Tag Archives: Human Development

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

—-

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.

UWGB Transformed Katrina by…

…redirecting her career path.

When Katrina VerHagen began her college experience, she convinced herself that becoming a Business Administration major was the surest path to success. However, midway through her very first year at UWGB, Katrina realized that a business-oriented job simply wasn’t for her, and she allowed UWGB’s outstanding faculty and staff to steer her toward a career she truly loved.

“I was determined to become a Business Administration major, but UWGB’s education made me realize that I needed to get out into the community and make a difference,” Katrina says.

With the guidance of Georgiana Wilson-Doenges, Dennis Lorenz, and Ryan Martin, Katrina refocused her career path and earned a degree in Psychology and Human Development —her newly found passions — thanks to UWGB’s dedicated faculty and staff.

“I went from heading toward a career that would have been less than ideal toward one I truly love. The UWGB experience allowed me to grow as a person and truly find my passion, which sets you up for success,” Katrina says.

Name: Katrina VerHagen

Grad Year: 2013

Major: Psychology and 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.

Bub, Angela

UWGB Transformed Angela by…

…helping her help others.

When Angela Bub started her freshman year at UWGB, she was undecided as to what to do with her life. But she found a sense of belonging in Zeta Omega Tau, the Sheepshead Review and Habitat for Humanity.

“By becoming connected with older students, I was able to become more engaged in school,” she said. “In doing so, I significantly raised my GPA and found my passions: helping others and writing.” Angela asserts that these organizations not only provided her with a purpose, they also transformed her into a well-rounded individual who thrived in the interdisciplinary setting that UWGB offered.

Angela credits Karen Bircher, Mike Stearney, and Rebecca Meacham as role models throughout her academic career, fueling her passion for helping others. Ultimately, Angela parlayed this inspiration into a career in education and now works as a therapist in a non-public school in Oakland, California, helping those in need. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work, an accomplishment she never could have imagined without UWGB’s help.

“My UWGB experience transformed me and the foundation of my educational career. These organizations [Zeta Omega Tau, the Sheepshead Review, and the Humane Society] impacted me in countless ways and have shaped who I am as a person today,” Angela says.

Name: Angela Bub
Grad Year: 2012
Major: English
Minor: Secondary and Human Development

Photo submitted by: Angela Bub

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.

Freedman, Janet

UWGB Transformed Janet by…

…teaching her how to survive Pre-Med.

Janet Freedman began her academic career by attending a very competitive high school in New York City. She arrived in Green Bay when she was just 16. Her experience at UWGB calmed her, she said.

“Green Bay was nurturing, and UWGB was half the size of my high school: classes were small and professors’ offices were always open. Independent study was encouraged, design your own classes, major, et cetera. It was the days of Eco U,” Janet says.

After thoroughly enjoying the teaching and guidance of UWGB’s Thea Sager, Ron Starkey, and Charles Ihrke, Janet wanted to attend medical school and transferred to a University of California campus.

“Organic Chemistry was three hundred students in a lecture, the labs were locked except during your assigned lab time to prevent sabotage of the lab, and assigned readings were stolen out of the library: this was a common culture of premedical students,” Janet jokes. But halfway into her very first semester there, she realized it wasn’t for her and she dropped out.

“I moved back to Green Bay and enrolled again at UWGB,” Janet explains. “There were about four pre-med students and we studied together. Labs were open and available all day for us to do our work. Professors taught the labs. I would never have survived pre-med anywhere else.”

After her UWGB graduation, Janet found another niche at UW-Madison and is now a successful professional in the medical field, but UWGB seems to follow her wherever she goes.

“When I was in school in Madison, I would get together with friends from UWGB, and very quickly, our conversation would gravitate to UWGB memories. I still remember all of my Madison friends asking, ‘What is it with you UWGB people? It’s all you talk about!’”

Name: Janet Freedman
Grad Year: 1975
Major: Human Biology
Minor: Social Change and Development

Photo submitted by: Janet Freedman

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.

Irmen, Ami Profile

UWGB Transformed Ami by…

…helping her become more than she thought she could.

Creative Writing is Ami Irmen’s passion, yet her Creative Writing teachers at UWGB — Ryan Van Cleave, Bruce Stone, and Rebecca Meacham — taught her a set of critical lessons that have deeply affected her professional career.

When Ami first set foot on the grounds of the UWGB campus, she was a wide-eyed high school senior who was merely counting down the days to graduation. At first, Ami chose UWGB simply because it was “close enough” to home, and it was a place she could afford. However, UWGB proved to be much more than “tunnels, toilets, and trees,” and Ami asserts that UWGB “turned out to be the luckiest choice I have ever made. The four years that I spent at UWGB — a place that became more than just a great location and price tag, a place that became home — shaped who I am today.”

With her sights set on a career as a Creative Writing teacher, Ami vividly remembers her freshman year and Ryan Van Cleave’s “Introduction to Creative Writing” course, where Ami says Van Cleave “…loved his work and students so much that he took personal time out of his day for no other reason than to simply share that love of writing.” Flash forward to Bruce Stone’s Creative Writing workshop, a course that Ami says gave her a “safe space to take risks,” and she discovered that learning must be a two-way street. For example, Ami recalls a thank you letter penned by Stone, thanking his students for everything he’d learned throughout their time together. Undoubtedly, Ami learned that one must find the time and space to reflect upon one’s writing, a message later echoed by Rebecca Meacham, Ami’s English major advisor.

When it was time to declare her major, Ami says she still remembers the first time she met Prof. Meacham: “She had a real honest talk with me on that day about my prospects of finding a job as a Creative Writing instructor at the college level. The thing is, it was (and still is) an extremely competitive market, and this conversation was necessary. It is rare that advisors are so open and frank from the start, but Rebecca was.”

Prof. Meacham’s honesty never deterred Ami from her chosen path. The moment she committed to the degree, Ami says that Rebecca made the same commitment and did everything she could to ensure her success. Ami credits her professors for doing more than simply helping her dissect literature and learn to revise her work: they “fostered her love of learning and gave her the tools to ask questions, to explore, to ponder, to create, and much more.” Not surprisingly, Ami is now teaching writing at the college level, just as she always planned, asserting that her UWGB education informed what she does in her own classroom.

“It’s about more than just teaching a student how to write an essay,” Ami says, “it’s about giving people like me a chance to be more than what I thought I could be.”

Name: Ami Irmen
Grad Year: 2005
Major: Creative Writing and Human Development

Photo submitted by: Ami Irmen

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.