…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.