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UW-Eau Claire student accepted into NSF summer research program

April 29, 2013
 Cheryl Salmonson
Cheryl Salmonson

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student has been selected for a summer research position in the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Cheryl Salmonson, a junior physics and chemistry major from Chippewa Falls, will spend nine weeks at the Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Applications, a seven-member alliance of universities throughout Louisiana. She will work with faculty to investigate new materials for lithium ion batteries, which could have a much higher capacity than current options.

Over the course of the summer, the program helps participants evolve from being directed by mentors to taking the lead in determining what needs to be done and how to achieve those tasks. Each program will have opportunities for students to create posters to share with faculty members to help enhance their presentation and communication skills.

Salmonson received support and encouragement from several faculty mentors, including Dr. Matt Evans, associate professor of physics, Dr. David Lewis, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Tom Lockhart, professor of physics and astronomy.

"Cheryl will prosper in the summer internship due to her ability to clearly communicate with others, work both independently and in groups and her willingness to take on challenges and make them her own," Evans said in his recommendation materials.

Lewis also said that Salmonson's personality will help her to be successful during the program.

"Almost all modern scientific research involves a level of teamwork, and Cheryl has the type of personality that will fit in well with others on her team," Lewis said. "She is gregarious and pleasant to be around, as well as intellectually bright and perceptive. I was very happy to give her my strongest recommendation, and I was very happy when she got the nod."

This fall, Salmonson will transfer to UW-Madison to pursue a chemical engineering degree.

"I want to study in a science area where I would learn about processes and develop the necessary skills that lead to a career, which will hopefully have a positive effect on mitigating environmental impacts," she said.

Eventually, Salmonson hopes to pursue a career dealing with energy and the environment.

"I'm interested in helping to develop new techniques to use existing energy resources and explore new sources of energy that are safe and environmentally friendly," Salmonson said.

Each REU student receives a stipend of $4,500, free housing in university dormitories and up to $400 in travel expenses.

"This award confirms that UW-Eau Claire students are well-prepared to compete and succeed in high-profile national competitions," noted Dr. Karen Havholm, assistant vice chancellor for research.

For more information about student summer research opportunities, contact Karen Havholm at havholkg@uwec.edu or 715-836-3405.

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OJ/DW

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