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Susan LoRusso envisions herself someday teaching at a university and doing research on the impact of public health campaigns.
She’ll experience a microcosm of both career goals Wednesday, March 7, during the ninth annual Posters in the Rotunda from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Capitol in Madison.
LoRusso is one of six University of Wisconsin-Stout students scheduled to share their original undergraduate research in the Capitol Rotunda with legislators and other state leaders. About 200 students from the UW System are expected.
A senior food systems and technology major from Luck, LoRusso will present her research project “Bitter(sweet) Controversy: Public Perceptions of the Corn Refiners Association and High Fructose Syrup.”
Using consumer focus groups, she researched reactions to pro-high fructose corn syrup commercials aired by the Corn Refiners Association. “The commercials did the opposite of what they intended to do. They led to mistrust,” LoRusso said of her study’s findings.
She is proud of her study and grateful for the opportunity. “This research experience was invaluable for me. It enabled me to truly define my research interests, which center around health strategic communication and advertising campaigns relayed through mass media and how the public perceives this communication,” she said. “Developing effective health strategic communication is essential to improve our nation’s health.”
LoRusso is majoring in food systems and technology, with a concentration in food communication and a minor in journalism. She is preparing to go to graduate school after graduating in May. She is considering scholarship offers from several universities, including Ohio State and the University of Minnesota.
Her interests in research and furthering her education changed significantly after she was accepted into the federally funded McNair Scholars Program at UW-Stout, she said. The benefits of McNair include assistance with research — the corn syrup study fulfilled her McNair requirement — and with preparation for graduate school.
LoRusso also will present her research later this month at the Central States Communication Association conference in Cleveland. She will be accompanied by her adviser, Amanda Brown, associate professor of speech communication. Brown also is presenting research at the conference.
The other UW-Stout students at Posters in the Rotunda, their projects and their faculty advisers are:
• Brittany E. Johnson, of Menomonie, “Models of Cadmium Absorption by Parsley”; Kitrina Carlson, Ana M. Q. Vande Linde
• Josephine Kilde, of Menomonie, “Internet-on-demand for Schools in Rural Tanzania”; Steve Schlough
• Lacey Holzer, of Hammond, “Relationship Between Reported Carbohydrate Intake and Fasting Blood Sugar”; Richard Tafalla
• Diana Witcher, of Menomonie, “Isamu Noguchi’s Utopian Landscapes: The Sculpture of Playgrounds and Gardens”; Alex DeArmond, Sarah Diebel, Tamara Brantmeier
• Lucas Lee, of Amery, “Can Rye Cover Crops Limit Alliaria Petiolata and Promote Restoration in Western Wisconsin?”; Amanda Little
The students will be accompanied in Madison by several UW-Stout faculty, staff and administrators.
“These students are fine examples of the student-faculty research being conducted at UW-Stout,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “These are the kind of projects that result in our students having such phenomenal success after graduating.”
Kevin Reilly, UW System president, said the benefits of student research are many. “We know that academic research on UW campuses has a major impact on Wisconsin’s economy, and also that it plays a significant role in helping students stay in school, graduate at higher rates and prepare themselves for the workforce of the 21st century.”
More information on Posters in the Rotunda is available at http://www.wisconsin.edu/posters/.