News & Media

UW-Eau Claire student researchers win campus awards in WiSys Quick Pitch

Seven UW-Eau Claire students were recognized for excellence in research communication during the WiSys Quick Pitch on April 7.

The student “pitch” competition inspires UW System students to consider the impact of their research and effectively communicate it to the public via three-minute presentations.

Twenty-four student researchers competed in two categories—Science & Technology and Social Sciences & Humanities.

Chemistry and physics student Carl Fossum took first place and a $300 prize in the Science & Technology category with the presentation titled “Understanding the Severity of COVID-19: A Point of View Through the Lens of a Computational Chemist.”

Biochemistry and molecular biology students Sydney Dame and Danielle Zahn took second place and a $100 prize in the category as a team for the presentation “Assessment of Air Exchange Rate and COVID-19 Transmission.”

In the Social Sciences & Humanities category, the team of Maddie Culhane and Caleb Kulich took first place and the $300 prize for the presentation “Investigating Trends and Patterns in Chinese and American Climate Change Views Over Time Using an Index of Acceptance, Knowledge, Concern and Obligation.” Culhane is a marketing and environmental justice student, while Kulich is an organizational communication student.

Geology students Mark Fiore and Katrina Kawak took second place and the $100 prize for their team-up on the presentation “Analysis of Lunchtime Waste-Sorting Habits at the University Student Center.”

The first place winners are eligible to advance to the virtual WiSys Quick Pitch State Final on May 26 to compete against student researchers from across the UW System.

“UW-Eau Claire worked with WiSys to pilot this popular event in 2015," said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. "Six years later, it’s exciting to see the event still going strong with a high level of participation and excellent presentations from student researchers. Congratulations to all of the participants for finding a way to engage in this important research communication competition.”

This year’s campus-level WiSys Quick Pitches are taking place virtually due to continued concerns about the pandemic. The UW-Eau Claire competitors presented during the same showcase as students at three other UW System schools—UW-Green Bay, UW-Parkside, UW-River Falls. Winners were selected from each campus.

For more information about the WiSys Quick Pitch Program or to watch the student presentations, 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.