Science festival to feature UW-Madison experts

From October 20–23, the Wisconsin Science Festival will be taking place across the state, giving attendees of all ages a glimpse at the ways science is changing the world and our every day lives. Last year’s festival drew approximately 37,000 attendees to 285 events throughout the state. This year the International Division will be cosponsoring two sessions at the festival.

Growing Global Science

Fri., Oct, 21, 2:30–3:30 p.m.

UW-Madison Discovery Building

As scientists continue to tackle world problems, such as climate change and infectious disease, the role of regional expertise becomes more vital to progress. Learn how regional specialists and scientific experts partnered on six programs sponsored by the International Division’s Incubator grant program—all designed to shed light on some of the world’s most challenging issues.

See the projects and presenters.


Zika: An Epidemic in Context

Sat., Oct, 22, 2–3 p.m.

UW-Madison Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St., Madison

Zika has been making headlines since 2016, when it exploded on the scene in Latin America. With the appearance of Zika in the southern U.S., Zika has become an even hotter topic. During this discussion, a panel of experts will discuss Zika, placing it in context and explaining the real impact of the virus.

See the presenters.

Both sessions are free and open to the public. Learn more about the sessions, UW-Madison presenters and other details at the links above.

Carnegie Corporation awards $1 million to CREECA

The Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) announced the University of Wisconsin–Madison as a recipient of a $1 million grant to strengthen the study of Russia at U.S. universities.

The grant from the Carnegie Corporation will encourage universities to enhance Russian programs, research and outreach, as well as promote collaboration with the Russian academic community. Theodore Gerber, director of the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA) and professor of sociology, is the principal investigator for the successful grant proposal.

“I believe we have the greatest concentration of social scientists working on Russia in the country,” said Gerber. “The grant will allow us to fill a few gaps, build an even stronger program and publicize the Wisconsin brand.”

Ted Gerber

Theodore Gerber, director of CREECA, is the principal investigator for the successful grant proposal.

Gerber and his colleagues plan to use funds from the grant to help establish a tenure-track faculty position for an economist specializing in Russia in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics.

“Development economics is a strength for our college’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics,” says Kate VandenBosch, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “A faculty position focused on development economics in Russia and Eastern Europe will broaden our expertise in this important area of the world.”

Funds from the grant will be used to create and support graduate assistantships, research awards, graduate student fellowships and a young scholars conference on contemporary Russia that will bring together new cohorts of social scientists from Russia and the United States.

“This award is not only an opportunity to grow Russian social sciences scholarship at UW-Madison, but also affirms the outstanding efforts already underway,” said Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of the International Division. “This grant will enable the university to expand research and build partnerships between scholars in the United States and Russia.”

The grants followed a Carnegie-commissioned study by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) to assess the state of Russian studies in the United States. Gerber conducted the assessment and wrote the report. The report showed that a decreasing number of young scholars are focusing on Russia, especially in the social sciences, and there is limited collaboration between Russian scholars and U.S. based scholars studying Russia.

“This grant gives us a chance to solidify what is an already strong position within the larger world of social sciences and reinforce our status as a leading node for social science research on Russia in the U.S.,” Gerber said. “This grant will also help CREECA enhance our programs through collaborations with Russian-based scholars on topics of mutual interest.”

CREECA is a member of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS,) which comprises the area studies centers at UW–Madison.  IRIS is a unit of UW–Madison’s International Division.

For additional information on this story or the International Division, contact Steven Barcus at (608) 262-5590 or


Campus, family remember Beau Solomon


Beau Solomon

Family, friends and the UW–Madison campus community are paying tribute to Beau Solomon, a 19-year-old study abroad student who died in Rome last week.

“All of us at UW–Madison are greatly saddened by this loss,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Beau was a bright and caring young man who lived the Wisconsin Idea through his work at Badger Boys State and his desire to travel and experience other cultures. Our hearts go out to Beau’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

Solomon arrived in Italy last Thursday to study at Rome’s John Cabot University as part of a summer program based at the liberal arts college.

He was reported missing the following morning by his roommate when he didn’t return to his room after an evening out in a district frequented by American tourists.   Read More

Alumni profile: Coming to UW-Madison, going abroad opens up new worlds for Lopez

Daniella Lopez learned early on how it feels to be different, to be in the minority. But Lopez grew up with a fierce determination to push forward, which has carried her from a small Wisconsin town to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, to Europe, and now in China.

“My family was one of two minority families in Westfield, Wisconsin, a small farming and chicken factory community,” says Lopez, the oldest of four children.

“In high school, I wanted to go to a big liberal city for college and I applied only to UW–Madison. I was the only one from my graduating class to be accepted,” she says. “My mother was thrilled, since that would make me the first person in our family to go to college.”

Daniella Lopez, second from right, with friends at UW-Madison.

Daniella Lopez, second from right, with friends at UW-Madison.

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Peace Corps: Reed sees service as investment

His studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison fostered Patrick Reed’s interest in exploring different cultures and perspectives. Add to that a desire to serve others.

Since receiving his B.A. in history and international studies from UW–Madison in 2011, Reed has followed a path of service.

“I traveled the country for two years, volunteering in impacted communities helping with recovery and capacity building,” says Reed, who served with AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps.

Next, his call to serve will carry the 26-year-old from Grayslake, Illinois, overseas. As one of the latest UW–Madison alumni to sign with the Peace Corps, he reports in mid-June 2016 as a community health extension volunteer in Swaziland, a small, landlocked country in southern Africa.

“My time at UW–Madison was a great first step in my pursuit of Peace Corps,” he says. Continue reading