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Research by two UW-Eau Claire alumnae published in select undergraduate journal

October 1, 2013

Emily Schreiner
Kallie Sandell

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumnae from the department of communication and journalism recently had their research published in the Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review.

Emily Schreiner, originally from Wausau, received degrees in organizational communication and public history. Kallie Sandell, who received degrees in communication studies and Spanish with a business emphasis, is originally from Buffalo, Minn. Both graduated in the spring of 2011.

The two conducted the research during their senior capstone course. Since then, they've spent close to two years making suggested revisions from the editors at PUR. The title of their manuscript is "Study Abroad and the Spiral of Silence: Does Encouraging Participation Create Apprehension for Those Who Don't Participate?"

"UW-Eau Claire is renowned for its study abroad program, and they make it known through their internal and external communication practices," Sandell said. "We wanted to see if the much vaunted topic of study abroad had an effect in the classroom environments; specifically, we wanted to see if it created communication apprehension among those who hadn't studied abroad."

"That's important because it may prevent students who haven't studied abroad from sharing valuable information that could enhance the learning environment," Schreiner added. "If that happens, everyone in the classroom loses that opportunity."

This is the first time that PUR has been published in four years. During that time, the journal continued to receive manuscripts from throughout the United States. The publication judges manuscripts based on their scholarly form, depth of analysis and originality. Schreiner and Sandell's manuscript was one of three accepted for the September 2013 issue.

Dr. Martha Fay, associate professor of communication and journalism, and Schreiner and Sandell's research adviser, encouraged them to submit the manuscript following graduation. She continued to advise them through the process, which included several revisions.

"The quality of Emily and Kallie's research was outstanding, especially for an undergraduate effort," Dr. Fay said. "The research question focused on a real and current challenge and the results reflected important new knowledge for educators and learners with significant, practical implications."

The idea for the research originated from Schreiner and Sandell's varying experience with studying abroad.

"Kallie and I came into the research with a unique perspective in that Kallie studied abroad in undergrad and I didn’t," Schreiner said. "We thought there had to be some kind of disconnect between people who have and haven't studied abroad, and we wanted to see how that played out."

Schreiner and Sandell hope that their research will be able to make a difference in other university settings.

"It gives insights into how a highly communicated topic can alter the overall group dynamic, in our case, the learning environment," Sandell said.

Schreiner added, "Our research can be used as a model for other campuses to use to research the same situation, which is so important because it affects the classroom environment and student learning."

For more information about their research, contact Emily Schreiner at or Kallie Sandell at



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