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UW-Stout research on Red Cedar watershed receives boost from National Science Foundation

Photo courtesy of UW-Stout.

The National Science Foundation has renewed a grant of more than $300,000 for the LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The grant has been renewed for three more years, from 2017 to 2019, upon the completion of the initial grant cycle which ran from 2014 to 2016.

The LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates program, which hosts 10 to 11 students for eight weeks each summer, is an integral part of the ongoing efforts in West-central Wisconsin to improve water quality and reduce blue-green algae in the Red Cedar River watershed. Students selected for the program use the experience to prepare for graduate school, and have produced 31 research projects during the three years that the program has been funded.

Nels Paulson, associate professor of social science at UW-Stout and co-director of LAKES, is thrilled to be able to continue the project.

"Our research has provided some important data-driven inertia for increasing civic engagement on this issue in Menomonie [County,] Dunn County, and in other places in the Red Cedar basin," Paulson said. "We've been able to show the economic payoff in cleaning up the watershed."

Alexis Econie of Illinois State University, a 2016 Lakes participant, had research featured at Posters on the Hill, one of just 60 collegiate research projects presented at the U.S. Capitol. She praised her LAKES experience as life-changing.

"It's easily one of the top two most influential academic experiences of my entire education to date. Because of the LAKES REU, I know that I have the drive and capacity to make a positive change through academic research," she said.

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