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UW-Eau Claire Grad Places Second in National Research Paper Competition

RELEASED: Sept. 17, 2009

Jared KoertenEAU CLAIRE — Jared Michael Koerten, a recent University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduate from Plover, racked up an impressive list of awards and honors while he was a UW-Eau Claire student and continues to do so even after graduation.

Koerten recently won second place in a national undergraduate research paper competition whose past winners have come from universities such as Yale and Princeton. The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research selected Koerten's senior thesis and history capstone project, "Anti-Communism and Idealism: The Peace Corps and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Third World, 1960-66," for the $750 second-place award.

Entries from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin tied for first place.

ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation and methods of analysis for the social science research community. The purpose of the competition is to highlight the best undergraduate research papers using quantitative data from the ICPSR archive or any of its special topic archives.

Dr. James Oberly, a professor of history who supervised Koerten's senior capstone project, said the paper dealt with the changing politics of the Peace Corps in the 1960s.

"Jared used his skills as a historian and as a quantitatively trained political scientist to make sense of primary sources, both qualitative and quantitative," Oberly said.

"This is a major honor both for Jared and for UW-Eau Claire," said Dr. Geoff Peterson, one of Koerten's political science professors and the official representative from UW-Eau Claire to the ICPSR, which means he is the point person for faculty and students to contact if they need access to ICPSR resources.

On hearing of his selection for the award, Koerten sent an e-mail to a number of his past professors — Oberly and Peterson; Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, who also was one of Koerten's history professors; Dr. David Schaffer, associate professor of economics; Dr. Eric Jamelske, associate professor of economics; Dr. Wayne Carroll, professor and chair of the economics department; and Dr. Stephen Hill, associate professor of political science.

"Thank you so much for helping me to develop the analytical tools necessary to compete for this prize against some of the nation's top schools," Koerten wrote. "I could not have done it without your guidance, and I am proud to represent UW-Eau Claire."

Koerten, the son of Clayton and Laurie Koerten, received a bachelor's degree in history and economics with a minor in global studies from the political science department. This month he began his graduate studies in international relations at the University of Chicago.

Koerten's list of awards while at UW-Eau Claire included a $5,000 fellowship for graduate study from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, a $2,500 Karl Andresen Scholarship for graduating seniors who demonstrate great potential for future success in graduate or law school, the Thomas Miller Award for Excellence in History Scholarship, a UW-Eau Claire Outstanding Senior Award, a Herb Kohl Educational Excellence Scholarship, a National Merit Scholarship, a Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship and a U.S. Bancorp Educational Awards Scholarship.

Visit the ICPSR Web site for more information about the ICPSR undergraduate research paper competition and to link to a copy of Koerten's paper.

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NW/JP/DW

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