and from campus for students, faculty and staff. A geographic information system was used to model existing and potential routes to and from campus.
  • "Examining the early life history of coho salmon from the study of otolith microstructure," by Matt Brewer. Faculty collaborator: Dr. David Lonzarich, biology. Birth date can be an important correlate to evolutionary fitness because birth timing can profoundly affect subsequent patterns of growth and survival. Researchers will report on birth date and growth patterns for two populations of coho salmon — one from Wisconsin and one from Washington — exposed to different stream environments.
  • "Contemporary American opera: An exploration of American operas of the past 25 years," by Allison Wells and Katie LeBrun. Faculty collaborator: Dr. Mitra Sadeghpour, music and theatre arts. After doing extensive research on American operas, the researchers created a lecture-performance to educate audiences about the art form. The performance included arias and excerpts from seven American operas as well as spoken and video lectures.



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