Author Archives: stalumni

UWGB Transformed Zeta by…

…helping her seamlessly adapt to a culture outside of her own.

Living in Sweden and Denmark and learning to speak Danish was never in Zeta Sion’s plans. However, at 22, Zeta found herself in that precise situation, having eventually settled in Copenhagen with her husband and son. And Zeta says that without the writing skills and cultural exposure she gained at UWGB, this major life transition wouldn’t have been as smooth.

“Without my writing skills, I never would have started the blog that connected me with others in my position when I felt alone and honestly helped me get by during tough times,” Zeta says. “I still think in poems, finding any opportunity to jot some down on a post-it, in an email to myself, or on the back of a grocery list. These poems have helped me feel connected to myself.”

Zeta credits UWGB’s stellar English and Humanities departments for this insight. After a meeting with Chuck Rybak regarding one of Zeta’s poetry chapbooks, she says, “I left that meeting walking on air, and yet with a hundred things to think about or change. It emphasized, for me, how much fun it was to think about every individual word. It made me believe enough in myself that I’ve continued writing after I didn’t have to anymore.” Zeta also credits Aeron Haynie’s “Culture of Food” courses that “were absolutely eye-opening,” and Stefan Hall’s undying passion for literature and language. “Dr. Hall was also really inspiring. To see someone so passionate about so many things was impressive, as was his ability to get freshmen students engaged in the material,” Zeta explains.

But perhaps the most important aspect of her UWGB transformation is the manner in which Zeta sees the world.

“I’m passionate about more things. The cultural and social knowledge I gained during my time at UWGB helped immensely when adapting to another culture and then another. The transition would have been much more rocky otherwise,” Zeta says.

Name: Zeta Sion
Grad Year: 2011
Major: Creative Writing
Minor: Spanish and Human Development

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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.

UWGB Transformed Jentzen by…

…believing in her so that she could believe in herself.

Many UWGB freshman first set foot on campus and feel like they can take on the world. For Jentzen Ostman, her initial experience was a bit different.

“I was a young and unversed child, and I came to UWGB immature and unsure,” Jentzen explains, “but the professors and staff made me aware of my potential, and they gave me a reason to fight. They didn’t give up on me like so many had before.”

Over the course of four years and spending far too many late nights in the studio working on one of many projects, Jentzen says that it was this dedication to personal embetterment that allowed her to share her abilities with the world. “I found a support structure and learned how to build on the foundation they provided,” Jentzen explains.

Of her many mentors, Jentzen greatly appreciates the leadership of Allison Gates, Mindy Sue Wittock, Kim Messinger, Jeff Benzow, Chuck Rybak, and Rebecca Meacham who were “always there and always ready to answer any questions and offer advice.” And even though Jentzen had a few tough years, she’s better for the experience.

“I couldn’t even begin to describe how much more prepared for life I am after graduating from UWGB, let alone the leadership skills I developed while there,” Jentzen says. “I could barely say hello to a stranger, and now I have confidence in myself and my actions.”

Name: Jentzen Ostman

Grad Year: 2013

Major: Design Arts

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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.

UWGB Transformed Crystal by…

…letting her think outside the box to make an impact.

Many UWGB alumni express their sincere appreciation for UWGB’s small, closely-knit classes, but for Crystal Malakar, UWGB’s approachable, professional staff made all of the difference in the world.

During her time at UWGB, Crystal worked with Associate Professor Chris Vandenhouten on a research study titled, “Nurses in Politics,” a study focused on the political influence of practicing nurses as a form of patient advocacy. Ultimately, Crystal’s research was published, and she may collaborate with Professor Vandenhouten in the future. Regardless, Crystal says the experience was invaluable, and she still keeps in touch with Professor Vandenhouten to this day.

Providing her the leadership and resources necessary to make a long term impact in a field she’s passionate about, Crystal says UWGB allowed her to think outside the box to make change.  Crystal loved having to take courses other than the ones in her major–Nursing–providing her insight into other disciplines. Making it all possible, Crystal insists she “had great professors at UWGB who were very involved and sincerely invested in their students.”

Crystal, now living with her husband Bikash (a fellow UWGB alum), works as a Staff Nurse at the Via Christi and Adolescent Mental Health Center in Wichita, Kansas, continuing to think outside of the box to make a positive impact on the world.

Name: Crystal Malakar
Grad Year: 2009
Major: Nursing

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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.

Knox, Jess

UWGB Transformed Jessica by…

…providing her the freedom to be herself.

As often is the case, UWGB students learn an incredible amount during their time on campus. However, Jessica Knox’s most important lesson learned was one not found in a book or lecture.

“The most important aspect of my UWGB education was that I was finally in a safe environment to grow and learn as a person. I came out at UWGB and am now an involved member of the LGBT community where I live,” Jessica says. “I also learned what I’m passionate about and how to use that passion to continue learning and growing.”

But Jessica’s transformation would not have been possible without one inspirational individual.

“Joanie Dovekas, hands down, was the most impactful person at UWGB for me. She inspired me to work in Higher Education and always made sure I knew that I was cared about as a person, especially in the hardest of times,” Jessica explains. “Everything she did for me and the support she provided could go on for pages. I can very honestly say I wouldn’t have made it through my college career without Joanie’s help.”

Now working in Higher Education–Financial Services, to be precise–Jessica has made an ideal life for herself, stemming from the nurturing support UWGB provided her.

“I’m engaged to be married to an incredible woman, and I have a career in financial aid that I love,” Jessica says. “I am constantly looking for new things to learn about my field and I have managed to network pretty well, both in my immediate region and nationally. I am comfortable, happy with who I am, and I have a wonderful career.”

Name: Jessica M. Knox

Grad Year: 2010

Major: Human Development

Minor: Mathematics

 

Photo submitted by: Jessica Knox

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.

Richter, Jena

UWGB Transformed Jena by…

…allowing her to spread her wings as a social (media) butterfly.

On a typical college campus, students can be seen walking to and from class, clutching their cell phones, updating their Twitter feed or Facebook accounts, and taking selfies to post on Instagram. Jena Richter used to be one of those students, a self-professed “social media butterfly,” but she never thought of her digital communication skills as a means to a career.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 9.25.50 AM“UWGB helped me acknowledge my passion for social media and turn it into a viable career path,” Jena says. “From my first MSN Blog to Twitter, I was always ahead of my peers when it came to social media, but I never recognized public relations, marketing, and social media as my career calling. I didn’t even know what PR truly was!”

From the very beginning of her UWGB education, Jena immersed herself in anything and everything social media. In her earlier years, Jena promoted her very own radio show as a DJ for the campus radio station and helped promote events put on by the Leadership Task Force. Later, Jena served as the Social Media Coordinator for Phlash TV, worked as the Marketing and Communication Assistant for Residence Life, and completed a Communication Capstone Course titled, “Cases in Crisis Communication and Media Management.”

Despite all of her hard work, Jena admits that it was only possible because of the hard work of her UWGB teachers and mentors.

“Phil Clampitt is an amazing professor because he not only teaches students, but he also instills in them the skills that will make them successful in the post-grad world,” Jena insists. “Besides what I learned in the classroom, from his textbooks, and from the group work assigned by him, Phil also believed in me and provided me with opportunities to grow outside of the classroom.”

One of Jena’s opportunities included working with Phil Clampitt as a Research Assistant and presenting findings on leadership at the 12th Annual UW-Green Bay Academic Symposium. Jena was also able to help develop a brand new course for the Communication department titled “Social Media Strategies.”  In addition to Phil Clampitt, Jena also credits Todd Sanders, Social Media Specialist, as Jena worked closely with Todd as an intern, “learning the ins and outs of social media in higher education and helping him execute crazy ideas.” Jena considers her time as his intern as a wonderful opportunity to work with one of the “best in the biz.”

Now, serving as UWGB’s Social Media Specialist, Jena feels that her UWGB experience was truly a special one.

“I feel UWGB is unique because I had all of these opportunities to work alongside staff and faculty to develop my skills and passions. I know this is what made me the social media professional that I am today,” Jena explains. “I work here, and when I am not at work, you can’t get me to shut up about how great UWGB is! I still need to pinch myself every once in a while.”

Name: Jena Richter

Grad Year: 2013

Major: Communication

Minor: Corporate Communication

 

Photos submitted by: Jena Richter, UWGB

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.

Butitta, Kathleen 2

UWGB Transformed Katie by…

…helping her find her voice.

In rare cases, a student arrives on the UWGB campus knowing exactly what they would like to major in and exactly what career they want: this was the case for Katie Butitta.

“When I first arrived at UWGB, I knew that I would be happiest pursuing a career that involved the arts. My dream at that point was to somehow double-major in Music and Theater, but I was told that I’d have to choose an interdisciplinary minor that, in my mind, would be incredibly boring,” Katie says.

Butitta, Kathleen 1For as sure as Katie was, UWGB’s minor requirements asked her to expand her horizons and engage in another related discipline.

“Luckily, at that time UWGB was developing a minor called ‘Arts Management,’ which seemed like the best option for me,” Katie explains. “I chose it as my minor and completed it, becoming more interested as time went on but fully intending that it would be merely a blip on my educational radar. I had grand plans of going on to earn my Master’s degree in vocal performance and, ideally, earning a living either performing or teaching voice like my mentor Sarah Meredith.”

Along with personal support from Ellen Rosewall and musical guidance from William Witwer, Katie graduated with a Music major and Arts Management minor. Little did Katie know that her minor–the part of her academic career she didn’t plan on–would be of crucial importance in her professional career.

“I did indeed go on to earn my Master’s in voice, and I tried my hand at teaching voice myself. Sadly, I found teaching voice to not be right for me,” Katie explains. “During the time in between seasons with Opera for the Young, a position became available in their office as a Tour Manager. My having earned that minor in Arts Management so many years prior got my foot in the door to step into that position on the administrative side of a thriving arts organization.”

It turns out that Katie did find her voice, and she never thought that a minor in Arts Management would make it all possible.

“My choice to pursue Arts Management as a minor led to my current position of Operations Manager for Opera for the Young based in Madison, Wisconsin, and I couldn’t be happier,” Katie says.

Name: Katie Butitta

Grad Year: 2004

Major: Music, Vocal Performance

Minor: Arts Management

 

Photos submitted by: Katie Butitta

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.

Ard, Mark

UWGB Transformed Mark by…

…helping with a smooth transition to civilian life.

Mark A. Ard Jr. entered UWGB not long after having exiting the Armed Forces, having spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Admittedly, Mark knew that he was in a stressful situation.

“I found myself in the same difficult spot many veterans face when they are transitioning back into civilian life,” Mark explains. “As unaware I was then and knowing what I know now this was a very difficult and challenging time in my life for a multitude of reasons. If it were not for the direction and constant show of support from not only my friends and family but also from my UWGB teachers, I doubt I would have been able to make it through.”

Of these UWGB teachers, Mark greatly appreciated the work of Prof. Katia Levintova.

“Katia had the most impact on my development and progression as a student,” Mark says. “She always took the time to listen and guide me through the process of learning and gauging where I should take my education into my career.”

Mark also cites the influence of Veterans Advisor Elaina Koltz, who helped him navigate his veterans benefits that paid for his tuition, Mark Olkowski in the Dean’s Office, who was always available and provided great counseling and guidance, Prof. Marcelo Cruz, whose zeal and eccentric passion motivated him to learn as much as he could, and the Vets 4 Vets student organization that provided a social network for veterans like Mark to re-connect with others.

“As difficult as it was transitioning, it was necessary for my future success,” Mark says. “UWGB provided me an outlet and something to focus on and work towards, a critical component to any veteran’s successful transition. I went in not know what exactly it was I wanted to do in the civilian world and came out with a mission. The best memory is having the satisfaction of seeing through the completion a life goal of earning a college education. UWGB made it possible.”

Name: Mark A. Ard Jr.

Grad Year: 2012

Major: Political Science

Minor: Global Studies

 

Photo provided by: Mark Ard Jr.

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 Clarice by…

…teaching her how to think.

From the very beginning of her UWGB experience, Clarice Tuinstra felt as if she was in an odd limbo. “I started college at age 22, when most people graduate. I didn’t follow the typical path of attending college directly after high school, but I was far too young to be an ‘adult’ student,” Clarice explains.

She returned to school because she disliked working retail and felt that her best option was to earn a degree. “I felt having a college education was still better than having nothing but a high school diploma, and when I started I was unsure of myself,” Clarice says. “I was unsure of my abilities, my talent, and even my intelligence. I hadn’t been in school for four years, and I wasn’t sure how well I would do.”

During her time at UWGB, Clarice says she learned how to be more assertive. “I took charge of group projects. I learned that writing creatively could be twice as hard as any analysis. Now, I can think for myself. I learn quickly, I understand instructions and I can analyze better than many. This, and I can write a beautiful sentence on occasion,” Clarice explains.

Clarice reflects on the guidance and wisdom she gleaned from Stefan Hall, Rebecca Meacham, Chuck Rybak, Aeron Haynie, Eric Shockley, and Cliff Abbott, asserting that, “Each brought something individual to the classroom.” Clarice insists all of her professors taught her that, “It is not just about reading books, writing opinion pieces, and hoping to be a novelist. Can writing be an art? Yes. Can it be a science? Yes, it can be that too. Collectively, these professors taught me to be more open to knowledge. They taught me to discover the world for myself. They taught me facts, yes, but they also taught me how to think.”

 

Name: Clarice Tuinstra

Grad Year: 2014

Major: Creative Writing

Minor: Communication

 

UWGB Transformed Lindsey by…

…supporting her artistically and academically.

The words “unusual” and “rare” aren’t traditionally associated with an outstanding college education, but Lindsey Przybylski insists that UWGB’s educational opportunities are anything but normal.

As a talented Art major, Lindsey found a valuable artistic outlet in the Lawton Gallery.  “The experiences that the Lawton Gallery has provided have been one in a million. Having the opportunity to exhibit my student work and actually have the university purchase one of my pieces is something I will never forget,” Lindsey says. “These opportunities are extremely rare, and UWGB students are fortunate to have them.”

However, Lindsey says that her artistic success wouldn’t have been possible without her advisors and professors, who provided Lindsey with “the best art education, direction, and resources that simply can’t be found anywhere else.”

“Sarah Detweiler, Alison Gates, Allison Stehlik, Linda Tabers-Kwak, Karen Eckhardt, and Aurora Cortes have been the driving force behind my education and helped my educational dreams come true,” Lindsey explains. “The support, knowledge, and encouragement I have received from these individuals is not normally found at major universities, and UWGB’s students are truly lucky to have these individuals as part of UWGB’s educational team.”

This ideal blend of artistic and academic support has transformed Lindsey into becoming the best educator possible for her future students, an experience not unusual at UWGB.

Name: Lindsey Przybylski

Grad Year: 2012

Major: Art

Minor: Education

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.

Melanie with her students

UWGB Transformed Melanie by…

…bringing Germany to Green Bay.

Melanie Lasee (nee Froelich) started learning German at a time when she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher or work in a school,” Melanie explains, “and I tried math because I always loved it in high school, but that wasn’t it. I tried counseling and liked most of my professors, but that wasn’t doing it either. I decided to take a January interim class, German 1, and I immediately loved it.”

Of course, like many UWGB alumni, one mentor was especially influential for Melanie, and that mentor was Herr Doktor Werner Prange.

“Herr Doktor Werner Prange most impacted me during my time at UWGB,” Melanie says. “Herr Prange was so interesting, engaging, and funny, and the class was held in a non-traditional classroom. I did really well. Herr Prange suggested I try the German Intensive Workshop, and I did and I was hooked.” Eventually, Herr Prange facilitated an experiential learning trip to Germany, a trip that Melanie says simply brought the German language to life.

“He took us to Germany and showed us so many amazing places. We went to Fascing and Oktoberfest celebrations hosted by the German American Society of Green Bay. We visited 26 cities in 28 days, and it was the most amazing trip of my life,” Melanie explains.

But Herr Prange’s guidance didn’t end there: “He helped me plan my semester in Germany, so that I could get my teaching license,” asserts Melanie. “If I had never taken that first German class and met Herr Prange, I have no idea where I would be today.”

Not surprisingly, Melanie is a successful German teacher and takes her students to Germany on a regular basis, following in the footsteps of Herr Prange.

Name: Melanie (Froelich) Lasee

Grad Year: 1996

Major: German

Minor: Secondary Education

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.