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WiSys names UW Oshkosh’s Stephen Kercher a 2022 Innovation Champion

WiSys President Arjun Sanga conveys the Innovation Champion award to UW Oshkosh's Stephen Kercher at a special banquet at the WiSys SPARK Symposium. (Photo: Sashi Popke, UW-La Crosse)

LA CROSSE—WiSys named UW Oshkosh’s Dr. Stephen Kercher as a 2022 Innovation Champion.

The award recognizes UW System leaders, faculty, staff, students or community partners who have played an integral role in building a culture of innovation at a UW System regional institution.

Kercher is a history professor and director of UW Oshkosh’s Office of Student Research and Creative Activity.

“Dr. Kercher has been a strong supporter of WiSys Programs and has worked passionately to expand opportunities for students at UW Oshkosh,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “He is a great champion for UW Oshkosh’s student researchers and innovators.”

Kercher has been a strong advocate for the WiSys Quick Pitch Program, which encourages students to consider the impact of their research and learn how to communicate it to the public. 

The program trains student researchers how to present their research succinctly and without scientific jargon so that it can be understood better by general audiences. Presenters then compete for prizes with three-minute pitches in front of a panel of judges.

With help from Kercher, more and more UW Oshkosh student researchers have become aware and participated in the WiSys Quick Pitch. He’s been involved since 2017.  

Kercher has also been an active participant in planning other WiSys programming including the 2021 virtual edition of the WiSys SPARK Symposium, an annual celebration of research, innovation and entrepreneurship that features many opportunities for students to present.

Kercher was recognized at a special Innovation Awards Banquet during the 2022 WiSys SPARK Symposium at UW-La Crosse in early August.

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.