Friday Features - May 6, 2016

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Friday Features
May 6, 2016

Geography of the National Parks course completes service project

Eighteen students in the Geography of the National Parks course were accompanied by Professor Richard Waugh, Assistant Professor Lynette Dornak, Lecturer Tom Wilding and two alumni of the program on a trip to visit four national parks over spring break. Students were able to gain field knowledge by exploring Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and the Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas national parks in southern Florida.

The trip to Biscayne included a service project in which the group worked to remove fishing line from the mangroves that border the bay and cleaning up an area that will be transformed into an interactive manatee exhibit. In addition to visiting these national parks, the group visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and the Castill de San Marcos National Monument.

Waugh, Dornak and Dr. Chris Underwood, assistant professor of geography, will be leading another group of 16 students on a field study of the southwestern United States after finals week.

Students compete at the ACI Concrete Bowling Ball Competition

A team of civil engineering students competed at the American Concrete Institute Concrete Bowling Ball Competition on April 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A total of 57 teams from around the world participated in this competition.

Chloe Haskins, Bryce Kerscher, Alexander Nugent, Tyler Owens and Dillon Schmenk researched different types of fibers and concrete mix designs to achieve the best performance in five categories: Mass Test, Diameter Consistency Test, Bowling Test, Final Deformation Load Test and Toughness Load Test. The team also attended the Poster Presentation Competition.

Education students facilitate green screen workshop at WEMTA

Six students from the School of Education facilitated a green screen workshop at the Wisconsin Educational Media Technology Association state conference on April 11 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Over 50 librarians, teachers and technology integration specialists from across the state attended the session to learn how to implement green screen technology into their schools.

Students who attended included Megan Burbach, Paula Pittz, Laura Rieger, Baustin Bowers, Ellen Luthanen and Alicia Filloon. For more information about the conference, visit

UW-Platteville Collegiate Farm Bureau participates in Ag in the Classroom

Members of the Collegiate Farm Bureau taught fourth grade students from Iowa-Grant Elementary/Middle School, Platteville Middle School, Mineral Point Elementary School, and Winskill Elementary in Lancaster. Fourth grade students learned about the dairy industry, including the process of how milk comes from the cow to the table. The students also had a chance to make homemade butter.

Attending members from the Collegiate Farm Bureau also gave each teacher a Wisconsin agricultural poster to display in their classroom, along with 350 agricultural coloring books to give to each student.

Pictured in the back row left to right are Chad Bruss, Dayna Anderson, Brianna Reynolds, Kye Witek, Lara Daentl, Lauren Heilig, Ben Roys and Dakotah Hammerly. Pictured in the front row, left to right are: Heidi Kaestner, Erica Keehn, Rachel Leege, Amanda Stingle and Sarah Shimshak.

English instructors to present at conference

Three English instructors will be presenting at the 2016 Thomas R. Watson International Conference on Rhetoric and Composition in Louisville, Kentucky this October. Dr. James Romesburg, Angela Jones and April Feiden will present “Stopped at the Door: A Case for Credit-Bearing Developmental Writing,” which is based on their research and experience in developing a new first-year writing course that will replace English 10, effective spring 2017.

The planned new course will allow students who had previously been required to take the non-credit bearing English 10 to take a credit-bearing course in their first semester of college writing and to stay on track with their cohorts in completing the two-semester writing sequence.

The new course will carry a four-hour credit load, consisting of three classroom hours and one writing laboratory hour, in which students would be meeting in a computer-equipped lab for guided writing and individualized feedback time.

The Thomas R. Watson Conference is a biannual event where rhetoric and composition scholars from around the world share the results of their research and scholarship, which is often focused on improving writing instruction on college and university campuses.

Psychology student receives Family Advocates award

Samantha Hamer, a senior psychology major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, received the Family Advocates, Inc. Volunteer of the Year Award from Family Advocates, Inc. at the organization's 10th annual Silent Auction Fundraiser held April 30 at Ullsvik Hall at UW-Platteville. Family Advocates, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides services for victims of sexual assault and family/partner abuse. 

Since February 2015, Hamer has served as a volunteer with the Kids in Transition after-school group, Youth Support Group, Wrap Around Parents, and provided Respite Care services for parents in need of some time to themselves. In this volunteer position, she provides services to clients and their children who are staying in the shelter and to other clients and their children who receive support services from Family Advocates. She attends support groups with the clients and their children, provides childcare for a variety of age groups, works on art projects, conducts indoor and outdoor activities with the children and helps with meals. She is also there for the children when they need to talk with someone.

"I have gotten to know most of the families very well and care about them," said Hamer. "I try to be there for every group because it is very important for me to show the children that I care about them and that they are a priority in my life. The kids and their moms mean a lot to me and it is important that I am consistently there for them. I look forward to seeing each family and love spending time with them."

"Volunteers are such a vital aspect of our organization," said Darlene Masters, executive director of Family Advocates. "Sam is an amazing advocate for those that we serve. Her compassion and dedication is very admirable. We know we can always count on her to provide love and support to the victims/survivors that come through our doors."

Since February 2016, Hamer has also worked as a support staff member at Family Advocates. In this position, she is responsible for providing counseling, advocacy, crisis intervention, information, referral and advocacy services and resources – in-person, on the phone and on the helpline. In addition, when new clients come in, she completes their intakes and helps them get set up with everything they need (toiletries, bedding, clothes, food, etc.). She also helps with childcare and carries out a variety of organizational and cleaning duties.

"I am so appreciative of having the opportunity to volunteer and work at Family Advocates," said Hamer. "I truly love all of the kids, their moms, and the people I work with. I look forward to the days in the week that I get to volunteer or work and enjoy spending time with each child and his or her family and getting to know them very well. It means a lot to me when I get hugs and art projects from the children. They brighten my day and make me very happy.  All of the children have taught me a lot about life. I have learned so much and grown from working with them and listening to them. They are all the most loving and sweet children I have ever met and they all mean so much to me."

For more information about Family Advocates services, volunteering or donating, call 608-348-3838 or visit


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