Category Archives: Shared Stories

The following is user-submitted content from alumni, friends and retirees and current employees of the University. Have a memory to share? We would love to hear more about it. Share your story.

UWGB Transformed Lindsay by…

…giving her the confidence to launch her very own fine arts company.

When Lindsay Barr (nee Kujawa) came to Green Bay, she admits she was a quiet girl who lacked self confidence and a direction.

“I knew I loved theatre, but not for the performance aspect, but for the academic potential it provided,” Lindsay explains, “and through my four years at UWGB, I not only grew into the academic theatre professional I have become but into a person who is confident and strives to help my students find their confidence everyday.”

As often is the case, Lindsay’s professionalism was inspired by a number of UWGB professionals, Laura Riddle, Mike Ingraham, and John Mariano to name a few.

“Laura Riddle really encouraged me to challenge myself and grow. She taught me the importance of passion and academia within theatre, and pushed me to expand my views on the world,” says Lindsay. “Mike Ingraham was one of the toughest professors I encountered, but he deeply impacted my teaching style. He showed me how effective ‘tough love’ can be and although he probably doesn’t know it, his kindness and understanding during my senior year was one of the most influential experiences of my college career. And John Mariano was the first person to really believe in my academic abilities. He pushed me academically like no other teacher I’ve encountered. His passion for theatre history and dramaturgical importance in production is one of the main reasons I am pursuing a career in dramaturgy and producing. Beyond that, John was an incredible director and acting professor, and I feel extremely lucky to have been a student of his.”

As a result, her time at UWGB inspired the creation of Lindsay’s very own Introspect Arts, a fine arts company currently in its 7th season, run entirely by a new generation of young artists. And Lindsay credits UWGB for showing her how mentorship, collaboration, and excellent artistry can deeply impact one’s community.

“My time at UWGB prepared me for the real world far beyond some of my fellow colleagues. The liberal arts education, not only within the college but also the Theatre program, gave me more opportunities than I thought possible,” Lindsay says.

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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.

Taylor, Jordan

UWGB Transformed Jordan by…

…catalyzing his passion for science.

Global warming, drought, and exponential energy consumption: these are only a few of the crises facing the 21st century scientific community, but after receiving what he calls an “invaluable education” at UWGB, University of California-Riverside PhD student and Research Scientist Jordan W. Taylor is passionate about changing the world for the better.

“UWGB converted my interest in science into a passion,” Jordan asserts. “I was not only granted my first research experience on campus, but UWGB also provided me with an invaluable education in tutoring and working in the chemical stockroom. I have come to find that the small classes and the ability to be on a ‘first name basis’ with professors is very rare and separates UWGB from many, many other universities.”

These professors Jordan credits–Franklin Chen, Warren Johnson, and Michael Zorn–not only educated him in the ways of Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Physics, but also allowed him the experiential knowledge to conduct his own research.

“Chen, Johnson, and Zorn gave me my first taste of research and taught me how to be a research scientist. And lab tech Joe Schoenebeck allowed me to experience the inner workings of a chemistry lab, which has given me an advantage over many other students,” Jordan says.

And while he admits that transforming the world is quite a large task, Jordan’s doctoral research is focused on 21st century energy resources and methods of constructing efficient energy systems.

“I use coordination chemistry to design catalysts that can help solve the world’s energy issues,” Jordan explains. “I work to identify new catalytic strategies and binding modes that could in turn lead to more efficient and better designed catalytic systems. It is deeply humbling to think that any of my research could one day affect how other researchers think. And I owe it all to UWGB.”

Name: Jordan W. Taylor

Grad Year: 2013

Major: Chemistry

Minor: Physics and Environmental 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.

UWGB Transformed Brittany by…

…helping her commit to lifelong learning.

When a student graduates from UWGB, Brittany Schreiner insists that their learning isn’t over: in fact, it’s just beginning.

Schreiner, BrittanySlowly realizing that learning is a lifelong commitment, Brittany decided to expand her horizons and study abroad in Cuernavaca during a winter interim session, opening her eyes to what was possible if she conceptualized learning outside of classroom walls. Contributing to this transformation were teachers Lucy Arendt, William Lepley, and Don McCartney.
“These three individuals love what they do and are so passionate about the subject matter they present, it’s impossible not to be inspired,” Brittany says.

Now, Brittany is thriving after graduation because of her love of learning, an interest developed at UWGB. “I have been recognized as a person who always wants to learn more, do more, and be more at my place of employment. I know that this is due to the relationships cultivated with faculty and students at UWGB,” Brittany posits. “My time there inspired me not to be afraid to take on new challenges and learn new and interesting things. UWGB ignited a spark inside me that made me hungry to learn more. Intelligent people never really stop learning.”

Name: Brittany Schreiner

Grad Year: 2014

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Spanish and International Business

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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.

Larsen, Erica 1

UWGB Transformed Erica by…

…showing her how to rely on her herself.

For many freshman, the transition between high school and college can be a rocky one because it’s the first time they have been on their own. Thankfully for Erica Larsen, she was able to find the right blend of people and experiences at UWGB to allow her to seize her independence.

Larsen, ERica 2 “I came to UWGB a timid, shy, and sheltered bookworm,” Erica explains,” but I rapidly transformed into a hard-partying wildchild, and eventually mellowed into a happy medium between the two before my third year.”

Once Erica settled into her studies, she credits numerous UWGB faculty and staff members for making her into a much more self-reliant person.

“Bryan Vescio really challenged me to think critically and not take anything at face value,” Erica says. “Rebecca Meacham inspired me to push my own boundaries and, when faced with closed doors, taught me to build my own. And Denise Scheberle gave me self confidence and the ability to rely on myself for the first time in my life.”

Now with a wonderful career working for a large local financial institution, a fantastic family, and both professional and personal success, Erica says she has come a long way and has UWGB to thank.

“I never imagined this for myself when I was a scared and anxious freshman,” Erica says.

Name: Erica Larsen

Grad Year: 2010

Major: English

Minor: Humanistic Studies

Photo submitted by: Erica Larsen

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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 Elizabeth by…

…establishing a culture of “hands-on” learning.

Whether it was participating in the Academic Excellence Symposium or having the opportunity to engage with the Lawton Gallery, Elizabeth Gigstead insists that her “hands-on” learning experiences truly prepared her for the real world.

“The entire art department faculty–in particular Stephen Perkins and Ellen Rosewall, professors Gigstead, Elizabethin my respective major and minor–were great influences and are exceptional leaders in the classroom,” Elizabeth says. “These individuals–coupled with rigorous and challenging coursework–gave me the confidence to exhibit a body of work at the Lawton. I took away so much with the hands-on learning in the Lawton Gallery especially, an extremely imperative piece of the work I do today being at the helm of a museum.”

Although the Lawton Gallery provided Elizabeth with an invaluable artistic outlet, she reflects fondly on the guidance of Ellen Rosewall, Elizabeth’s “biggest inspiration.”

“Professor Rosewall always provided a culture in her classroom that was challenging, fun, and hands-on. She was always seeking opportunities outside of the classroom to enhance the coursework,” Elizabeth asserts. “The key here was the opportunities: they were plentiful, whether it was an internship, exhibit opportunity, or volunteer experience.  It was the real-world experiences I had that gave me a leg-up and positioned me for success after graduation.”

Elizabeth now works in the museum field, where she engages in hands-on learning on a daily basis, a culture she says was cultivated at UWGB.

“I enjoyed my four years at UW-Green Bay, as they provided me the skills and tools needed to excel in my post-graduation endeavors,” Elizabeth says.

Name: Elizabeth Gigstead
Grad Year: 2004
Major: Museum Studies
Minor: Arts Management

Photo submitted by: Elizabeth Gigstead

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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.

Wilmot, Mary 2

UWGB Transformed Mary by…

…helping her establish life-long academic and personal relationships.

Wood Hall will always hold a special place in Mary Benton Wilmot’s heart.

Wilmot, Mary 1

Photo submitted by: Mary Benton Wilmot

“I met my husband in my second semester as a freshman,” Mary recalls. “We met in Wood Hall and married four years later. We are going on sixteen years of marriage in May 2015, and meeting him changed my life forever. We often joke about how we met in Wood Hall. We stared at each other for a month, as he was with his friends and I was with my friends, and when finally he saw me alone, he came over to ask me out. The rest is history.”

Yet for as life-changing as Wood Hall was, Mary also insists that meeting her husband in no way took a backseat to her academic experiences.

“The professor that I learned the most from was Don McCartney. My husband had him as a professor and recommended him. He was great to learn from, and I remember feeling accomplished when I finished his classes,” Mary explains. And upon graduation, Mary felt absolutely prepared for whatever life may throw at her.

“I felt like I was armed and ready to get into the ‘real world’ after leaving UWGB. Little did I know how much I didn’t know. UWGB students always made me feel at home and UWGB staff always provided great guidance for how to chart my career based on my interests,” Mary says, “and I’ll always be grateful for the experience.”

As it turns out Mary’s UWGB experience has served her well: she is now a Senior Program Manager for a leading cloud and virtualization technology company–VMware–and lives in San Francisco, California.

Name: Mary Benton Wilmot

Grad Year: 1998

Major: Business

Minor: Graphic Design

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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 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.

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.