UW2020 Graduate Students

The UW2020 initiative encourages collaborative, innovative approaches to some of the biggest questions faced by researchers today. Graduate students play a key role in these grant projects, adding insight, creativity, and expertise to their research teams. These features explore how UW–Madison graduate students working on UW2020 projects are contributing to their fields, their communities, and the world.

The graduate Student Impact

Looking for links between language and action

Psychology graduate student Steve Schwering's knowledge of working memory informs this project exploring the parallels between speaking and movement.

Testing the action basis of language and language production

Translating raw data into insight

As a graduate student in Computer Sciences, Niko Escanilla helped a research team studying the demographic and genetic variables associated with breast cancer risk, narrowing those features down to only the most important.

IMage for Translating Novel Breast Cancer Genetic Markers from the Bench to the Clinic project

Collecting data on kids’ environments and health

To help get young children excited about participating in a data-collection project, graduate student Amy Schultz employs a fun sidekick: animal-shaped backpacks.

A small device held beside a pocket sewn into the front of a child's shirt meant to hold it

Helping the average person teach a robot new tricks

If robots will one day be staples in people's homes, everyone has to be able to teach them. Graduate student Guru Subramani is investigating how to model actions for robots.

Physically responsive collaborative robot manipulation

Taking a hands-on approach to catalyst research

Graduate student Keishla Rivera-Dones' research team is hands-on by nature. As part of a project working to improve the efficiency of chemical reactions, she's synthesized her own catalysts and built a methane reactor.

Photo for the project,

What are UW2020 grants?

The goal of UW2020 is to stimulate and support highly innovative and groundbreaking research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This initiative seeks to support research projects that are high-risk, high-impact, and transformative as well as those that require the acquisition of shared instruments or equipment that will open new avenues for innovative and significant research.

UW2020 is underwritten by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) with combined funding from other sources.

For a full list of projects funded by UW2020 grants, see the UW2020 research website.

More UW2020 Grad Profiles

  • Archiving today’s culture for tomorrow’s researchers, through podcasts

    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.

  • Building a better water quality measurement platform

    With a background in engineering and environmental science, alumnus Paul Schramm had the perfect mix of skills to work on a water quality measurement project that brought new possibilities into the field of limnology.

  • Applying machine learning models to improve dairy farm management

    As new technologies have opened doors for dairy farms to harness more data from their herds than ever before, farmers around the state have embraced these innovations. That leaves farmers with vast amounts of data – on cows, herds, farms, the market, crops, and soils – but, as of yet, no way to integrate the entirety of that data into farm management.

  • See all profiles