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Last updated:

May 9, 2002

Editor's Note: Students from your community participated in our scholarly activity research day. On the attached list, students are listed by hometown, student's name, major, year in school and title of research. Abstracts and posters images can be viewed at

UW-RF Staff, Students Share Research Projects

By Katie Vangsness
UW-RF News Bureau

UW-River Falls faculty, staff, and students gathered to present poster displays of their research work and exchange information at the annual Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity Day, held April 23 in Hagestad Student Center.

The event was initiated by Director of Grants and Research William Campbell in 1990 to generate new thinking on campus and find new ways to explore new concepts.

"RSCA Day brings members from various disciplines together to share their research results with members of the community and each other," he said. " And it gives students the opportunity to make professional presentations about their work. Several extremely productive collaborative projects have resulted from cross-disciplinary conversations started at the event."

Though topics of study for RSCA Day vary widely, they each fall into one of three categories of research: primary research to generate new knowledge; applied research to develop something new; or scholarly research to interpret data in new ways.

Two representations of research projects conducted by students are a marketing study of two similar discount stores and a veterinary science study on a muscle condition in horses.

Paul Bignall, a senior from Hudson majoring in mathematics, did a project titled, "Comparative Study Between Target and Wal-Mart in Hudson." Bignall tracked the sales of film in each store at both their registers and in their electronics department to determine which store captured the impulse sale best. He found that Target sells 75 percent of its total film from the register displays, while Wal-Mart sells about that same percentage out of its electronic department. "I was surprised to find that despite making the sales in two different places, each store sold virtually the same amount," Bignall said.

Bignall's future plans include working with business or market analysis for a company such as Target. He hopes to use this project as a stepping stone.

Gina Searls, a senior from Baraboo majoring in animal science, last summer researched the underlying cause of an inherited form of recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis, a muscle cramping condition, that occurs in five percent of Thoroughbred horses. The research is part of a collaborative effort that will continue for six years.

Searls' plans to attend graduate school to study meat science. "This research has prepared me for work in a laboratory environment and for work with muscle bundles," she said.

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