Actually, I think I know what I did wrong this time. There was some rather obscure wireless option buried deep within the kernel's menuconfig that I forgot to turn on.
In other news, the guy from MDS emailed me back. The interview is on Thursday. I'm hoping that things go well...I know there was that screwup from last year, which kinda killed my GPA, but I'm hoping we can get past that.
w0000t! The config worked...now hopefully there won't be any more wireless disconnections. If this works, I'm going to try the -ck patch again (currently my kernel has only freeswan).