News & Media

UW-Stout student researchers recognized for exemplary display of communication skills in WiSys Quick Pitch

MENOMONIE—Two UW-Stout student researchers received recognition and awards for their communication skills in the WiSys Quick Pitch @ UW-Stout on May 3. 

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.

 Joshua Bernin, a Master’s Degree student in Food Science and Technology, took first place in the event.

Bernin reported on findings from the project “Developing Protein Rich Higher Fiber and Antioxidant Cranberry Pomace Infused Soy Flour and Rice Flour Blend Extruded Fried Snack.” The objective of this study was to find alternative snacks with high protein, high antioxidant, and high fiber while using cranberry infused soy flour and rice flour blend. 

Bernin’s faculty advisor is UW-Stout Assistant Professor of Food and Nutrition Dr. Mitra Pranabendu.

Bernin was awarded a $300 cash prize for the first-place finish and earned the right to compete at the WiSys Quick Pitch State Final, which will take place at the WiSys SPARK Symposium, July 31-Aug. 2.

Bernin also received the event’s People’s Choice Award, voted on by those in attendance. The award, which was sponsored by the UW-Stout Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, came with a prize from the campus bookstore.

William Kunkel, a senior studying mechanical engineering, earned second place and a $125 prize.

Kunkel presented “High Performance Computing Policies in Undergraduate Education.” The presentation focused on the limited utilization of high performance computing resources at universities.

This project seeks to identify policies in universities worldwide, develop surveys for feedback from various stakeholders and make recommendations for increasing collaboration in high performance computing resources in the UW System.

Kunkel’s faculty advisor is UW-Stout Assistant Professor of Engineering and Technology Dr. Abhimanyu Ghosh.

Overall, eight students presented in the event. Other presenters were:

  • Sadhana Thokachichu, “Optimization of Brewers Spent Grain Fortification to Develop Value-added Breakfast Cereal Using a Single Screw Extrusion Process Based on Physicochemical, Nutritional and Sensory Properties.”
  • Logan Willits, “The Effects of Title 3 Funding on Senior Students' College Attainment.”
  • Daniel Walker, “To Have or Have Not: Local Residents' Response to the Covid-19 Vaccine.”
  • Monik Ruparel, “Development of New Carbonated Non-Dairy Frozen Yogurt.”
  • Siddharth Tiwari, “Impacts of Financial Education and Course of Study on Age of Marriage.”
  • Luke Bickelhaupt, “Extrusion Process Optimization of Nutritionally Dense Cranberry Pomace Infused Breakfast Cereal.”

The judges for the event were:

  • Katherine P. Frank, Chancellor, UW-Stout.
  • Kevin Drzakowski, Interim Associate Dean, College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences, UW-Stout.
  • Anne Hoeltke, Director, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, UW-Stout.

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.