Undergraduate Research Day

Shannan Lojeski, News Editor

Research is important and is a practice that deserves to be recognized.

That was the motto that underscored all presentations at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Undergraduate Research Day (URD) held Thursday, March 21 in the University Center Hamilton Room.

“Today is a celebration of the outstanding research of the arts, the sciences, education, business and the social sciences. All of this stems from the passionate work of UW-Whitewater students,” said Interim Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Green.

From noon to 3:30 p.m., individuals as well as groups of student researchers and student-faculty teams gave oral and art presentations that were judged for their clarity and coverage of the topics picked.

In a brief presentation, junior and URD finalist Andrea Crase shared a study she conducted on evictions in rural communities.

“To do this I went to 44 eviction hearings across northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. When I was at those hearing I took notes on things like the outcome, time spent, the observed sex of the landlord and tenants, and then who had legal representation and who did not,” said Crase. “I also conducted interviews with two judges, a lawyer, a landlord and a clerk to kind of gain further insight. Some major results were that eviction hearings last only 4 minutes and 32 seconds on average and that 54.5% of the time, landlords won and got exactly what they wanted while the tenant never won. Also interesting was that tenants getting evicted were females 65% of the time and the landlords were mostly male.”

A group of URD finalists explained research done on the trend of vaping for the 18-24 age group on campus and in the Whitewater community. This group included junior Alexis Nelson, sophomore Hannah Sake and senior Lauren Vander Linden.

“Mostly we have a lot of background information right now on the types of juices there are, the different types of vapes and the different ingredients that are in the juices that we will use to do further studies in the future,” said Nelson. “During the research process, we met with our Communication Sci & Disorders professor Dr Michael Hammer. We worked really hard to finalize the data that we wanted to use and he helped us to figure out what would be the best target questions to go after. We finalized our hypothesis that we want to look at and we have surveys finalized that we want to send out.”

Sake explained the groups interest in this topic and questions they have for their future studies.

“We’re interested in studying the health effects in the future because that’s something that’s not known about vaping. More specifically, we’re interested in how it affects voice, sense of smell, taste, and touch sensors in the larynx which are your survival thresholds and help you cough up things that shouldn’t be going into your lungs. So we wonder if those survival functions will be affected if this becomes a very regular habit for some people” said Sake.

In attendance at URD was Assistant Vice Chancellor for the department of Student Diversity, Engagement and Success Dr. LaVar Charleston who shared his full support in the celebration and value of URD.

“I believe that undergraduate research is one of the most important high impact educational practices because it enables you to do a variety of different things. It enhances student learning experiences through mentoring relationships with faculty and it encourages research for faculty as well as promotes greater engagement with students, colleagues and the community” Charleston said.