UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus hosts 2020 Career Expo for local high school students

The UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus hosted its 2020 Career Expo on Jan. 8 for local high school students. Four hundred students were in attendance; 350 were freshmen from Manitowoc Lincoln High School and 50 were sophomores from Reedsville High School.

Faculty and staff led career-focused learning sessions. The Expo gave students the opportunity to learn about STEM opportunities and how to use high school classes and extracurricular experiences to prepare for college.

Associate Profs. Amy Kabrhel and James Kabrhel (chemistry) participated in a Cool Chemistry show. Prof. Rick Hein (biology) held a session on blood testing, and Associate Prof. Becky Abler (Biology) discussed bacteria. Lecturer Brian McLean and Assistant Prof. Bill Dirienzo (Physics) talked to the students about the fascinating study of physics, and Admissions Counselor Jennie Strohm held a session titled “High School Matters: Choosing Courses Wisely.” See below for photos of the event.

Brian Welsch smashes a block with a sledgehammer on a student lying on a bed of nails.

Striking a Blow for Physics

When UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Brian Welsch wants to make a point in his Fundamentals of Physics class regarding Isaac Newton’s second law of physics, he makes quite an impact—with a sledgehammer, to be exact.

UW-Green Bay has not had a physics major in more than 20 years, but still offers a physics minor. This particular class generates interest from students in science and engineering, including premed and even future physical therapists.

It’s the type of class where according to Welsch, “you can do a lot of hands-on laboratory-type things.” Which, in this case, entails smashing a cinder block on the chest of Lab Manager Joe Schoenebeck, as he lays sandwiched between a bed of nails and a “chest of death” (also composed of a board of nails).

For those taking notes, the demonstration expresses Newton’s Second Law in terms of change of momentum, impulse and impact. It seems there are examples of the law all around—many with rather painful results. Take the typical falling mountain climber Welsch explains. “The falling climber picks up momentum, but if the change of momentum (as in hitting the rocks) is too short the net result is broken bones.”

The same principle is at work when demonstrating how an airbag absorbs the impact of a collision. But in this demonstration, the “airbag” is more “Flintstonian” in nature; using a cinder block as the airbag, and the sledgehammer representing the speeding object.

And the reason for a bed of nails on bottom, plus a “chest plate of death” (more nails) on top?

“Dramatic effect” explains Welsch. (Actually, the crumbling of block will also dissipate the impact of Schoenebeck’s body against the nails to the point that he won’t become a human pin cushion).

As Schoenebeck settles on to his bed, Welsch continues the lecture, “If I don’t do a good job crushing the airbag, not only will I crush Joe’s sternum, he’ll be impaled by 1,000 nails.”

“2,000” corrects Schoenebeck. (He should know, being the person who nailed them.)

“I just have to not miss,” Welsch assures the classroom. Not breaking the block means the full force of the sledge will be transferred to the “victim.” And if that happens, the concept momentum and impact will still be illustrated, but in a perhaps more painful way.

As for the results of the demonstration? Spoiler alert: the professor nailed it. Plus, as a bonus, a student worker also volunteered to get hammered.

Story by Michael Shaw, video by Sue Pischke

UW-Green Bay faculty present at next STEAM Engine event, Sept. 19

Assistant Prof. Brian Welsch (Natural and Applied Sciences), Dean Susan Gallagher-Lepak (College of Health, Education and Social Welfare and Nursing), and Associate Lecturer Susan Frost (Humanities) will each present at the next STEAM Engine event on Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Neville Public Museum. These change makers have innovative ideas to share at this new format community sharing venue aimed at strengthening the creative economy, fostering community discussion and sharpening the collective knowledge. STEAM stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend, hear four short presentations and discuss ideas. More information here. It’s a free event with presentations followed by informal discussion and refreshments for purchase. Presentation titles:
-Susan Frost: Thinking Through the Humanities: The Linear vs. The Dynamic
-Mads Gjefsen and Susan Gallagher-Lepak : Innovation in Aging Model
-Brian Welsch: Weak Links vs. Strong Links: A Framework for Strategic Investment

80 percent coverage will still produce some ‘phenomenal phenomena’ UW-Green Bay’s Welsch says

Local residents may not get to see the sun’s corona, “Baily’s beads” or the “diamond ring” effect that occurs just before the moon completely blocks the sun, but UW-Green Bay Assistant Professor of Physics Brian Welsch said the 80 percent coverage will still produce some phenomenal phenomena. The Green Bay Press-Gazette spoke with Welsch last week at his eclipse presentation on campus.

Welsch, Moore receive local coverage on the solar eclipse

Brian Welsch Fox 11 interview UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Brian Welsch led “Oh, the Things You’ll See! A 30-minute Discussion of the Upcoming Eclipse,” Friday, Aug. 11 in the Christie Theatre. A total solar eclipse will be observable around midday Monday, August 21 along a path spanning the United States. While the path of totality will miss Wisconsin, the sun will be about 80% eclipsed around Green Bay. Welsch (Physics) discussed the crescent-shaped images of the partially eclipsed sun that will be visible in Northern Wisconsin, safe viewing practices and what those who travel to observe the total eclipse will see (This includes lots of traffic, so pack extra provisions!). Welsch and University photographer Dan Moore (also a National Parks photographer who will be recording the eclipse from the Grand Tetons) were interviewed by Fox 11.

See the interview

Reminder: Prof. Welsch to share eclipse expertise

Join UW-Green Bay faculty member Brian Welsch for “Oh, the Things You’ll See! A 30-minute Discussion of the Upcoming Eclipse,” from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 in the Christie Theatre, University Union. On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be observable around midday along a path spanning the United States. While the path of totality will miss Wisconsin, the sun will be about 80% eclipsed around Green Bay. UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Brian Welsch (physics) will discuss the crescent-shaped images of the partially eclipsed sun that will be visible in Northern Wisconsin, safe viewing practices and what those who travel to observe the total eclipse will see. (This includes lots of traffic, so pack extra provisions!) If you can’t make the event at UW-Green Bay, another event will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 at Neville Museum.

UW-Green Bay’s Welsch to share eclipse expertise in advance of total solar eclipse

Join UW-Green Bay faculty member Brian Welsch for “Oh, the Things You’ll See! A 30-minute Discussion of the Upcoming Eclipse,” from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 in the Christie Theatre, University Union. On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be observable around midday along a path spanning the United States. While the path of totality will miss Wisconsin, the sun will be about 80% eclipsed around Green Bay. UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Brian Welsch (physics) will discuss the crescent-shaped images of the partially eclipsed sun that will be visible in Northern Wisconsin, safe viewing practices and what those who travel to observe the total eclipse will see. (This includes lots of traffic, so pack extra provisions!) If you can’t make the event at UW-Green Bay, another event will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 at Neville Museum.


 

Faculty notes: Welsch publications

Three peer-reviewed papers authored or co-authored by UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Brian Welsch (Physics, Natural and Applied Sciences) have been published over the past 15 months: [1] “Active Region Emergence and Remote Flares,” Y. Fu & B. T. Welsch, Solar Physics, v. 291 p. 383 (02/2016); [2] “Deriving Potential Coronal Magnetic Fields from Vector Magnetograms,” B. T. Welsch & G. H. Fisher, Solar Physics, v. 291 p. 1681 (08/2016); [3] “The Roles of Reconnected Flux and Overlying Fields in CME Speeds,” M. Deng & B. T. Welsch, Solar Physics, v. 292 p. 17 (01/2017).

Cody Becker flying drone camera

Student inventor and ‘tinkerer’ facilitates drone research at UWGB

With a combination of his own inventiveness and ingenuity, and support from UW‑Green Bay faculty, sophomore Cody Becker is using high-impact experiences to uniquely tackle a local problem (invasive plants) while preparing himself for the evolving demands of the contemporary workplace.

Cody Becker flying drone
Cody Becker

UW‑Green Bay sophomore Cody Becker is a self-proclaimed tinkerer and inventor with an entrepreneurial spirit. At 15, he modified a bicycle to make it motorized. By the time his was 17, he built a generator that splits water into its component gases, hydrogen and oxygen.

It should come as no surprise then, that when called on, the UW‑Green Bay sophomore from Sheboygan, Wis. was able to research and modify a drone to help UWGB Prof. Bob Howe and the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity with vegetation and invasive mapping of the University’s natural areas.

Becker is an Environmental Science and Geoscience major (with a minor in Physics) at UW‑Green Bay. He is also pursuing an Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P) integrated master’s degree.

His college accomplishments are already earning him praise and some financial acclaim. He is a recipient of the Natural and Applied Science Chad Moritz and Beth Meyerand Annual scholarship, and was selected to show his research, “Aerial Surveying and Vegetation Mapping Using Drone Technology at the Point au Sable Nature Reserve” at the 2016 Posters in Rotunda session at the Capital in spring.

“Cody impressed me right away,” said Howe, who met Cody just a little over a year ago when he interviewed for a summer research opportunity at the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. “I was intrigued by his interests and experience in applications of new technology, such as the use of remote controlled drones for scientific research. He has exceeded even our initially high expectations.”

Although he has worked on a variety of projects, including mammal
surveying and vegetation mapping, it’s the drone research at Point au Sable that others seem to take an immediate interest in.

Point au Sable is a well-mapped natural area owned by the University just a few miles from campus. Becker and his team evaluated the area by using a Quadcopter drone and a GoPro camera to take high definition wide-angled videos. The drone is used to fly in a grid pattern to obtain high resolution video of Point au Sable. (See sidebar for details.)

Aerial surveying is an important tool in identifying invasive species, in particular the aggressive grass Phragmites australis, because the low altitude drone video allows scientists and Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists to visually identify areas requiring treatment and management. This means less time spent identifying and mapping the invasive species and more time directly managing them.

Becker also assisted the University’s Risk Management Committee by submitting his written “Drone Code of Ethics,” which provides rules for all new drone pilots to follow.

Becker said others tend to recognize and comment on his ability to both engineer, and also communicate — a rare right-brain, left-brain combination.

“To get to the point of obtaining the drone, I would have to explain the technical aspects of the drone to those who are considering the environmental side of the issue and how we could best get the information we needed.”

Becker transferred to UWGB from UW-Milwaukee where he started out in a mechanical engineering program. In a robotics lab at UWM he studied, designed and built a kite-based multispectral imaging system that could rapidly assess the growth of near-shore algae in Lake Michigan and a large radio-controlled pontoon boat for plankton sampling

“I decided that mechanical engineering would be a great hobby, but not a great career for me.
I was familiar with UW‑Green Bay because of prior visits. I’m an outdoor-type person and the campus setting is a great fit for me.

I explored my first semester here for research opportunities and ended up in the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. UWGB Professors Steve Meyer and Bob Howe and others have been incredible to work with.”

Becker also worked on other projects — with teams of student researchers studying mammal populations at the Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot in the Nicolet National Forest in northern
Wisconsin; helping with vegetation management of university-owned natural areas in Lower Green Bay and participating in a field inventory of remnant natural habitats in the Lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern.

In summer of 2016, Becker will work for a company helping with GIS mapping, but he will be back to work with the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity next fall, and hopefully until he graduates (first with his undergraduate in May of 2018 and as a ES&P graduate in May 2019). He and his faculty members have their sites on new technologies and modifications that can aid in further research such as integrating thermal imaging or infrared technology into the drone research.

Drone Video: From Collection to Desktop

During the drone flight, the onboard Pixhawk flight controller automatically creates flight logs which store all onboard sensor information. This information includes altitude, pitch, yaw, velocity, battery health and many other sensor data. The altitude at which the video was taken varies from 50 to 100 meters. The GoPro has a 170 degree wide angle, which allows a large field of view to be seen in the video. However, the nature of the wide-angled lens creates a fish-eyed distortion. After each flight, the 1080p video is post-processed. GoPro Studio Software is used to remove the fish-eyed effect from the video and to extract still images from the video and Windows Movie Maker is used to edit and create publishable videos for YouTube.

UWGB faculty participate in boosting liberal education

On Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24 and 25, seven UW-Green Bay faculty members traveled to Madison to attend “Connecting Your Work to LEAP Wisconsin: A Faculty Collaboratives Conference.”

Organized by the UW System and AACU — the national Association of American Colleges and Universities — the conference focused on strategies for providing he highest quality learning experiences for students, connecting essential learning outcomes to institutional disciplines, and assessing student learning.

The nationwide LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) seeks to advance liberal learning and high-quality undergraduate education for all students. Wisconsin and the UW System were pilot partners when the campaign launched in 2005. Workshops at the recent Madison conference included Advocacy, Signature Work, Tuning, Providing Evidence of Student Learning, Curriculum Mapping for General Education, and Value Rubrics.

The UW-Green Bay participants (from left, photo below) were JP Leary, assistant professor, First Nations Studies; Jennifer Ham, associate professor, Humanistic Studies; Heidi Fencl, professor and chair, Physics; Alison Gates, associate professor and chair, Art; Doreen Higgins, associate professor, Social Work; Kate Burns, associateprofessor and chair, Psychology and Human Development; and Matt Dornbush, associate vice provost for academic affairs and director of graduate Studies.

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