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Students engage in research, development

Eighteen University of Wisconsin-Superior students are busy at work tackling a wide range of undergraduate research and creative projects this summer.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program gives UWS students the opportunity to work with a mentor to explore a research problem or undertake a scholarly or creative activity. SURF provides students with a stipend intended to cover summer living expenses so they can devote time to their chosen project.

The SURF program at UWS began in 2012 with support from the UWS Foundation. The goal of the program is to foster undergraduate research and creative activity and mentoring in all disciplines.

The SURF experience gives students a variety of learning opportunities from developing an idea, to writing a proposal and designing their project. Students work with their mentor and conduct their research during the summer, and then share the results of their work at a symposium at UWS in the fall, as well as at other events such as professional meetings and the annual UW System Posters in the Capitol Rotunda event in Madison.

What sets UWS’ program apart from other undergraduate research programs may be the wide variety of scholarly projects taken on by the students. On many campuses, undergraduate research occurs primarily in the fields of math, science and engineering. Student projects reflect the campus’ commitment to liberal arts and the humanities. This year student researchers are tackling topics in English, journalism, political science, art and writing, as well as the more traditional fields of biology and math. Several students combined research projects with UWS’ summer study abroad in Bosnia program.

Traditional fellowships provide students with supportive funding (and a stipend for their mentor) to engage in summer research for 20 hours a week over a 10-week period. A new component of the program this year are developmental awards, which allow students to work closely with a mentor on a smaller, 100-hour project while learning research skills needed for independent research.

Recipients of UWS’ 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships are:

• Nick Muska with Dr. Maria Cuzzo, professor, human behavior, justice and diversity, “The Law’s Double Bar: Exploring the Gap in Legal Protections for American Recording Artists.”

• Arnbjoern Mortensen with Dr. Karl Bahm, professor, history, “Comparative Study of Purist Language Policies in the Faroe Islands and Croatia.”

• David Villani with Dr. Jenean O’Brien, assistant professor, natural sciences, “Have we Successfully Developed an Eyal/Eya3 Knockout Zebrafish?”

• Faith King with Julie Gard, associate professor, writing and library science, “An Exploration of Ekphrastic Writing and Artwork.”

• Marcus White with Dr. Chad Vollrath, assistant professor, communication; “Re-educating the Fourth Estate: College Journalism in the Digital Age.”

• Erika Shearer with Dr. Raychel Reiff, professor, world languages, literatures, and cultures, :Charles Dickens’ Use of the Paranormal in his Writing.”

• Maria Ammer with Dr. Eleni Pinnow, associate professor, psychology, “Overcoming Spontaneous Trait Inferences through Education.”

• Yuta Uchida with Susan Maguire, senior lecturer, studio courses painting, printmaking and collage, “Large Scale Portrait Painting.”

• Undralsaikhan Dambii with Dr. Rubana Mahjabeen, assistant professor, business and economics, “Impact of the Chinese Economy on the Regional Economy and Mining Industry.”

• Vanessa Smith with Dr. Jerry Hembd, professor, business and economics; “An Assessment of the Economic Impact of an Exposition District for the Community of Superior, Wis.”

• Pavle Bulatovic and Nikola Kuzmanovski with Dr. Sergei Bezroukov, professor, mathematics and computer science, “Edge Isopermic Problems on Graphs.”

Recipients of Developmental Awards are:

• Sydney Kloster with Dr. Haji Dokhanchi, professor, political science, “History and Education in Post-Conflict Societies.”

• Jenessa Cabak with Dr. Vanessa Hettinger, assistant professor, psychology, “Increasing Awareness of Gender Diversity via Gendered Pronoun Usages.”

• John Wenger with Dr. Haji Dokhanchi, professor, political science, “Understanding the Bosnian Reaction to the Refugee Crisis in Europe.”

• Ana Caroline Silva Biscaia with Kay Biga, assistant professor, business and economics, “Corporate Social Responsibility.”

• Kota Yanagidani with Daniela Mansbach, assistant professor, political science, “Approach of Co-Existence to Israel and Palestine.”

• Zach Brunner with Dr. Kim LeBard-Rankila, senior lecturer, health and human performance, “What Motivates High School Softball Players?”