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Six University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students who have worked on research on a variety of topics were accepted and will present at the 12th-annual Posters in the Rotunda April 22.

The event, which showcases outstanding undergraduate student researchers from across the UW System, along with their faculty advisers, will fill the Capitol Rotunda to share research findings on a variety of topics with legislators, state leaders, alumni and others from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

TK Pittcon 2015


UW Oshkosh student Thomas Kuborn, a senior majoring in chemistry and minoring in physics, said he is excited about his research and the Posters in the Rotunda opportunity.

“My research is based upon using a form of chemical analysis, known as High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), as a means of identifying bacteria. Many forms of bacteria produce a number of unique pigments. Using HPLC analysis in the past we’ve identified a number of pigments unique to certain groups of bacteria. Since these pigments are unique to these groups, if these pigments are found in any kind of bacteria they must also belong to that group. Using this method, one can quickly identify a large number of bacterial samples much more cheaply than traditional DNA analysis,” he said.

Kuborn said he first began participating in undergraduate research in 2013 as a way to prepare himself for graduate school in his future.

“I’ve spent many hours late at night toiling away in the lab… This work has solidified in my mind not only that I should definitely go to graduate school, but also that I should pursue a Ph.D.,” he said. “As time passed, I’ve become much more independent in my studies thanks to the research that I’ve done. I’ve become more involved and invested in my major than ever before.”

“I’ve gotten to know not only my research adviser, Dr. Kevin Crawford, but a majority of the chemistry faculty. This sort of opportunity is not something that I would have gotten at larger universities.”

Matt Wilfuer, a senior athletic training major, also will be represented at the April 22 event. His poster will revolve around his thesis research project, which looked at the effects of fatigue on balance and cognitive ability.

“We had subjects perform balance and cognitive ability tests, run on a treadmill to achieve fatigue and then rerun the tests to look for any differences. I thought it was a long and difficult process to be approved in order to perform the experiment and record/present the results, but overall I thought it was a great and worthwhile experience,” he said.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to display this poster and share my experiences while in Madison.”

Besides Kuborn and Wilfuer, four other UW Oshkosh students will participate in this year’s Posters in the Rotunda. Those students are: Nicholas Horswill, Optimization of Catalyst for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells; Nicholas Grosskopf, Observing Nebulosities: the Spectacular Cygnus Suberbubble; Lauren Bane, Biogeochemical Mineral Formation in Phosphorites from West Coast of Peru, South America: Implications for Understanding Ancient Analogs and Economic Deposits; and Brooke L. Wollner, Peace Justice, and Understanding in Northern Ireland.

While UW Oshkosh is not known as a “research university,” there is plenty of research that goes on throughout the year across campus; Posters in the Rotunda is just one of many ways students get to showcase their work. (Read about a student’s opportunity to present at the upcoming Posters on the Hill and about the recent National Conference on Undergraduate Research)

“Students sharing their work is important because a rewarding research process culminates with a presentation of the work,” said Susan Surendonk, administrator of the Oshkosh Student Scholarly and Creative Activities Program at UW Oshkosh. “At the Posters in the Rotunda event, Wisconsin legislators will learn about the good work that is being done on this and other UW System campuses.”

As a whole, the UW System is a national leader in undergraduate research, which contributes to the state’s priorities, including retention, graduate rates, workforce and economic development.