Virtual undergraduate research gala a first for UWRF

June 9, 2020 – The Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity (URSCA) Office at UW-River Falls is hosting a virtual gala for students to showcase their undergraduate research.

Typically held on campus at the start of December, this annual event showcases and celebrates the research, scholarly and creative activities of more than 150 undergraduates through interactive displays, research posters, slide shows, short films, and art exhibits, in a lively and content-rich environment. This year, a spring gala was planned to provide an additional presentation opportunity. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, the showcase will be a virtual event posted online at beginning Saturday, June 13. It will remain up for the summer.

“We know that many students and mentors have worked tremendously hard on their projects, and we want to be able to provide a space to acknowledge their achievements,” said Earl Blodgett, URSCA director.  “We hope to share presentations to campus no matter where one may reside. This online format also gives students the opportunity to share work beyond the River Falls community.”

Each year, the URSCA Office selects recipients for the Drs. Ann and William Lydecker Student Research Award which was established in 2011 to recognize outstanding undergraduate research efforts coupled with service to and/or involvement in UW-River Falls. The recipients for spring 2020 are Paul Tietz and Kimberly Mackiel.

Tietz is a spring 2020 graduate from Waunakee who earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. He became involved in undergraduate research his freshman year and has plans to continue his passion for environmental science this fall by pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Idaho.

Mackiel, from Lake Elmo, Minn., will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. She has performed cutting-edge research in materials science, fabricating and testing quantum dot materials that have the potential to improve efficiency for solid-state displays as well as other applications.

Throughout the year, UW-River Falls fosters the development of student research skills through trainings and workshops; grant funding to conduct and present research; and local, state, and national dissemination opportunities. Regularly scheduled trainings include workshops on research ethics, grant and proposal writing, research budgets, presentation skills, and research poster design. 

UWRF undergraduates are encouraged to present their work at state and national venues such as Research in the Rotunda in Madison, the UW System Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, and at a wide range of discipline-specific conferences.

For more information, call the URSCA Office at 715-425-3902.

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