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ShannaGeier_Pg11_150Human trafficking is a taboo subject and the issue will only get worse without more education, said University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Shanna Geier ’15.

Geier graduated in October from UWO’s accelerated nursing program and currently works as a registered nurse at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Kenosha.

In April, she presented her research on human trafficking at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Asheville, N.C. She was one of six UWO students to present at the prestigious conference.

Faith Edwards, Geier’s UWO faculty mentor, said she supported Geier in the research and editing process. She also helped her find opportunities to share her results.

“Shanna is an outstanding student,” Edwards said. “My job was to support and edit the project.”

Edwards said it is important for undergraduates to have the opportunity to do research, because they need to think critically and have common sense in the workforce.

“Research provides students with opportunity in gathering information through a literature review, critically appraising the research and developing an idea or plan to present the issue, in this case human trafficking, to the awareness of the public,” Edwards said.

The topic of human trafficking came to Geier’s attention through a woman in her church who made her aware of the local epidemic.

“It hit close to home, because I have two daughters of my own who could be targets in the future,” Geier said.

Geier then did background research both worldwide and locally on human trafficking. She held an educational seminar for teenagers who are considered at highest risk to be targeted for human trafficking and their guardians. She tested knowledge about human trafficking before and after the participants attended the seminar.

There was a 42-percent increase in knowledge on the subject after the seminar. Geier said while she expected people to learn something from it, she did not expect the average score on the knowledge test before the seminar to be only 54 percent.

“This meant that these individuals knew very little about basic resources they could contact or even a simplified definition of human trafficking,” Geier said. “In my opinion, this aggregate, although not determined to be statistically significant, represents the average individual.”

Geier has been working with her church to further the education on human trafficking. “We were able to put on a forum for the community and are continuing to promote Hope Run Kenosha as a fun way to raise awareness as well,”she added. Greier recently started graduate school at Bradley University in Illinois to pursue a doctor of nursing practice degree.

 By UW Oshkosh alumni STEP writer Jenny Goldade