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UW-Eau Claire student researchers earn praise for research communication skills

EAU CLAIRE—Seven UW-Eau Claire student researchers were recognized for their communication skills in the WiSys Quick Pitch on April 26.

The student “pitch” competition inspires UW System students to consider the impact of their research and effectively communicate it to the public. Students have three minutes to impress a panel of judges with their pitch.

PHOTOS: WiSys Quick Pitch @ UW-Eau Claire 2022

The students competed in two categories: 

  • Social Sciences and Humanities.
  • Science and Technology.

Jaden Mikoulinskii earned first place in the Social Sciences and Humanities category with the presentation “The First Generation Student Experience at UW-Eau Claire: A Case Study.” The first place finish comes with a $300 prize.

Benjamin Brown placed second in the category for the presentation “Spatial Perspectives on Hispanic Participation in Western Wisconsin Catholic and Protestant Churches.” Brown receives a $125 prize.

In the Science and Technology category, Laura Pryor took first place and a $300 prize with the presentation “Hold On and Swipe: A Touch-Movement Based Continuous Authentication Schema.”

Nichol He and Connor Kamrowski placed second in the category with their joint presentation “A Deep Learning Model for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Chemotherapy Outcome Prediction.” The duo will split a $125 prize.

The first place winners have the opportunity to advance to the WiSys Quick Pitch State Finals in August at the WiSys SPARK Symposium, WiSys’ annual celebration of research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the UW System.

Two other students were recognized at the event for their efforts. Esam Alfalah and Kelsey Cicigoi earned the Most Improved Award for their presentation “Can A Wet Wipe Keep a Firefighter Safe After the Fire?”

The pair received the award for taking the biggest leap from training to the pitch event. All competitors in the WiSys Quick Pitch receive expert advice and feedback to help craft their presentation in the weeks leading up to the event.

Overall, 24 students participated in the event that included 20 research pitches. Two students presented multiple projects. 

The other presenters and presentations included:

  • Michael Brandt and Alec Vandenheuvel, “Floral Aromas and Funky Flavors, an analysis of the X-Zyme Brewing Adjunct and Its Associated Enzyme Activity.”
  • Zachary Fellenz, “Working together: Finding Ways for Hospitals and UW System Schools to Work Together to Prepare for Future Public Emergencies.”
  • Grace Thompson, “Smartphones, Attention, and Brain Electrical Responses.”
  • Connor Kamrowski and Avi Mohan, “Detection of Inferior Vena Cava Filters on CT scans using an Artificial Intelligence Algorithm.”
  • Noah Hall, “Holocaust Archaeology: GPR Subsurface Imaging of the Mila 18 Memorial in Warsaw, Poland.”
  • Drew Smith, “Development of Biocompatible Surgical Foam for Utilization in Tumor Ablation.”
  • Paige Panzehagen and Madelin Cieslicki, “The Effect of Empathy Perspective Taking on Racial Prejudice.”
  • Rebecca Sheetz, “Cell Phone Usage: Associations with Cognition and Sleep.”
  • Evan Coursin, “Analysis of Filament Homogeneity in Composite Bi-2212 Wires.”
  • Mallory Woodle, “Investigating the Internal Stratigraphy of Foredunes of the Duluth Barrier System: Application of Ground Penetrating Radar on Aeolian Landforms Critical for Protecting Vulnerable Lakeshore Communities.”
  • Avi Mohan and Matt DeWitte, “Using Deep Transfer Learning for Unsupervised Image Segmentation in Remote Sensing.”
  • Samantha Maurer, “A 3D Printed Arduino Powered Electronic Barth Sextic.”
  • Martin Kocher, “Restoration of the Salton Sea: A Stakeholder Engagement Model for Sustainable Development.”
  • Danielle Lehto, “Watching Films for Batteries.”
  • Jinkai Si, “Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Amorphous Metal-Polysulfides as Cathode Materials for Lithium Batteries.”

The judges for the event were:

  • Michael Carney, Interim Assistant Chancellor for Strategic Partnerships and Program Development, UW-Eau Claire.
  • Neil Lipinski, President, BluGold Real Estate Foundation, Inc.
  • Laura Talley, Market President, BMO Harris Bank.
  • William "Chops" Hancock , Board Member, Blugold Real Estate Foundation, Inc.

For more information about the WiSys Quick Pitch Program, visit

WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.