Menomonie, WI, United States
Menomonie, WI, United States

The University of Wisconsin–Stout is a member campus of the University of Wisconsin System. The school was founded in 1891 in Menomonie, Wisconsin and enrolls more than 9,200 students. It is named in honor of its founder, lumber magnate James Huff Stout, and is one of two universities in the UW System not named for the city in which it is located, the other being UW-Parkside. Stout is also the base of operations for a studio of Wisconsin Public Television, where WHWC-TV is licensed from, and is home to the studios for WVSS and WHWC as part of the Wisconsin Public Radio network.Since 1971, UW–Stout is one of only two special mission universities in the UW System: it provides focused programs "related to professional careers in industry, technology, home economics, applied art and the helping professions." UW–Stout's programs prepare students for productive careers in industry, commerce, education, and human development through the study of technology, applied mathematics and science, art and design, business, industrial management, human behavior, family and consumer science, and manufacturing-related engineering and technologies. UW–Stout offers 44 undergraduate majors, and 20 graduate majors, including two advanced graduate majors. The university is one among a small group of polytechnic universities in the United States which tend to be primarily devoted to the instruction of technical arts and applied science. In 2013, UW-Stout was approved by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to offer its first doctoral degree, a doctor of education in career and technical education.On March 9, 2007, Stout was designated "Wisconsin's Polytechnic University" by the UW-System Board of Regents. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING EDUCATION | Award Amount: 454.06K | Year: 2015

This project explores how engineering and technology students experience service learning during their undergraduate programs. One example of service learning is Engineers Without Borders (EWB) USA, which seeks to find practical solutions to community concerns, such as clean water or sustainable sewage systems. Many universities and colleges offer such experiences to their students and believe they are contributing a valuable service to developing communities. However, service learning projects are often compromised because students graduate, and/or faculty leaders move to other institutions, and community ties are lost. The project seeks to find best practices for university/college-based service learning for all stakeholders in these enterprises. This project is a collaboration between Engineers Without Borders USA and University of Wisconsin-Stout researchers, teachers, and students. The project will unfold over four years and includes both engineering and social science students in the work. Student attitudes, beliefs, and goals about community involvement are explored in a cross-institutional way: In addition to studying the UW-Stout EWB chapter, the project looks at data collected by Engineers Without Borders USA, and examines trends and practices throughout chapter projects.

A wider understanding of how to balance the needs of students and communities could be broadly applied to service learning projects outside of the STEM fields. More specifically, community development, economic development, and applied anthropology projects might benefit from this research. Finally, third party stake holders such as employers of STEM students are able to employ students who are better prepared to operate in the global workplace due to their participation in well-formed service learning opportunities. In summary, This work contributes to the development of an economically competitive STEM workforce by providing a guiding structure for effective and ethical service learning initiatives for STEM education. The overall project outcomes are disseminated publicly through a project website, traditional and lay publications and presentations, and the development and delivery of workshops. Further, project outcomes that specifically target the operation of EWB-USA projects are incorporated into the guidelines that are followed by EWB-USAs membership, which includes more than 14,000 individuals.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 176.82K | Year: 2012

The project is transforming biology undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout to include potentially publishable original research as an integral part of introductory laboratory courses for all students taking such courses, both science majors and those majoring in other disciplines. The intellectual merit lies in their choice of a local problem as the basis for the research. Both the intellectual merit and broader impacts are enhanced by the documentation of student cognitive, personal, and professional development in classrooms featuring a research approach compared to these outcomes in students who are involved in apprenticeship style research activities. The initial research problems being introduced are investigation of the high phosphorus content of a nearby lake affected by agricultural runoff and the effects of implementation of remediation efforts. It is estimated that over 1000 students will be exposed to classroom research approaches during the course of this project.

This project is being jointly funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Biological Infrastructure and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their efforts toward Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 400.00K | Year: 2011

This project is building on two prior CCLI grants, 0536511 at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and 0087906 at St. Olaf College, which supported the creation of undergraduate laboratory-based coursework based on psycho-physiological research in cognitive neuroscience. The laboratory-based courses developed at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, known as C-NERVE 2.0, subsequently formed the basis of a cognitive neuroscience learning community there. C-NERVE 2.0 is an immersive undergraduate research program. Students who participate are provided with hands-on experiences designed to facilitate careers in basic or applied sciences related to cognitive neuroscience. The UW-Stout C-NERVE learning community consists of faculty from more than five different departments and over 30 undergraduates. C-NERVE students complete a series of five core courses that have been designed to include intensive hands-on digital psycho-physiological research experiences. These courses include Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience and Applied Psycho-physiological Methods. Students serve as research assistants in several investigative labs, on a rotating basis, for up to three years. They are trained in several psycho-physiological research methods in the context of performing original research. They also take part in activities designed to involve them in the larger learning community, such as outreach activities designed to promote science education to underrepresented populations. For their capstone experience, students design and complete an original project in the role of principal investigator. Their final task is to present this final project at a conference.

This project is expanding the research activities of C-NERVE, bolstering undergraduate training in the ethical conduct of research, and involving students in C-NERVE outreach efforts. It is creating an additional C-NERVE learning community at the University of South Carolina - Aiken and creating a multi-campus extended C-NERVE learning community. It will also act as a clearing house for other campuses interested in developing similar programs and functions as a surrogate for the larger scientific community while introducing students to participation in the scientific research culture.


This project, acquiring a shared state-of-the-art JACO-2 robot arm for collaborative research in assistive and rehabilitation robotics, aims to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and the elderly by increasing their independence and community reintegration. It supports research in three areas:
- Assistive technology and vocational rehabilitation systems;
- Robotics and control systems; and
- Health monitoring systems.
In these areas, the participating researchers will use the equipment collaboratively on diverse research projects. In addition, the award should facilitate development of assistive robotics research and training across multiple departments.

This novel instrument enables access by the research community to an instrument that will accelerate research in assistive robotics, vocational rehabilitation, health-care and monitoring, and home care. The proposed projects introduce a simple robot arm manipulation scheme for enabling the incorporation of robotic systems into home environment, thus enhancing the independence and autonomy of individuals with disabilities, and minimizing the necessity for a caregiver. The research projects will also contribute to assisting the elderly and persons with disability to manipulate and communicate with the robot in complex unstructured environments, thereby enhancing safety and reliability of the robotic system, especially for people with lower or upper limb limitations or both lower and upper limb limitations to perform tasks in a more complicated workplace.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: POP & COMMUNITY ECOL PROG | Award Amount: 550.00K | Year: 2013

Many natural areas persist as habitat patches within a larger developed landscape. Species communities in these patches fluctuate over time as a consequence of local extinction, dispersal between patches, and interactions between species. Metacommunity theory is an organizing framework for understanding how networks of communities assemble and change, and can help resource managers make decisions about habitat and species conservation. There is a strong need to test metacommunity theory, though, at field scales relevant to conservation questions. This project examines forested vernal wetlands, which provide ideal systems for testing metacommunity theory. Vernal wetlands may flood in the spring and dry completely each year and frequently contain species adapted to these unique environmental conditions. They tend to be small and difficult to detect on the landscape, but they provide critical breeding habitat for amphibians and aquatic insects. Insects, amphibians, plants, and water chemistry will be studied in sixty wetlands within Wisconsins Chippewa Moraine region over five years in order to capture the effects of environmental variability on community structure. The role of more permanent wetlands as sources of organisms for vernal wetland communities will also be evaluated. Finally, field experiments will provide insight into how community history affects species presence and abundance. These studies will help determine the relative contributions of environmental variation, species interactions, community history, and landscape position on community composition.

Conserving forested vernal wetlands is a priority in efforts to protect aquatic biodiversity, and understanding how metacommunities function in these unique systems is critical to protecting them. Research findings from this project will be incorporated into ecological landscape management plans for use by forest managers. The project will involve numerous undergraduates in research experiences and will increase the number of under-represented groups and first-generation college students pursuing STEM fields.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: RSCH EXPER FOR UNDERGRAD SITES | Award Amount: 281.99K | Year: 2014

This project brings together a dynamic and creative group of faculty from the University of Wisconsin-Stout to create an 8-week interdisciplinary REU site targeting first generation and underrepresented minority students. Students and faculty engage in a holistic apprentice-style training model with the overall theme of studying phosphorus pollution in a highly impacted Wisconsin watershed. The team studies inclusive decision-making, social networks among farmers, responsive policy implementation, economic impacts, land-use effects on phosphorus run-off, remediation strategies, and sediment geochronology. Data are integrated into a comprehensive strategy for economically sustainable phosphorus use. Students and faculty participate in professional development programming, interdisciplinary data sharing, and original research activities designed to empower and prepare students for science
careers. Ultimately, this investment in human capital will help produce a workforce trained in interdisciplinary and collaborative thinking necessary to solve 21st century problems.

Intellectual Merit :

This work offers significant intellectual contributions by improving student learning and development in response to research experiences, creating innovative approaches to manage the training and professional development of students and faculty in interdisciplinary research, and understanding the complex processes contributing to phosphorus pollution while developing
sustainable solutions. These efforts dovetail nicely with an ongoing NSF-funded project at UW-Stout to study classroom-based research. The research results are broadly disseminated via student presentations, peer-reviewed literature, local media outlets, and policy stakeholders.

Broader Impacts :

The proposed project is ecpected to result in lasting impacts for students, faculty, and community alike. The PI-teams efforts at synthesizing different research projects centered on the same substantive problems have improved their effectiveness in collaborative problem solving and in teaching undergraduates an interdisciplinary approach to research. The team expects an increase the retention and success of underrepresented groups and their pursuit of advanced science degrees. By sharing results with civic leaders
and government regulators, their new knowledge will impact public policy, the local economy, and regional water quality. This should have a significant impact on developing a more competitive workforce in the social and natural sciences in the US, increasing participation of underrepresented minority groups and women in the sciences, improving undergraduate education in the social
and natural sciences. Most importantly, this project whould have a positive impact on public scientific literacy.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RSCH EXPER FOR UNDERGRAD SITES | Award Amount: 230.40K | Year: 2016

REU Site: Interdisciplinary Research Experiences in Robotics for Assistive Technology

This Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site award funds a new REU site focused on Robotics in Assistive Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Robotics has potential appeal across a wide range of disciplines, especially as robots become increasingly integrated into society, performing useful tasks in the home and elsewhere. The REU site will provide 8-week interdisciplinary research experiences in robotics targeting first generation, underrepresented students, and students from institutions with limited research opportunities. Students and faculty will participate in professional development, interdisciplinary data sharing, and research activities designed to empower and prepare students for advanced degrees and careers in engineering. This project will make a meaningful impact in how we apply robots in enhancing our quality of life. It is imperative that we provide a larger pool of individuals trained in the field of robotics to address the increasing number of national needs.

This is a new REU proposal in the area of assistive robotics. The proposed research projects for participants focus on several areas such as dynamic model design, control, human-machine communication, teleoperation, and wireless control. The proposed comprehensive three stage program touches all components of an REU site from introductory workshops for the basic concepts to the preparation of their final research report that could lead to a publication. The PI is an expert in the area of assistive technologies and the other faculty members are experts in the areas of rehabilitation, robotics, and bio-sensing. This REU site provides modern facilities and professional mentors to guide undergraduates in explorations of real-world problems related to robotics in assistive technology. Students will learn how to use current tools and techniques to solve those problems through exciting research projects across a wide range of research topics. The goal of the site is to increase participation of first generation, underrepresented minorities, women and persons with disabilities, and provide opportunities for students from schools with limited research opportunities. The students will participate in research and professional development activities all designed to achieve the goals of retaining and graduating undergraduate students in engineering and increasing recruitment of students into graduate programs.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SPECIAL PROJECTS - CISE | Award Amount: 298.43K | Year: 2016

This project, acquiring a 3D photogrammetric light stage instrument with automatic synchronization and registration for instantaneous scanning of 3D shapes with submillimeter accuracy, motion capture, and capture reflectance properties, aims to capture image samples up to 128 viewing angles and 156 lighting angles simultaneously. It will afford the instantaneous scanning of 3D shape with sub-millimeter accuracy in a range of sizes from a few cm up to several meters and will also afford capture of motion over time. Unlike most other photogrammetry systems, the device can also capture reflectance properties giving rise to accurate appearance. This instrument would contribute to a wide range of interdisciplinary projects and research (both at Stout and at neighboring Ph.D. granting institutions) as well as broader enrichment of the public through partnerships with art and history museums and non-profits. Photogrammetry-based systems acquire information about an object?s shape and appearance via images of the object from multiple angles. With a proper array of cameras the object can be captured in a fraction of a second and no markers or modification of the material of the object is necessary. Moreover, the precision and density of the data is comparable to laser scanning devices. Even more compelling is the similarity of this data to that captured by more complex and custom light stages used in computer graphics light field research. However, a gap still exists between these areas that this instrument, and the research it enables, will endeavor to eliminate. This instrument will support collaboration with photographers at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and with the director of the Goldstein Museum of Design. These museums are open to the public and have a common desire to spread their works into the wider community. This instrument will also contribute to the work of the company Xan Scan that seeks to capture objects of significant historical value (including Native American and ancient Chinese artifacts) from smaller public museums. Xan Scan shares these scans with schools providing broadening the access of students that would otherwise not be able to visit these museums in a very cost effective manner. The instrument will be used in several courses at the institution to enhance education of undergraduate students in design, computer science, and digital humanities. Students will have access to the facility and be better trained for research in these areas. The impact should spread further.

Due to the difficulty of entry into this area, commercial photogrammetry software and hardware has not realized the potential to connect to light field rendering research. The work enabled by this instrument seeks a remedy and provides an open standard for representing, rendering, and sharing this data. Some project examples are discussed, including work with designers to introduce photogrammetry based objects into the design process and museum curators, to scan objects for advanced archeological and historical research, as well as the development of digital exhibits for wider access to their artifacts. Despite the usefulness, photogrammetry has not been embraced by the archival preservation group, possibly because of insufficient understanding of the data and format and storage standards. Hence, archivists and historical personnel will be involved specifically with the goal of addressing these issues and establishing or expanding standards for metadata, photogrammetry images and 3D models.


1338378
Bae
This project will support a team headed by Dr. Wan Bae, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI for a two week visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the establishment of new international research collaborations between researchers in the two countries. This visit will enable the PI and Dr. Cheng Liu and two undergraduate students from the UWI-Stout, Dr. Petr Vojtchovsky from the University of Denver, and Dr. Shashi Shekhar from the University of Minnesota, to meet with Dr. Shayma Alkobaisi, Dr. Ahmed Al Faresi, Dr. Mohammad Masud, Dr. Fatma Maskari and their students from the United Arab Emirates University, and Dr. Ibrahim Kamel from the University of Sharjah to develop a research framework for modeling and analysis of individual exposure to various environmental conditions. The research will focus on developing data models and computing algorithms for effectively mapping individuals? environmental exposure to their health conditions, and implementing Map/Reduce methods for efficiently processing iterative computations of the proposed models and algorithms. As a result, the research team will submit a subsequent grant proposal targeted for the NSF Smart Health and Wellbeing (SHB) program.
Intellectual Merit: Relations between negative health effects like asthma and lung cancer and elevated levels of the environmental factors, such as air pollution, tobacco smoke and humidity, have been detected in several large scale exposure studies. Evaluating environmental exposures often requires the ability to track, monitor, store, and analyze individual moving trajectories along with several environmental conditions the individual is exposed to in order to identify relationships among these data. Challenges arise due to spatio-temporal uncertainty, data size, and iterative computations of commonly used data modeling algorithms such as the Back propagation neural network algorithm. The main objectives of this research are: (1) to develop novel data models to map individuals environmental exposures to health levels, (2) to design a new technique for implementing the proposed models on the Map/Reduce paradigm of the Hadoop system, (3) to develop data analysis algorithms to characterize behaviors in learned models and interpret the data for estimating their effects on human health, (4) to build an evaluation system for Asthma patients as a case study. The research team, consisting of mathematicians, computer and information scientists, engineers and medical expertise, is capable of carrying out the planned tasks.
Broader Impacts: The project will support two U.S. undergraduate students to be actively involved in scientific research. Their involvement is designed to integrate research and education through various activities. Gaining experience with inter-cultural collaboration is one of the mutual benefits to both the U.S. and UAE students. The also promotes diversity with the involvement by students from the U.S. who may be first-generation college students and UAE national students. The U.S. and UAE researchers will build new relationships that are the basis for future collaborations in research and education. Further, this project will broaden the understanding of the impact of the environment on public health and the importance of individual-based health care for patients, doctors, and healthcare providers.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RES IN DISABILITIES ED | Award Amount: 414.81K | Year: 2012

Soft Skills - Hard Science: A Study of the Impact of Soft Skills Development on Employment Outcomes for STEM Students with Disabilities is based on the Social-Relational Model of Disability, an extension of the Social Model of Disability. The PI and his team hypothesize that direct intervention of soft skills development among individuals with disabilities will lead to greater rates of employment, thus increasing the number of STEM professionals with disabilities. Thus the hypotheses of this study are:

H1: Post-secondary students with disabilities who receive soft skills training will have higher rates of success in obtaining employment in STEM-related professions or being accepted into a related graduate program than those who do not receive such training.

H2: Post-secondary students with disabilities who receive soft skills training in combination with work-based learning and use of a mentor will be perceived by employers as more prepared for the demands of competitive employment in STEM-related professions.

The project addresses two research questions:
RQ 1. Does direct training in soft skills increase employment rates of college graduates in STEM-related professions?
RQ 2. Does participation in a formal mentor-protégé relationship prior to college graduation increase employers perceptions of individuals soft skills?

A quasi-experimental design is used to investigate the effect of the intervention, which has three parts:
1. Disability-specific job seeking/ preparation learning modules addressing critical thinking, interpersonal effectiveness, work personality and social networking;
2. Experiential learning through co-op/internship experience with a STEM employer; and
3. Assignment of a STEM-employed mentor with a disability who will provide guidance and feedback to participants throughout their senior year.

A sample of 80 STEM students with disabilities who attend University of Wisconsin-Stout are participating in the study. Data collected included soft skills development, placement rates and employment outcomes. Independent variables are: participants awareness of the specific soft skills needed for successful employment, as measured by The Soft Skills Assessment Survey (SSAS), and personal appraisal of appropriate use of identified soft skills based on expert feedback, a self-report measure. The Career Services Department at UW-Stout facilitates tracking employment and placement data.

The dissemination plan includes the Association on Higher Education and Disability as a key player in disseminating to the audience of college disability service professionals and others who support students with disabilities. All documents, including how-to replication manuals, created through this project are available on the project website.

The project is evaluated by an external evaluator who has a separate award to conduct evaluation for RDE-funded research projects.

Individuals with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in STEM professions. Past efforts to increase workforce participation in STEM fields have largely excluded recognition of bio-psychosocial factors and intrapersonal skills building to obtain and maintain employment. The project is contributing to the knowledge base related successful transition to the STEM workforce and success in STEM employment.

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