Grad student develops a family tree for corn varieties in North America

When plant breeders develop a new line of crops, plant variety protections allow that breeder to keep the rights to it. Plant varieties, many of which are created by private seed companies, are protected this way for 20 years before their genetic information becomes publicly available. As of May 2019, the genetic information for 460 varieties of corn alone are available this way. “The material is quite elite still,” said graduate student Mike White. “Even though it’s 20 years old it is a large source of elite germplasm for companies to use and improve on.”

Bouchet Society 10th Anniversary Symposium

Join us in celebration of the Bouchet Society’s decade at UW–Madison at the 10th Anniversary Symposium on Nov. 15, 2019. The society’s mission is to recognize outstanding scholarly achievement and promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.

PhD student promotes peacebuilding through theater and drama

When PhD student Vincent Ogoti finished writing his play, A Shadow in the Sun, he approached his former professors at the University of Nairobi in Kenya hoping to publish his work. Through this, the university’s theatre group found out about Ogoti’s play and decided to bring it to the stage. The University of Nairobi Traveling Theatre performed A Shadow in the Sun in August.

Public humanities project to bring cultural center to camp for veterans and first responders

Now in its third year, nonprofit Wisconsin Hero Outdoors has partnered with Lakewood WWV Camp in Lake Geneva to create a cultural retreat that gives the veteran and first responder community a space of their own. Graduate student Nick Harnish, a Public Humanities Scholar with the UW–Madison Center for the Humanities, is leading a project to renovate a lighthouse at the camp, turning it into a cultural center.

Award encouraging PhD students to communicate research to the public grows

The Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL) Award for Communicating PhD Research to the Public offers awards to doctoral candidates who submit a PhD thesis chapter that describes their research to non-science audiences. With additional funding from the Graduate School, all PhD students in the biological and physical sciences will be eligible to receive the award beginning in the 2019-20 academic year.

Medical Physics graduate students ride for cancer research

Through their research, graduate students in the Department of Medical Physics work toward improving cancer treatments, fine-tuning the amount of radiation therapy delivered to patients, designing ways to make treatment even more precise, and collaborating with other researchers across campus. In September, the students will tackle the problem of cancer from another angle: helping fund cancer research by participating in The Ride. “We do these rides and then the money comes straight back to some [of our] close colleagues. It’s really impactful,” said graduate student Reed Kolany.

International research meeting coming to Madison this fall

An international research meeting is coming to Madison this fall, bringing researchers together to discuss the changing global environment.The Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference will be held Nov. 14-17 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. The meeting’s theme is “Our Changing Global Environment: Scientists and Engineers Designing Solutions for the Future.”

Fake news, real coverage: How conspiracy theories spread through media and politics

Half of the American public believes in a popular conspiracy theory. Take the idea that the compact fluorescent light bulbs are a form of mind control, the U.S. government was behind the terrorist attack on 9/11, or any number of theories connected to big political names, and someone believes it. Graduate student Jordan Foley studies how today’s media ecology contributes to spreading conspiracy narratives.