The view from the bluff

A national model for research

Bakken is an ’04 alum and professor in the Sociology & Criminal Justice Department.

Posted 3:10 p.m. Friday, July 29, 2022

Undergraduate research can be a life-changing experience. I know, it changed mine. 

I often share with my own students the experiences I had as a UWL undergraduate. I initially struggled to find my place and passion, but through the encouragement of a professor, I applied for and received an undergraduate research grant. Little did I know that this encouragement and experience would open doors for intellectual exploration, mentorship and skill development that has brought me full circle to where I am now. 

After returning to my alma mater, I now have the distinct pleasure of taking over as the Student Research and Experiential Learning Coordinator from Scott Cooper, who has worked tirelessly to build a nationally recognized model of student research. 

Scott has been adamant that student involvement in undergraduate research is one of the most transformative and tangible experiences they can have. For faculty, this mentorship is one of the most rewarding aspects of our jobs.   

The tireless work of Scott, along with many dedicated faculty and staff, has made UWL unique in the depth and diversity of student research programs available. It has also allowed UWL to influence lives outside campus boundaries by tailoring research projects to community needs. This campus and community connection is called the Wisconsin Idea, and I invite you to be part of it. 

If you are an alum who, like me, would like to be part of your alma mater’s research experience, I encourage you to reach out. Contact me directly or visit our UWL community engagement website at Click on “community partners” and you’ll see we’re looking for project partners to help our students take their academic training to higher levels for their own benefit and the benefit of all.   

Nicholas Bakken, ’04
Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice Department