Wisconsin workforce, economic development praised at student research event

Image By: Leah Voskuil and Leah Voskuil

More than 200 undergraduate students, faculty advisors and guests gathered at the Wisconsin state Capitol Wednesday for the 13th annual Posters in the Rotunda research event.

The event allows students from each university and technical college across the UW System to share original and innovative research findings with students from other campuses, state legislators and community members.

UW System President Ray Cross welcomed the researchers and stressed the importance of their efforts to explain their findings.

“It’s a really exciting time to showcase what the university is doing, and to a lot of other people, to see what you’re doing,” Cross said.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, urged students to think about what it means to be part of the growing talent in the Wisconsin workforce. Undergraduate discoveries can be applied in terms of inventions, he said, and make their way into the marketplace.

Still added the council has recently traveled to campuses to learn about the research taking place systemwide.

“We deliberately get around to try to see what’s happening on those campuses and how it transfers out,” Still said. “So you’re here as ambassadors.”

Claire Solowicz, the development and economic research specialist for the Wisconsin Manufacturing Council, told the students the state’s workforce faces a talent attraction and retention crisis.

“That is why cultivating and encouraging the talent in our top-notch university system is so important,” Solowicz said. “Programs like this are really crucial and essential to cultivate that talent.”

Cross capped the address by encouraging students to hone their curiosity, a trait he said is desirable in employees across the state. He also told students to move beyond the details of their specific project when speaking with legislators and community members.

“Tell them about the impact on your life,” Cross said. “What did it do for you? What did it change in your educational experience? That’s just as important.”

Research topics included cross-cultural competence before and after studying abroad, socioeconomic status and food access in Racine County, hegemonic masculinity as a predictor of body satisfaction and how timing and visualization impacts sports performance.

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