University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

May 7, 2004

UW-RF Students Present at National Conference

Members of the UW-River Falls Society for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities (SURSCA) presented their projects at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Indianapolis, Ind., April 14-17.

Students presented posters or oral presentations on subjects ranging from political science and education to mathematics and molecular biology. UW-RF students' projects represented more than 10 fields or specialties.

SURSCA faculty adviser and biology Professor Timothy Lyden said researching and presenting their findings gives students the chance to apply the knowledge they have learned in the classroom in a hands-on and "minds-on" experience.

"They are doing the profession they are preparing for, as a student," Lyden said. He described it as " vocational training at an early age."

The national conference is held at a different location each year and draws approximately 2,500 students, faculty and administrators from across the nation to discuss and participate in a celebration of undergraduate research and scholarly and creative activity.

UW-RF's participation in the conference is relatively new. Together with the McNair Scholars program and the administrative support of Interim Chancellor Ginny Coombs and the late Chancellor Ann Lydecker, SURSCA has been actively working since its inception two years ago to enhance the culture of research and scholarly and creative activity on campus.

These activities include fundraising to help cover the costs associated with traveling to NCUR meetings, sponsoring an annual fall "Gala Evening of RSCA," developing a Web site ( and working to publish a directory of faculty an d students RSCA.

NOTE: listed below are the students and faculty mentors and advisers who are involved in SURSCA, some of whom presented projects in Indianapolis, Ind.

UW-RF NCUR student participants included biology majors Jessica Martin of River Falls; Jennifer Ness of Eau Claire; Greg Walter of Emerald; Wes Normington of Arpin; Amanda Slaughter of River Falls; Jennifer Hermey of Hudson; Nicole Geiger of Grantsburg; Megan Theede of Wells, Minn.; Emily Genal of Green Bay; Sarah Schimmel of Pickett; Caroline Martin of Superior; Ed Murphy of Boscobel; and Michael Salmela of Duluth, Minn.

Other participants included biotechnology major Colin Searle Anderson of St. Paul, Minn.; chemistry major Sarah Barfknecht of River Falls; psychology major Serena Weber of River Falls; education major Thomas Pulford of Richville, Minn.; plant and earth science major Jaime Thissen of Glencoe, Minn.; and political science majors Annie McCleary of River Falls; Katie Clay of Reedsburg; and Beth Nevitt of Glenwood, Minn.

McNair observers who attended the conference but did not present projects include Matthew Schuelke of Glidden; Leila Albert of Baldwin; Lori Hoffman of Superior; Lisa Vanderwyst of Marshfield; Abigail Olson of Oakdale, Minn.; and Mary Vang of St. Paul, Minn.

Faculty mentors and advisers to the students from the Biology Department include Lyden, Professor Karen Klyczek, Professor Clarke Garry, Associate Professor E. Katherine Miller, Assistant Professor John Wheeler, Assistant Professor Scott Ballantyne, Assistant Professor Elaine O. Hardwick, and Laboratory Manager Jodie Deschler.

Other faculty mentors included chemistry Professor David Rusterholz; mathematics Professor Steve List; political science Professor Tracey Gladstone-Sovell; Professor Bradley J. Caskey and Associate Professor Daniel Linwick of the psychology department; Professors Kelly Cain and Lanny Neel of the plant and earth science department; and Thomas Hench of UW-La Crosse.

Faculty and administrative participants were Lyden, Rusterholz and Director of Grants and Research William Campbell.


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