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Last updated: Saturday, 14-Mar-2009 19:10:25 Central Daylight Time


Thirty Students Attend National Research Meeting

Thirty UW-River Falls students accompanied by six faculty attended the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) annual conference at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in March.

Students, under the mentorship of faculty, presented a variety of research at the conference. Faculty mentors who attended the conference included Karen Klyczek, Tim Lyden, Kim Mogen and John Wheeler of the biology department, Lisa Isenberg of the psychology department, and William Campbell, director of grants and research.

The students represent a new campus organization, the Society for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity (SURSCA), that is open to students in any discipline. "We have been a motivated force on campus since last year," says Tim Lyden, biology professor and SURSCA advisor. "The students who attended last year's conference wanted to help other students go to the conference this year, and organizing a group helped them accomplish that goal."

A student-organized group dedicated to the support of research and scholarly and creative activity (RSCA) is somewhat unusual, says Lyden, who was asked to present information about SURSCA at a new session at the conference dedicated to starting such groups. "It appears that student-organized research groups are a new wave at many institutions," he said.

Lyden hopes that next year the conference will include a peer-reviewed component where students evaluate each other's research, just like the real world where research is evaluated on professional and scholarly merit. "It would be a student-driven activity, with a real exposure to peer review with students both experiencing it and doing it," says Lyden.

Since its inception last fall, SURSCA sponsored an RSCA evening and will participate in an upcoming campus-side RSCA day on April 22. In addition, the group will join students and faculty from across the UW-System for an RSCA day this spring at UW-Eau Claire.

SURSCA plans to attend next year's NCUR conference in Indianapolis. Other goals include starting a Web-based student peer-reviewed journal that will be a forum for student-reviewed research on campus. In addition, the group is in the process of fundraising and hopes to set up a peer-reviewed grant program so that students can submit formal applications for research funding.

Lyden says that the group's activities help students get better internships, make contact with graduate schools, and get a head start into careers as scholars and researchers. "There's a direct correlation between the kinds of activities we are trying to foster and the future direction of student careers," he says.

Some of the students who attended and presented research at the conference are participants in the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, a federally funded initiative designed to help students who are first-generation college students or from low-income backgrounds prepare for and enter graduate school to earn advanced degrees.

" The greatest treat is to watch the students grow as they are presenting their work," says director of grants and research Bill Campbell. "They will tell me that they knew more on the topic than any other person in the room, as if it's a revelation. That's an enormous power." -

UW-RF Society for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity members who presented research at the conference:

•Jeff Bruesewitz, geology major from Wauwatosa, Wis., "The Cary Mound Granite: A Mineralized Collapsed Caldera in Wisconsin?"
Jilene Beuke, biology major from River Falls, "Protective Effects of Pyrophosphate Analogs on the Muscarinic Receptor in Alzheimer Brain."
Brian Champlin. Computer/Information Systems major from Prescott. Wis., "Design of Fuzzy Inference system for Auto Tuning of a Six-Degree of Freedom Autopilot."
Michelle Crispino, political science major from River Falls, "Comparing U.S. Conflicts: A Study of the Relationship between Media Coverage of U.S. Military Conflict and American Public Opinion."
Katherine DeHaven, biology major from Plymouth, Minn., "Expression and Distribution of HIV Co-receptors on Human White Blood Cells."
Lee Hraby, biotechnology major from Medford, Wis., "Comparing the Effects of Capsaicin Analogs on the Thermal Avoidance Response in Caenorhabditis Elegans."
Ben Jahnke, agronomy major from River Falls, "Effect of Row Spacing on Corn Silage Yield and Quality."
Jeremy King, biotechnology major from Milwaukee, "Dissection of Protein: Protein Interaction Possibly Required for Frog Heart Formation."
Chris Knoop, biology major from Hastings, Minn., "Determination of Placental Trophoblast Cellular Differentiation State Through Dapi Staining and Image Analysis."
Rebecca Luben, biology major from Clintonville, Wis., "Toward a Reliable Simple Method for the Culture of Triops Longicaudatus in the Classroom."
Kurt Hulett, horticulture major from Taylor, Wis., and Mark Konlock, horticulture major from Hudson, Wis., "An Example of Meeting Stormwater Ordinances with Native Plantings."
Ryan Saffert, biotechnology major from Rice Lake, Wis., Effect of Capsaicin Analogs on Receptor-mediated Calcium Influx."
Tisha Siepelmeyer, political science major from Ellsworth, Wis., "The Manager-council Form of Government."
John Smith, chemistry major from River Falls, "Purification of the Arabidopsis Thaliana Trichome Initiation Complex">
Curtis Thacker, biology major from River Falls, "Co-localization of Cavolin-1 and Cytoskeletal Elements in Cultured Placental Endothelial Cells and Fibroblast Cell Lines."

McNair Scholars who presented research at the conference:

Melissa Baker, conservation major from Hayward, Wis., "Spatial Distribution of and Management Alternatives for Eurasian Water Milfoil in the Chippewa Flowage on the LCO Reservation."
Kristy Bhend, biology major from River Falls, "Injury Levels of Sows in Gestation: Stalls vs. Group Housing."
Ryan Perkl, environmental science major from Pittsville, Wis., "UW-River Falls Storm Water Runoff and Sustainability Study."
Jessica Wiskow, psychology major from River Falls, "Perceptions of Long-term Negative Outcomes of Domestic Abuse on Children."
Jackie Meyer, physics major from New London, Wis., Optimizing the Configuration of Icetop Surface Array."
Xiaoxia Yu, biotechnology major from River Falls, "Systemic Lupus Erythematosus."

McNair Scholars who attended conference:

Heidi Conrad, a chemistry major from S. St. Paul, Minn.
Lori Hoffman, a mathematics major from Superior, Wis.
Melissa Maas, an English major from Faribault, Minn.
Robert Maxwell, a psychology major from Ellsworth, Wis.
Terry Neumann, a chemistry major from Osceola, Wis.
Dina Petherbridge, a modern language major from Somerset, Wis.
Tom Pulford, an elementary education major from Richville, Minn.
Kara Proctor, an English education major from River Falls

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