Author Archives: Editorial Student

Xiong tells graduates: ‘Create your own paj ntaub story’

Bao Niah commencement address

Tears of pride and joy, in her family, her Hmong heritage, her UW-Green Bay family, and herself, flowed freely as graduate Bao Nhia Xiong ’18 spoke at the UW-Green Bay Spring Commencement ceremony at the Kress Events Center on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Xiong, the Spring 2018 Commencement Speaker, was chosen to speak on behalf of her graduating class by UW-Green Bay faculty.

Comparing the student journey to a paj ntaub story — the Hmong art of adding intricate embroidery to traditional Hmong clothing — Xiong encouraged her fellow students to hold onto three distinct threads as they create their own paj ntaub: Family, university community and the spirit of giving back.

Bao Niah Xiong's commencement address

Bao Niah Xiong’s commencement address

Xiong’s parents, Hmong refugees who do not speak or read English, and a number of her siblings were not aware that she had been chosen to give the Commencement remarks on behalf of her graduating class until she was officially introduced during the ceremony. Her comments proved emotional for the family, including when Xiong referred to her graduation as a family accomplishment. “Many of us sitting here know that when we walk this stage today, we are not the only one graduating; when we walk the stage today, our family too graduates with us,” she shared.

Xiong, who delivered a portion of her remarks in her native Hmong so that her parents could share the special moment with their daughter, received a standing ovation from fellow classmates and faculty.

Her full speech is as follows:

“Nyob zoo! Hello and good morning everyone!

Before I speak today I would like to take this time to recognize that the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay occupies the land of the Menominee people. It is important that we acknowledge that these buildings are built on the home lands of their ancestors. Let’s all please take a moment to celebrate and honor this ancestral Menominee land, and the sacred land of all indigenous people.

As stated before, my name is Bao Nhia Xiong and I am a proud child of Hmong refugee parents. You see, my mother spent many years in a refugee camp in Thailand and as a source of income my mother worked day and night making paj ntaub. For those of you who don’t know what paj ntaub is, I will give you a little run down of it. Paj ntaub is a form of embroidery that is interwoven into our traditional Hmong clothing. It is a form of cross stitching that is used to tell the stories of Hmong people as they cross mountains and rivers for safety in response to the Vietnam and Secret War.

Although metaphorically, just like my mother, we, the graduating class of 2018, created our own paj ntaub story when we decided to venture onto this chapter of our life. This campus was the cloth that we chose to weave our story into and well, us, we are the needle that we control. Some of us came sharp and ready to take on this new adventure, while many of us came dull and broken.  Some of us were already provided with a variety of threads that ranged in different sizes and color while many of us came with just a handful of threads that we could find in our pockets. But after all the struggles and hardship, we are all here, sitting in the same room, about to walk the same stage to complete our own paj ntaub story.

As I stand up here today I’d like to share three different batches of thread to my own paj ntaub story.

The first group of thread for me was my family. They are the backbone to my story. You see, I didn’t grow up with money, I grew up with love.” Xiong continued, choking back tears. “While I was here achieving my goals, my brothers set aside theirs. While I was here living in a comfortable apartment, my family was struggling to pay rent on a small duplex that housed a secret number of 12. So there will never be enough thank yous and words to express my gratitude for my family. Because as a first generation college student, many of us sitting here know that when we walk this stage today, we are not the only one graduating; when we walk the stage today, our family too graduates with us.

If you all don’t mind I would like to speak a little Hmong so that my mother, Yer Vang, who is with us in the audience can also enjoy this moment with us:

Kuv niam tus yog vim muaj koj es thiab lis muaj kuv. Vim muaj koj txos kev hlub thiab txuj qab es kuv thiab kuv cov nus mauj thiab lis tos tus nyob teb cauv vaj meej. Txu peb tsis muaj nyiam ib yaj li hlus los tsuaj peb mauj kov txoj kev hlub ces peb yeej zoo siab lus. Kuv niam hnub nos kuv lab the tsis yoj kuv ib leeg lab the xwb; hnub noj kuv lab the yoj koj thiab kuv wb lab the ua kes os niam. Kuv hlub koj thiab ua tsuaj os kuv niam.

The second group of thread that I’ve learned to collect and weave into my story over the years is my second family here at UWGB. A family that, although I may be leaving, I will never forget. This family includes Reslife, more specifically Jeff Willems, GPS, Dr. Bartell who was the very first professor to show me that I am not just a number to this campus, Dr. Gurung for handing me opportunities that I never knew I could ever concur, and JP and Forest from the First Nations Department for their continued encouragement and support. Most importantly, Mai Lo Lee and the Multi Ethnic Student Affairs office staff and students for always showing me the way when I was lost. So like my own support I want all of you, the graduating class, to never forget those that had helped you through your journey and for you to always give back.

In talking about giving back, the last group of threads in creating our story is for us as a class to give. As much as we have survived in these past years together, we to had learn to thrive in this environment. We all know the struggle of completing a story when there is not enough thread to continue, so I challenge you as a class to continue to give back when you can. For us all to hand the generation coming after us the tools to not only survive, but thrive as much as we did and maybe even more. Let’s be compassionate and extend our hands.

So here we are. Stitching our last stitch. Completing this paj ntaub story that we have all worked so hard to make whole. I wish you all happiness and love and courage as you pick up that needle to thread your next story. Thank you and congratulations UWGB class of 2018!”

UW-Green Bay Prof. Jeff Entwistle to grads: ‘Inspire us’

Jeff Entwistle making spring 2018 commencement address

The following speech was given by UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance Professor Jeffrey Entwistle to UW-Green Bay’s 2018 Spring Commencement attendees.

Jeff Entwistle making spring 2018 commencement address

Jeff Entwistle, Spring 2018 Commencement Speaker

“Welcome graduates and welcome to your families, friends and all our special guests. I would also like to thank Chancellor Miller for the honor and invitation to speak with you today.

You need to know, we have a lot in common.

I know it might not seem so from where you sit, but I really have a lot in common with all of the graduates today. Forty years ago this spring I was sitting outside in a tent in Bridgewater, Massachusetts experiencing exactly what you are today. One year earlier, at my fiancé’s graduation, I sat under the same tent and listened to Shana Alexander deliver the commencement address. Ms. Alexander was a famous journalist best known for her work on (the television show) 60 Minutes. I think the graduates that day were probably more excited that her 60 Minutes debates had been satirized by Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd on this fairly new TV show, Saturday Night Live.

So there I sit, one year later, anticipating another famous journalist or TV personality, when out comes our speaker for commencement — a long-time Bridgewater State professor who I never had a class with, whose name I sadly cannot remember, and whose words that day were actually inspirational in the moment, but in my interest in getting on with my life, I have not committed any of it to memory. Admittedly, I can’t remember what Shana Alexander said either.

So I apologize for any of you out there who were hoping some celebrity would speak to you today. At the very least you may be able to remember when you all had that Santa Claus-looking professor speak at your graduation and he was even wearing red under his robe.

In fact, when this Santa leaves here today I will hopefully be able to complete my Naughty and Nice list for the year, you know what I am talking about…final grades. Even though I am the only one here who looks like Santa, there is still something more that we do have in common.

When we first arrived at UW-Green Bay, (most of you graduating today), and me, 34 years ago… We all had similar plans to leave UW-Green Bay in a few years and get on with our lives and careers. Something you have all achieved today. You will move on. You are graduating from UW-Green Bay successfully. You have fulfilled your primary goal to leave this university on this day! I failed at that same goal almost 30 years ago and I have failed to leave year-after-year since.

And it is all your fault.

Right about the time I should have been leaving UWGB with my tenure in hand, a group of my very first students, who had arrived the same year I did, walked across the stage at graduation and something happened to me. I was hooked, I was, in fact, inspired!

I was inspired by their success. It was not only about the professional skills they had developed; I was inspired by the people they had become in those four or five years.

They never once tried to inspire me — they were too darn busy trying not to make my Naughty list.

Ask any faculty on the stage behind me about what the best part of teaching at UW-Green Bay is and they will probably all tell you the same thing. It is our students; the students we all get to work with. You student: you are extraordinary. Seeing students succeed, seeing you succeed, inspires all of us to keep on going. By the time you get to the end of your degree, hopefully you have really honed some of those important professional skills. But oft times to me, I so hope you have learned to engage your social conscience and I so hope you have developed a genuine understanding of the human condition.

Thinking about social conscience and the human condition reminds me so much of last year’s Outstanding Student, Riley Garbe. He displayed that social conscience I have spoken of today and he had a first-hand understanding of the breadth and depth of the human condition that was awe inspiring. I think every faculty member and administrator on stage today that was in this building was inspired by Riley on that day.

We just heard such inspirational words from Bao Xiong, and as a parent, if I am this emotional, I can only imagine how proud and inspired her mother is right about now. It is also inspiring to know that many of us on stage might have been sewn into other student’s versions of Bao’s second-family thread. What a wonderful thought. What a wonderful legacy.

Every semester I see so many non-theatre students in my Intro to Theatre class that are so timid and uncertain, given their lack of “theatre experience.” But by the end of each semester, there are so many of them that have completed incredibly creative and deftly written final projects that amaze me.

There are so many alumni of ours that have gone on to successful professional careers and meaningful personal lives, and they continue to inspire me. Many of them have had such extraordinary professional success both nationally and internationally that I am completely humbled.

You all are about to join them. They were armed with the same thing all of you have — an interdisciplinary education from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. You have developed an ability to focus on and solve problems in every field of study we offer and you have developed a social conscience that allows you to understand the complexities of the human condition. Take all of that with you when you leave this beautiful campus. Use all of that, and you have everything you will need to move on and become a successful professional and a truly engaged citizen of this great democracy.

Meanwhile, here, I will stay for year 35. Freshmen registration is right around the corner and I am on the precipice of yet another theatrical UWGB Groundhog Day.

So after you walk across this stage today, we know you are prepared for success in your professional and personal lives. But, there is something that every one of you here needs to do:

We need you to inspire us.
Inspire us: become an engaged citizen and use your voice.
Inspire us: remind the world that humanity has no color.
Inspire us: remind the world that “all lives matter”.
Inspire us: support school safety & a reduction in gun violence.
Inspire us: support First Nations throughout the country.
Inspire us: support your peers that are dreamers—and their families.
Inspire us: raise your own beautiful families.
Inspire us: support the arts.
Inspire us: support the LGBTQ community.
Inspire us: support public education.
Inspire me: believe in Santa.

Congratulations UW-Green Bay graduating class of 2018, and thank you.”

Wolf and Howe coauthor research publications

UW-Green Bay Professors Amy Wolf and Bob Howe had their research published in the journal, Global Ecology and Biogeography (2018) along with colleagues, led by James Lutz of Utah State University. The research examines the contribution of large-diameter trees to biomass, stand structure, and species richness across a wide range of global forest biomes. The work concluded that because large-diameter trees constitute roughly half of the mature forest biomass worldwide, their dynamics and sensitivities to environmental change represent potentially large controls on global forest carbon cycling. Read Global importance of large-diameter trees.  Another recent paper co-authored by Wolf and Howe received the British Ecological Society’s Harper Prize for the best paper in the prestigious Journal of Ecology by an early career scientist, lead author Jenny Zambrano. This work, entitled  Neighbourhood defence gene similarity effects on tree performance: a community transcriptomic approach, was based on research at the Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot near Crandon, Wisconsin and laboratory and greenhouse studies supervised by Nathan Swenson of the University of Maryland. Zambrano, a native of Colombia, is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC).

UWGB alumnus to run for Isabella County’s open prosecutor seat

Robert Holmes ’87 (Political Science) is among four people that have filed to run for Isabella County’s open prosecutor seat. If elected, he would seek advanced training and education for staff and attorneys to better meet the responsibility of protecting Isabella County citizens.

Student Nominated Teaching Award winners

The Student Nominated Teacher Award is an effort of the Instructional Development Council and Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning that recognizes excellent teaching from a student perspective. This year, the committee changed the administration of the award to reflect the breadth and diversity of outstanding teaching that is taking place on this campus. The IDC will no longer limit the award to one early career and one experienced teacher. Instead, any instructor who receives two or more nominations demonstrating real impact on the student experience is recognized as a recipient. The IDC’s goal in making this change is to celebrate a larger group of instructors, and endow students with greater agency over the process. The campus community thanks the following 53 instructors for their dedication to teaching and to their students.

Mandeep Bakshi, Natural and Applied Sciences
Danielle Bina, Information and Computing Sciences
Bryan Carr, Information and Computing Sciences
Heather Clarke, Business Administration
Jason Cowell, Human Development
Ryan Currier, Natural and Applied Sciences
Karen Dalke, Public and Environmental Affairs
Christin DePouw, Education
Heidi Fencl, Natural and Applied Sciences
Jamie Froh Tyrrell, Education
Regan Gurung, Human Development
Stefan Hall, Humanities
Jennifer Ham, Humanities
David Helpap, Public and Environmental Affairs
Michael Hencheck, Human Biology
Georgette Heyrman, Human Biology
Patricia Hicks, Human Development
Michael Holstead, Humanities
James Horn, Natural and Applied Sciences
Isabel Iglesias, Humanities
Kevin Kain, Humanities
Ryan Kauth, Business Administration
Harvey Kaye, Democracy and Justice Studies
Carly Kibbe, Human Biology
Emily Kincaid, Writing Center
Mary Sue Lavin, Phuture Phoenix
Minkyu Lee, Art and Design
Ekaterina Levintova, Democracy and Justice Studies
Tetyana Malysheva, Natural and Applied Sciences
Ryan Martin, Human Development
Rebecca Meacham, Humanities
Brian Merkel, Human Biology
Amanda Nelson, Human Biology
Cristina Ortiz, Humanities
Debra Pearson, Human Biology
Uwe Pott, Human Biology
Emily Ransom, Humanities
Kim Reilly, Democracy and Justice Studies
Ellen Rosewall, Art and Design
Laura Rowell, Human Biology
Nichole Rued, Writing Center
Sarah Schuetze, Humanities
Sawa Senzaki, Human Development
Christine Smith, Human Development
Alison Staudinger, Democracy and Justice Studies
Jagadeep Thota, Natural and Applied Sciences
Linda Toonen, Humanities
Sara Wagner, Human Biology
Sam Watson, Art and Design
Aaron Weinschenk, Public and Environmental Affairs
Elizabeth Wheat, Public and Environmental Affairs
Georjianna Wilson-Doenges, Human Development
Julie Wondergem, Natural and Applied Sciences

Calling all entrepreneurs

Have a business idea or want to start your own business? Do you need assistance with writing a business plan? Overwhelmed by the thought of starting a business? Learn the process of starting your own business by taking the Entrepreneurial Training Program with the UW-Green Bay Small Business Development Center. Through instruction, individual coaching with a business counselor and subject matter expert guest speakers, the course serves those who are considering a business and owners of an existing business that wants to grow. For Fall 2018 classes in Brown, Marinette and Sheboygan counties, see the SBDC online or call 920-496-2117 for information.