The 16th annual Ramaley Research Celebration (RRC) returned to in-person programming last Wednesday, April 20, after two years of modified events due to COVID-19. To celebrate RRC’s return, April 20 was set aside as the new “Research and Creative Achievement Day” for the first time ever. This meant classes were canceled and Winona State University students could more easily participate in the celebration.
RRC ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and was split into two sessions, morning and evening, where students gathered in the Kryzsko Ballroom with poster boards to display and explain their research. There were a total of 130 student presenters spread across 14 different academic departments. Some of the departments included were art, biology, chemistry, English, geoscience, health, mathematics, psychology, social work, sociology, music and more.
The Oak Rooms were also utilized during the event for presentations. One presentation featured RRC’s first musical performance as part of the celebration. Fifth-year saxophone performance major, Jake Schumacher, performed a set of two songs. First he played “Liberation” by Joel Love which featured several advanced techniques. For the second song Schumacher performed “Black” by Marc Mellits, along with third-year student Tyler Upham.
John Holden, a professor in the psychology department and member of the RRC committee, played a large role in encouraging Schumacher and Upham to perform at RRC. Holden commented that he hopes more music students perform at RRC in the future and that the celebration becomes more diverse and inclusive in research and creative scholarship.
Thomas Nalli, a professor in the chemistry department, has been on the RRC committee for 13 years. Nalli commented how they are looking to expand RRC to become more representative of more departments, as well as different types of research and creative scholarship.
“There is a great variety of great research at Winona State,” Nalli said.
Promoting music at RRC is one step to increase the diversity of offerings at the celebration. Another step that was taken was to allow faculty to present their own research as well. Four professors from different departments presented their own research in the Oak Rooms.
Another plan to expand RRC, Nalli mentioned, was to combine it with another similar celebration that occurs on Winona State’s Rochester campus. Rochester’s celebration is called, “Community Creative Achievement Day” (CCAD), and it specifically celebrates graduate student research. Next year, Nalli plans to combine RRC and CCAD into one celebration of research and scholarship on the newly created Research and Creative Achievement Day.
The RRC committee is made of a small six-person faculty team with its members from different departments, including psychology, education, the library and chemistry. Nalli hopes to get more people on the committee to help aid with planning bigger celebrations in the future.
David Larson, fourth-year student and data science major, presented his research titled, “Comparing Geospatial Interpolation Methods for Modeling Snow Depths”, at RRC. Larson commented on why RRC is a good event to have.
“It was just fun starting a project on my own independent study and then just diving into it, going wherever the data leads me…,” Larson said. “I think [RRC] just celebrates relative learning, like having an interest in actually what you are studying and then doing a personalized study in whatever facet of your study that you are interested in…It is really good to promote interesting research that you want to do rather than blind assignments in school.”
Although RRC was in person, students had an option to pre-record their research presentations and have them published on the RRC website for people to view. The program for the event, which includes all the students’ abstracts and research, is available online at, https://www.winona.edu/undergradresearch/Media/Celebration-Program-Abstracts-2022.pdf.
In a recorded message that was played at the start of RRC, President Scott Olson congratulated the participants and emphasized the importance of research.
“Research is how we improve our world, and that is core to our mission here at Winona State University. So I am so grateful that all of you have participated in this fantastic research celebration,” Olson said.