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Freis of Sheboygan is graduating class speaker at UW-Green Bay

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Stephanie D. Freis, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with summa cum laude (highest) honors and distinction in the major, has been selected to be the student speaker for May commencement this Saturday (May 12) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Freis transferred to UW-Green Bay after completing two years and her associate degree at UW College-Sheboygan, located near her family’s farm in Newton, Wis. She was May 2010 Graduate of the Year at Sheboygan.

Coincidentally, Freis also served as graduating class speaker at her UW-Sheboygan commencement. That ceremony involved about 50 student participants, many fewer than the estimated 750 graduating seniors expected to take part in Saturday’s event at UW-Green Bay before a total audience of about 5,000 at the University’s Kress Events Center.

At UW-Green Bay, Freis has worked closely with faculty members on independent studies and honors projects in her field of study. During her senior year, Freis developed a survey questionnaire on student use, satisfaction and preference related to academic advising. She presented her data, literature review and research findings to members of the Psychology faculty exploring ways to improve career counseling.

Her honors project analyzed “helping behavior” and altruism among users of social networks, primarily Facebook. With UW System Professor of the Year Regan A.R. Gurung, Freis co-authored a scholarly paper on that research currently being considered for publication in a major academic journal. With Gurung and Profs. Kristin Vespia and Ryan Martin, she has collaborated on research presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association on topics that also include student advising, product branding and the weight given to appearance and clothing styles in forming professional impressions.

Freis has worked as a teaching assistant, tutor and student mentor at both UW-Green Bay and Sheboygan. As a business-systems intern with Acuity Insurance, a multi-state property and casualty insurer headquartered in Sheboygan, she has assisted with research, writing and publication of key materials used by the company’s executive team.

Freis has been accepted at one of the nation’s top Ph.D. programs in social psychology, at Ohio State University, where she will pursue her career goal of becoming a university-level faculty member and researcher, with an eye toward serving disadvantaged populations. She has been awarded the Graduate School Excellence University Fellowship and the Psychology Department Fellowship to attend Ohio State.

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