Category Archives: Stories

UWGB Transformed Nicole by…

…letting her lead.

In no uncertain terms, Nicole Vaux is a leader, but she knew that leadership is meant to serve others, not oneself.

“I found my voice, my identity, my strength, and my love of learning at UWGB,” Nicole says. “Through my engagement with UWGB leadership organizations, I strengthened my character and sense of purpose to improve the lives of teenagers through secondary education, and I learned of my love for service.”

Many on-campus leadership experiences helped strengthen Nicole’s character, molding her into a future leader of others. She recalls her role as an executive member of SGAs Executive Board, her tenure as a Resident Assistant, her service for the Black Student Union, and her term as editor for the Sheepshead Review in facilitating her process from student to visionary. And Nicole has many UWGB faculty members to thank.

“Rebecca Meacham introduced my love of the Harlem Renaissance and impacted my life as a literature teacher and advisor of literature magazines, and Aeron Haynie helped develop my love of critiquing poetry and literature and analyzing text through multiple lenses,” Nicole explains. “I remember Grant Winslow and his love of working with students to help make their college experience unique, fun, and memorable, and James Coates for the work we did mentoring students of color in area middle and high schools.”

Post graduation, Nicole continued her service as a secondary education English teacher, coach, and advisor of SGA, school newspaper, and school magazine. Being a true believer in the power of education, Nicole recently earned her Ph.D. In Educational Administration and Leadership from the University of Alabama, following a Master’s and Educational Specialists degrees in Educational Leadership.

“I’ll never forget the rich experiences I gained at UWGB, and I’ll apply them when I begin my professoriate in the fall,” she asserts.

After UWGB allowed Nicole to be a leader, it sounds like Dr. Vaux is just getting started.

Name: Nicole Vaux

Grad Year: 2003

Major: English

Minor: Secondary Education and History

 

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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 Amy by…

…showing her the artistry of business.

As someone who loves performance, Amy Vannieuwenhoven might consider her UWGB education as a first act. In 2015, Amy majored in Business, but she insists that it wasn’t accounting, economics, or management that truly inspired her: it was theatre. Crediting multiple UWGB teachers and mentors, Amy says that her theatre courses and experiences–and particularly their interplay with her Business major requirements–provided her with an unparalleled sense of confidence upon entering the workforce.

Vannieuwenhoven, Amy

Photo submitted by: Amy Vannieuwenhoven

Whether it was John Mariano’s inspirational demeanor, Don McCartney’s high expectations, or Ellen Rosewall’s undying care for all of her students, Amy insists that without these people intimately involved in her education, she may not have seen the connections between a conference room and a costume room.

“Theatre classes helped me understand how to be outgoing and use the skills I learned to my advantage,” Amy says. “I also feel driven to pursue a job which I feel passionate about, which I feel is often something that is neglected in college.” Now with a Business degree, Amy feels confident to stand out from other job seekers by drawing from skills learned on the stage, performing admirably in the business world, ready for whatever her second act has to offer.

 

Name: Amy Vannieuwenhoven

Grad Year: 2015

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Arts Management

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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.

Neuendorf, Jill

UWGB Transformed Jill by…

…showing her how to become a global citizen.

Part of what makes UWGB so special is its expansive network of international schools across the globe. And although Jill Neuendorf majored in German and Humanistic Studies, it was her willingness to embrace UWGB’s global network and its connections to Kharkov, Ukraine that paved her career path.

Jill vividly remembers taking a Russian class with Alisa Strelnikova from Kharkov, Ukraine in the summer of 1992, which Jill says “made the biggest impact of all on me and my life as a whole. Thanks to that class, I befriended Alisa and ended up going to Kharkov on a UW-GB exchange in 1994 just to reconnect with her and meet her family.” However, Jill ended up falling in love with Ukraine and the Russian language and culture, eager to learn more and more about the former USSR, its people, and the Russian language. As a result, Jill found her true passion and calling in life. “If I hadn’t taken Russian with Alisa at UWGB,” Jill says, “I would have never studied it and have no idea what I would be doing today.”

Although Jill’s course with Alisa in 1992 lasted only eight weeks, she and Alisa became good friends. Jill traveled to Ukraine two years later, “just to learn more about Alisa’s city and country, and to meet her family.” In the end, however, Jill ended up connecting her own life with Russia, its people, and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Jill says she will always be grateful to UWGB for facilitating the exchange with Kharkov State University, which made it possible both for Alisa to come to UWGB and for her to go to Kharkov.

After returning from Kharkov, Jill wanted “to go back to that area of the world again and again to keep learning more and more Russian,” which is exactly what she did. In total, Jill lived in Ukraine and Russia for about seven years and has also visited and/or lived in Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Jill, who teaches Russian at Georgetown University, is involved in a variety of projects that require Russian language proficiency and is a true global citizen thanks to UWGB.

Name: Jill Neuendorf
Grad Year: 1995
Major: German and Humanistic Studies

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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.

Fifty and Forward: UWGB’s Time Capsule for 2065

In celebration of UW-Green Bay’s 50th Anniversary, a cornerstone, which was ceremonially placed in conjunction with 1968 construction of the first campus buildings, was opened in summer of 2015. Contents were intended to document the beginnings of the University in 1965 and its community partnerships. Items ranged from early campus plans regarding layout and curriculum as well as a directory of local government offices; area newspapers; and an original souvenir plate commemorating Super Bowl I and the win of the Green Bay Packers in 1967.

Looking forward to UW-Green Bay’s 100th anniversary, the University is creating a new time capsule to be opened in 2065 telling the story of UWGB today. The campus community is invited to help choose the contents for this capsule which is planned to be about the size of a  small file cabinet (2′ x 2′ x 4′). Planners are seeking input and suggestions of specific objects to be included. To make suggestions, complete the Fifty and  Forward:  UWGB Time Capsule 2065 survey by Sunday, March 13, 2016. From the submissions, a committee of students, faculty and staff will choose the objects to be placed in the time capsule.

Take the survey

Tanenbaum, Betsy

UWGB Transformed Elizabeth by…

…introducing her to academic and musical rock stars.

Although she hasn’t won a Grammy or performed in sold-out arenas, Elizabeth Tanenbaum is a rock star. And she owes her success to UW-Green Bay.

When she began at UWGB, Elizabeth was a Music Education major, but after her first year, she knew that it wasn’t the right fit for her. Elizabeth decided to switch to a Musical Theater major and selected an Arts Management minor “simply because it sounded relevant,” which Elizabeth insists was “the biggest underestimation in my life to date.”

Once her academic path was clear, Elizabeth credits Ellen Rosewall for “facilitating the opportunity to participate in creative activities within the arts and facilitating the opportunity for others to be creative.” Ultimately, this emphasis on creative endeavors allowed Elizabeth the chance to work with one of her favorite musicians, rock star Willy Porter.

“Professor Rosewall always encouraged community engagement. For an assignment, we had to create an earned income project, develop a budget and a marketing plan. She encouraged us to truly research the budget, make phone calls and speak with professionals about the project,” Elizabeth explains. “I chose to hold a concert (theoretical, for the project) and chose one of my favorite musicians, Willy Porter, as the performer. Upon Ellen’s recommendation, I called Willy Porter’s manager and she was incredibly helpful. Fast forward to graduate school at the University of Oregon, and Willy Porter was playing at a local venue. Of course I went, and following the performance, I went up and introduced myself to Willy. I told him how helpful his manager had been for my project for Arts Management and thanked him for that. He replied, ‘I remember you and your Arts Management class! What a cool assignment and great learning experience for an aspiring arts leader!’ I was star struck.” After two years of studying with Professor Rosewall in the Arts Management program, Elizabeth applied for and was awarded a prestigious internship with the country’s largest arts advocacy organization, Americans for the Arts, an internship that provided her with practical experience to help launch her career in Arts Management.

Upon graduation, Elizabeth was awarded the Chancellor’s Leadership Medallion in December 2005 and was the Commencement Speaker at the December 2005 graduation. Knowing that she wanted to pursue continued education in Arts Management, Elizabeth applied and was accepted to the Arts Administration Master’s Program at the University of Oregon, one of only ten students accepted that year. Elizabeth’s Master’s research was published twice in scholarly journals and, following graduation, she was offered a position as Public Art Manager for Clackamas County, Oregon. After a successful tenure there, Elizabeth returned home and, for the past five years, has served as the Executive Director for New Visions Gallery located at the Marshfield Clinic. Now, things have come full circle for Elizabeth: with Professor Rosewall listed on her CV as a reference and in her cover letter, she will be teaching Arts Management full time at the University of Oregon.

“I credit Professor Ellen Rosewall and her support for my success,” Elizabeth explains. “She not only impacted me during my time at UW-Green Bay, she continues to be a mentor for me in my professional life. Ellen is the reason I am doing what I am today. Her enthusiasm for the subject matter is contagious, she encourages the best out of everyone, and she does so much for the arts management field nationwide. My experience of learning from Professor Ellen Rosewall and her excellent Arts Management program has opened doors for me professionally. I just accepted a position teaching Arts Management at the University of Oregon where they use Professor Rosewall’s arts management textbook, as her program is truly renown. I would not be where I am today without her support and guidance.”

Name: Elizabeth Tanenbaum

Grad Year: 2005

Major: Musical Theater

Minor: Arts Management

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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.

Slides: Prof. Lucy Arendt’s Last Lecture

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Download the presentation slides (pdf)

“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” were key values according to our Founders. So what would they think, then, of our 24/7 work schedules, the outsized value we place upon work and material consumption today, and the fear that drives many to acquiesce to organizational demands that run counter to their own values and needs? Have our individual rights and freedoms been sacrificed to the organizational value system? These questions were explored by Prof. Lucy Arendt in her “Last Lecture.” Unlike the past 50th Anniversary Last Lectures, hers will not be readily available on video. PBS is broadcasting the presentation as part of its University Place programming at a future date. We have made her slide deck available for those who would like a preview.  Also, see the Inside News article to read more and see a few photos.

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.