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Research in the Rotunda, held every spring in Madison, is one of several student research showcase opportunities for UW Oshkosh students guided by history professor Stephen Kercher.

Stephen Kercher, a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh history professor and director of the University’s Office of Student Research and Creative Activity, has been named a 2022 Innovation Champion by WiSys.

The award recognizes UW System leaders, faculty, staff, students and community partners who play an integral role in building a culture of innovation. WiSys is a nonprofit that works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of UW System schools to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across Wisconsin.

Stephen Kercher

Kercher said he is incredibly honored to be recognized as an Innovation Champion.

“I have enjoyed my working collaboration with WiSys leaders over the years,” he said, “and it has been a real pleasure to witness how the spirit of innovation that WiSys cultivates has inspired the research of students and faculty here at UW Oshkosh, even during the challenging times we have endured in recent years.”

Kercher has been a strong advocate of the WiSys Quick Pitch Program, which encourages students to consider the impact of their research and learn how to communicate it to the public. The program trains students to present their research succinctly and without scientific jargon so it can be better understood. Presenters also compete for prizes with three-minute pitches in front of a panel of judges.

He also has been an active participant in planning other WiSys programming, including last year’s virtual edition of the WiSys SPARK Symposium, an annual celebration of research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Kercher was recognized last month at an awards banquet during the WiSys SPARK Symposium at UW-La Crosse.

“Dr. Kercher has been a strong supporter of WiSys programs and has worked passionately to expand opportunities for students at UW Oshkosh,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “He is a great champion for UW Oshkosh’s student researchers and innovators.”

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