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UW-Stout’s Emily Lehmann wins Quick Pitch State Final at 2019 WSTS

Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for WEDC, presents Emily Lehmann, right, with the first prize in the WiSys Quick Pitch State Final. WEDC sponsored the state final event.

MENOMONIE—UW-Stout graduate student Emily Lehmann’s presentation on the effects of secondary listeria contamination in cheese won first place at the WiSys Quick Pitch State Final on July 22.

This year’s competition, which included 11 students and 10 “pitches” from nine different schools, took place at UW-Stout during WiSys’ annual celebration of research and innovation, known as WSTS.

“Listeria monocytogenes is a dangerous pathogen that causes the serious, and even deadly illness, Listeriosis. Contamination of ready to eat food such as cheddar cheese is a huge concern in the spread of this pathogen,” according to Lehmann’s presentation abstract.

In addition to being a student, Lehmann is a quality assurance supervisor at the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. Lehmann is seeking a master’s degree in food science and technology and has been working with UW-Stout Assistant Professor Dr. Taejo Kim. 

Prior to attending UW-Stout, Lehmann graduated from UW-River Falls with a bachelor’s in animal science, meat science emphasis with a food science and a chemistry minor.

“Emily’s knowledge and passion stood out during the presentation on stage,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “Explaining the value of your research and doing it succinctly is difficult under normal conditions, but Emily was completely composed in front of a crowd of more than 200 UW System faculty, staff and students.”


Alexander Siebers presents his research on stage during the WiSys Quick Pitch State Final at UW-Stout.

UW Oshkosh student Alexander Siebers took second place in the competition with his presentation on math teacher training programs.

Siebers’ project seeks to analyze secondary math teacher education programs at UW System universities by investigating how well they prepare teachers for the classroom.

“Traditionally, secondary math teaching programs at the university level have consisted of mainly upper-level mathematics courses that have little correspondence with the mathematics that is covered in middle and high school,” according to Siebers’ project abstract.

Siebers’ faculty advisor for the project is UW Oshkosh Assistant Professor Dr. Stephanie Bernander.

“Not only is Alexander’s research impressive, but he was able to communicate it in a thought-provoking manner. It is safe to say that many were interested and impressed by Alexander’s work,” Sanga said.


Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for WEDC, presents Lucas Frey, left, with the third prize in the WiSys Quick Pitch State Final. WEDC sponsored the state final event.

UW-Platteville software engineering and mathematics major Lucas Frey earned third place in the competition.

Frey’s project explored the connection between user interface design and errors in electronic medical records.

“We found that users prefer traditionally sized, colored and spaced text, standard radio buttons or checkboxes for questions and a traditionally located navigation button in the bottom right corner of the window. This study developed an understanding of and measured the optimal ergonomic and cognitive information presentation for healthcare providers to navigate electronic medical records efficiently,” according to Frey’s project abstract.

“The ability Lucas had to translate a somewhat complicated topic into an engaging three-minute presentation was admirable. When you can communicate your ideas as well as Lucas, there is no telling what you can accomplish,” said Sanga.

Frey also won the competition’s People’s Choice Award based on an audience vote.

UW-Platteville Assistant Professor Dr. Suboh Alkhushayni is Frey’s faculty advisor.


The WiSys Quick Pitch competition allows students to hone their communication skills and increase exposure for their research and ideas. The competitors race the clock to expertly explain their project in three minutes or less to a panel of judges. 

Students qualify for the state final through local competitions on campuses across the UW System.

The state final competition was sponsored by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The judges for the competition included WARF’s Jennifer Gottwald, UW System’s David Brukardt, Realityworks’ Timm Boettcher and Idella Yamben from the Center for Technology Commercialization.

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.