Author Archives: Jena Richter Landers

UWGB Transformed David by…

…expanding “ECO U” beyond the campus and into his own life.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, UWGB earned the nickname “ECO U” for its focus on environmental research and sustainability, and perhaps no UWGB graduate has embraced his alma mater’s early moniker more than David Muench.

As an undergrad, David enjoyed the Shorewood Club, intramural ping-pong tournaments at Deckner, and Phoenix basketball games at the arena, but his coursework and later master’s degree was rooted in environment research and studies of the natural world. And David says his UWGB transformation was natural, of course.

“In graduate school, I became interested in wetlands through Bud Harris and devoted much time to the subject,” David explains. “I studied federal and state legislation as it related to wetlands and wetland management and became fascinated with the function of wetlands and their benefit to the environment.”

However, even after leaving the UWGB campus, David says that his appreciation for the natural world has only increased.

“Wetlands and the environment have stayed with me through my UW-Extension career and afterward, and I was able to work wetlands into the job and outside interests, including bringing wetland education to youth in southwest Wisconsin,” David asserts.

Adding to these accomplishments, David also brought his interest in wetland education to east-central Wisconsin in an Extension appointment in Outagamie County, where he expanded his wetland education programs to three sessions with props and facilitated dozens of programs over the years.

After his time at the Extension came to a close, just like a Phoenix, David rose to the occasion again and immersed himself in environmental outreach studies.

“After retiring from Extension, I learned about an opportunity to participate in a long-term study called the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program,” David explains. “One aspect which interested me was monitoring frog populations, and I spent the next ten years counting frogs by listening for their sounds at a site near Shiocton. This has expanded to helping start a DNR frog counting program at Northeastern Wisconsin Land Trust.”

Emphasizing his dedication to the natural world surrounding him, David has taken his professional and academic interests and carried them into his personal life.

“When my wife and I were looking for some property on which to build a second/vacation home, the site we chose had a small wetland,” David says. “She appreciates wetlands–and frogs–as much as I do. It is an important part of our property, not only for us but for visitors. I built a boardwalk through the wetland to more closely observe the activity that goes on. I hope to instill the interest in wetlands in my grandkids.”

And David’s efforts have not only helped his immediate family and his environment, but his extended family, too.

“When my in-laws farm was threatened financially during a bad agricultural economy, I encouraged them to participate in some available federal programs which constructed wetlands and woodlands out of some lowlands they have,” David asserts. “Thirty years later, the area is productive in trees and wildlife and the nearby Branch River no longer receives tons of soil runoff from the continuous corn previously occupying the site.”

Today, David stays connected with ECO U by partnering with several professors on campus for community projects involving the environment, but has also served the Alumni Association and the Alumni Board for fourteen years over four decades. So if current Phoenix are walking the Cofrin Arboretum, listening attentively to the sound of nature that surrounds them, David Muench is probably listening, too.

 

Name: David Muench

Grad Year: 1972, 1979

Major: Regional Analysis, Natural Resources Management

Minor: None

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We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

 

 

 

 

Paul Willems.jpg

UWGB Transformed Paul by…

…smoothing his transition from soldier to student.

Paul F. Willems’ transformation story is infinitely interesting because his transformation is two-fold: from civilian to soldier and soldier to student…in a matter of years.

“I was decorated three times in Vietnam with bronze stars, once for valor,” Paul reflects. “I was always rated in the top 5% of my officer class after being drafted and attending Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. But entering college, after four years of military service, was the most scary thing I had done to date.”

However, UWGB’s friendly, open nature allowed for Paul’s smooth transition from soldier to student.

“Everyone at the university was welcoming and encouraging. My first year was a little tough, not having any experience like it before. None of my family had attended college, so there was no big brother in whose footsteps I could follow,” Paul says. “I really was on my own.”

Once on campus, Paul found a support system, anchored by three important teachers and one very special student.

“Dr. Ron Baba facilitated my creative and critical thinking skills, Dr. David Littig taught me political analysis and organization and presentation of critical information that would and could influence decision making, and Dr. Kumar Kangayappan taught me to understand more about other cultures and to appreciate the beauty of foreign languages and other ways of thinking,” Paul asserts. “All three of these gentlemen remain good friends.”

“But my lovely bride, Barbara, was my rock,” Paul says. “She was an excellent typist and she typed all my papers, flawlessly.”

And one would think that a man who knew what it was like to be a rock star–Paul played in a rock band for six years–and being a successman serviceman in the U.S. Army–Paul was discharged as a Captain–wouldn’t need to prove anything to himself, but one would be wrong.

“I am very proud of what I achieved at UWGB, even though I wasn’t anywhere near being a 4.0 student,” Paul explains. “Graduating from UWGB meant a great deal to me. What I learned at UWGB was the give and take that comes from the sharing, freely, of ideas–a real eye-opener for a 23-year-old Vietnam veteran who was the first of his immediate family to attend and graduate from college. Combined with my other experience, it [my UWGB education] has allowed me to tackle virtually every challenge I have chosen to undertake.”

Name: Paul F. Willems

Grad Year: 1975

Major: Urban Analysis

Minor: Political Science

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We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

Ryan 2 Profile

UWGB Transformed Ryan by…

…welcoming him into a community of hope and encouragement.

As a small town kid with big time doubts about his ability to succeed at the college level and in the real world, Ryan E. Ruzziconi immersed himself in the UWGB culture and never looked back.

“Finding a university that encourages their students’ growth and has built a campus around that philosophy isn’t easy,” Ryan explains. “But the culture at UWGB, from the professors to the living arrangements, gradually exposes a student to more people, experiences, and learning opportunities. And the more one is exposed to at UWGB, the greater their confidence and willingness to take on new challenges.”

It was this willingness to take on new challenges that propelled Ryan to personal and educational success, but not without the help of a few influential teachers.

“Scott Furlong and Denise Scheberle were not only wonderful professors, but they gave students hope and encouragement,” Ryan insists, “hope that a student’s hard work and dedication would pay off later in their career, and encouragement that no matter the obstacle, both inside and outside the classroom. For students, there are no two greater gifts that a professor can impart, especially at the college stage of one’s life.”

Ryan also credits UWGB’s unique student housing, which “allows for students to develop close relationships and live in a true community together,” and to this day, Ryan still contributes to UWGB by serving on the Alumni Board and taking part in other university activities.

“I would say the overall UWGB experience helped transform me into a more confident individual,” Ryan says, “and that in turn has led to successful careers.”

Name: Ryan E. Ruzziconi

Grad Year: 1999

Major: Public Administration and Political Science

Minor: None

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

UWGB Transformed Wendy by…

…helping her realize what she already had.

It seems that many Phoenix freshman have a similar outlook: they have the knowledge, skills, and ability to become outstanding professionals, but they need help finding these characteristics inside themselves. Wendy A. Huber’s UWGB transformation story is no different.

“I came to UWGB a somewhat shy, awkward teenager and was transformed into strong-willed, very capable leader of my peers, and eventually into a working freelance artist,” Wendy explains, “and this was a resolution I never could have imagined at the time.”

As a theatre student, Wendy says her production assignments grew progressively difficult over time, and in four and a half years, she became strong enough to handle a mainstage scenic design and manage the largest production the department had mounted in a decade.

“While stage managing the Theatre department’s production of Cabaret in 2012, I had the privilege of running a show in the Weidner Center for almost a thousand people each night,” Wendy says. “The anticipation as patrons filed in and solving hiccups during the show with my team while calling complex lighting cues was exhilarating and the apex of my college experience.”

However, managing a Weidner Center performance isn’t something one can tackle on their own, and Wendy is eternally grateful for the knowledge and guidance provided by UWGB’s Theatre faculty.

“The theatre department faculty had a tremendous impact on me,” Wendy insists. “Leading by example in theatrical craftsmanship and academics were Jeff Entwistle, Laura Riddle, Mike Ingraham, John Mariano, and Kaoime Malloy, who each in turn encouraged and pushed me through the barriers I had placed in myself, helping me discover a wealth of creativity, resolve, and leadership skills I hadn’t realized I already had.”

And when times got tough, UWGB supported Wendy in a different way.

“Counseling services is an invaluable resource of UW-Green Bay,” Wendy explains. “Dr. Ann Athorp-Krech helped me find the words to describe frustrations and painful times, and she helped me find specific actions to alleviate my stressors.”

Today, Wendy continues to transform theatres and stages, bringing her very own UWGB transformation story wherever she goes.

“I continue to successfully stage manage large shows due to the diverse and excellent foundation I built under the guidance of the UWGB Theatre faculty,” Wendy says. “I know I can always call to pick their brains about possible solutions, or rent materials to make it happen. And I have been able to work consistently since graduation, including a year-long pilgrimage to Colorado where I jumped right into a regional theatre and worked my way up.”

“I am very proud to be a UWGB Theatre alum,” Wendy says.

 

Name: Wendy A. Huber

Grad Year: 2012

Major: Technical Theatre and Design

Minor: Human Development

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

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UWGB Transformed Elaina by…

…helping her transform the lives of countless veterans.

Returning to the UWGB campus as a non-traditional student in the early 2000s, Elaina Koltz couldn’t help but reflect on the past…with a smile.

“In my history class, we were talking about the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989,” Elaina explains. “I had to laugh as I told the class I was there when it happened. It’s pretty sad when you are a part of the history you are studying.”

But reflecting on the past and honoring those responsible for shaping the world is what Elaina Koltz has always done, eventually leading her to a fulfilling career as UWGB’s very own Veteran Certifying Official. This position has allowed Elaina to serve a very special group of non-traditional students–veterans–and Elaina asserts that her UWGB coursework has been vital to her success and the success of these veterans.

“Learning about human development and psychology has helped me in my position, assisting veterans who have been through some hard experiences before returning to school,” Elaina says.

Along the way, Elaina received support of her own in the form of Illene Cupit–one of Elaina’s favorite teachers–who “had lots of enthusiasm,” insisting that, “you could tell she really cared about teaching.” Also providing invaluable guidance was Sarah Meredith Livingston, whose “Women in the Arts” course taught Elaina something entirely new: how to critique art performers and performances.

However, it seems that Elaina Koltz has perfected the art of making veterans feel at home while at UWGB, transforming their lives one at a time.

 

Name: Elaina Koltz

Grad Year: 2006

Major: Human Development

Minor: Psychology

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

Jo Wiebel

UWGB Transformed Jo by…

…teaching him to love learning so he could find his passion.

Perfectly summarizing the initial experience of so many successful Phoenix, Jo Wiebel admits that he was unsure what to do with his educational career upon setting foot on UWGB’s campus in the late 1990s.

“When I enrolled at UW-Green Bay, I was an average student that liked school but lacked direction in life,” Jo asserts, “but my ability to be an independent thinker and ‘on the job’ learner were strengthened from my UW-Green Bay experience.”

Aside from academics, Jo also reflects fondly on his four years on the men’s swim team, including countless practices, road trips, competitions, and lifelong friendships, along with what Jo says was “the ability to develop traits like persistence, dedication, collaboration, and teamwork.”

Jo also credits his coach, Jim Merner, and Tim Kaufman, who were instrumental in his completion of his master’s degree and thesis during his second tenure on campus, earning his MS in 2004. But Jo’s UWGB roots run deeper than his degrees indicate–he also worked as an assistant swimming coach for three seasons and has continued to participate with alumni swimming events, while serving as a current member of the Alumni Association Board and Phoenix Fund.

Now as the Principal of nearby Edison Middle School right here in Green Bay, Jo firmly believes that without a “very personalized, smaller scale learning environment at UWGB,” he may have never discovered his passion.

“I became a well-rounded, confident adult with a love for learning and a varied problem solving skill set,” Jo explains. “This has served me well, as I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of fields to eventually find a job that is truly my passion in life. Without the opportunity to grow, reflect and mature at UWGB, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Name: Jo Wiebel

Grad Year: 1997, 2004

Major: Public Administration

Minor: Political Science

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

john katers

UWGB Transformed John By…

…offering a world-class education right in his own backyard.

If anyone is the walking embodiment of “Eco U,” it may very well be Green Bay native and award-winning Professor John Katers. One may assume that a distinguished university faculty member would come from a scholastic pedigree, but Katers’ transformation story has humble beginnings.

“I have to admit that as a first generation college student, there was not a lot of thought put into college,” John explains. “And being from Green Bay, UWGB seemed like the easiest choice. However, UWGB really was transformative and has always been there for me when I needed it most: not the building or the campus, but the people.”

For Katers, UWGB offered the personal and academic support he needed, yet also an interdisciplinary approach to learning that has perfectly prepared him for the modern world.

“The close connection with faculty and staff [at UWGB] makes for a great learning environment. As a student who was not entirely sure which direction to go, it was not a problem for Professors Jack Day and Mike Troyer to assist me in creating a program that essentially included a major in Business Administration and Environmental Science — an odd combination in 1991, but perfect for the world we live in today.”

In keeping with Katers’ assertion regarding UWGB’s tightly knit learning community, he has dozens of UWGB faculty, staff, and friends to thank.

“There were numerous faculty and staff who contributed to my success as a student at UWGB, and later as a faculty member. At the top of that list would be Bob Wenger, Jack Day, Chuck Rhyner, Dave Jowett, John Stoll, Greg Davis, Bud Harris, Lee Schwartz, Jim Wiersma, and Mike Troyer. All were tremendous teachers, and I learned a lot from each and every one of them. I also had the great fortune of working with many of them as colleagues on a regular basis, which was an honor for me. Each and every one of them provided the foundation for my long-term success of UWGB.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1991 and his master’s degree in 1993 from UWGB, Katers continued his education at Marquette University, earning his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Katers was thrilled to return to UWGB, and to work alongside his mentors.

“Mary Kohrell worked for the UW Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center (SHWEC) and was housed at UWGB,” Johns explains. “Mary literally changed my direction in life several times. The first time was when I was an undergraduate student and stopped in her office — located at the top of the stairwell closest to the elevator in the Laboratory Sciences building — to learn more about what she was doing. At some point during the discussion, I asked whether she needed any help doing research or working on projects. Mary responded that she had been waiting for somebody like me to come to her office.”

“I worked for Mary during my last year as an undergraduate student, developed some interesting research ideas, and ultimately continued to work for Mary as I completed my thesis project for my graduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy. Normally, that might be the end, as I then went to Marquette for my Ph.D. However, two years later, Mary tracked me down in Milwaukee to let me know that there were two full-time job openings with SHWEC at UWGB and that I would be a good candidate. I interviewed for the position, received my first full-time professional job, and had the opportunity to continue learning from Mary for the next four years.

“I then accepted a faculty position in Natural and Applied Sciences at UWGB,” says Katers, “and the rest is history.” And what a history it has been.

In addition to serving as Chair of the Natural and Applied Sciences and Environmental Science departments, Katers has been honored with a Founder’s Award for Community Outreach and the UWGB Student Nominated Teaching Award. However for Katers, it has always been about his students.

“As a faculty member, the best memories are when students graduate and get their ‘dream job,’ which means that we have done our jobs as faculty. The longer I am at UWGB, the more I get to see students progress through their careers, which is rewarding,” he said.

But he’d never be able to make such an impact on his own students if he hadn’t received a transformative UWGB education, right in his own backward.

“Through my time at UWGB as student, I was really able to hone in my interests and take advantage of my skills. The faculty and staff allowed me to continue to grow by presenting new challenges and assisting me in meeting those challenges,” John insists.

“I am fully convinced that without UWGB, I would be in much different situation than I am today.”

John Katers

Major: Environmental Science, ‘91

Minor: Business Administration

Master’s Degree: Environmental Science and Policy, ‘93

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

Mary Cuene

UWGB Transformed Mary by…

…preparing her to be a leader.

UWGB did transform me,” explains Mary Quinnette Cuene, “from an office manager to an educator and leader. My education and work experience prepared me to begin a career in teaching at NWTC, a career which continues today. I had learned to learn, learned to think, and learned to communicate. But I had also learned to be a leader.”

However prodigious her UWGB education, Mary Quinnette Cuene insists it was her social experiences involving her children that left an indelible impression upon her.

“UWGB will always hold a special place in my heart,” Mary says. “While I attended classes, my two toddlers attended the UWGB pre-school — it is now gone — but they were both proud to have ‘graduated’ from the pre-school before beginning kindergarten.”

Mary continues by asserting, “One of my favorite memories is my children making a field trip from the pre-school to the Ecumenical Center–now called the Mauthe Center — where I worked as the office manager from 1985 to 1988. The little group would hike the length of the campus and then settle in for a video in the center’s TV lounge–an excursion for them and heart-warming for me.”

But of course, Mary’s coursework and influential teachers were at the forefront of her UWGB transformation.

“While on campus, many professors and staff encouraged me to learn and achieve. I worked hard, as so many UWGB students do, having a family, a job, and homework. Professor Michael Kraft instilled in me a love of public policy, explaining just what it invokes and why it is important, and I loved dissecting policies in his classes,” Mary explains.

And Mary also remembers an interaction on graduation day with a another influential teacher who immediately questioned her sunny disposition.

“It was all worth it on graduation day, receiving my diploma and marching proudly. As I exited the ceremony, Professor Ron Baba challenged me yet again, asking me why I was smiling, as he insisted I wasn’t nearly done. I was quizzical. But, how could he have known I would begin my graduate work only a few months later?”

In her professional career, Mary Quinnette Cuene has left an immeasurable mark on Wisconsin’s educational landscape. During her tenure at NWTC, Mary served for five years as President of the faculty. She was also appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board of Directors in 2003, with her tenure ending in May 2015. While on the board, Mary served on countless committees–both as Vice President and President–with the latter appointment leading to her service on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents for three years.

And ever since her graduation in 1988, Mary has stayed connected to the UWGB campus, serving on the UWGB Alumni Board for a number of years and becoming a lifetime member of the Alumni Association. Currently, Mary serves the Alumni Association by evaluating applications for the Legacy Scholarships, Alumni Scholarships, and Outstanding Student Awards, a service that she insists is rewarding in multiple ways, just as her relationship with UWGB has always been.

“Indeed, UWGB transformed me from an office manager to positions where I could affect higher education public policy in the state of Wisconsin for many years,” Mary says. “A dream come true.”

Name: Mary Quinnette Cuene

Grad Year: 1988

Majors: Public and Environmental Administration and Political Science

Minor: None

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.

Fleurant, Paula

UWGB Transformed Paula by…

…influencing national medical policies through interdisciplinarity.

Before Paula J. Fleurant arrived on the UWGB campus, she had already lived an entire life.

“I graduated from Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing in Massachusetts in 1966 and was a Registered Nurse practicing in both Massachusetts and New Jersey before moving to Green Bay in 1970,” Paula begins. “My courses in nursing school were taught by university professors although the school offered a diploma and not a degree. It was similar to the way Bellin School of Nursing originally operated.”

Paula transferred credits to UW-Green Bay and entered as a second semester with junior standing. She was a non-traditional returning adult student, married with two small children and initially only taking one or two classes per semester. Previously, Paula’s nursing curriculum had been laid out for her, and she had no choice of classes or when to take them. However, the catalog at UW-Green Bay opened many new opportunities, and Paula insists that, “the interdisciplinary aspects of the programs were exciting and challenging.”

Like many non-traditional students, Paula felt immediately embraced by UWGB and its outstanding faculty.

“The university was welcoming to non-traditional students and those of us who were employed while attending school,” Paula says. “Faculty were accommodating and willing to work with you to ensure that your experience would be positive, that you would excel, and that you would graduate with abilities to succeed personally and professionally.”

As an undergraduate, Paula was a student of Dr. Ruth Hartley, known for her work and publications in Early Childhood Education. Hartley’s teaching provided a framework for a special project with Dr. Fergus Hughes on the development of a “Pediatric Play Program” for hospitalized children at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay where Paula worked as a Registered Nurse.

Of Dr. Hughes, Paula says, “He was a mentor, counselor and advocate for this program and helped me formalize a proposal to present to hospital administration to initiate such a service. My proposal was accepted with a grant for needed supplies, educational materials, and furnishings.”

Paula was a volunteer director of this program for several years and the program was recognized by physicians, nurses, and administrators as a valuable component of diversion and learning for the hospitalized child. The hospital continued with the program by hiring a Child Life Specialist, and still supports it to this day.

Later, while a UWGB graduate student, Paula worked at St. Vincent Hospital in the field of infectious diseases and developed the first formal program in infection control at the hospital, instituting policies and procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, where Paula had the opportunity to study.

“My mentors during this phase of my education were Dr. Alice Goldsby, Dr. Jim Wiersma, and Dr. Lee Schwartz,” Paula explains. “The opportunity to work with these faculty members was invaluable for my work in the Infection Control Program that I continued to direct for thirteen years.”

And thanks to the flexibility in program design that the UWGB graduate school offered, Paula’s master’s program was modeled after a Masters in Public Health, including outbreak investigations and public health education.

“I began receiving requests to lecture in the community on such topics as Lyme disease, AIDS, and hepatitis B,” Paula asserts, “and one of those topics became my graduate thesis: ‘Hepatitis B in Healthcare…A Risk Analysis Approach to Determining Feasibility of a Vaccination Program.’’

Little did she know, but that thesis would lead Paula to influence national medical policy, namely at the Centers for Disease Control.

“I was able to combine school and work by conducting research in the hospital setting and although my thesis results — testing 202 employees at St.Vincent Hospital for possible inadvertent exposure to Hepatitis B through a needlestick — were not statistically significant, the administration decided, based on that sampling, to offer a vaccination program. One year later the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mandated it nationally.”

Since her retirement, Paula has been a lecturer in the Learning in Retirement Program at UW-Green Bay, a community lecturer and a participant in health programs with the University Health Services, as well as completing a three-year term on the Alumni Association board as Vice-President, and member of the Executive Committee, Scholarships and Awards Committee, and Golf Outing Committee.

Ultimately, Paula admits that her UWGB experience — and its vital interdisciplinarity — was nothing short of transformative, both personally and in her community.

“My education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay transformed me from a general staff nurse to a researcher, epidemiologist, educator, patient advocate and contributing member of numerous healthcare and community committees and boards,” Paula insists. “Classes such as public speaking, geography, and a myriad of developmental psychology courses molded me into a confident healthcare professional who has expanded her boundaries beyond the walls of the university and into the Greater Green Bay community. I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of individuals at the university and in the community, and I am proud to be an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.”

Name: Paula J. Fleurant
Grad Year: 1975, 1986
Major: Growth & Development, Environmental Science & Policy

Photo submitted by: Paula Fleurant

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.