Undergraduate Experiences

Immerse Yourself in Freshwater Experiences.

Undergraduates can enhance their skills by participating in lab and field experiences in rural and urban settings throughout the state, including on the Mississippi River, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and many rivers, streams and wetland areas.

These are the experiences currently being funded by the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. 

Summer 2022

Collaborating to Protect and Monitor Streams in an Agricultural Landscape
Location: UW-Platteville
Dates: June 2022
This is a cooperative effort among UW-Platteville faculty advisors, undergraduate students, the Harry and Laura Nohr Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to monitor, and assist management of, stream communities and habitat in agriculture-based watersheds of southwest Wisconsin. Achieving a better understanding of Wisconsin’s water resources is essential for their long-term sustainability. However, for an individual agency or entity, limited access to personnel and resources can compromise this understanding. Our proposed student-focused, collaborative approach that integrates various stakeholders is intended to mitigate such a challenge. 

The Dam Analysis and Monitoring Crew
Location: UW-River Falls
Dates: August 2022
The “Dam Analysis and Monitoring (DAM) Crew” is a two-week, summer experience in which undergraduate students learn about and contribute to a dam removal and river restoration project on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin. The “Kinni” is a premiere trout stream in western Wisconsin. Students receive hands-on training from river restoration professionals in the region and then apply their newly developed technical skills to collect water quality and habitat data required in the official project monitoring plan. Two DAM Crew participants continue the work through part-time, school-year internships to collect data, analyze samples, and compile results. 

Developing an Easy-to-Apply, Integrated Approach to Modeling Freshwater Contamination from Farm Runoff Using Only Commercial Drones, Cameras, and Software
Location: UW-Stout 
This project will study the flow of contaminants such as pesticides from farm fields to open water bodies. The project will use a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV/drone) and camera to collect flow data over large farm fields, and a commercial software to investigate flow patterns and predict contaminant spread. The goal is to develop an easy-to-apply process for users with minimal technical knowledge about drones or flow simulation. This study can help farmer communities, industrial farms, and state agencies dealing with Wisconsin’s natural resources make informed decisions towards protecting freshwater bodies.  

Establishment and Support of the Red Cedar Basin Monitoring Group
Location: UW-Stout 
The Red Cedar Watershed experiences frequent blue-green algae blooms due to phosphorus pollution. Numerous projects have been implemented to reduce runoff and restore stream channels and buffer areas. This project looks at how effective those projects have been by using aerial imagery to identify streams in the watershed where work has been done and areas that might be contributing to water quality problems. Students will establish monitoring locations in streams that are being impacted by the land use around them and conduct monitoring through the summer/ fall to identify successes and areas for improvement in habitat management for water quality.  

Expanding the LAKES REU to Wisconsin Students
Location: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout
Dates: June-August
The goal of this project is to expand the learning, community engagement, and career development opportunities currently provided by the Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability Research Experience for Undergraduates (LAKES REU) program at UW-Stout to two students in the UW-System who are enrolled in programs related to the Freshwater Collaborative. The LAKES REU is a summer experience that brings students from across the country to UW-Stout to work on research related to phosphorus pollution and its mitigation in the Red Cedar Watershed. More information about the LAKES program can be found on our website: www.uwstout.edu/lakesEnrollment is full for summer 2022.

Freshwater Science Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates
Location: UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout
Dates: August 2022
The Freshwater Science Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates is designed to develop a concentrated, thematic research program focusing on freshwater science involving multiple departments and regional campuses. This multidisciplinary thematic focus on freshwater issues, including the 10 Grand Water Challenges, is anticipated to make the FSREU program quite attractive to both students and faculty from numerous departments.  The FSREU is a collaborative project with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at UW-Eau Claire and will provide funding for up to 10 research projects in 2022. Development of a Freshwater Science Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates will highlight both educational opportunities and potential career pathways in freshwater science to a wide variety of undergraduate students. 

Summer Research Experience Program for Undergraduates in the University of Wisconsin System
Location: UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville
Dates: June-August
In summer 2022, 10-12 undergraduate students will receive internships at UW-Madison to work on water research projects. Students will be paired with faculty affiliated with Water@UW-Madison and will work in laboratories and programs on campus. They will meet together regularly throughout the summer, be given opportunities for professional development, and present their research at a reception in August. The internships are offered through the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin in conjunction with UW’s Sea Grant and Water Resources Institutes as part of a pilot program that will be expanded to UW campuses statewide in 2023. Enrollment has closed for summer 2022.

Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research Engagement on Developing Rapid, Easy-to-Use, and Cost-Effective Test Kits for the Detection of E. coli/coliforms in Water
Location: UW-Stout 
The coliform group including Escherichia coli has been used extensively as an indicator that other illness-causing bacteria, parasites, and viruses are present in water and has historically led to the public health protection concept. While current membrane filtration method for the coliforms and E. coli detection has adequate specificity and sensitivity, they are costly in time, equipment, and/or reagents. Faculty-student research engagement will be established to develop a test kit to 1) detect a single cell in a maximum water portion, (2) provide results within 24 hours at 37 C or 48 hours at room temperature, and (3) cost ~ $5/kit.