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Fellowship supports innovative student research

| Judy Berthiaume

Blugolds with a passion for undergraduate research will have a new opportunity to receive an award and stipends to support their research thanks to the generosity of a retired UW-Eau Claire leader.

The newly established James R. Larson and Vicki Lord Larson Undergraduate Research Fellowship was created and is endowed by Dr. Vicki Lord Larson, UW-Eau Claire chancellor emerita.

A scholar herself, Larson‘s goal is to support student researchers and their faculty mentors through this award.

“It is a pleasure to support fellowships that are near and dear to my heart and Jim's passion for research,” Larson said, referring to her late husband, Jim, who passed away in 2004.

The new fellowship consists of a $2,500 scholarship that will be supplemented by a student stipend and project expense funds. The faculty mentor also will receive a $2,300 summer research stipend during the project period.

The supplements to the scholarship will be awarded as a Student-Faculty Research Collaboration and/or Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates grant through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

To be considered for the fellowship, students must be juniors or seniors at UW-Eau Claire during the award period. Students from all academic disciplines are eligible to apply.

Those students selected will have already conducted outstanding collaborative research or have demonstrated the potential for outstanding undergraduate research.

The James R. Larson and Vicki Lord Larson Undergraduate Research Fellowship is the most recent scholarship that was created and funded by Larson. She also has established the James R. Larson and Vicki Lord Larson Blugold Promise Scholarship and the Vicki Lord Larson and James R. Larson Graduate Student Research Award in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Her most recent commitment to create this new fellowship now places Larson in the membership of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation’s Century Club — a special donor recognition society created to honor gifts of $100,000 or more that were committed during the Foundation’s Power of Possible Centennial Campaign.  

Larson began her career in academia at UW-Eau Claire, serving as a faculty member in the department of communication sciences and disorders and in administrative positions on campus from 1973-1991. She returned to UW-Eau Claire to serve as the university’s interim chancellor in 2005-06.

She received an Honorary Alumna Award in 2006, and currently is a member of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors.

“Chancellor Emerita Larson and her late husband, Jim, both were strong supporters of higher education and the advancement of research,” said Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and executive director of University Advancement. “We’re thrilled that Dr. Larson is continuing to find ways to help us support the many Blugolds who share her passion for learning and research.”

The recipient of the Larson Fellowship will provide a report by the end of the fall semester on progress made on their research. If their report receives a positive review, the scholarship support will continue during the spring semester.

Fellowship recipients also will share the results of their research during the annual UW-Eau Claire Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

Applications for the first Larson Fellowship award must be in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs by March 30. Scholarship funds will be awarded for the 2016-17 academic year.

Photo caption: Dr. Vicki Lord Larson at UW-Eau Claire during her time as interim chancellor.