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Celebrate ScholarshipUndergraduate research has taken, and is taking, Ryan Fochs far.


The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh senior student’s investigation of the vocalizations of gibbons and his related research on other primates has transported him, in the span of a year or so, to Borneo, Nicaragua and, next up, Africa. He’ll spend next year with the prestigious Max Planck Institute studying chimpanzee and bonobo behavior and doing related endocrinology work.

“I thought it was going to be a really cool rejection letter, honestly, but they were like, ‘Yeah. Let’s do it,’” Fochs said.

“It’s very exciting and fulfilling,” he said, during April 24’s UW Oshkosh’s Celebration of Scholarship Awards Ceremony, in which he earned one of two $125 Clow Science Awards for his gibbon research with faculty mentor Stephanie Spehar. “It’s nice to see it come around and that what I’m doing is worth it, especially as I’m trying to get into graduate programs now. It gives me a better foot in the door… I’ve had amazing opportunities, and they helped open the door. I’ve got a really cool job; I’ll be in Africa for the next year working… Everything just kind of snowballed into it.”

Fochs was one of nine students to receive Celebration of Scholarship Awards April 24. The annual event gives dozens of UW Oshkosh students an opportunity to showcase research or creative activities in an exhibition or presentation setting. This year, Celebration of Scholarship featured 64 poster presentations, 11 oral presentations, two artistic presentations and 10 visual art presentations.

The event also serves as the fitting finale of the academic year’s research-showcase circuit. UW Oshkosh undergraduate research, once again, earned spotlight in Oshkosh Scholar, the institution’s annual undergraduate research journal and in a whirlwind spring tour of state and national events and conferences, including UW System’s Posters in the Rotunda and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery of the 2014 Celebration of Scholarship poster, oral and creative presentations.


Below, is a listing of the Celebration of Scholarship 2014 award winners. For the complete listing of featured undergraduate research and creative activities, click HERE.

Graduate School Awards ($200 each)

Carol Hollar-Zwick (Faculty Mentor Dr. Marguerite Helmers)
“Persuaded to Prepare: Rhetoric and a Cold War Fallout Shelter”
English Oral Presentation

Elizabeth Weir (Faculty Mentor Dr. Courtney Kurtz)
“Seasonal Changes in FoxP3 Expression in Small Intestine of Hibernating Ground Squirrels”
Biology Poster Presentation (P1)

Undergraduate Awards ($100 each)

Lauren Bane (Faculty Mentor Dr. Eric Hiatt)
“Biochemical Minerals and Nearshore Processes in a 1.7 Billion-Year-Old Marine Deposit: Implications for the Oceanography During Oxygenation of the Earth from the McKay Formation, Northern Territory, Australia”
Geology Poster Presentation (P29)

Peter DeVries (Faculty Mentor Dr. Eric Hiatt)
“Carbonate Diagenesis and Limestone Formation in a Sub-Polar Ocean System: Middleton Island, Gulf of Alaska”
Geology Poster Presentation (P30)

Ryan Steiskal (Faculty Mentor Dr. Joseph Peterson)
“Illustrations for the Article ‘Distributions of Cranial Pathologies Provide Evidence for Head-Butting in Dome-Headed Dinosaurs’”
Visual Art

Beth Molnar (Faculty Mentor Dr. Alan Lareau)
“‘America Is No Magic Land’: Oshkosh’s German-Language Newspaper in 1889” Foreign Languages and Literatures Oral Presentation

Clow Awards ($125 each)

Ryan Fochs (Faculty Mentor Dr. Stephanie Spehar)
“Can Bioacoustic Parameters Distinguish Different Species? A Case Study Using the Bornean Gibbon Long Call”
Anthropology Oral Presentation

Kristie Wirth (Faculty Mentor Dr. Erin Winterrowd)
“Reducing Homophobia Through Simple Interventions”
Psychology Poster Presentation (P52)

Nursing Research Award ($200)

Rebecca Carpenter and Elizabeth Pieper (Faculty Mentor Dr. Mary Kate Friess)
“Evaluation of Diabetes Management in a Clinic for the Underinsured Nursing”
Poster Presentation (P39)