UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Alumna Victoria ‘Tori’ Fleming (Cohort 18) is building a distinguished record of publications. Tori graduated from UW-River Falls in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is currently working toward her Ph.D. within the human development and family studies department in the School of Human Ecology at UW-Madison.
Before starting graduate school, Tori worked in the Hartley Lab as a research intern. The lab has two major studies: family outcomes in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and aging in individuals with Down Syndrome (DS). Much of Tori’s lab work related to the family outcome study, while her research focused on the aging in DS study.
Tori’s research interests include seeking ways to improve the well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. Specifically, she is interested in the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of aging adults with IDD. As for the family, Tori is interested in looking at the quality and bidirectionality of interactions between family members.
Below are her current publications:
Fleming, V., Piro-Gambetti, B., Patrick, A., Zammit, M., Alexander, A., Christian, B.T., Handen, B., Cohen., A., Klunk, W., Laymon, C., Okonkwo, O., Ances, B.M., Plante, D.T., & Hartley, S.L. (2021). Physical Activity and Cognitive and Imaging Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease in Down Syndrome. Neurobiology of Aging. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.07.016*
Fleming, V. & Litzelman, K. (2021). Resource utilization among caregivers of aging adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. http://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12889*
Photo Credit: C+N Photography and University of Wisconsin–Madison
We had a great turnout at our Open House yesterday! We enjoyed getting to meet UWRF students who have the drive and ambition to go to graduate school!
In July 2021, Maria Gallo, Ph.D., became the 20th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Chancellor Gallo professional career working in academia is impressive. Starting out as an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota and working her way to becoming the first female president of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, PA before starting at UW-River Falls. However, it was during her time at the University of Florida that Dr. Gallo had the opportunity to mentor a McNair Scholar through the university’s McNair Program. As a McNair Mentor, she provided an open learning environment and a dedicated example of a successful academic career.
Dr. Gallo certainly has the expertise and experience to help those looking to further their education in graduate school. Chancellor Gallo received her undergraduate degree in agronomy from Cornell University and both her master’s in crop science and doctorate in genetics from North Carolina State University.
Dr. Gallo says she is inspired by the UW-River Falls’ commitment to academic excellence, student success, and affordability. We are excited to have a Chancellor that understands the McNair Program and the role that mentors play in the success of our Scholars.
The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program invites the UWRF community to attend their Open House in 216 Rodli Hall. Stop in to learn more about the program and how it might fit into your future!
A few weeks ago McNair Scholar, Ara Smith, along with his mentor Dr. Sonja Maki, had the opportunity to attend the American Society for Horticulture Science Annual Conference in Denver, CO. It was an especially exciting trip for Ara as it was his first time traveling outside of the upper midwest!
We can't believe that our McNair Scholars are almost done with their Summer Research Institute! We are thankful for our faculty mentors who have worked side by side with our Scholars on their research. We are also incredibly proud of our Scholars for the hard work they have put into their research and tutoring.
Here are some of our favorite moments from this summer.
UWRF has received its first NSF-Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant award of $300,000! The MRI Program supports the acquisition of a multi-user research instrument to increase access to research. This funding will allow for the purchase of a scanning electron microscope. The project will involve training undergraduates in both classroom and research settings.
Things are starting to look a little more normal around Rodli Hall, especially in the McNair office. All of our furniture is back, our computer stations are open back up, and we have snacks for our scholars! Stop by when you are on campus. We would love to see you!
One of the perks of the McNair Program is that Scholars have the opportunity to tour college campuses and learn more about their graduate degree programs. If you have been following along you may have seen that four of our Scholars recently had the chance to tour Iowa State University. We are grateful to their McNair Program Director, Thelma Harding, for inviting us on to campus and for being a wonderful tour guide!
Today my McNair cohort and I visited Iowa State University and toured the campus with the Director of their McNair Program, Thelma Harding. Then the group split off so we could visit with faculty in the degree fields we are interested in.
Ara Smith, McNair Scholar, speaking!
Today was eventful! Dr. Freeman, Dr. Howry, three other McNair Scholars, and I drove together to Iowa State University for a campus tour of their graduate school.
Ara here! Today I worked alone in the greenhouse at Mann Valley Farm and continued to set up the trellis systems that Dr. Maki and I started yesterday. I also pruned the tomato plants as needed. I observed pests and did some research on white flies.
McNair Scholar Ara Smith is giving us an inside look at what it's like to be a Scholar undergoing their Summer Research Institute!
"Hello! I'm Ara, a Horticulture major. My research project is titled "High Tunnel, Field and Hydroponic Production of the 'Great White' Heirloom Tomatoes." Today I worked with my mentor Dr. Sonja Maki on starting the trellis systems and continue pruning as needed."
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is grateful for the 2021-23 Wisconsin state budget that was recently signed into law by Governor Tony Evers. The university will have the benefit of $111 million in capital funds for the new Science and Technology Innovation Center (SciTech). This will be transformational for the campus and will allow UWRF to continue contributing to the growth of its thriving economic region.
Calling ALL McNair Scholars! Below are a few summer research opportunities for you. Take a look!
Our faculty mentors are instrumental in helping our McNair Scholars with their summer research and ensuring they are prepared to present their findings. We caught up with Scholar Ashley McGee and her mentor, Professor Mitchell. They are working together on Ashley's research project on motherhood brand creation on Instagram.
Our McNair Scholars are hard at work on their summer research projects! We found Scholar Jaidan Scheunemann in the Chalmer Davee Library on campus last week working on her project "The Practices of Occupational Therapy: Evolution of Treatments.
A special thank you to McNair Scholar Charlie Huschka for sharing his story for our new testimonial videos that we are filming! This summer, Charlie is currently conducting his research with Professor Bonko and Professor Wells-Mangold about social media literacy within college athletics.
We want to thank McNair Scholar Rachel Harris for being a part of our new testimonial videos that we are shooting this summer! Rachel graduated last spring with her bachelor's in Social Psychology. She is currently studying within the Marriage and Family Therapy master's program at UW-Stout. We enjoyed having her back on campus!
We received some more stellar advice from a past McNair Scholar! This wisdom is for current Scholars who are starting the research portion of the McNair Program.
We want to congratulate McNair Scholar and recent UWRF graduate Gregory Peterson on accepting a position at Winona Middle School! He will be teaching 6th grade Contemporary Literature and 7th grade English Langauge Arts this fall.
We recently asked past McNair Scholars to give a piece of advice to current Scholars who are starting the research portion of the McNair Program. We received some A+ advice, like this piece of wisdom!
A behind the scenes shot of our new McNair Program video! A special thank you to the University Communications and Marketing Department and McNair Scholar Emily Kolbe for making this video a reality.
We are excited for the start of our McNair Summer Research Institute! Today our Scholars had their orientation, and it was so nice to see everyone in person. We can't wait to see the dynamic research our Scholars do this summer!
Upcoming Event Alert!
Undergraduate students interested in seeking an advanced degree can receive first-hand information from current or recent postgraduate degree-seekers in a supportive, peer-to-peer small-group conversation intended to answer questions about the application process and life as a student at the next level.
Sign up for the virtual Graduate & Professional School Advice event here:
Congratulations to McNair Scholar Jenna Schober on graduating with her bachelor's in Animal Science and Psychology! She will be starting at Purdue University this fall, where she will be conducting research with the animal behavior and well-being group within their Animal Sciences Ph.D. program.
The McNair Program would like to congratulate McNair Scholar Ashlyn Werner on graduating with her bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders! Her plans after graduation are to work at BRIDGE for Community Life an organization that works with adults and youth with disabilities.
A BIG congratulations to McNair Scholar Adrianna Kirckof for graduating with her undergrad degree in Neuroscience and Psychology! This summer, she is moving to Kansas to start the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program at Kansas University. After she completes the program, she plans to go on to get her Ph.D.
We would like to congratulate McNair Scholar Emily Kolbe for graduating with her bachelor's degree in Horticulture with a minor in Spanish. She was awarded a diversity fellowship at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and will be starting the program mid-July. This fall she will start working toward her master's degree and eventually her Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics.
We want to congratulate all of the graduating McNair Scholars! We are incredibly proud of the work you have done while at UW-River Falls, and we know you will all go on to do incredible things in your fields of study.
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, animal science and psychology major, Jenna Schober.
"My name is Jenna Schober, and I am double majoring in animal science and psychology. I started my McNair research this past summer. With my mentor, Brian Greco, Ph.D., I was able to construct an animal-activated apparatus to be used with laboratory rats. The instrument was designed to help decrease stereotypic bar-chewing in rats but can be used with different species. I plan on going to graduate school for animal behavior and welfare and would like to go on to work with zoos.
I have been taking classes (mostly) online during this pandemic, which I have been enjoying. I am also the President of the UW-River Falls Bee Club, so I have been working on revamping the campus gardens and putting up bee hotels!"
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, neuroscience and psychology major Adrianna Kirckof.
"My name is Adrianna Kirckof, and I am double majoring in neuroscience and psychology. I will be graduating in May, but the prospect of leaving UW-River Falls is bittersweet for me. I love this university and its wonderful community.
My research project with the McNair program was completed this past semester. My research interests lie within adolescent brain development and the development of psychopathological disorders like anxiety and depression. I originally wanted to begin a project that involved the mice in our neuroscience lab on campus. However, that project was postponed until this past fall since labs on campus were closed due to the pandemic. However, I then had the opportunity to write a three-part case study for an upper-level neuroscience course and then implemented it during the fall semester in 2020. That experience furthered my desire to eventually teach and mentor students at an undergraduate institution one day. In the end, I’m grateful for both experiences and probably would not have had the opportunity to do both projects if it had not been for the pandemic postponing my first project."
Did you miss the virtual TRIO Day event on April 15? Maybe, you want to relive the day all over again. Well now you can watch the event anytime you please. Enjoy hearing our dynamic student speakers and a special message from Chancellor Foster.
You can access the live recording here: https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/53bb7a1b-86b5-448e-a889-84c5b9b79408
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, animal science and biology major, Abigail Wick-Lambert!
"My name is Abigail Wick-Lambert, and I am a junior double majoring in animal science and biology. In order to complete my second major, I will be staying in school for an additional year to have more time to do research. This summer, I will participate in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at UW-Madison. Next summer, I will be conducting my research through the McNair Program. I am excited about both opportunities, and I can’t wait to gain new experience and meet other students!
My goal is to get into a comparative biomedical sciences graduate program after I graduate from UW-River Falls. When I am not focusing on my studies, I enjoy reading, crocheting, and cooking!"
TRIO Day is just a week away! We are excited to have students Byrgen Buetow, Drea Lamphere, and A Lee Xiong speaking about their experience within UW-River Falls' TRIO programs. Join us on April 15 from 4-5:30 pm to hear their stories and see a special appearance from Congressman Ron Kind!
Click HERE to join us on April 15!
Whether you are just beginning the process of thinking about graduate school or about to apply/have applied, join WAEOPP on April 9 for a half-day, virtual conference with presentations by Dr. Don Asher, Carl McNair, a graduate student panel, and a virtual grad school fair.
Sign up here: https://uwrfsss.wixsite.com/events/events/spring-mcnair-graduate-school-retreat
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, education major Charlie Huschka.
"I am Charlie Huschka, and I am currently obtaining my degree in education. Thanks to the McNair Program, I will be pursuing my athletic administration degree at the graduate level. This summer, with my mentor and the Athletic Director's help, I will begin researching the impact social media has on student-athletes. With the information I gain from this research, I will start work on a curriculum about social literacy training, hopefully, something that other grade school and college-age students can use."
Join UW-River Falls' Student Support Services, McNair Program, and Upward Bound online on April 15 from 4-5:30p to hear from current students in the TRIO program and a special guest appearance by Congressman Ron Kind.
We will also be hosting a virtual get-to-know-you session at the end of the event with past and present students, faculty, and staff.
The event will be hosted on Microsoft Teams. Click HERE to join on April 15!
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, outdoor enthusiast Jaidan Scheunemann.
"My name is Jaidan Scheunemann, and I am junior studying biomedical sciences. I will be conducting my McNair research this summer, and I am very excited about the opportunity! I am originally from Lake Geneva, Wis., which is at the bottom of the state.
In my free time, I enjoy going for hikes and singing. I love UW-River Falls due to how much nature is all around and how friendly everyone on campus is. Before the pandemic, I loved meeting new people and did a few intramural sports on campus."
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, Conservation and Environmental Planning major Kendra Letch.
"My name is Kendra Letch. I will be graduating this May with my Bachelor of Science in conservation and environmental planning with a minor in soil science. I recently received my letter of acceptance to UW-Stout for graduate school. I will be starting in the fall of 2021 and will be obtaining my master's degree in my field of conservation biology.
In my free time, I love doing anything that involves learning more about nature or being in nature. You can usually find me watching a documentary about anything to do with biology. I also love a good game of cribbage. My brother and I recently took second in a cribbage tournament!
In this photo, I am on the left and my research partner, Melissa, is on the right. This picture was taken at White Pine Berry Farm in River Falls, where we did our research together last summer. Our research was focused on comparing dairy and turkey manure with digestate."
Researchers, including Associate Professor and McNair Mentor Suruj Seunarine and Professor Glenn Spiczak, contributed to a significant, astrophysics discovery published today in Nature as a result of their work with the IceCube Collaboration.
The IceCube Collaboration is a group of scientists, researchers, students and others who’ve worked together to build and operate the world’s largest neutrino detector which recently played a significant role in confirming a 60-year-old particle physics theory. The group currently includes 300 people from 53 institutions in 12 countries.
Read the full release: https://icecube.wisc.edu/news/press-releases/2021/03/icecube-detection-of-a-high-energy-particle-proves-60-year-old-theory/?fbclid=IwAR0rsbuoD8-cbEbAJfGN-ixqTYyM_hF1CzZCYlvO6YbAWODcxKXJG6JvCl8
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, inspiring filmmaker, and English educator Gregory Peterson!
"My name is Gregory, and I am currently spending my final semester at UW-River Falls completing my student teaching experience. So far, it's been a blast, and I expect the fun to continue. The group I'm working with is super welcoming, and the students are great. I am double majoring in creative writing and broad area English education with the hopes to enter a creative writing master's program next fall.
Over the summer, I conducted a creative project where I studied the ins and outs of both screenwriting and filmmaking. My goal with the project is to write, produce, and direct my own short film. So far, I have my actors and some crew members, but I have currently put the project on hold until I can find some time in everyone's schedules to film. I found that the pandemic has deterred business owners from letting us use their space for filming, and there's always the concern of safety for my cast and crew.
This past August, my son, Clark, was born. I have been spending all my free time with him. He just turned six months on February 6th! He's a real handful but such a joy."
Attention McNair Scholars! We have two new upcoming presentation opportunities for you:
Meet this week's McNair Scholar, Izzy Rottier!
"My name is Izzy and I am a pre-McNair Scholar. I am currently looking into what research I will be conducting over the summer of 2022! I am majoring in communication sciences and disorders and minoring in early childhood education. I have been doing school online and it has been going really well. I enjoy being able to work at my own pace and get organized in a way that works best for me. In my free time, I enjoy playing games with my family and friends, shopping, and spending time outside."
Every fourth Saturday in February is reserved for National TRIO Day. This is a day to commemorate the annual achievements of the Federal TRIO programs and the students who are a part of them. UW-River Falls' McNair Scholars Program is proud of our scholars and all they have accomplished.
Are you interested in attending graduate school and pursuing a master's degree or, ultimately, a Ph.D.? Then you may be eligible to become a McNair Scholar! Join Antonio Freeman. Ph.D., program coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program, as he discusses the program and how it can help you prepare for and get accepted into graduate school.
Meet another one of our McNair Scholars, a creative soul named Ashley Mcgee!
“My name is Ashley, and I’m double majoring in marketing communications and graphic design. I am currently in my 6th year of study. I am going to be identifying my academic mentor soon so I can start my Summer Institute Project. My academic goal is to get my MFA in graphic design. Due to this, I spent my winter break visiting the library as much as humanly possible so I could check out a ridiculous amount of graphic design books! In my free time, I like to give back and use the skills I've learned in college to help student organizations, small businesses, and local nonprofits, including Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue and The Phipps Center for the Arts. I find inspiration in vintage Life magazines, art history movements, pop art, printmaking techniques, analog photography, polaroid emulsion lifts, the Pentagram design firm, International Typographic Style, sacred geometry, and math (fractals and space-filling curves).”
Quarantine hasn’t been easy, but the students within the McNair Program continue to persevere! Learn how one senior McNair Scholar has been spending her time in quarantine and preparing to graduate and get her Ph.D. in plant nreeding and genetics.
“My name is Emily Kolbe, and I am a senior in both the McNair Program and UW-River Falls. I’m majoring in horticulture with a minor in spanish. Apart from my McNair seminar this semester, I am taking a full-time internship at Bachman’s, working in their greenhouses in Farmington, Minn. I will be planting annuals, perennials, and various other plants to prep for the upcoming season.
Over the summer, I completed my research project while in quarantine from most of the world. Due to the pandemic, I had to change my research project idea. However, thanks to my adviser, David Zlesak, Ph.D., we thought up a new plan that would be easier to execute with the materials I had in my apartment. I ended up working with roses from the Lyndale Park Rose Garden in southern Minneapolis. I was using rose plants that were established in the garden to determine if there was any significant difference between the number of petals, anthers (male reproductive parts), and pistils (female reproductive parts) between the first to open bloom and each subsequent secondary bloom in the cluster of blooms between the beginning, middle, and end of the season. It was fun, and now I can extend the study while in grad school if I wanted to see if I can prove my hypothesis to be correct.
When I’m not working, I enjoy sewing, hiking, birdwatching, scrapbooking, caring for my ~70 houseplants, and I have just started getting into embroidery. I am also planning my wedding for 2022!”
With First-Generation College Celebration Day coming up, we asked UW-River Falls McNair Scholars to describe their First-Gen experience. Read their stories here!
Celebrate First-Generation college students this Sunday!
UW-River Falls McNair Scholars are participating in the Baylor University McNair Research Conference (Oct. 1-2). Scholars will be presenting their research findings from this year's Summer Research Institute. For more information on the Baylor University McNair Research Conference, click here.
Check out this great opportunity to learn about undergraduate research, applying to graduate school, and more, hosted by the University of Michigan. This event is open to the public and is free! Sign up HERE.
On Tuesday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m ET, COE (Council of Opportunity in Education) is hosting a free networking event for alumni to learn form the experiences of peers in various industries including journalism, higher education and tech to hear about how they havetransitioned from TRIO ino their professional careers. After the career chat, stick aroundfor networking and fun with music and a live DJ! The deadline to register is Monday, September 14. Register here.
McNair Alumnus Nicholas Schlaeger’s (Cohort 17) research with mentor Dr. Cheng-Chen Huang and others was published in the online journal SciMedCentra. To read more about Nicholas’ research (titled ‘Synthetic Compounds That Inhibit Melanoma Growth and Invasiveness by Reducing Cancer Stem Sell Population) click on the following link:
McNair Alumna Michaela Eden's research "The Impact of Premiums on Stall-free Pork at the Restaurant Level" was published in the Kansas State University's online journal on Agricultural Economy, AgManager.info. Follow the link to read Michaela's research findings.
Current Summer Research Institute Scholar Crystal Malagon needs survey respondents to help her gather information for her undergraduate research. Her survey description and link to the survey are below. Thank you for participating!
Current Summer Research Institute Scholar Drea Lamphere needs survey respondents to help her gather information for her undergraduate research. Her survey description and link to the survey are below. Thank you for participating!
My name is Andrea ‘Drea’ Lamphere, and I am a senior in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls conducting research on the Perceived Employment Desirability of Non-white, Non-heterosexual Women and the Influence of Social-Vocational Comfortability within the Career Sector. This summer and fall, I am conducting a cross sectional mixed methods survey which will allow me to analyze perceived disparities in desirability of employment candidates. Participation in this survey is completely voluntary and respondents will not receive additional incentive for its completion. If you are interested in taking the survey, please use the following anonymous link: http://uwrf.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6DV4j2HuIEAxMcl.
If you have further questions about how respondent data will be held secure, or are looking for contact information for the lead researcher, Andrea 'Drea' Lamphere, please see the Consent Form embedded within the first question of the survey.
Congratulations to graduating McNair Scholars; Greta Albu, Anthony Craig, Jacob Hanson-Flores, Devon Burris, Rachel Harris, Keely Johnson, Ashlynn Kirk and Lucy Landaeta! We are so proud of your achievements.
The Spring and Summer 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony will take place on August 8th at 10 a.m. Follow the link for details!
Congratulations to current scholar Emily Kolbe (Cohort 20), who presented her research (Determination of Rosa hybrida Floral Part Counts Based on Time of Season and Flower Number) last week at the WIsys SPARK Symposium Virtual Series: Student Research & Innovation Showcase. For a more detailed description of Emily's research, follow the link: https://www.wisys.org/events/wisys-spark-symposium-virtual-series-student-research-innovation-showcase
Scholars, the University of Minnesota's virtual tour is coming up! Make sure to be there on July 14th from 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM. Other details will be discussed privately.
Current Scholars (Cohort 20) attended the Iowa State University’s virtual site visit on Tuesday, June 23rd where they learned about the graduate programs offered at Iowa State and the opportunities available to enrolled McNair alumni, as well as talked to current graduate students about their experience at the University. Scholars also met with:
- Dr. William R. Graves, the Dean of the Graduate College at
Iowa State University
- Dr. Thelma Harding, the Coordinator for Recruitment and
Retention in the Graduate College and the Director of the
McNair Program at Iowa State University
- Ms. Carmen Jones, a Graduate Assistant in the Graduate
College at Iowa State University
- And a panel of current Iowa State graduate students
Many of the Scholars also arranged virtual visits with Iowa State Faculty to discuss their research interests and future graduate school plans.
UW-River Falls McNair Scholars have visited the Iowa State University campus in previous years, but due to current events, we are grateful that Iowa State hosted a virtual visit where scholars could safely learn more about the University. Students described their experience as “helpful” and “beneficial”, and many of them said that the graduate student panel gave them useful advice and a true insight into life at the University.