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November 12, 2003


LA CROSSE, Wis.—Students from Viterbo University and Winona State University (WSU) received awards for their undergraduate research during the Nov. 7 Seven Rivers Research Symposium in the Reinhart Center at Viterbo University.

Viterbo University senior Jen Hebda, awarded a trip to the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Seattle, Wash. in February 2004 to present her research project on the "Synthesis and Electrochemical Characterization of a Family of Complexes." Viterbo was able to nominate one Merck scholar for this award from the Merck Company Foundation. Hebda of Rib Lake, was competing against students at many other universities and colleges who have had Merck funding over the last three years. She was one of the few chosen.

Posters were exhibited by students at Viterbo University and WSU. Those receiving "Best Poster" honors were:

  • 1st place: Kristen Wellman, WSU, for her research on the "Antidepressent Actions of Cannabinoids."
  • 2nd place: Seniors Andy McLees of Trempeauleau, and Rachel Morphew, of Maple Grove, Minn., both of Viterbo University, for their research on the "Relationship between Nuptial Gift Quality and Mating Success in Domestic Cricket, Acheta domesticus."
  • Honorable mention: Heather Cline, WSU, for her research on "The Effects of Baclofen on Hyperkplexia."

Students at Viterbo University gave oral presentations on their research findings. The honor of "Best Oral Presentation" went to:

  • 1st place: Viterbo University senior Sara Heil, of Mosinee, for her research and presentation on "Early Lyme Disease Patient Sera Binds the Carboxy Terminal Region of Outer Surface Protein C." Heil’s research was conducted during a summer research internship with Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation.
  • 2nd place: Viterbo University senior Margaret Elvekrog, of Waunakee, for her research and presentation on "Metal Induced Topological Change of ROP-like Peptide." Elvekrog’s research was conducted during a summer research internship with Columbia University’s Department of Chemistry.
  • Honorable mention: Viterbo University senior Stephanie Swanson, of Onalaska, for her research on the "Effects of Biodiversity on Invasability of Prairie Plant Communities." Swanson’s research was conducted in the Cedar Creek Natural History Area.

In all, 10 Viterbo University and 10 Winona State University students presented their undergraduate research findings at the symposium.

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