Student’s research on relationships receives national recognition
July 11, 2017
A natural curiosity about people and a
passion for information are qualities that helped land a University of
Wisconsin-Stout student a national award and the opportunity to showcase her
research paper on a big stage.
Leah Stasieluk, a human development and family
studies major, presented at the Coordinating Council of Honor Societies
function at the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences annual
conference June 26 in Dallas, Texas. Her study, “Work Related Travel and
Intimate Partner Relationships,” was chosen as the recipient of the CCHS
Undergraduate Research Paper Award.
“It is a huge honor,” Stasieluk said. “When I
submitted my research to this conference, I did not think I would receive the
award at all. I figured it would just be great practice to submit.”
Excitement and nerves were flowing for Stasieluk,
who presented to about 40 people. “It was such an amazing
experience, and I met so many incredible people. It was scary at first to give
my presentation. I had five pages of notes printed out but ended up barely
using them. After all, I did spend a full semester on this project,” she said.
The research paper, an independent project by
Stasieluk, focuses on how intimate partner relationships are affected when one
of the partners is required to travel overnight for work. It centers on how
closeness, tension, fun, and affectionate and quality interactions are affected
by that type of travel.
“I found that the transition period, when a
person is returning from one trip and preparing for the next all in less than
24 hours, was when tension between couples as well as closeness was highest,”
“I have always been interested in people and understanding why they
do the things they do. I am also very interested in relationships. My father
traveled for work a ton when I was a child. I remember him coming and going for
anywhere between a single night and a month at a time. This really caught my
attention because I had personal experience that was relatable,” Stasieluk
Stasieluk credits her research mentor, Assistant Professor
Andrea Swenson, and the university with her success on the paper.
“My major at UW-Stout taught me a lot about people
and different ways to help,” Stasieluk said. “I have always liked writing, but UW-Stout
gave me the opportunity to expand my confidence and improve my skills even
The Edina, Minn., native began the summer as an
intern at Bridger Orthopedics in Bozeman, Mont. After two weeks, she was hired
full time and began her new position July 11. She provides hands-on assistance
to occupational and physical therapists while also observing patients.
Stasieluk, who graduated in May, plans to pursue a
doctorate degree in occupational therapy beginning in fall 2018.
She offers some advice to other UW-Stout students. “Seize
every opportunity you can. You can always go back to where you were, but you
may never get the chance again to try something new,” she said.
Stasieluk’s travel expenses to Dallas were funded
in part by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at UW-Stout.
She was a member of UW-Stout’s Tau chapter of Phi
Upsilon Omicron, the honor society for family and consumer sciences.
attending the conference was Professor Emeritus Carolyn Barnhart, the UW-Stout Tau
chapter adviser and past president of the American Association of Family and
Top: Leah Stasieluk presents her research at a national conference
in June in Dallas, Texas.
Second: Leah Stasieluk, right, holds her CCHS Undergraduate
Research Paper Award with Melissa Martin, executive director of the Phi Upsilon
Omicron National Honor Society.
Bottom: Leah Stasieluk does some sightseeing in Montana, where she interned earlier this summer and began a full-time job July 11.