Seven seniors from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh hit the road Wednesday with their faculty mentors to share research findings on a variety of topics with legislators, state leaders and alumni in Wisconsin’s Capitol Rotunda.
The 19th annual Research in the Rotunda showcased the work of undergraduate researchers from across the UW System, which is a national leader in undergraduate research. Scholarly research and creative activities help hone students’ critical thinking skills, improve their information literacy and enhance their writing and communication skills.
Meet UWO’s student researchers:
▪️ Yanet Fernandez, a mathematics major with statistics emphasis from Oshkosh, studied A Computational Text Analysis of Congress’ Immigration Discourse on Twitter, with faculty mentor Jeremiah Bohr.
“We explored how Congress discusses immigration on Twitter. With immigration being such a polarized and relevant social issue in our nation, it is important to explore how individuals in power, such as members of Congress, express opinions and agendas online,” Fernandez said.
“I learned to stay organized and how to break up a colossal project into manageable chunks. There are tricks and strategies that I didn’t think of until I started doing the research. Being able to strategically tackle a project can save a researcher time and prevent frustration.”
▪️ Eric Giese, anthropology and geography major from West Bend, studied De-Glaciation in the Long Lake Area, with Colin Long.
“At the core of this research was a pilot study to determine the age of Long Lake, which not only predates the area kettle lakes surrounding it but also predates the last glacial maximum,” Giese said.
“My classroom work augmented my research as the diverse set of tools I learned in the classroom aided me knowing how to look at a problem from different perspectives.”
▪️ Catie Gullickson, history major from Oshkosh, studied The Grass is Always Greener: Agriculture and American 19th Century Immigration Pamphlets, with Michelle Kuhl.
“My research began with reflecting on Wisconsin’s immigrant history. Particularly, I was interested in understanding why the state had attracted such a high volume of German immigrants in the 19th century. I was also curious about the involvement of the government of the state of Wisconsin in encouraging German immigration to the state,” Gullickson said.
“Throughout the process of creating my research I gained first-hand experience of independent, historical research, which prepared me not only for my senior-seminar research but also for my future as a historian. This research project has helped me become a better writer and researcher.”
▪️ Meagan Leach, criminal justice and psychology major from Monroe, studied Crime after COVID-19: An Examination of Index Crimes in Winnebago County, with Matthew Richie.
“The main focus of my poster presentation was how COVID-19 impacted criminal activity. My research mentor, Dr. Richie, and I focused on crime within Winnebago County. After we gathered the data that spanned April 2018 through April 2022, we found that robbery, battery, burglary and domestic violence offenses had increased,” Leach said.
“During the research period, I realized that I had started to strengthen my reading comprehension and critical-thinking skills. I think that is key, especially within a college classroom environment. I realized that I could understand textbooks and academic journals better after starting this research project.”
▪️ Joseph Sandy, music composition major from Kaukauna, composed Edward Tulane Orchestral Suite, with Ed Martin.
“I explored the area of large-scale music for the purpose of writing one myself. The process of writing such a large piece of music requires much study and research into the body of works that has already been written, so I’ve become much more familiar with many composers throughout my work on this project,” Sandy said.
“I learned a lot about score study and how to take notes on pieces of music. I had always skated on by through my music history classes and theory classes without taking substantial notes, but I’ve been forced to buckle down and get serious with this gargantuan project.”
▪️ Adam Sobieski, microbiology major from Berlin, teamed up with Kendal Watwood, a biomedical science major from Centennial, Colorado, and their respective faculty mentors David Krause and Sabrina Mueller-Spitz, to study Physiological Changes in Deinococcus aquaticus Long-Term Stationary Phase Under Carbon Source Availability Stress.
“The research process allowed us to improve our laboratory skills and perform experiments and data analysis that many other classes do not provide us with the opportunity of doing. An example of a unique technique that we performed was Polymerase Chain Reaction, which allowed us to highlight strands of DNA for comparison,” Sobieski said.
“Our faculty advisers helped along the way by directing us towards what tests to run and also how to collect and analyze the data that our research presented.”
UW Oshkosh students have a variety of opportunities to think and create outside classroom walls. The Office of Student Research and Creative Activity helps students explore research options, connect with faculty mentors, locate funding and share their work with peers and the community.