The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) plays an essential role in supporting the innovative research and graduate education that are cornerstones of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. WARF invests in graduate education through University Fellowships and Advanced Opportunities Fellowships/Graduate Research Scholars. The following profiles illustrate the diverse and important ways that WARF contributes to graduate student success at UW–Madison.
WARF Student Profiles
PhD student, Physics Alexander Cole is pursuing a PhD in physics, performing research at the intersection of string theory, cosmology, and data science. Cole is interested in connecting string theory to our universe.
PhD candidate, History Samuel writes in his dissertation about the long process of Japan’s military demobilization after World War II. He argues that demobilization was protracted and incomplete, and that public hostility toward servicemen as well as occupation policies in Japan prevented veterans from successfully reintegrating into society once they were home.
PhD student, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Jorge came to UW–Madison for graduate school with a SciMed GRS Fellowship and joined Nathan Sherer's lab to study HIV transmission. He focuses on how dendritic cells - one of the first types of cells that HIV encounters when it enters the body through a mucus membrane - aid or prevent the transmission process.
PhD student, Political Science, Agricultural and Applied Economics Priyadarshi's interest combines political economy and development economics, specifically in South Asia. He plans to write his dissertation on the role of colonial interventions in explaining contemporary political outcomes and attitudes of lower sociopolitical castes.
PhD student, Educational Policy Studies Aruna’s research will focus on the effects of free secondary education on the quality of education in Sierra Leone. He will examine what is free in this free education package, how educators and students make sense of it, how the program will be sustained, and what will indicate success.
PhD student, Anthropology Kip's studies cultural anthropology. His dissertation uses participant-observation and interviews to explore the practices, transmission, and institutions surrounding urtyn duu (long-song) and a musical instrument called the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle).
PhD candidate, History and History of Science, Medicine & Technology Galen studies Chinese history and the history of science. His dissertation describes how ancient China’s four great inventions – paper, printing, gunpowder, and the compass – were drawn into modern Chinese nationalism.
PhD student, Geoscience Rachelle studies the crystallization of gem corundum, more commonly known as ruby and sapphire, to help determine the geochemistry of gems from different deposits. Her work may help identify a gem's country of origin, helping hold the industry to fair prices and ethical mining practices.
Marin is a PhD student from Germantown, Wisconsin. She began her program in Agricultural and Applied Economics in 2016 with support from a University Fellowship.
Lucas Nell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrative Biology studying population genomics and evolutionary ecology. He is fascinated by how ecological processes, such as population dynamics and species interactions, interact with genomic processes.
Lianna is a PhD student in Chemistry from Shawnee, Kansas. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas, where she was a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, and came to UW–Madison on an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship as part of the Letters and Science Community of Graduate Research Scholars (C-GRS).
Elliot is a PhD student in geography, with a minor in soil science. He studies how human land use along with soil and environmental properties contribute to the amount of carbon stored in the soil.
Miles is a PhD student in the Department of History, studying the Atlantic slave trade from a disability studies lens. His work will connect the history of corporeal, cognitive, and sensory impairment from the slave castles of the West African shore to colonial North America and the Caribbean.
Margarethe is a PhD student in Communication Sciences and Disorders studying child language development. She focuses on the effect of native and non-native accents on child production and perception of a second language.
Ellen is a PhD candidate in the Information School investigating the ethical issues surrounding large-scale digitization of Civil Rights Movement-era materials by archivists.“Digitization projects are rapidly becoming the standard for access among cultural heritage institutions, but the work is relatively understudied in terms of how it conflicts with archival subjects’ expectations of privacy,” she explains.
Juliette is a PhD student in the Department of Mathematics. She is interested in using algebraic techniques to study the geometry of systems of equations with multiple variables, or polynomials.
Lucian Rothe is a PhD candidate in German, with a minor in Second Language Acquisition. He studies how foreign language learners perceive and imagine teachers and native speakers of different foreign languages.
Researchers use all sorts of methods to collect their data. For one project on campus, that method takes the form of a cute, animal-shaped backpack. Graduate student Amy Schultz specializes in environmental epidemiology, which studies how environmental factors affect human health at the population level. She is a leading research assistant on a project called CREATE: Cumulative Risks, Early Development, and Emerging Academic Trajectories.
Niko Escanilla was drawn from his background in mathematics to graduate study in artificial intelligence and machine learning because he was looking for a discipline that could be applied in real world and clinical settings. As a graduate student in Computer Sciences, Escanilla had the chance to put those techniques to work as a research assistant on a UW2020-funded project, assessing variables that can predict the risk of breast cancer.
When Samuel Hansen started producing podcasts about mathematics and science, it was possible for a small, independent podcast like Hansen’s to rank in the country’s top 60 most popular shows. Now, the top charts are dominated by network-produced podcasts, a change that has taken place in the last 10 years alone – but not the last the world of podcasting will see. To preserve podcasts as they are now, and archive the changes within them, a project at UW–Madison is dedicated to making today’s podcasts available well into the future.
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