A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh club that encourages undergraduate research is sparking meaningful conversation among student researchers from various disciplines.
Undergraduate Research Experiences and Creative Activities (URECA!) seeks to support and engage students involved in research by organizing extracurricular events that allow students to gain knowledge and presentation skills while having fun.
URECA! is led by student officers Chris Christopherson of Green Bay, who is a physics major, president; biology major Kyle Kettner of Oshkosh, vice president; Jeshanah Zolkowski, a Neenah chemistry and mathematics major, treasurer; and Ryan Koehler of Oshkosh who is a chemistry major, serves as secretary. Jennifer Depew, an Appleton native majoring in political science and history, Danielle Dobinski, an Appleton nursing major, and Rebecca Tolfa of Jackson, a psychology major, are members-at-large. Stephen Kercher, a history department professor at UW Oshkosh, and interim director of the Office of Student Research and Creative Activity, is club adviser.
The club, open to all undergraduate students at UW Oshkosh, features a number of activities that promote collaboration and conversation. URECA! was started to promote research and research presentation experience for students of all disciplinary backgrounds. It also serves to increase student awareness of undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity at UW Oshkosh.
“Being a part of URECA! has given me a chance to learn about research that others students are doing in history, biochemistry and other disciplines,” Zolkowski said. “I have gained networking experience and have learned more about my own skills and interests. URECA! is unique because we forge interdisciplinary connections: nurses are talking to physicists, historians are interacting with chemists, and psychologists are conversing with biologists.”
URECA! has several interactive activities planned: a roundtable for sophomores and transfer students to hear presentations from UW Oshkosh professors and graduate students; poster practice sessions for undergraduate students who plan to present at high-level events including the UW System Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research; and brainstorming sessions for club members to pitch their research ideas among peers.