Friday Features - Feb. 7, 2014

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Friday Features
February 7, 2014

Friday Features is a weekly announcement highlighting achievements of UW-Platteville's students, faculty and staff. To include your information in this release, send accomplishments to

Student News

Students build strongest bridge at competition 

A team of three students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville took first place at the college level of Quad City Engineering and Science Council’s Battle of the Bridges competition at the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa.

Ben Roys, LeClaire, Iowa; TJ Jungbluth, Eau Claire, Wis. and Alex Robinson, Illinois City, Ill. had two meetings prior to the event to develop a plan and two and a half hours at the event to construct a bridge made of glue, string, popsicle sticks and dowels that spanned 18 inches.

The winning bridge was judged based on efficiency, calculated by weight held divided by the weight of the bridge. The team’s bridge was a record across all divisions of the two-day competition. It held 216 pounds and weighed 0.385 pounds, totaling at 561 percent efficiency.

The men agreed that UW-Platteville helped prepare them for the competition and ultimately the first place finish. “Many of my professors like to stress real life application,” said Roys. “While many people, engineers especially, can provide the knowledge to be able to do something, Platteville students seem to have a higher aptitude to know how to do things when the rubber meets the road.”

Ninth annual Ebony Weekend Conference aims to create unity

The 2014 Ebony Weekend Conference marks the ninth annual conference at University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The conference, organized by the Black Student Union, runs Feb. 21-23 and this year’s focus will be “Generation I to Us.” The purpose of this theme is to analyze and create potential resolutions to change mindsets of individuals and communities as well as create unity amongst the individuals of the African-American community.

The conference will include keynote speakers like Stan Pearson, Vanessa German and Dr. Joy DeGruy as well as educational sessions and workshops. There will also be performances by First Wave of UW-Madison, Kazual a capella group and Teju, a storyteller, folklorist and oral historian. All events will be held in the Markee Pioneer Student Center.

Ebony Weekend celebrates the generations in the black community and seeks to bridge the gap among them.

More information can be found on the Ebony Weekend Conference website at

Faculty News

Larson awarded grant from UW System Women in Science Program

Dr. Evan Larson, assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, recently received a $1,200 grant from the University of Wisconsin System Women and Science Program. The program’s mission is to attract and retain more women and minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by promoting changes in the ways that science and science education are regarded and carried out within the UW System, the community and beyond.

The grant, “Inclusion of Student-Centered Pedagogies in STEM Courses,” will be used to improve the curriculum of the introductory Planet Earth course to make it more student-centered and accessible to students from groups underrepresented in the sciences, such as women and minority students. Larson plans to move the curriculum from lecture-based teaching to active learning that will also have a strong component of an inclusive paradigm promoting diversity within STEM classes.

Receiving one of only two grants awarded throughout the UW System, Larson’s project will attempt to make science education accessible for all students, while focusing on student-centered instructional approaches.

“I’m hoping to craft activities that specifically address climate change and the science around it as well as evolution,” said Larson. “My goal is to get the students, including those who may not consider themselves scientists, engaged in hands-on activities that will help dismantle some of the barriers that can stop people from engaging with these topics while emphasizing the integration of research, discovery and learning. This will help build their interest and confidence and help retain them in STEM disciplines.”

Campus News

UW-Platteville to host the Graef Flute Festival

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will host The Graef Flute Festival June 29 through July 6. The festival is an intensive summer program that challenges high school students ages 14-19 to study and perform major flute repertoire with master teachers. The festival is sponsored by the Juliani Ensemble, a chamber music ensemble that performs for audiences in Chicago, Ill., with the partnership and support of UW-Platteville.

Students will receive master classes by Richard Graef, Assistant Principal Flute – Chicago Symphony Orchestra and professor at Northwestern University; Emily Seaberry Graef, Juliani Ensemble and Roosevelt University; and guest artist Adam Kuenzel, Principal Flute – Minnesota Orchestra.

Students will learn flute fundamentals, music theory, music history, chamber music and performance. Students will also receive two individual lessons at no additional costs. Tuition is $850, which includes room and board at UW-Platteville.

Application materials must be received by April 1. For more information or to register, go to


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UW-Platteville Students Compete in Bridge Building Competition

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