UW-Manitowoc students recently had the opportunity to showcase their undergraduate research at two different events. Linsday Brookshier of Manitowoc participated in the tenth annual “Posters in the Rotunda: A Celebration of Undergraduate Research,” and Ethan Poling, Elizabeth Binversie, Hailey Rogala, Anna Sonnenberg, Josh Laurin, Lauren Kieffer, Allison Yang, Bao Vang, and Alec Hunn participated in the 27th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).
Brookshier, a sophomore, joined 150 UW System undergraduate students at the Capitol Rotunda in Madison and shared her original research findings with legislators, state leaders, UW alumni and supporters. Under the direction of Jessica Van Slooten, assistant professor of English and women’s studies, Brookshier, of Manitowoc, presented “The Silence of Women in the 19th Century: Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Cult of True Womanhood.” She used feminist literary analysis to explore the connections between the silence of women and the Cult of True Womanhood in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin authored by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe’s book illustrates how giving women power in the household was a way of keeping them subservient and under control. She also explored Stowe’s personal history and life to discover the political motivations for her writing and her connections to modern day feminism.
The UW-Manitowoc campus had three research projects showcased at the NCUR event held in LaCrosse. The student researchers were among a record-setting 3,000 students and their faculty mentors from across the country who attended. The conference promotes high-quality student-faculty collaborative undergraduate research and scholarship in all fields of study. The UW-Manitowoc students were all under the direction of Rebecca Abler and Richard Hein, associate professors of biological sciences.
Poling, a sophomore from Manitowoc, presented “Water Quality Monitoring of Centerville Creek in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.” Centerville Creek was once home to a historical mill pond in the village of Cleveland, created by damming the creek. After the removal of the mill pond dam, decades of backed up sediment was left behind impacting water quality within the mill pond area, negatively affecting the creek’s water quality and aquatic life. Baseline water quality data was collected in summer 2011, and restoration of Centerville Creek began in summer 2012. Poling’s research chronicles the physical, chemical, and biological parameters of Centerville Creek throughout the project. As the restoration process proceeds through the collaborative efforts of the UW-Manitowoc biology department with the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and Friends of Hika Bay, data collection will continue in order to monitor how changes have benefitted the creek and to assist in further restoration and management decisions.
Sonnenberg (sophomore, Manitowoc), Laurin (sophomore, Manitowoc), Kieffer (sophomore, Neenah), Yang (freshman, Manitowoc), Vang (freshman, Manitowoc) and Hunn (freshman, Whitelaw), presented “Potential Impacts of Soil Phosphorus on a Newly Restored Creek in Manitowoc County, WI.” This research expands the recent research related to water quality at Centerville Creek by quantifying phosphorus in soil samples, specifically from the tons of sediment that was removed from the Centerville Creek area. The group focused on potential sources of runoff and nutrient contamination from the sediment surrounding the stream, which can eventually reach the tributaries of Lake Michigan. Many nutrients may contribute to excessive algae growth, especially phosphorus, and preliminary results showed high levels of available phosphorus in restoration sediments. Ongoing assessment of soil nutrients and leaf pack communities will be conducted to further understand the transfer of total available phosphorus to soluble reactive phosphorus from the watershed to Centerville Creek and Hika Bay.
Binversie (sophomore, Kiel) and Rogala (sophomore, Manitowoc) presented “Stream Monitoring of Point, Fischer, Pine, and Calvin Creeks in Southern Manitowoc County, WI.” While waterquality research at UW-Manitowoc began in 2010 with the monitoring of Centerville Creek, the research was expanded in 2012 to include additional creeks that flow into Lake Michigan in Southern Manitowoc County. The addition of Point, Fischer, Pine, and Calvin Creeks in the project provides additional data from these watersheds which can be used by managers and community-based groups throughout Manitowoc County. The objective of this project was to collect water quality data by taking weekly samples of physical, nutrient, and biological parameters of the creeks. The main focus of the research is to understand the ecology and health of the creeks and how this impacts Lake Michigan. Trends have been identified and plans have been made to continue the project for several sampling seasons to gain a better understanding of the behavior and health of these creeks and their relation to Lake Michigan.