UW-Stout Spring Showcase: Experience what the Polytechnic Advantage is all about

Multiple research and design events in April, May open to the public
Abbey Goers | April 8, 2024

Hands-on research is a standard part of UW-Stout’s Polytechnic Advantage. From day one, it’s wrapped into students’ applied learning experiences.

For standout student researcher Ethan Kalin, hands-on research opportunities in his undergrad boosted his confidence in his knowledge, skillset and love for science in countless ways, he said. 

Kalin, of St. Paul, will be one of nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate students presenting at Research Day, on Monday, April 29, in the Memorial Student Center Great Hall and ballrooms. 

The community is invited to meet with UW-Stout faculty, staff and students, as well as students from Chippewa Valley Technical College, as they present their research through more than 170 posters, exhibits, art and design displays, and oral and panel presentations.

Student presenting poster on Research Day
Nearly 300 students will present at Research Day on Monday, April 29.

Research Day, part of the Stout Spring Showcase, special events in April and May, celebrates student research, creativity and innovation.

Spring Showcase events also include:

Stout Spring Showcase

Join us for weeks of events that celebrate UW-Stout's polytechnic research, creativity and innovation.
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Polytechnic research showcase

Research Day hosts multiple events, including WiSys Quick Pitch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Quick Pitch is a three-minute, elevator-pitch-style competition open to undergraduate and graduate students in all programs.

The day also includes:

  • 1 to 2:45 p.m.: Oral presentations
  • 3 to 5:30 p.m.: Posters and exhibits
  • 5:45 to 6:30 p.m.: Outstanding Researcher awards ceremony

“The research component allows for a broader educational experience for UW-Stout students,” said Anne Hoeltke, director of Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. “Students are able to explore the effects of applying new thought processes and experience the practical application of their project. 

“This is one of the core foundations of being a polytechnic institution and is a high impact practice. It is also an opportunity for students to work with our wonderful faculty who can light the fire of curiosity in students and provide a lifetime of learning. Research is a powerful part of the educational experience and one we are proud to share with our students,” she said.

Research Day

UW-Stout's Research Day is an annual showcase that underscores the applied learning and research of Wisconsin's polytechnic students.
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The awards ceremony will recognize the following faculty and students:

  • Jerry Hui, music: Senior Outstanding Researcher
  • Dana Linnell, psychology: Emerging Outstanding Researcher
  • Jennifer Grant, biology: Outstanding Research Mentor
  • Genevieve Czaplewskiapplied social science, Grand Island, Neb.: College of Arts and Human Sciences Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher
  • Olivier Charestapplied science, La Prairie, Quebec: College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher
  • Brianna CapraM.F.A. design, Menomonie: Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher

Research Day is coordinated by UW-Stout’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. The UW-Stout event is a qualifier for the state meet to be held July 24-26, at UW-Superior.

UW-Stout students and faculty will also present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, April 8-11, in Long Beach, Calif. The 14 students will join more than 4,000 undergraduates from across the country, representing all disciplines with research ranging from urban stream restoration to the influence on first-generation college students to AI, mental health, civic knowledge and more.

Hands-on, cross-disciplinary research

Kalin will present three projects at Research Day, displaying his cross-disciplinary studies in environmental science, psychology and biology:

  • “Temporal Analysis of Toxin-Producing Cyanobacteria,” with mentor Nicole Hayes. Research focused on the relationship between blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, and the toxins it produces, particularly in lakes Menomin and Tainter in late summer.
  • “How Concussions Affect Balance,” with mentor Desiree Budd. Kalin analyzed data collected from college student athletes and observed how the contact levels of varying sports interact with the number of concussions experienced.
  • “Comparing Tissue Processing Methods Using Zebrafish Tissue,” with mentor Tiffany Hoage. Research of different tissue preparation methods allowed for analysis of parts of the fish body using a microscope to observe the creature’s intricate design at the cellular level.

Kalin is an applied science senior with a concentration in biology and a minor in cognitive neuroscience. He presented his temporal analysis at Research in the Rotunda on March 6, at the state Capitol.

Natalie Mercill, Ethan Kalin and Sarah Loreth
Students Natalie Mercill, Ethan Kalin and Sarah Loreth in the Cadaver Lab

“I believe that these projects and the many others I've had the chance to work on throughout my career have bolstered my preparedness for jobs and graduate-level programs,” Kalin said.

Kalin received two grants through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for research exploring the MCA1 gene, with Hayes; and zebrafish tissue processing methods, with Hoage and co-researcher Natalie Mercill, a biology major at UW-Eau Claire. The Stout University Foundation supports many student research and dissemination projects through its internal grant program.

Cadaver Lab offers students unique perspective on inner workings of the human body

Hands-on approach to learning prepares university students for careers in medicine, science and applied research
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“As faculty members, the very curiosity and passion that once launched our journey into research often takes a backseat amidst the demands of teaching and administrative responsibilities,” Budd said. “Then, a student like Ethan enters our classroom, full of curiosity and a passion for learning and exploration. In these moments, we are vividly reminded of the joy and wonder that initially propelled us into the realm of research. 

“Thus, the involvement of undergraduates in research not only nurtures the development of critical thinking and analytical skills in students but also revitalizes the spirit of inquiry within the academic community.”

Kalin is among eight student volunteers in the university’s Cadaver Lab, helping run tours for visiting high schools. As part of an independent project for his Honors College contract, he completed a dissection and then presentation of the central nervous system with Dr. Alex Hall in the Cadaver Lab, studying the brain from an individual with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Ethan Kalin with students in the Cadaver Lab
Ethan Kalin helps lead a tour for high school students in the Cadaver Lab

“Getting to dissect and study a human brain with such a well-known neurological condition has been a huge steppingstone in my understanding of neural anatomy and further solidified my passion for research in neuroscience,” he said.

Kalin will graduate in May and is applying to graduate schools for a doctorate program in neural molecular biology, neuroscience or other related subjects.

Fashion, gaming and visual arts events

Fashion design and development students’ clothing collections will be featured at the WEAR Fashion Show, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, in the Memorial Student Center Great Hall. 

Juniors and seniors will show their design collections, modeled by the designers themselves, friends, family and alumni. Seniors will model their capstone projects – full collections, complete with brand names. The event is hosted by the WEAR Fashion Association student organization. Tickets are required for WEAR and are available to purchase online.

Students walking the runway at WEAR Fashion Show
WEAR Fashion Show is on Saturday, April 27.

Join the fun at Stout Game Expo, western Wisconsin's largest game developers' event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, in the Memorial Student Center Great Hall and ballrooms.

SGX features the works of about 250 first-year to senior students in game design and development-art; and the game design concentration in computer science. They will share their tabletop games, board and card games, conventional video games, virtual reality experiences and rhythm games.

Fifteen game design students attended the Game Developers Conference and Independent Games Festival in San Francisco recently, with professors Andrew Williams and Karl Koehle. They also visited Ubisoft Studio, the Cartoon Art Museum, a vintage arcade at Fisherman's Wharf and attended a concert featuring Nintendo themes played by a string trio.

Students playing a card game at the Stout Game Expo
Stout Game Expo is on Thursday, May 2.

SOAD Senior Show features capstone projects by nearly 120 graduating School of Art and Design seniors, 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 3. Meet with students and talk about their creative works in exhibits throughout Applied Arts and Micheels Hall:

  • Ceramics and enameling: AA room 101
  • Painting and sculpture: AA room 121
  • Printmaking: AA rooms 202 and 203
  • Photography: AA room 205
  • Studio Art: AA Gallery 209
  • Video production and animation: AA room 210
  • Industrial and product design: AA room 216
  • “Illuminate”: AA room 217
  • Interior design: AA rooms 219 and 220
  • Graphic design and interactive media: AA room 221E
  • Furniture design: AA room 226  
  • Comics: AA room 234   
  • Game design: Micheels room 184
  • Animation production: Micheels room 290

Fine art sales by students will be held throughout the buildings, and cow sculptures will be on display in the Furlong atrium.

Student presenting their design at SOAD Senior Show
SOAD Senior Show is on Friday, May 3.

UW-Stout’s Furlong Gallery will host the Student Artist in Residence Exhibition and the Best of Design Juried Exhibition, Monday, April 29, to Saturday, Sept. 7. A reception and awards ceremony will be from 5 to 9 p.m. during SOAD Senior Show.

Human Sciences Day

Human Sciences Day, on Tuesday, April 16, is a professional development opportunity for students in the College of Arts and Human Sciences to explore career opportunities in nonprofit, government, public and private companies. 

Students can meet with more than 25 employers, both local and out-of-state, for one-on-one interviews from 2 to 4 p.m., and attend the three employer panels.

Employers interested in participating may reach out to Abby Tengwall, with Career Services.

Concert performances

The Symphonic Singers, Chamber Choir and Devil Tones Acappella will present their concert Green Grass and Blue Water at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 910 E. 9th St., in Menomonie.

The Symphonic Band will present Stars and Sky at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, in the Memorial Student Center Great Hall.

The Blue Devil Jazz Orchestra will present Jazz from Harvey at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the historic Harvey Hall Theatre.

Concert tickets are available online at uwstout.universitytickets.com and the door.

Performing Arts

Take the stage at UW-Stout with our choir, band, and theatre programs.
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Spoken and written word presentations

The Communications Skills Showcase celebrates students’ work in first-year writing and public speaking classes. The showcase will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, in the Memorial Student Center ballrooms A and B. It is free and open to the public.

Awards will be given to the top three speakers, as chosen by a panel of judges. In its first year, the Andrea Deacon Writing Award will honor students for their essays. The award is named for Professor Andrea Deacon, who passed away from cancer in 2021. Deacon was the driving force behind the first-year writing program at UW-Stout.

Unspooled Film and Animation Festival

The Unspooled Film and Animation Festival will be held Thursday, May 9, to Saturday, May 11. The annual juried event features films and animations made by regional and international independent storytellers – professionals and students, alike. Films are screened at UW-Stout’s historic Harvey Hall Theatre. The event also offers workshops and guest speakers.

  • May 9, 4 to 9 p.m.: Student films and awards, Harvey Hall Theatre
  • May 10, 4 to 9 p.m.: Independent films and awards, Harvey Hall Theatre and Brewery Nønic
  • May 11, 1 to 9 p.m.: Animation films and awards, Harvey Hall Theatre and Zymurgy Brewing

Unspooled Film & Animation Festival

A UW-Stout supported community event showcasing innovative works of film and animation by students and independent producers.
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