News & Media

UW-Stevens Point student researchers shine in WiSys Quick Pitch

STEVENS POINT—Three UW-Stevens Point student researchers were recognized for their research communication skills during the WiSys Quick Pitch @ UW-Stevens Point on May 5.

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.

Elliott Becker, a junior, took home first place and a $300 prize for the presentation titled “Timing of Puberty in Mice Transgenic for CCL2.”

Becker’s faculty advisor is UW-Stevens Point Professor of Biology Dr. Karin Bodensteiner.

The win gives Becker the opportunity to represent UW-Stevens Point in the WiSys Quick Pitch State Finals during the WiSys SPARK Symposium at UW Oshkosh, Aug. 6-8.


Ruthie Zahm, a junior, won second place and a $125 prize for the pitch titled “How Family in a Gang Impacts Children's Well Being.”

Zahm’s faculty advisor is UW-Stevens Point Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Work Dr. Maggie Bohm-Jordan.


Lexi Kurzsweski, also a junior, earned third place and a $50 prize for the presentation “Multivariate Analysis of Children's Time Spent Outdoors.”

Kurzsweski’s faculty advisor is UW-Stevens Point Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Brad Mapes-Martins

The judges for the competition were:

  • Dr. Brian Sloss, Dean of the College of Natural Resources, UW-Stevens Point.
  • Dr. Marty Loy, Dean of the College of Professional Studies, UW-Stevens Point. 
  • Dr. Valerie Cisler, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, UW-Stevens Point.


As a nonprofit organization supporting research, innovation and entrepreneurship at Wisconsin’s regional public universities, WiSys set out to develop a program to incentivize and train student researchers to share their work to a lay audience including the public, mentors and policymakers.

WiSys first piloted the program at UW-Eau Claire in 2015. Since then, the program has been expanded to 10 other UW System institutions. The winners from the institutional competitions compete at the statewide finals held at WiSys’ annual summer symposium. Through the program, more than 80 students receive research communication training and experience each year. Nearly 500 UW System student researchers have participated since 2015.

The program’s objectives include:

  • Encouraging student researchers to recognize the value of their work.
  • Providing students tools for effectively communicating their research to the public without jargon.
  • Highlighting the depth and breadth of student research taking place at public universities.
  • Promoting information sharing to create new opportunities or collaborations.
  • Celebrating student work and accomplishments.

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.