Every institution has employees who make it great, and UW-Green Bay is no exception. During my time there, I was fortunate enough to interact with a number of people who are true stars, and I want to thank each of them for shaping me into the person I am today.
Katia Levintova: I am willing to bet I am not the first person to write about the impact that Katia had on them, and for good reason. As the chair of Political Science for many semesters, Katia interacted with many students and bestowed upon them good advice, both for their college careers and for life. I feel confident saying no advisor has ever taken as much of an interest in the well-being of every student in their department as Katia has. After spending a semester as a teaching assistant with her, I saw how truly dedicated she was to her job and her students. Seriously, she never rests! And her response time to emails is unbeatable. On a personal note, Katia walked me through a difficult time when I was trying to decide what to do post-graduation. It seemed as if she knew me better than I knew myself, and her advice served me well. I would have been completely lost without Katia, and I hope UWGB realizes how lucky they are to have her.
Jeff Willems: As the most senior Area Coordinator in Residence Life, Jeff has worked with a lot of students and always encourages those he comes across to do more, be better, and to live up to their potential. I worked with Jeff for two years as his Resident Assistant, an experience that would have been vastly different without his guidance. Jeff has always been invested in the positive growth of his communities, and he demonstrates that by showing up to events, making himself accessible, and by having a positive attitude about everything. Even though there were times when Jeff purposely made things more challenging, in the end it always served to make us better Resident Assistants, students, and people. I am a better person for having known and worked with Jeff.
Brenda Amenson-Hill: Despite playing an enormously important role as the University’s Dean of Students, Brenda has proven to be one of the most accessible and caring administrators on campus. As the advisor to the Student Government Executive Board, Brenda did a superb job keeping the students informed on issues affecting them and providing us with the tools and resources necessary to pursue ideas for improving campus. Brenda was a true advocate for the student voice, and I often realized just how lucky we were to have her on our side. Maybe without realizing it, Brenda taught me a lot about what it takes to be an effective advocate for issues you care about, and how to be a genuinely good person.
Mark Olkowski: Mark serves as the Assistant Dean of Students, but he also plays the crucial role of advisor to the Student Senate. I met Mark as a freshman, and was lucky to be able to continue that friendship all throughout my time at UWGB. Mark often served as the voice of reason at Student Senate meetings, but he also lent his wisdom to us outside of meetings when anyone needed advice. Mark found a way to make himself approachable at all times, which has benefited more students than I can say. As one of those students, I will be forever grateful for the guidance I received from Mark while at UWGB.
Mai Lo Lee: For many students on campus, Mai Lo Lee was the first staff member on campus they befriended. As a multicultural advisor in the American Intercultural Center, Mai’s bubbly personality and advocacy for multicultural students made her someone students could trust. I first met Mai through another student, and since that first day I always felt comfortable to approach Mai about anything. I learned what it meant to be an advocate for multicultural issues through Mai’s example, and it was Mai who introduced me to opportunities to learn and do more things related to multicultural issues on campus. It was unbelievably comforting to know that I’d always be able to turn to Mai if I needed to because she’d always be willing to support me and teach me more.
Sue Mattison: When Sue first came to UW-Green Bay, there were a lot of positive comments floating around campus. It took me a while to meet her since her position as the Dean of Professional Studies required a lot of her time, but when I finally did, I learned that all those comments were understatements. Sue was so helpful in propelling the issue of childcare on campus forward, but it was the way she did it that inspired me. She worked tirelessly to make sure the issue was on the agendas of decision-makers, and wouldn’t let obstacles stop her from continuing the effort. Generally speaking, Sue was a strong advocate for women, and showed what kind of positive change could happen when you put a dedicated person in a leadership position. I know that for the rest of my life, whenever someone asks me about strong women role models in my life, Sue will be on that list.
Rajeev Bukralia: My first interaction with Rajeev was at his request soon after he was hired at the Associate Provost for Information Services. He wanted to meet to discuss the needs of students when it came to technology, but also because he wanted to learn more about the students he would be working for. I remember leaving that meeting feeling so positive because the university hired someone who cared so much about students. That was the first meeting of many, and each subsequent meeting left me more excited than the last. Rajeev went out of his way to interact with students and find ways to improve the campus for them. He was another person whose dedication inspired me and showed me what was possible when your cause was selfless. I’ll never forget him saying, “My three passions are computers, libraries, and students.”
Each of the people listed above taught me things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. These UWGB stars are just some among many, but to me they were the brightest ones during my undergraduate career, guiding me through an unforgettable journey. To them, and to all the friends I made during my time at UW-Green Bay, I offer my sincerest thank you!
Posted by Heba Mohammad