A new strategic initiative at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse will provide  a high impact learning opportunity for a group of exceptionally talented students.

The new "Eagle Apprentice" program will offer 50 first- and second-year students an engaging educational experience while providing faculty members with much needed assistance in areas such as student-faculty research, instructional assistance, and computing support. Scott Cooper, Director of the UW-La Crosse Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center, states, "With a combination of financial support and establishment of a positive relationship with a faculty mentor, we aim to enhance student retention and eventually lead students to their own independent research projects."

Financial support for the Eagle Apprentices includes a $1,000 grant in their first year and $1,000 in their second year.  Eligible students are selected by the UWL Admissions Office and no application is required.


UWL Eagle Apprenticeships

  •   Awarded to 25 top notch freshmen as a recruiting incentive. 
  •  The average ACT score of these students is 31, and they are in the top 96% of their high school. 
  • These students are paid $1,000 their first year, and $1,000 their second year to work with a faculty mentor on their research. 
  • Engaging the students with a mentor gives them valuable experience in their discipline, and helps them make educated career decisions early in college.

Testimonials about the program

From the Apprentices:
Mitchell Malecha
, Fairbault, MN, Biochemistry major
My faculty Mentors have been extremely helpful throughout the past two years. I am thankful that I have been an Eagle Apprentice because of the information I have learned and, more importantly, the memories I have made.

Haley Klundt, Sartell (MN), sophomore in the College of Liberal Studies - "So far I am really enjoying this opportunity. My mentor is very helpful and the project is very interesting. I think it is going to be a great learning experience."

Kim Trochlil, Rhinelander (WI), sophomore majoring in Biochemistry - "Mitch Malecha and I are working together to provide cell stocks to be used in the Biochemistry labs. We do some plasmid transformations and lately we have been learning how to do protein preps for Dr. Weaver's work on red blood cells in sheep's blood. ... I am loving it, and I'm so happy to stay with it."

Mikala Mlsna, Spencer, WI Psychology
I was able to figure out my career path in large part because of the Eagle Apprenticeship opening the door for communication with my mentor. 

Zachary Porior, Oshkosh (WI), sophomore majoring in Microbiology with a Chemistry minor - "I am working with the drug SK-09-23 and determining if its minimum inhibitory concentration is greater when glycerol is added. I am working with a novel fish virus and helping characterize it. ... The best thing about the apprenticeship is getting to work in my field of study and learn more about my chosen field."

Megan Eberle, Spring Green (WI), sophomore in the College of Science & Health - "This semester I worked with Dr. James Pierce and Dr. Eric Eager who are creating a calculus course that has biological applications, which differs from the normal calculus applications in physics and engineering. I would work through problems for them and decide if they were good biology applications. ... I liked learning how calculus can be applied to biology because I have only learned physics and engineering applications. I also liked being able to talk about calculus in a different setting that made me think about calculus in a different way that it is talked about in the classroom. At this point, I can't think of anything I would change, and I want to continue working with Dr. Pierce and Dr. Eager."

Jordan Pellett, New Freedom (WI), sophomore majoring in Mathematics - "Dr. Hertel has been very helpful with this project as well as with other things such as class scheduling and is always open to talking about anything that is going on in my life." Quarterly Council on Undergraduate Research 

Creative Funding Sources For Undergraduate Research


Eagle Apprentice News

#Deflategate discussion spread like a disease on social media 
June 23, 2015
The trio had built a model to compare the spread of information to that of an infectious disease. “Information within itself has the epidemiology structure,” notes Eager.

UWL Research Uncovers Earth's Largest Bite-Force
Feb. 25, 2015
Basilosaurus isis skull. The red represents muscle forces, and the blue color of the cranium shows that the skull has very low stress. The original life reconstruction in this image, by artist John Klausmeyer, is at the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan.

Digest this: UWL gut research aims to advance medicine 
Nov. 12, 2014
From left, Sumeli Liu, a UW-L biology professor, UW-L senior Lauren Eliades and UW-L freshman Kathryn Thompson. Liu received a three-year, $337,500 grant from National Institutes of Health in August to study a specific type of neurotransmitter released by the gut in response to stress.

New program means more freshmen gain research experience 
June 9, 2014

Q&A with Eagle Apprentice Jaclyn Lilley

New program pairs freshmen with faculty mentors  
Sept. 6, 2013
UW-L Freshman Jack Flinchum performs an isometric force production task in the lab through a partnership with his faculty mentor Attila Kovacs through the Eagle Apprenticeship Program. When Finchum squeezed the handle, a red line went up on the computer screen indicating how much force he was exerting.