39th Human Diversity Expo showcases research

A poster exhibition of student research serves as an opportunity for civic learning and democratic engagement

Jenna Erickson

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Eau Claire eats
April 2, 2020

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The Human Diversity Forum — which examined the cultural contributions of racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and economic groups — was held on Dec. 5 in Davies Center from 5-6 p.m.

The College of Education and Human Sciences is committed to high standards of academic excellence, according to the UW-Eau Claire website. The college strives to prepare students to become engaged professionals who are creative and critical thinkers, ethically concerned individuals and culturally responsive leaders.

“A total of 172 students will present 48 posters during this event,” Torres said. “They will represent 5,160 hours of civic learning and democratic engagement.”

The Human Diversity Forum examines cultural contributions of racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and economic groups by students who display an exhibition of their research studied by civic learning and democratic engagement, according to the UW-Eau Claire website. 

Eric D. Torres, an associate professor of education, said the Human Diversity Expo is a culminating experience that is part of ES-385 Social Foundations.

“I teach this class and have taught it since I joined UWEC in 2011,” Torres said. 

Organizing the 39th edition of this event is part of the responsibilities he shares with Anjela Wong, he said.

During the course of the semester, all students taking this class have to complete 30 hours of civic learning and democratic engagement, Torres said. 

“This is an opportunity to be embedded in different spaces of teaching and learning in our community and engage in an ethnographic study of the learning environment through direct involvement with various racial, cultural, language and economic groups,” he said.

Students have acquired important data to understand human relations in the day-to-day basis, especially as they relate to their interventions in the world in a leadership capacity, Torres said.

“It is an opportunity to appreciate how they have produced knowledge and a better understanding of just, inclusive and equitable human relations among diverse groups of people,” he said.

Brooke Brienen, a third year elementary education student, presented this Thursday at the expo. Her group presented a research project following volunteer work they did over the course of this semester, she said.

“We made a poster that highlights what we’ve learned in the last couple of months involving the literacy skills of the children we worked with,” Brienen said.

The project focuses on the literacy skills of elementary students who speak English as a second language, Brienen said. Three of the members of the group were a part of the Reading Partners program, whereas she volunteered at the Bolton Refuge House, reading to kids and playing games with them, she said.

“My personal research at the Bolton Refuge House was eye-opening to say the least,” Brienen said. “I worked with a mom who has nine kids and one on the way. I learned so much from her strength and motivation to give her kids the lives they deserve.”

According to the UW-Eau Claire website, the Human Diversity Forum — which examines the cultural contributions of racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and economic groups — was held on Dec. 5 in Davies Center from 5-6 p.m. 

Erickson can be reached at [email protected]