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Summer research is advantageous for UW-Eau Claire students, alumni

June 18, 2013
Pine Lake
UW-Eau Claire senior biology majors Nicole Bauer, Richland Center, and Chris Bader,  Eau Claire, place a net to catch bluegills at Pine Lake north of Bloomer as part of a study to describe the effects of birth date on the growth and survival of young bluegill sunfish in lake and river environments.
Pine Lake
Bauer and Bader work with Dr. David Lonzarich, professor of biology, to examine their catch. They will determine birth dates of young bluegills by counting the number of daily growth rings found in otoliths (ear stones) of the fish and using mathematical modeling. The information will be used to estimate  age-specific survivorship among the fish over the summer months. One goal of their research project is to help inform the management of bluegill populations in Wisconsin lakes and rivers.

EAU CLAIRE — Even though school is out for many University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire undergraduates, a large number of them are busy this summer in labs, studios, libraries and fields as they conduct research with faculty mentors.

The Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, administered by UW-Eau Claire's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, will support 118 summer projects involving 170 students and 113 faculty mentors. In addition, nearly two dozen faculty will include students on their extramural-grant-funded research this summer.

UW-Eau Claire alumni verified the value of undergraduate research in a recent survey conducted by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

"My research experiences at UW-Eau Claire were the best part of my education," wrote one respondent. "Every step of my undergraduate research experiences helped prepare me for graduate school. I was able to present my findings in conferences across the country and network with professionals."

Undergraduate research experiences develop talent in UW-Eau Claire students and prepare them as they enter the job market or pursue graduate education, said Dr. Karen Havholm, assistant vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

"A growing body of literature supports what we know from practice: that undergraduate research is a transformative educational experience," Havholm said.

In their survey responses, alumni who participated in undergraduate research reported an advantage when seeking employment.

"My undergraduate research experience is something that I still talk about now as a professional in my field," a respondent wrote. "It gave me a head start as I started my career through essential experience."

A majority of alumni who participated in undergraduate research shared that stipend funds were "essential/helpful" for their ability to get involved. This summer, internal and external support combine to make undergraduate research an option for more students, Havholm said. The Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates program is funded in part by the Blugold Commitment, an initiative supported by differential tuition funding that provides UW-Eau Claire students with high-impact learning experiences.

For additional information about faculty/student summer research at UW-Eau Claire, send email to orsp@uwec.edu or call 715-836-3405.

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HJS/JP/DW

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