Recent University of Wisconsin-Green Bay graduate and May 2012 commencement speaker Stephanie D. Freis has been awarded a $5,000 graduate fellowship from the Phi Kappa Phi collegiate honor society.
Freis graduated May 12 with summa cum laude (highest) honors and distinction in her major, Psychology. She transferred to UW-Green Bay after earning her associate degree at UW College-Sheboygan, where she was May 2010 graduate of the year — and earned the role of class speaker at her UW-Sheboygan commencement. Freis worked as a teaching assistant, tutor and student mentor both at Sheboygan and UW-Green Bay.
Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest honor society open to students of all fields, maintaining chapters on approximately 300 U.S. campuses. To become a member, students must rank in the upper 10 percent of their senior class, and have at least a 3.50 cumulative grade point average. The honor society’s graduate fellowship competition awards 51 scholarships worth $5,000 each to students entering their first year of graduate school. Each chapter may nominate only one student for consideration each year. Freis is the fourth UW-Green Bay student to win the fellowship competition since the University established a chapter in 1997. Others are Chela Moore, 1999; Neil Sandhu, 2004; and Jenny Olson, 2007. Additionally, UW-Green Bay graduate Anne E. Rowe won an Award of Excellence and $2,000 prize in 2008.
At UW-Green Bay, Freis worked closely with faculty members on independent studies and honors projects in her field of study. As a senior, Freis developed a survey questionnaire on academic advising, presenting her data, literature review and research findings to Psychology faculty members who are exploring ways to improve career counseling. Her honors project analyzed “helping behavior” and altruism among those who use social networks, primarily Facebook. With UW System Professor of the Year Regan A.R. Gurung, Freis co-authored a scholarly paper on that research that is being considered for publication in a major academic journal. Freis has collaborated on research presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, working with Gurung and faculty members Kristin Vespia and Ryan Martin.
Freis has been accepted at one of the nation’s top Ph.D. programs in social psychology, at the Ohio State University. She plans to become a university-level faculty member and researcher, with an eye toward serving disadvantaged populations. Freis also has been awarded the Graduate School Excellence University Fellowship and the Psychology Department Fellowship to attend Ohio State.