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Grad event offers opportunity for recognition of research

| Andrew Salvaterra

Photo caption: Graduate student Irene Ekobena presents research to event attendees during the Graduate Studies Research and Appreciation event on May 5, 2023. All photos by Shane Opatz.

Graduate students from multiple programs gathered Friday, May 5, at the Graduate Studies Research and Appreciation event at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Students shared their research projects with the campus and local communities, covering a wide range of topics and programs, including posters and oral presentations on their fields of expertise. 

Student presents research to group from behind laptop.

Jordon Stish, a public history major, shares research during the Graduate Studies Research and Appreciation event on May 5, 2023.

Jordon Stish, a public history major originally from Hibbing, Minnesota, researched the National Statuary Hall collection. Encompassing 100 monuments located in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., each state provides two monuments honoring the most significant representatives of their state's history. Of those 100 monuments, only 11 honor women.  

"I wanted to study why there is a stark disparity between monuments honoring men and women, and I coined the term ‘acceptable activists’ to describe how women are chosen to be honored because they often fit the parameters of the status quo and their legacies can be used to push a cultural and political agenda," Stish says.  

After being awarded a grant from the American Association of University Women, Stish traveled to Washington, D.C., to research in the Library of Congress and National Archives, and studied National Statuary Hall in person on a Capitol tour. 

Excited for the opportunity to present at the event, Stish says, "It is so rewarding to be able to share my findings. I am currently working on turning my thesis into a journal article, so I am excited to give folks a 'sneak peek' before I publish." 

Grad student presents research poster

Kaitlyn Moore, a Doctor of Nursing Practice student, shares a research poster with event attendees.

Kaitlyn Moore, originally from Woodbury, Minnesota, is a current Doctor of Nursing Practice student and 2017 bachelor of science graduate from UW-Eau Claire. Moore chose to stay with the same university for her graduate program because "I was confident I would get a great education and be a part of an inclusive community."  

Moore conducted research with assistance from Dr. Jeanette Olsen, associate professor of nursing, and Dr. Dalete Mota, associate professor of nursing, and focused on evidence-based quality improvement (EBQI) to implement a multi-dimensional system-based intervention to increase the Medicare annual wellness visit (AWV) completion rate among eligible clients at a family medicine clinic in western Wisconsin.  

This multi-dimensional intervention addressed barriers and increased Medicare AWV completion rates in the project setting. "The most rewarding aspect has been coming together with others to generate evidence-based interventions to meet desired outcomes,” Moore says. “It is always exciting to see your hard work make a difference in your field of study." 

Moore looked forward to the event as a chance to see new ideas brought forth by colleagues. "I wanted to see how our generation of graduates can help make advancements in our field of study."

Students share research posters with event attendees.

Graduate students share their research at a poster session during Graduate Studies Research and Appreciation event on campus.

Event highlights included the 2022-2023 recipient of the University’s Thesis of the Year award EdS – School Psychology student Katherine Michaels, presenting her work on the social, emotional, and behavioral health of elementary students as measured by the b.e.s.t. screener, and Dr. Sonja Myers, delivering the keynote address “What Does a Researcher Do? Answering the Question through Family Nursing Science.” 

After successfully hosting over 4,000 undergraduate students on campus for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) event, Mary Hoffman, UW-Eau Claire associate chancellor and dean of graduate studies, felt it was essential to showcase the high-level research of the university's graduate population. "Our institution is committed to facilitating research opportunities to increase students' educational understanding and provide them with meaningful experiences in their professional field," Hoffman says. 

UW-Eau Claire's graduate-level opportunities focus on increasing career potential and meeting regional workforce needs by emphasizing individualized attention from faculty mentors who provide years of professional experience to help students succeed.