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Setting a high bar in English research

| Denise Olson

When critical studies major Mark Priebe walked across the stage of Zorn Arena to accept his Bachelor's degree in May, he had much to be thankful for and many impressive accomplishments under his belt. Mark is sort of the poster-child for high-impact practices here at UW-Eau Claire, where we place significant emphasis and investment in those experiences that deeply enrich the overall academic and personal growth of our students. Mark did almost all of them, from study abroad, to internships, assistantships, tutoring, and many collaborative student-faculty research projects.

Mark's research resume includes four major collaborative projects with faculty in multiple disciplines, as well as presentation of research at campus and national conferences. The topics of his projects included:

  • Policy Research: The Impact of Eau Claire Policies Upon Food Distribution in the Community    
  • ‘Critical Literacy’ Research: Marshfield Healthcare Clinic, with Dr. Ruth Cronje
  • Psychology Research: Individual Differences and Scientific Dissemination, with Dr. April Bleske-Rechek 
  • Writing Center Research: Disability in the Writing Center, with Dr. Christa Tiernan

Mark had the following comments about his undergraduate research experiences.

I am incredibly thankful for UW-Eau Claire's commitment to undergraduate student-faculty research. Without a doubt, the size of UWEC and the professors’ interest in finding motivated students distinguishes this university from other (and often larger) universities across the country. I was able to be involved in four different research projects with three different professors on campus, and each one provided me with different skills and perspectives.

I think student-faculty research is one of the best ways to go beyond your work in the classroom; you get to know the intellectual interests of your faculty mentor and you get to develop a rapport that can't be developed in the classroom. All of my mentors gave me opportunities to suggest new ideas and to explore the research process in-depth. My work with Dr. Cronje, for example, was a great way to present my research in a formal setting (the Provost’s Honors Symposium) and to fuel off of her passion for healthcare and community development.

Overall, I’m so thankful for my opportunities for research!