May 20, 2022 All News

2022 Butler Fellows to Conduct Research

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Five University of Dubuque students will participate in the John and Alice Butler Summer Research Fellowship this summer.

"The John and Alice Butler Summer Research Fellowship program provides students with the opportunity to do research with University faculty or to partake in an internship within their intended profession. The program also helps fellows build professional relationships through mock interviews, networking, resume and cover letter design, and communication skill-building in order to enhance their post-graduate employment," said Mark Sinton, PhD, director of the John and Alice Butler Summer Research Fellowship.

Fellows will commit 400 hours of work on their research or internship over a 10-week period. They will each receive a stipend of $4,500 and an additional $500 for research or internship associated supplies and/or travel costs. Fellows are required to present the results of their research or internship during the following academic year at a local, regional, or national conference.

"We are grateful to John and Alice Butler for their ongoing commitment to the University of Dubuque and their investment in, and care for, students. The John and Alice Butler Summer Research Fellowship provides undergraduate students with valuable experience and the opportunity to build professional relationships," said Rev. Jeffrey F. Bullock, PhD, president of the University of Dubuque.

The following students were named 2022 Butler Fellows:

Austin Dalsing, a junior computer forensics and security major from Dubuque, Iowa

Project: Evaluating the Effects of Prescribed Prairie Burns on the Diversity of Soil Protist Communities with Wolter Woods and Prairies

Advisor: Adam Kleinschmit, PhD, professor of biology

"Becoming a Butler Fellow has been an incredible experience for me so far. Considering I am not within the major of what my research pertains to, I feel very honored being chosen for this position due to my dedication to it in my time here at the UD labs. I love Protistology and understanding microorganisms, and so this fellowship has provided me with the opportunity to contribute serious research to an understudied field that truly needs it.

"My project focuses on observing the response of protist populations (primarily protozoans) in the soil after controlled burnings take place. Current research in fire-affected soil microbiomes is difficult to exactly replicate, so we aim to bolster the extant data to contribute to bettering future meta-analyses, which will help us understand how these fires affect our soil microbiomes more!"


Jessicca Dix, a sophomore environmental science major from Dubuque, Iowa

Project: Land Management Intern at Wolter Woods and Prairies

Advisors: Eric Nie (C'15), environmental specialist at Wolter Woods and Prairies Environmental Stewardship and Retreat Center, and Gerald Zuercher, PhD, director of Wolter woods and Prairies Environmental Stewardship and Retreat Center

"Being named a Butler Fellow is an incredible accomplishment in my academic career that will allow me to grow my skills and confidence in the field. I am very thankful to have this opportunity given by John and Alice Butler to practice land management techniques and to prepare me for my future career goals in environmental science and to build my professional network.

"During my project, I hope to learn how to practice land management skills at Wolter Woods and Prairies. Not only will I gain land management skills, such as invasive species removal, controlled burns, and trail management, but I will also gain personal growth from the challenging tasks and build personal connections with my peers. I am looking forward to continuing the bumble bee surveys that were started by last year's interns, as well as placing my own bench at the Wolter Woods and Prairies property."


Braydin Preston, a junior computer information technology major from Lanark, Illinois

Project: Land Management Intern at Wolter Woods and Prairies

Advisors: Eric Nie (C'15), environmental specialist at Wolter Woods and Prairies Environmental Stewardship and Retreat Center, and Gerald Zuercher, PhD, director of Wolter woods and Prairies Environmental Stewardship and Retreat Center

"Being chosen as a Butler Fellow means I am getting an opportunity to discover and learn about the natural world around us and how we can effectively and efficiently try and make it a better place.

"Through my internship I am hoping to learn safe and effective ways to conduct land and resource management that could help benefit the planet that we live on."


Meghan Prohaska, a senior math in secondary education, psychology, and mathematics triple major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Project: Integration of Engineering Design, Math, Science, Literacy, and 21st Century Skills

Advisors: Ken Turner Jr., EdD, professor of chemistry, and Jeffrey Haverland, EdD, associate professor of teacher education

"For me, being a Butler Fellow is about individuals, like the Butlers, having faith in young college students to pursue projects and research in areas that really interest us and, in the end, hopefully impact the community with our findings. It really shows the commitment that the University of Dubuque, its students, and community members have to bettering the Dubuque community and impacting the present day as well as the future generations to come.

"Within my project I am taking STEM activities that allow students to learn kinesthetically and aligning our Iowa standards that are taught at various grade levels to each individual kit. In the end I hope to achieve a better way for students to learn more effectively by learning in a great way and multiple standards at a time. I hope this will impact the future schools and students that I hope to teach in the future."


Joseph Wohlers, a junior environmental science major from Beebeetown, Iowa

Project: Land Management Intern at Wolter Woods and Prairies

Advisors: Eric Nie (C'15), environmental specialist at Wolter Woods and Prairies Environmental Stewardship and Retreat Center, and Gerald Zuercher, PhD, director of Wolter woods and Prairies Environmental Stewardship and Retreat Center

"To me, being named a Butler Fellow is a huge accomplishment. It gives me a chance to gain much-needed experience in the field of land management and in the field of science as a whole.

"I hope to get a much more in-depth understanding of the entire process of land management, such as plant identification, trail maintenance, controlled burns, and many other aspects as well throughout the summer."