Tag: research

Culture/Development Lab is looking for babies, toddlers for major study

UW-Green Bay’s Culture and Development Lab directed by Assistant Prof. Sawa Senzaki is looking for local parents interested in having their babies (5-18 months) participate in a major international study of baby’s social understanding. The study is part of a large international collaboration with Canadian and Japanese researchers. Senzaki is asking alumni, University employees and students with young children to consider volunteering for a visit. Participation is easy, with only a single 30- to 45-minute session in which the parent and the baby read some books and watch some short videos while Senzaki and her student research assistants observe. Participants will receive a small toy or a book as a token of appreciation. If you’re interested, please email Senzaki at senzakis@uwgb.edu or sign up at the website. “We really appreciate your help to have a better scientific understanding of infant development!”

Regents speak out against proposed fetal tissue ban

Members of the UW System Board of Regents took advantage of Friday’s meeting in Whitewater to publically speak out against an Assembly bill that would make it a felony to conduct research with newly procured fetal tissue. Regents from both ends of the political spectrum including Gerald Whitburn, Charles Pruitt, Michael Grebe and Regent President Regina Millner characterized the legislation as over-reach, saying that ethical, vital, state-of-the-art research, especially at UW-Madison, would be imperiled if the bill passes. The Capital Times has coverage. For more on the fetal-tissue issue, and other items of interest from Friday’s meeting, see the UW System recap.

Controversial UW-Madison flu research yields new vaccine model

A controversial technique to create flu viruses, now effectively banned, led to the discovery of a flu vaccine model that could be more reliable than today’s main method using chicken eggs, according to a study by UW-Madison scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka.

Federal officials had told Kawaoka and other researchers around the country to cease experiments that make flu, SARS and MERS viruses more dangerous in the lab. Read more.

Faculty note: Currier publication on magmatic mechanics

Assistant Prof. Ryan Currier of Natural and Applied Sciences has received word his paper will be published in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. The paper “Mapping real time growth of experimental laccoliths: The effect of solidification on the mechanics of magmatic intrusion” is the first publication based on experiments performed at UWGB, some with students. The main driver of this research is that magma chambers form inside the crust, and are not typically directly observed. Even the old, cold magma chambers that are now exposed at the surface are difficult to study in full. In Currier’s experiments, he created scaled-down magmatic intrusions (using molten wax as magma and gelatin as crust) to observe how magma chambers grow through time. The results could be helpful in developing new field studies of ancient magma chambers.

Hutchison caps ’21st Century City’ conference in Florence

top-story-italySociology Prof. Ray Hutchison of Urban and Regional Studies recently returned from Florence, Italy and the Everyday Life in the 21st Century City conference he organized for the Del Bianco Foundation.

Hutchison presented one of the three keynote talks, addressing the topic “When Austerity Came to the United States.” The other keynotes were by Derek Hyra, director of the Metropolitan Policy Center at American University, and Circe Monteiro, chair of Architecture and Planning at the Federal University Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil.

The three-day conference included some 45 speakers from more than a dozen countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, England, Israel, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan and the United States.  Sessions were organized around the themes of The Right to the City, The Well-Being Challenge, Neoliberal Urban Policy, Suburbanization and New Communities, and Urban Night Life.  Speakers included four persons who had presented papers at the first Everyday Life conference (Everyday Life in the Segmented City) in 2010.  Hutchison is currently working with the Del Bianco Foundation to plan a conference in June 2016 on the topic of Immigration: Crisis, Policies, and Remedies.

The snapshots here show 1) Participants en route to Capella Medici (the conference provided passes to Florence museums); 2) a tour of the Palazzo Coppini and the offices of Del Bianco Foundation; 3) Simone Giometti, secretary general of the Foundation, introducing one of the sessions; 4) Corinna Del Bianco at the opening plenary session, with Hutchison and Hyra at the table; and 5) Hutchison making a point.

(Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.)
 Conference: Everyday Life in the 21st Century City, July 17-20, 2015, Florence, Italy Conference: Everyday Life in the 21st Century City, July 17-20, 2015, Florence, Italy Conference: Everyday Life in the 21st Century City, July 17-20, 2015, Florence, Italy Conference: Everyday Life in the 21st Century City, July 17-20, 2015, Florence, Italy Conference: Everyday Life in the 21st Century City, July 17-20, 2015, Florence, Italy
Photos submitted by Ray Hutchison

Faculty note: Warner publication

Associate Prof. Lora Warner of Public and Environmental Affairs is the author of the article “Catalytic Funding, Partnership, Evaluation, and Advocacy: Innovation Strategies for Community Impact,” published in The Foundation Review: Vol. 7: Iss. 2, (Article 8). You can read a summary at the journal archive.


Undergraduate researchers honored and recognized

research-top-storyThe experience is worth celebrating, but so is the recognition.

A number of UW-Green Bay undergraduates had a fantastic opportunity to participate in graduate-level research this year and were honored among the winners of the outstanding presentation awards at the 14th Annual UW-System Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity.

Their research and presentation was one of 16 finalists selected from among 400 presentations representing undergraduate research from across the UW System.

Their presentation — “Phoenix GPS: A Wholistic College Transition Approach for Underrepresented Students” — reports on the year-one results of an intensive, year-long enrichment program for first year students at UW-Green Bay. Team members were Hannah Blum, Ashley Grant, Jordan Grapentine, Sarah Londo and Alex Wilson. Serving as their mentor was Denise Bartell, UWGB professor of Human Development.

“These students are a shining example of the value of undergraduate research experience for students from all majors,” said Bartell. “Despite coming into the project with very different levels of prior research experience, all developed graduate-level research and group work skills, had the opportunity to present at a national professional conference, and are currently working with me on a manuscript for publication of this data.”

Like her fellow student researchers, Alex Wilson served as a peer mentor in the program. She said the new challenge helped her to grow in ways unexpected: “I came to the realization that the project had a positive effect on my attitude and academics, and that I now place a greater perspective on empathy.”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after the first semester, I found that I was providing to students what I haven’t always had in my life,” she said. “As a low income, first-generation college student, I understand that there are different barriers for every student. Providing opportunities for first-year students to succeed, despite the barriers, became something that I believe in. The types of experiences that the GPS students are having during their first year acts as an equalizer. Our data shows that many of the opportunities that we provide, such as tutoring, relationship building and service learning will create a learning environment that a student is more likely to want to stay in.”

The Gateways to Phirst Year Success (GPS) program provides historically underrepresented students with an engaging learning community experience, a network of mentors, and opportunities to develop academic agency and connections to campus and community.

GPS students earned significantly higher GPA’s, engaged in high impact experiences at higher rates, and were retained at significantly higher rates than similarly situated students who did not participate in GPS, and these results were strongest for students of color.

Underrepresented students who participate in GPS are 17.6% more likely to be retained at UWGB into year two (92.2% vs. 74.6%) and 13.1% more likely to be retained through the end of the second year (81.3% vs. 68.2%), as compared to underrepresented students who don’t participate in GPS.

Underrepresented (UR) GPS students earn significantly higher GPA’s than other underrepresented students in the first year (3.07 vs. 2.74), are significantly more likely to have declared a major (60.9% vs. 49.0%), and report participating in almost twice the number of high impact experiences during their first year (5.4 vs. 3.0). They are also significantly more likely to utilize campus resources in their first year when they need help, and participate in significantly more co-curricular activities, as compared to other UR students.

The GPS program also eliminates the equity gap for UR students in UWGB’s Human Biology 102 course — GPS students performed as well as represented students in this course.

Researching and quantifying the data was only one step in the process for the student researchers. Presenting their data to larger audiences presented a learning curve as well.

“The first few times we presented, we relied heavily on our peer mentor to paint a picture, but we’ve all gotten really comfortable with the numbers and data collection,” Wilson said. “The statistics demonstrate the successes that we saw during the time spent with students.”

Wilson also found that the lessons she learned translated well to outside the project… even outside the University.

“I talk about this program quite a bit,” she said. “The challenges I experienced as a peer mentor come up regularly in my work environment and I have a better idea how to manage. The knowledge I’ve gained as a research assistant is incredibly valuable. It was unexpected, but the growth I’ve witnessed through involvement has been obvious and important in my everyday life.”

Bartell said the program speaks volumes about the power of students’ commitment to helping others maximize their success in college.

“This group of research students represent a diverse set of majors, from Human Development to Spanish to Human Biology,” says Bartell. “They all chose to participate in the research project in order to continue their service to the University and to the underrepresented first-year students who are served by the GPS Program.”
(Pictured in the photo at the top: From left to right, Jordan Grapentine, Ashley Grant, Hannah Blum, Prof. Denise Bartell, Alex Wilson and Sarah Londo at the National Resource Center’s First-Year Experience Conference in Dallas, February 2015)

Profs. Currier and Luczaj and students take research on the road

UWGB Professors Ryan Currier and John Luczaj of Natural and Applied Sciences along with 12 students attended the North Central Section of the Geological Society of America meeting in Madison at the end of May. Summaries of the presentations are linked, below. Three of the students presented posters related to their own classwork with Prof. Currier:

Undergraduate Student (Geoscience Major) Zach Ashauer: “The Lashly Mountains of Southern Victorialand, Antarctica: Investigating a Possible Ancient Volcano.”
https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2015NC/webprogram/Paper255474.html (independent research).

Graduate Student (ES&P Program) Sarah Faga: “Using GIS to Uncover the Link Between Radon Potential and Geology in Wisconsin.”
https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2015NC/webprogram/Paper256015.html (master’s thesis).

Graduate Student (ES&P Program) Brian Yagle: “Experiments on the Evolution of Laccolith Morphology: The Maturation from Elliptical to Circular Shaped Intrusions.”
https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2015NC/webprogram/Paper255751.html (Capstone in Environmental Science Course). Most of the data for the poster were collected by students as part of a student-based research project in the class. Coauthors were Dr. Patrick Forsythe (the lead instructor for the course) and Yagle.

In addition, Prof. Luczaj, who serves as UWGB’s Geoscience Chair, gave an oral presentation, “Modern Aquifer Chemistry as a Function of Water-Rock Interaction: A Case Example from Eastern Wisconsin.”

Lones, Blake pursue competitive summer research opportunities

lorenzo-top-storyWhile some students will spend summer in relaxation mode, UW-Green Bay’s Lorenzo Lones will be working in a lab at one of the top research programs in the nation.

Likewise, UW-Green Bay junior Tresavoya Blake, a History and Democracy and Justice Studies major, will be interning at Loyola University Chicago in its Multicultural Affairs Division this summer as part of a National Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

Each are mentored and encouraged by Justin Mallett, the director of UWGB’s American Intercultural Center.

Lones, a double major in Psychology and Human Biology, will be participating in the University of Iowa Summer Research Opportunity Program throughout June and July. The eight-week program is designed to prepare participants for future doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

While at the University of Iowa, Lones will be working with Dr. Andrew Pieper, MD, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiation Oncology.

“One of the things that interested me is that the professor I will be working has a very diverse lab team,” said Lones, “He has women, Latinos, African-Americans, so it is just a very diverse team. Also, his research is closely aligned with the type of research I want to do in my career.”

Lones will be working with Pieper to study the effects of two chemicals on mice: One that helps create new brain cells in the memory center of the brain and one that helps stop cell death.

“We have a lot of psychiatric medication that deals with symptoms, but his lab is actually looking at what is causing the symptoms and trying to change the course of the disorder in the brain instead of just alleviating symptoms,” Lones said.

This experience will be a first for Lones who says he has never worked directly in a lab such as this before.

“This will be the first time I’m in the lab actually manipulating things,” he said, “As far as animals are concerned too, I’ll be working with the rats. So that will be a pretty nifty hands-on experience for me.”

Entering UWGB, he thought he would someday be a school psychologist. “I took Prof. Dennis Lorenz’s physiological psychology class and started studying the nervous system and then realized I really like understanding how the brain works.”

He followed that with a molecular biology course with Prof. Uwe Pott, and is honing his career path to research.

“What I want to study is not necessarily the act of giving treatment, but looking at what is the course of treatment… instead of of being a doctor, doing medical research that doctors can benefit from.”

Blake-storyFor Tresavoya Blake, the fellowship is an extension of involvement at UW-Green Bay. She laughs as she begins her list… “Women of Color, Black Student Union, the Diversity Taskforce…”

Her involvement provided a strong case for acceptance into the National Undergraduate Fellowship Program through the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the benefits associated with it — such as the eight-week fellowship at Loyola.

“I’ll be actually working with the different staff in different departments, working on any projects they might want me to do,” she said, “Basically learning more about the student affairs field and narrowing down which department or division of student affairs I would be most interested in pursuing when I go to graduate school and eventually start my own career in student affairs.”

Both Lones and Blakes said they understand the need for mentoring and appreciate the faculty and staff who support and encourage them.

“After my experiences here at Green Bay, especially in the American Intercultural Center, and seeing how they helped me just stay here and become more comfortable in the university, that’s the kind of impact I want to make on students in general,” Blake said. “In my future, I want to be the person that helps students of color, underrepresented students, and students in general, navigate through college.”

Lones said he is grateful to the faculty and staff that have helped him prepare for this opportunity, including Prof. Kris Vespia, who worked with him over winter break to help prepare his personal statement.

“The multicultural advisors, Crystal, Justin, and Mai, they do a really good job at keeping me on a straight path,” he said, “The faculty here at the school have been tremendous. They’ve been extremely supportive. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”

Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern