Six students honored by applied social science program

June 10, 2014

Alec KirbyThe applied social science undergraduate program at University of Wisconsin-Stout recently honored six students with year-end awards.

A new award honored Alec Kirby, a longtime professor in the social science department who died in January. Shelby Schuppe, of Fond du Lac, received the Alec Kirby Memorial Award for Leadership in Social Justice.

Schuppe is founder and president of the Stout Peace Initiatives club and "a passionate promoter of peace and justice on campus," said Assistant Professor Tina Lee, program director.

Other award winners are:

  • Chris Galetka, of Colfax, Best Research Day Poster
  • Stephanie Hintz, of Chippewa Falls, Sociology/Anthropology Student of the Year
  • Michael Mataczynski, of Menomonie, History/Political Science Student of the Year
  • Hillar Neumann, of Aberdeen, S.D., Economics Student of the Year
  • Grace Piggott, of Stillwater, Minn., Best Research or Service Project

The applied social science program is in its fourth year at UW-Stout.

Michael Mataczynski explains his research to state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, of River Falls, at Posters in the Rotunda.This year, four students presented research at the annual statewide Posters in the Rotunda in Madison; one presented at a UW System research symposium; and nine presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Kentucky.

In addition, six applied social science students had papers accepted for publication in the UW-Stout Journal of Student Research; and 21 presented at UW-Stout's annual Research Day. 

"The applied social science program is unique in its approach to interdisciplinary learning. Students are trained with a broad background in the fields of anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science and sociology and then choose concentrations in one of these areas for greater depth," Lee said.

The program emphasizes applied learning with a common research methods sequence in which students develop skills in both quantitative and qualitative analysis and build toward a capstone research project.

"This approach gives students a toolkit of critical thinking and analytical expertise that sets them apart from other majors and allows them to take their classroom skills in data collection, evaluation and analysis, presentation and problem solving and apply them to real-world issues," she said.

For more information, go online to the social science department, the program's Facebook page or contact Lee.

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Photo captions

Top: Alec Kirby

Bottom: Michael Mataczynski explains his research to state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, of River Falls, at Posters in the Rotunda at the state Capitol in March. He is the History/Political Science Student of the Year.