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UW-Whitewater’s Faith Jones, Natalie Franke, and Mia Ciancio receive accolades at WiSys Quick Pitch

Whitewater-UW-Whitewater students Faith Jones, Natalie Franke, and Mia Ciancio were recognized for their research and presentation skills during the WiSys Quick Pitch competition on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

The competition, which took place in conjunction with UW-Whitewater’s Undergraduate Research Day, featured seven undergraduate students across all areas of study who pitched their research to a room full of attendees and three judges in three minutes or less.

Senior Faith Jones earned first place and $300 for her pitch, titled “Understanding Religion and Spirituality in Social Work.” In her pitch, Jones discussed how it can be difficult for social workers to discuss religion and spirituality because of personal boundaries or ethics. Her research project explores this topic on the university and professional levels.

Jones’s faculty advisor is Dr. Sarah Hessenauer, a professor and MSW program coordinator for the social work program at Whitewater.

With her first-place achievement, Jones has secured a spot in the WiSys Quick Pitch State Final, which will be held during the WiSys SPARK Symposium. This year’s symposium will be held from July 24-26 on the UW-Superior campus.

Mia Ciancio, a senior, tied for second place and won the people’s choice award for her pitch, titled “A New Clinical Calibration Device and Guide for Rehabilitation of Patients with Exceptionally Weak Respiratory Muscle Strength.” Ciancio’s faculty advisor is Dr. Michael Hammer, associate professor in communications sciences and disorders.

Sophomore Natalie Franke tied with Ciancio for second place for her pitch, titled “The Human Voice for Speaking and Singing - An Intersection of Musical Artistry and Scientific Physiology to Understand Vocal Health, Vocal Training, and Vocal Style.” Franke’s faculty advisor is also Dr. Hammer. Dr. Hammer brought his entire class to watch Ciancio and Franke compete in Quick Pitch.

Additional participants and projects are:

·         Kyle Cornelius, “Optimization for Machine Learning”

·         Nick Karlman, “Designing A Robust Online Recommender Algorithm”

·         Heriberto Patino Luna, “Simulating Conditions of Slope Failure in the Lab with Sand and Water Using a Multimodal Monitoring Device for Data Collection”

·         Bella Zeit, “UW-W Participatory Action Research for College Students with Disabilities” 

The panel of judges included:

·         Lisa Dawsey Smith, President, Downtown Whitewater

·         Elizabeth Thelen, Director, Whitewater University Innovation Center

·         Terry Tumbarello, Executive Director of University Housing, UW-Whitewater

To view photos from the event, click here.

To learn more about WiSys Quick Pitch and upcoming competitions, click here. For questions about Quick Pitch, please contact Margot DeBaker, Regional Intellectual Property and Licensing Associate, at [email protected]