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Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity to feature faculty-student projects

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students will display their faculty-mentored research, scholarly and creative projects at the annual student research event, the Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity, April 29-30, marking the 23rd year of student research days on campus.

More than 325 collaborative student-faculty projects will be shared via films, music performances, oral presentations and exhibits/posters from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. each day in the W.R. Davies Student Center. Another 42 oral sessions will be presented at the Provost's Honors Symposium on May 1 beginning at 1 p.m. Community members may stop at the university's Visitor Center, 127 Roosevelt Ave., for parking instructions.

This year, many CERCA presentations touch on themes of diversity, local matters, environment and global topics. For example:

Diversity

  • "Civil Conversations," a performance or film with lecture by Breane Lyga, Panama City, Florida, Nick Erickson, Prentice, Courtney Kueppers, Lino Lakes, Minnesota, and Raina Beutel, Monroe, with Jan Larson, associate professor of communication and journalism. The history of participants throughout the civil rights movement is captured through print, audio, video, still images, travel and a facilitated meeting between a former Freedom Rider and a member of the Montgomery Police Department.
  • "Heterosexuals' Sexual Prejudices and Behavioral Reactions to Stigma by Association Threats," a poster presentation by Jenna Lee and Sarah Nigro, Algonquin, Illinois, with Dr. Angela Pirlott, assistant professor of psychology. Sexual prejudices heterosexual men and women hold toward others are determined by specific affordances the sexuality group is perceived to pose, which elicits an emotion and causes a behavioral reaction to certain stigmas. 
  • "The Blackface Tradition in Western Wisconsin: Documenting Minstrelsy Performance and Reception History in Eau Claire," a poster presentation by Henry Bergmann, Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Dr. Ryan Patrick Jones, associate professor of music. Researching blackface minstrel productions in Eau Claire media from the 1920s and 30s shows their role in publicizing, patronizing and proliferating stereotypes in western Wisconsin. 

Local matters

  • "Local Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi in Adult Female Ixodes scapularis, Spring 2014," a display with explanation by Emily Holman, Rochester, Minnesota, with Dr. Lloyd Turtinen, professor of biology. Since 2010, female deer ticks from Eau Claire have been collected to test their DNA for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Last spring, 34 percent of ticks contained this bacteria, which brings the total to 35.2 percent of ticks collected in Eau Claire since 2010. 
  • "The Effects of On- versus Off-Campus Living on Academic and Social Outcomes of College Students," an oral presentation by Madison Joy, Madison, with Dr. Jerry Hoepner, associate professor of communication and sciences disorders. Differences in relationships with high school friends, parents, peers and professors, and the level of involvement on campus indicates that where a student lives during the first of college year impacts his or her entire college experience. 

Environment

  • "Economic and Environmental Impacts of Additional Shuttle Bus Services from Suburban Areas to Downtown Routes: Greater Milwaukee Area," a poster presentation by Brendan Miracle, Colgate, with Dr. Christina Hupy, associate professor of geography. To maximize environmental and economic benefits, new hypothetical shuttle bus locations were planned to lessen greenhouse gas emission rates and annual gas expenses.
  • "Expert Opinions in the Media: Analysis of Climate Scientists' Evolving Stances on Climate Change," a poster presentation by Mitchell Lassa, Birnamwood, with Dr. Scott Clark, assistant professor of geology. Historically, climate-related natural disasters have not significantly contributed to the media's reporting on climate change. However, analysis of quotes from frequently cited climate scientists suggests that scientists are more confident that climate change is affecting extreme weather events. 

Global topics

  • "Analysis on the Physiological Well-being of the Urban Chinese Elderly," an oral presentation by William Michel, Hudson, with Dr. Jianjun Ji, professor of sociology. In urban Chinese elderly, there are important associations between the socioeconomic-demographic characteristics of age, gender, fertility and marital status, and psychological well-being. 
  • "Global Feminisms in India," an oral presentation by Heather Spray, Edgerton, and Sara Hansen, Oshkosh, with Dr. Asha Sen, director of women's studies and professor of English, and Dr. Theresa Kemp, professor of English. Traveling abroad to India allowed students to gain an awareness of feminism and become activists for women's rights in a cross-cultural context by opening a dialogue between Indian and American women to approach advocacy for women's rights.

Each year, hundreds of students and faculty come together to produce high-quality research that prepares students for the future. The results from many projects are presented at professional conferences and published.

"Mentored research is a high-impact practice that helps students prepare to continue their education or join the workforce," said Dr. Karen Havholm, director of the Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research Collaboration. "The dedicated faculty at UW-Eau Claire play a critical role in making this valuable experience available to more than 800 students each year."

Many projects presented at the Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity were funded by the Blugold Commitment Differential Tuition program. CERCA is sponsored by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. For details, visit the ORSP website and follow the event on ORSP's Facebook page. See a full schedule of events for the week of April 27-May 1, including the Provost's Honors Symposium, women's studies presentations, capstone presentations, Juried Student Art Show, and Math Retreat.