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River Falls, WI, United States

The University of Wisconsin–River Falls is a public liberal arts university located in River Falls, Wisconsin. The 226-acre campus is situated on the Kinnickinnic River in the St. Croix River valley. The university has 32 major buildings and two laboratory farms, with a total of 440 acres of land.In 2013-2014 UWRF had an enrollment of 6,061 students in more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs. Being a part of the University of Wisconsin System, it is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. UWRF is also a member of the American Council of Education Internationalization Laboratory and provides several global studies and study abroad programs. The university has created the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development.Athletic teams at UWRF compete in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in all sports except men's and women's ice hockey, which compete in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. The men's ice hockey team has won three national championships. Wikipedia.

Past studies have indicated that project managers may be less likely to continue failing IT projects if they are able to perceive project risks accurately. Using the scenario of a failing IT project, a computer simulation-based experiment investigated the influence of individual self-efficacy and project risk factors on the perception of risk. Participants played the role of a project manager and managed a simulated IT project. The results suggest that project managers are likely to underestimate the risks of a project with endogenous risk factors as compared to a project with exogenous risk factors. Results of this study point to a 'self-efficacy bias' where project managers with higher self-efficacy may underestimate the risks of a troubled IT project as compared to project managers with lower self-efficacy. Further, risk perception mediated the influence of self-efficacy on the commitment to a failing IT project. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Antarctic Education | Award Amount: 340.18K | Year: 2014

The neutron monitor at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott Station, located at the geographic South Pole, has operated since 1964. Neutrons detected by such monitors are byproducts of nuclear interactions of cosmic rays (predominantly protons and helium nuclei) with Earths atmosphere. South Pole is a unique location at high altitude and low geomagnetic cutoff rigidity. This installation is the lynchpin of the worldwide neutron monitor network at low energies and the primary link to spacecraft measurements at much lower energies. Central to the research is the need to understand the detector response to the radiation environment of the South Pole, particularly to determine the cause of a peculiar secular decline in cosmic rays intensity at South Pole throughout the ~50-year operating period of the neutron monitor. Understanding this decline is important because cosmic rays produce radionuclides such as Beryllium-10 that become trapped in the ice and are used to determine ice-core sample ages and precipitation levels over the Earths Polar Regions. A full understanding of the production rate is vital to interpreting these data.

Recent opening of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at South Pole, specifically the IceTop air shower array, has increased the value of neutron observation. In addition to its primary function as an extensive air shower detector, IceTop is highly sensitive to the intensity and spectrum of cosmic rays of energy formerly accessible only to the neutron monitors. IceTop and the neutron monitor are highly complementary to each other as the former is more sensitive in an absolute sense but responds to somewhat higher energy particles than does the monitor. IceTop responds primarily to the electronic component of the secondary particles whereas the neutron monitor responds primarily to the hadronic component. Together the detectors can determine not only the spectra but also the element composition of the primary particles.

Solid science, collaborative effort, international partners, and travel to Antarctica provide an ideal opportunity to achieve education and outreach goals. Operation of the neutron monitor at South Pole will become an undergraduate activity at University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Providing undergraduate and two-year college students with research experiences will allow students to make meaningful contributions to cutting-edge science.

Neutron monitor data are broadly employed by other research groups, with applications in cosmic ray research, solar-terrestrial relations, space weather, climatology, atmospheric physics, geophysics, and magnetospheric physics. Neutron monitors play a direct role in forecasting and specifying solar wind disturbances and in providing Ground Level Enhancement alerts relevant to the transpolar aviation. Improving the capability to forecast and characterize major space weather events has direct societal benefit.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: I-Corps | Award Amount: 50.00K | Year: 2016

The traditional opportunity for students to hone their science skills is in the laboratory. Unfortunately many lab activities are formulaic and dont actually prepare students for the open-ended investigative endeavors that we typically associate with the practice of science. Perhaps an even larger limitation of the traditional laboratory is that student access to the physical apparatus is often restricted to brief lab periods. That means that students learning of critical science skills is also restricted. Another way for students to observe phenomena, make measurements and collect and analyze data is using Direct Measurement Videos (DMVs). DMVs are short high-quality videos that show an interesting event. Students are able to analyze the DMV using provided online tools (rulers, protractors, stopwatches, et cetera). Some of the DMVs are published as single videos, but others are published as an interconnected web or matrix of videos that the user can navigate using an integrated console. This gives the user a sense that they are actually controlling what happens in the video. This innovative breakthrough creates a complex multidimensional environment students can authentically explore, allowing them to go through the process of real investigative science while benefiting from the advantages that an online resource provides.

This project will benefit society because it provides science students a way to engage in the authentic practice of science: carefully observing an interesting real-world event, coming up with a scientific question about the event, designing an experiment to answer that question, collecting and analyzing data, and reaching a conclusion. The classroom-ready activities produced by this project will bring best-practices pedagogy to science students in all environments, including large and underfunded classrooms, flipped and online courses, home schools, and institutions with inexperienced or time-crunched instructors. This project has excellent prospects for significantly advancing knowledge for the following reasons: 1) it solves an important problem for teachers, that is, how to practically teach the science process skills that are such critical keys for robust student learning; 2) the approach has been proven effective; 3) the team is very well qualified for this endeavor; and 4) the project has a track record of success.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: STEM TALENT EXPANSN PGM (STEP) | Award Amount: 885.00K | Year: 2013

The University of Wisconsin, River Falls GREAT (Graduate, Retain, Engage, Advise, Team learning) Falcon Project is designed to increase the number of graduates in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Environmental Science, Physics, and Mathematics. The project targets students in their first two years, using proven strategies to increase student success and support to increase the retention of STEM students.

The GREAT Falcon Project takes a three-fold approach to improve STEM retention, progression, and graduation rates. First, faculty are implementing student-centered pedagogies such as research-based laboratories, Studio Physics, and Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning to increase student engagement and success in gateway STEM courses. Several of these teaching strategies are making extensive use of a new high-technology Active Learning Classroom. Second, Peer-Led Team Learning is utilized in key bottleneck courses in Chemistry and Mathematics to teach students the problem-solving skills needed in STEM. Finally, a hybrid advising system helps STEM students with academic, social, and/or financial issues. Students showing risk factors for continued retention are contacted by a retention specialist/mentor, with appropriate interventions scheduled as needed. Students who leave STEM majors and/or the university are interviewed to assess why they are leaving. The GREAT Falcon Project directly impacts 900 students per year in STEM majors and is designed to increase the number of STEM graduates by 40 per year (from the current 130 to 170 students per year) by the end of the grant period.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Integrative Activities in Phys | Award Amount: 152.29K | Year: 2015

This award supports a new Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls to provide six undergraduates with ten-week summer research experiences annually on projects with data from the international IceCube Neutrino Observatory. To advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning, students will be integrated into a research collaboration that opened the field of neutrino astronomy, and work in a department where learning and involving undergraduates in research are priorities. Students will acquire a broad range of research skills, will learn to appreciate the value of fundamental science to society and will be mentored on giving effective scientific presentations and in communicating science.

Students will make contributions to the IceCube experiment that will help advance understanding and knowledge in the field of neutrino astronomy. IceCube is a unique telescope located at the South Pole. (However, students will not travel to the South Pole). Unlike traditional optical telescopes, IceCube looks at the universe via particles called neutrinos. Physics World deemed IceCubes observation of extraterrestrial neutrinos, a result that ushered in the era of neutrino astronomy, the physics breakthrough of the year 2013. With access to IceCube data, high performance computing resources, and personnel, the students will make real contributions while acquiring research skills that are transferrable to many fields of science, technology, and engineering. Under the guidance of faculty advisors who have many years of experience successfully supervising undergraduate research, students will contribute to resolving some of the biggest puzzles in particle astrophysics: the origin of high-energy cosmic rays, the nature of neutrino oscillations, and the composition of dark matter.

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