Undergraduate Research

Why get involved in undergraduate research and creative activities?

Anyone who is curious and wants to explore an academic area in more depth than provided in the classroom should consider undergraduate research and creative activities with a faculty mentor. Undergraduate research is not just for scientists. Research may include library research, work in the community, a laboratory or art and creative writing. It is an opportunity to pursue an answer to a question you have about a particular topic.

Top 5 reasons to consider undergraduate research

  1. Build relationships with your research mentor, community members and/or others in the field.
  2. Apply what you have learned in the classroom and gain valuable skills.
  3. Work toward identifying a career path.
  4. Earn credit by doing research as an independent study or 299 course. Independent study courses vary in the number of credits granted, but usually can accommodate a busy schedule.
  5. Present research results at a local or national conference and improve your communication skills.

How do I get started?

  • Attend the panel presentation on undergraduate research in September.
  • Identify an area of interest.
  • Talk with faculty about their research interests.
  • Make an appointment to meet with the professor that you are interested in working with.
  • Ask if there are opportunities to do research and be prepared to discuss your interests.

Undergraduate Research Profiles

Dana Sickinger | Major: Speech and Linguistics Pathology

The most valuable experience of doing undergraduate research was the feeling of being a part of something that helped change the college experience for others. I was not a tutor in the Writing Pad when the research project started, but I was able to hop on board and was blown away with how the Writing Pad and its tutors have impacted the lives of a number of non-traditional students.

Kyle Lichtenberg | Major: Asian Studies

The perspectives gained through my involvement with research projects while attending Fox Cities campus have played an invaluable role in my college education, and to say that ‘lab experience’ is all that I attained would be a terrible understatement. Aside from being exposed to lab procedures not typically taught in the classroom, I learned much about myself and how my own interests could creatively be extended towards impacting positive differences for others in the community. My engagement also brought about an increased presence on campus that led to a diversity of strong and lasting friendships with faculty and staff members of all departments and with like-minded peers of differing backgrounds and academic paths. The work I participated in was endlessly motivating, and the results were far-reaching to say the least.

Mentor Research Profiles

Renee Gralewicz, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Research Area
As a cultural anthropologist my research areas are bound only by student imagination. I worked with students investigating the influence of music in contemporary American life, the effects of federal public school food regulations on local middle schools, and more recently how parenting style influences how children make friends. Other past topics included areas of religion, political activism, and body images. My goals with research is teaching research methodologies and then guiding student investigations in their areas of interest.

Teresa Weglarz, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Research Area
My research area is environmental sustainability. Working with students, I helped establish an active composting program on campus which has been used to facilitate scientific investigations. Recently, students monitored the composting process using simple laboratory tests and completed an analysis of the microbial community in compost in collaboration with UW Oshkosh. The finished compost, a valuable nutrient-rich soil amendment, is being used in the hoophouse on campus. I also have worked with the City of Menasha to complete an analysis of their recycling collection schedule to determine the cost-benefit of increasing the number of recycling pick-up dates.

Presentations and Posters
Growing Communities and Gardens Through Composting

Warren Vaz, Assistant Professor of Engineering

Research Statement
My research interests are applying artificial intelligence such as evolutionary algorithms to solve engineering problems. I am particularly interested in alternative or clean energy. My research group, comprising Fox Cities campus students, is working on several projects including an atmospheric testing drone, an electric vehicle, a muon detector, etc. Contact me if you have questions (warren.vaz@uwc.edu).

Journal Papers
Jabbr, A.I., Vaz, W.S., Khairallah, H.A., Koylu, U.O. Multi-objective optimization of operating parameters for hydrogen-fueled spark-ignition engines. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 41 (40), 18291-18299, 2016.

Vaz, W.S. Intersection traffic energy management system (ITEMS): formulation and validation. Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems (accepted).

Refereed Conference Papers and Presentations
Carter, J.K., Vaz, W.S., Alnaeli, S.M. Study of the vulnerabilities of open source engineering software packages: OpenFOAM 2011-2017. 27th Annual Wisconsin Space Conference, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, August 10-11, 2017.

Carter, J.K., McDaniel, E.S., Vaz, W.S., Alnaeli, S.M. Study of the vulnerabilities of open-source engineering software packages: OpenFOAM 2011-2018. Midwest Instruction and Computer Science Symposium, College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota, April 6-7, 2018.

Carter, J.K., Vaz, W.S., Alnaeli, S.M., Juckem, D.A. A portable cosmic ray detector for engineering, IoT, and science research. 17th Annual IEEE International Conference on Electro/Information Technology, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, May 3-5, 2018.

Carter, J.K., Alnaeli, S.M., Vaz, W.S. Empirically Examining the Quality of Source Code in Engineering Software Systems. 17th Annual IEEE International Conference on Electro/Information Technology, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, May 3-5, 2018.

Lenz, K.E., Juckem, D.A., McDaniel, E.S., Carter, J.K., Vaz, W.S., Schumacher, S.R. Obtaining a horizontal panoramic image in a high-power rocket after landing. Proceedings of the 28th Annual Wisconsin Space Conference, University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, Menasha, Wisconsin, August 10, 2018.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Fox Cities Campus
1478 Midway Road
Menasha, WI 54952
(920) 832-2600