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WiSys wraps up 8th Annual WSTS, congratulates competition winners

The 8th Annual Wisconsin Science & Technology Symposium, held at UW-River Falls this year, was a resounding success. A record 207 attendees with more than 100 students enjoyed scientific presentations, panel discussions and networking activities throughout the two-day conference. The WiSys Technology Foundation poster competition featured a record 61 student research posters with first, second and third prizes going to students from UW-Oshkosh, UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse, respectively.

Sara Arafeh (pictured above), Brandon Brummeyer and Toivo Kallas of UW-Oshkosh took first place with their research on Optimization of Novel Cyanobacteria for Increased Production of Isoprene for Biofuels. Daniel Heinze, Elizabeth Laskowski and Elizabeth Glogowski of UW-Eau Claire took second place, presenting their research on the Synthesis and Study of Smart Polymers. Taking third place, Rachel Neve, Brian Peterson, Morgan Herried and Robert McGaff of UW-La Crosse presented their poster on Green Catalytic Oxidation of Alcohols.

"Each year we want to showcase a University of Wisconsin campus." WiSys Executive Director Arjun Sanga said. "This year we added an ice cream making contest- 'Spoon Wars'- to highlight UW-River Falls' Dairy Science program."

The first ever Spoon Wars ice cream competition challenged participants with flavors like cayenne pepper, bourbon and endless mix-ins. Teams of students, UW System administrators and other academics took on the challenge, but only one team could be crowned "Top Scoop."

UW-Eau Claire students Christopher Hopp (left) and Gavriel DePrenger-Gottfried (right) along with UW-Stout student Daniel Weispfenning (not pictured) , concocted the winning flavor, dubbed "True Breakfast Blue." The name will be trademarked by WiSys as part of the prize for winning the competition. Their ice cream, consisting of maple syrup, butter fudge swirl, chocolate expresso flakes and blueberries, was voted by a panel of judges as the best concoction.

Spoon Wars participants got the opportunity to experience UW-River Falls' on-campus Dairy Pilot Plant and learn more about what goes into making ice cream there every day.

"I chose to be a part of the competition because I wanted to get the most out of what WSTS was offering. Seeing the Dairy Pilot Plant was definitely cool, though the building itself was a bit warm," Deprenger-Gottfried said. "Ice cream was definitely the right food for the weather."