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Future teachers use technology to provide support to students during COVID-19 crisis Written by Laurie Hamer | Education & Wellness

During the COVID-19 crisis, more than 70 University of Wisconsin-Platteville education majors took on the challenge of providing more than 100 homebound K-12 students in 11 school districts in Southwest Wisconsin with online tutoring support to ensure they continued gaining knowledge in a wide variety of subject areas. Beginning in March, UW-Platteville students were paired with more than 60 elementary students, 20 middle school students and 20 high school students. Using Zoom, the future teachers read books on a variety of topics aloud to younger students and tutored older students in math, science and language. UW-Platteville students tutored students through mid-May, but some volunteered to continue tutoring until the younger students school year ends. When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the university, the School of Education had students who still needed to complete contact hours for a variety of courses, said Dr. Jen Collins, director of the School of Education at UW-Platteville. We also realized that, with the closing of K-12 schools, there were families who needed support in navigating online learning for their children. We took advantage of this unique opportunity and paired our future teachers with those students. Families were provided with free tutoring and our students were able to gain valuable experience teaching in an online environment. It was a win-win. UW-Platteville students said the learning experience was invaluable and provided them with an opportunity to connect with students 2020 College Guide - Page 4

and develop skills that will make them more marketable to future employers. In a time where we couldnt physically be together, Zoom tutoring allowed us to fulfill what we are most passionate about working with children, said Maria Bast, a senior elementary/earlychildhood education major at UW-Platteville from Platteville, who tutored four elementary students in reading and math. We were fortunate to have been given this opportunity. Tutoring benefited the elementary students we worked with, but it also gave my classmates and me time to develop a new skill set, teach different subjects, work with different grade levels and meet new students. It was a great way to connect our university to the surrounding communities. The tutoring program was a wonderful and valuable experience, said Kaley Mumma, a junior agriculture education/horticulture major at UW-Platteville from Byron, Illinois, who tutored a ninth- and tenth-grade student in history and plant science. I had great students who were patient with me as I adjusted to online tutoring. It was also a great opportunity to brush up on my early 1900s history. The alternate delivery tutoring experience was exceptionally unique, providing reward and challenge, said Ethan Wilkinson, a senior health education major at UW-Platteville from Baraboo, Wisconsin, who tutored a secondgrade student in reading and language arts. It was an experience that allowed me to learn about my abilities as an instructor and provided a unique learning opportunity for my student. Grant, Iowa, Lafayette Shopping News


Participating schools and parents also recognized and appreciated the positive impact the program had on their students and children. The tutoring program benefited our students, particularly those we were worried would fall behind, said Dr. Jill Underly, superintendent of Pecatonica Area School District in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. Their parents agreed and were excited to engage their children in this project. The students were motivated to do well in school but connecting with a UW-Platteville student teacher helped with their accountability. They didnt want to disappoint their tutor. The outbreak of coronavirus completely changed our normal, said Amy Kreul, mother of a seventh- and ninth-grade student at Platteville School District. My husband and I have been working from home and our kids are finishing up the school year online, which has been a big adjustment for all of us. I am really grateful the UW-Platteville School of Education was resourceful in finding a way for their students to get experience as well as helping the community while schools are closed. Kreul said the tutors provided guidance on assignments, extra enrichment and something to look forward to during the week. They were knowledgeable, reliable and extremely helpful, she said. The tutoring services have been a really great experience for our family. My son looked forward to his tutoring meets every week and even asked for an extra day each week, said Kathy Tydrich, mother of a sixth-grade student at Iowa Grant Elementary/ Middle School in Livingston, Wisconsin. With

some parents still going to work every day, I was so happy to see this available so my son could have some help with his studies. Thank you, UW-Platteville. We would definitely sign up again for this opportunity. Collins recognized the importance of, and expressed gratitude for, the universitys partnerships with rural schools and communities. While many folks might assume that teacher training takes place solely on the UW-Platteville campus, the truth is that our rural schools and communities are vital partners in this endeavor, she said. They share their master teachers and amazing students with us and help bridge the gap between the curriculum education majors learn on campus and the real-time teaching that occurs in K-12 classrooms. We can never thank them enough. Being able to give back to those schools and families, even in this small way, has been gratifying. The UW-Platteville program has been so successful for all stakeholders that the School of Education hopes to continue the program, in some capacity, this fall, even if the COVID-19 quarantine ends. When challenges like the COVID-19 crisis arise, residents of rural communities turn to each other for support, said Collins. My hope is that the School of Education becomes one of the recourses that communities know they can turn to. To view an NBC15 feature about the collaborative tutoring program, visit: www.nbc15.com/ content/news/UW-Platteville-students-helpkids-keep-learning-at-home-569646231.html

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Industry partnerships help UW-Platteville respond to pandemic Written by Alison Parkins | Campus & Community Industrial Studies

According to Miner, Thanks to partnerships these scenarios forged between indusincluded the contry and the University tinuation of cusof Wisconsintodial staff’s dayPlatteville Construction to-day disinfecting Management and duties; the need Construction Safety to deep clean any Management prospace where a pergrams, custodial staff son tests positive at UW-Platteville or shows symphave been able to use toms; and the need advanced equipment Ullsvik Hall for the custodial to ensure their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry part- staff to provide services in one of the facilities ner Miron Construction Co., Inc., in Neenah, designated as an isolation facility – if that sceWisconsin, recently provided the university with nario should become a reality. a Powered Air Purifying Respirator, or PAPR. “After careful consideration of the proper PPE A PAPR is a type of personal protective equipment that uses a blower to pass contaminated air through a filter and then supplies purified air to the face piece. Although there has not been a documented case of COVID-19 at the university, the facilities staff has been proactively preparing for several possibilities. “The COVID-19 pandemic that took over the world created a unique situation for UW-Platteville,” said Mark Miner, assistant professor in UW-Platteville’s Construction Safety Management program. “It became apparent that our custodial staff and maintenance staff were still on duty doing the important things they have to do to keep our university operational. During the evaluation phase of the training and equipment that was needed to complete the job safely, it was determined that there were three different scenarios that they could be challenged with.” 2020 College Guide - Page 6

to utilize, it was determined the best course of action was to utilize powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs),” said Miner. “As one can imagine, the availability of this type of equipment was almost zero. This is when we put our contractor networking process into place. A phone call was made to Miron Construction on Friday, April 10, and David G. Voss, Jr., president and CEO of Miron Construction agreed that UW-Platteville was in a tight spot and gave direction to his warehouse operations manager to locate a PAPR unit and prepare it for use. It was ready and in-hand on Saturday, April 11.” On Monday, April 13, Miner trained the custodial staff to use it, reviewed the work procedure, and a space was cleaned before noon of that day. “Hats off to the wonderful folks at Miron Construction for helping us keep our fellow Pioneers safe,” said Miner. Grant, Iowa, Lafayette Shopping News


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Mechanical engineering students turn recycled plastic into respiratory face masks Written by Ruth Wendlandt | STEM Research

To help combat the shortage of personal protective equipment during this COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Jodi Prosise, chair of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and a team of undergraduate researchers are designing a system to turn recycled plastic into respiratory face masks. Prosise, along with mechanical engineering students Jason Hackbarth, Rkia Talbi and Mackenzie Darkow, were initially working on a process to create prosthetic devices, but once the coronavirus hit, they transitioned to personal protective equipment. “It’s a system for recycling that will be easy for anyone to build themselves; in rural communities in Wisconsin, the Midwest or third-world areas,” said Prosise. “By the end we will have simple instructions so anyone can construct this system to recycle their plastic into face masks.” To help with their prototype, the group has been researching masks approved by the National Institute of Health. They are hoping to come up with a solution resembling the

benefits of a N95 mask. “We have the design for our shredder complete,” said Darkow, a junior mechanical engineering major from Hartland, Wisconsin. “We are now looking at how to make the molds for the mask. If we learn how to make the molds, hopefully, we can send them to a company to be mass produced.” The process of conducting undergraduate research from home does bring some challenges, but according to Prosise her students are rising to the occasion. “At first, coordinating and figuring out how we were still going to build things was difficult, but once we connected with the lab and shop staff at UW-Platteville, who were really willing to help out, it has become such a great experience. Not only are they helping with the build, but they are also helping to teach my students how to communicate their ideas better, which is important in engineering,” Prosise said. “They are walking through step-by-step with them on how to make the

Check These Stories Out... Instructor finds innovative way to deliver criminal justice course during COVID-19 crisis at

UW-Platteville instructor lends emergency management expertise at

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drawings easy for everyone to understand, how to put it together and how to drop a work order. They are learning communications skills better than they ever would have had we not been in alternative mode.” Darkow notes that it’s rewarding to apply both her interests of mechanical and biomedical engineering. “I can make an impact whether small or big on helping other people,” she said. “It’s what drew me to the biomedical engineering emphasis. I love engineering, I always have. Being able to know I can actually help people and know it can save one or two people from getting the virus.” As the spring semester wraps up, the research team will continue to follow its timeline. “We are hoping to have our system designed within the next two months,” said Prosise. “After that we will do testing of the product to make sure it is viable. Right now, with COVID-19, the materials for the testing are on back order. We won’t get those until two months out. Our goal is to have everything manufactured by the time we can do the testing. By the end of summer,

we should have a system in place.” Although, it’s a challenging and unknown time with the COVID-19 pandemic, Darkow said she’s grateful for this opportunity. “Being able to work in undergraduate research and work on something that can actually help people that I’m generally passionate about is exciting,” she said. “It allows me to understand what paths I can take in the future. I’m a first-generation college student. Going into a master’s program was never really on my radar. Working with the research and understanding I can take it to the next step and continue doing research has definitely made me realize maybe that’s what I want to do in my future.” In the meantime, this project will not be stopping anytime soon. “The research will go on for a very long time, whether it’s for COVID19 masks or other devices,” said Prosise. “The real passion and real drive here is to figure out how to reduce plastic waste in the world and use it for good purposes, particularly in the medical world.”

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Grant, Iowa, Lafayette Shopping News


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With more than 10 miles of non-motorized public trails, Platteville hosts a scenic route for walking, running and biking. The trail winds along the Rountree Branch and features a trout stream with several places to fish from the shores. Following the stream, the trail takes B you from UW-Platteville to Mound View Park or the H shopping CT district along Progressive Parkway and connects Platteville to Belmont on the new Mound View State Trail, where one can access 4,500 miles of state trails. With plenty of benches and kiosks along the way, take your time to enjoy the scenery of beautiful Platteville. Go to www.plattevilletrailnetwork.org for more information.

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UW-Platteville student creates ear guards for Wisconsin hospitals Written by Ruth Wendlandt | Campus & Community STEM

response has After hearing been amazing. about the growI just wish I ing shortage of could do more.” personal protective equipNot only is ment for health Smith donatcare workers, ing to area University of hospitals, he Wisconsinalso mailed a Platteville group of ear senior Sam guards to Kelly Smith decided Jo Hadfield, the he needed to UW-Platteville help those student cenbattling the ter coordinaCOVID-19 critor, who has sis. Smith, a been making computer scifree masks for ence major people on camfrom Kaukauna, pus and in the Wisconsin, Sam Smith produces ear guards Platteville comstarted producmunity. “It became clear the ear guards ing ear guards with his 3D printer. He can would work great with the work she is create five guards every two hours. doing,” Smith said. “I printed about 20 “I have been able to produce around 250 of the guards and shipped them back to ear guards for multiple medical facilities Platteville.” and community programs around the state,” Smith is buying all of the materials for the Smith said. “As long as people continue to ear guards himself. “It is just the right thing reach out, I’ll keep the printer running.” to do,” he said, adding that he wanted to The purpose of ear guards is to help stop the elastic bands from medical masks from resting on a person’s ears. For some health care professionals, the elastic bands can form rashes and inflammation. Smith’s firstdrop off was to the Appleton Medical Center in the Fox Valley. “The team on the eighth floor of the Appleton Medical Center sent me a lovely thank you card in the mail,” he said. “The community 2020 College Guide - Page 12

give back in some way “Our medical professionals are putting their lives at risk to protect us. The least we can do is help support them. My only request is that people pay it forward to others in their community,” he said. “We are living through a historical moment. A lot of people are struggling. If we continue to support those around us, our community grows stronger in the fight against the virus.” Grant, Iowa, Lafayette Shopping News


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UW-Platteville professor manufactures hand sanitizer for Wisconsin communities Written by Ruth Wendlandt | Campus & Community STEM

Dr. James Hamilton, professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, is working with the state of Wisconsin to produce tens of thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer to help protect communities from COVID-19.

across the country.

Hamilton is the owner of Photonic Cleaning Technology, LLC. His product First Contact Polymer cleans telescopes and high-power laser optics. According to Hamilton, some of the chemicals, bottles and packaging used for his business are similar to the solvents and additives which are used in hand sanitizer. To help with the mass production, Hamilton hired 12 new employees including six UW-Platteville students. The majority of the students have worked in Hamilton’s research lab on campus.

“We have completely separated my two companies into the sanitizer manufacturer and the coating manufacturer. There is no interaction between the people,” Hamilton said. “People in one business aren’t allowed to go into the other building.”

“In the United States there are literally no more plastic bottles, caps or spray heads,” Hamilton said. “Fortunately, we had a big inventory in stock so we could get started. I have spent an enormous amount of time going to every “The state contacted distributer around and me and those in the talking with them. chemical manufacturDr. James Hamilton producing hand sanitizer There is no more. You ing space to ask if any can’t get bottles; you can’t get alcohol.” of us could produce hand sanitizer because there wasn’t any around,” Hamilton said. “Now To help with the production, Hamilton is able we will be shipping to a state warehouse in to use the building next to his business. The Madison (Wisconsin) 25,000, bottles of hand additional space allows for a larger gap of sanitizer.” social distancing.

“It’s been exciting,” Hamilton said. “The students and community members have really stepped up. They are really happy to be helping. They are doing the bottling and manufacturing. We have gone from zero to 300 gallons a week within two weeks.” Wisconsin is not the only state trying to combat the shortage of hand sanitizer. Hamilton acknowledges there has been a shortage of hand sanitizer ingredients 2020 College Guide - Page 14

As Hamilton’s team continues to produce hand sanitizer for Wisconsinites across the state, they are also giving back to local front-line workers. “We dropped off a bunch of it at the police station, fire station and the ambulance service,” Hamilton said. “We have had a lot delivery trucks; 20 or 30 of them in the past two weeks and we give it to all the drivers.” Community members can purchase the hand sanitizer at Heiser Hardware in Platteville. “These are difficult times. Anything we can do to help our neighbors is good,” Hamilton said. “Platteville and the surrounding area don’t have to worry about a supply of hand sanitizer anymore.” Grant, Iowa, Lafayette Shopping News


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Impact of COVID-19 provides opportunity for research, connections Written by Megan Hinderman | Campus & Community Environment

drop in emissions As organizations would need to be large and small repeated multiple struggle to adapt years in a row to to the COVIDmake a difference 19 pandemic, in global warmthe effects on ing,” Underwood the University said. of WisconsinPlatteville and UW-Platteville its surrounding took a significant Amy Seeboth-Wilson, sustainability coordinator communities are step in reducing far-reaching. Students are continuing their its carbon emissions by eliminating the use studies from remote locations, where they of coal from its campus earlier this year. face new personal and academic challeng- The institution has also made sustainabiles. Faculty are adapting to delivering their ity a priority in its 2019-24 strategic plan. courses in a new way and providing support Much of this was driven by student interest, to their students from afar. Yet, even as their research and support prior to COVID-19. For own lives are disrupted, university students Underwood and others, this presents new and staff have contributed to the greater good possibilities for action. by sharing their skills and resources whenever While environmental shifts are seen on a possible. global scale, economic impacts are also Now, new opportunities for research and hitting close to home. The food industry in community-building have started to arise. For particular has seen a great deal of disruption example, Dr. Chris Underwood, geography with supply chain shifts, restaurant and bar professor and program coordinator of the closures, and limited access to goods. This new environmental science and conservation is particularly damaging to the dairy industry major believes COVID-19 could present an and family farms in Wisconsin, which have intriguing case study for students interested already suffered hundreds of jobs lost in in the environment. recent years. However, these farms and the “The majority of scientists agree that human communities they call home are also known actions are causing our planet to warm, with for their resiliency, and some believe the devastating consequences to life as we know response to COVID-19 could strengthen that it. COVID-19 however, is, at least temporarily, relationship. slowing global carbon emissions. As daily traf- “We are seeing a pandemic-driven shift in fic has slowed, scientists are estimating that consumer mentality among our Southwest global carbon dioxide emissions may drop by Wisconsin communities,” Amy Seebothmore than 5% in 2020 – in what would be Wilson, the Sustainability Coordinator for the largest ever annual drop of carbon diox- UW-Platteville, said. “Many local farmers who ide emissions. This is significant, but such a source directly to restaurants and consumers 2020 College Guide - Page 16

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were rightfully nervous when Governor Evers’ “Never before in our lives have we had the Safer at Home order was announced. Yet, as opportunity to so clearly see our relationships locals seek greater safety and reliability in our in action. From our direct neighbors, to the food delivery system, many of our local farms grocery cashier, to strangers overseas, COVIDand CSAs are working 19 has changed the overtime to keep up way we think about and “We are seeing a pandemic- interact with others. with demand. We also get the sense of Even our relationship driven shift in consumer a greater appreciation to our planet has been mentality among our of local businesses in impacted,” Seebothgeneral.” Wilson said. “This Southwest Wisconsin moment in time gives Seeboth-Wilson also communities,” us pause to ponder stressed that the Amy Seeboth-Wilson, the Sustainability the world we live in pandemic has brought Coordinator for UW-Platteville and, perhaps more to light disparities in especially, the world healthcare, income, and other areas. She said that much of we want to create. We know life will never her work as sustainability coordinator goes be the same after COVID-19, but dare we beyond renewable energy initiatives and into imagine a future that can be better because these areas of social justice. In a time of of this experience?” global crisis response, it makes her work and the work of so many at UW-Platteville all the more critical.

To learn more about the research and initiatives taking place at UW-Platteville, check out uwplatt.edu/news.

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Students join global initiative to share resources to research COVID-19 Written by Alison Parkins | STEM

A group of University of WisconsinPlatteville students and one alumnus have found a creative way to team up, while staying at home, to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. They formed a UW-Platteville team to contribute to the Folding@home project – a distributed computing project that relies on people around the world to volunteer their personal computer resources to run simulations of protein dynamics to help scientists find cures for diseases. Students on the team include Derek Greenhalgh, a senior industrial technology management major from Platteville; Kevin Wuest, a junior software engineering major from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Jonas Wagner, a senior electrical engineering and engineering physics major from Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Jerrison Faulkner, a junior computer science major from Platteville; Tyler Vander Velden, a junior mechanical engineering major from Appleton, Wisconsin; and alumnus Jansen VanLin, who graduated in 2018 with a degree in manufacturing technology management. In attempts to discover potential therapeutics or vaccines for viruses, scientists simulate the dynamics of viral proteins. However, to run every possible simulation is computationally intensive. The Folding@home project relies on the concept of distributed computing, which allows researchers to crowdsource computer power. Through the project, volunteers around the world run simulations on their 2020 College Guide - Page 18

personal computers and provide the data back to researchers, which is then used to develop cures for diseases. While the Folding@ home project has been in existence for nearly two decades, it gained a surge in popularity recently when organizers created simulations to specifically research COVID-19, which is the project the UW-Platteville team is working on. “It has become hugely popular in the last couple of months,” said Faulkner, who was the first to learn about the project and get the team started. “The last I heard, the total processing power for Folding@home is more than the top seven super computers combined, and they have about 400,000 active people now versus the 20,000 they normally have. It has gained a lot of popularity recently.” The process of folding at home is fairly autonomous, once the students complete the initial setup of the program. “You can tell the software what part of your computer you want to use to actually do the work,” explained Greenhalgh. “We did some reading about what is most power efficient, because it does consume a lot of power and makes a lot of heat. Most of us are folding on graphics cards in our computers. Basically, we get the job, the computer crunches the numbers, sends it back and pulls a new job. It is fairly autonomous for us, other than monitoring it to make sure it doesn’t get stuck.” Grant, Iowa, Lafayette Shopping News


The students explained the process gives them a lot of flexibility in the setup, from determining how much of their computer resources to use, to whether the computer runs simulations constantly or only when it is idle. The Folding@home initiative tracks teams’ contributions to the project. The UW-Platteville team currently sits within the top 1,000 out of more than 250,000 teams worldwide. Although most of the members on the team are new to this project, working together in the field of STEM is not new to them. The students are all members of the FIRST Robotics Team at UW-Platteville.

the field of STEM and society at large. “I’ve been thinking about what I can do to help from home, and this is the biggest thing I could think of to be helpful right now,” said Greenhalgh. In addition to the Folding@home project, Vander Velden is using his 3D printer to make ear savers and masks. “I ran my 3D printer for a week and a half almost solid, as long as I’ve been awake,” said Vander Velden. “So far I’ve made almost 500 ear savers.” The students agreed that it is gratifying to potentially play a part, no matter how small, in helping to combat a global pandemic.

“As mentors for the FIRST Robotics Team, we work with high school students in building, programming, designing and ultimately competing with a robot,” said VanLin.

“I am not very good at biology, but I know how to use computers,” said Wagner. “Being able to provide the resources for the researchers who are developing vaccines and different resources is definitely very good.”

In the absence of being able to do their typical STEM outreach with the community during the pandemic, the Folding@home project offers them a new way to continue to contribute to

The students welcome others who are interested to join their team’s efforts in folding at home. For more information, contact Firstteam171@gmail.com.

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