Author Archives: Kimberly Vlies

UW-Green Bay Professor Ryan Martin spreads his wings while cutting a rug


In a surprise appearance of UW-Green Bay’s Phlash the Phoenix mascot, UW-Green Bay Prof. Ryan Martin (Psychology) and his professional dance partner and coach, Mina Witte, proved with tremendous Phoenix spirit, that three can do the Cha Cha. Much to the delight of the audience and judges, the dancers, clad in shimmering green and bathed in green light, did as the Jason Derulo lyrics say, “spread your wings…we can fly now.”

This Dancing With Our Stars ballroom competition, held on Saturday (Feb. 25, 2017) at the KI Convention Center in Downtown Green Bay, was the culminating event for Martin’s six months of dance lessons and fundraising efforts with the Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross. Dancing with Our Stars 2017 featured 16 local celebrities competing for the mirror ball trophy. See Martin and Witte dancing to “Kiss the Sky” by Derulo at 1:39:30 in the livestream video recording of the event courtesy of Camera Corner Connecting Point. Spoiler alert…they totally killed the lift!

At 2:45:37 in the livestream video, the duo received trophies for runner-up People’s Choice Award. This award is tallied by votes of the thousand audience members in attendance. Martin and his fundraising team (Kimberly Vlies, Jena Richter Landers, Jen Jones, Sara Schmitz, Janet Bonkowski and Molly Vandervest) raised $22,000 for the American Red Cross. The UWGB Red Cross Club and the UWGB Psychology Club led fundraising efforts, as well.

“There’s a lot of energy on the UW-Green Bay campus and Mina and I wanted to bring that energy to the dance floor for the Red Cross,” Martin said. About 80 supporters — both friends from campus and the community — attended the dance-off, prompting one judge to mention that like Martin, she wished she could bring her own cheering section to competitive events.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Mark Witte

Singing the praises of the Studio Arts remodel

Choral class in new rehearsal space

State-of-the-art rehearsal, recording studio 
space is a campus and community asset

Ask Professors Randy Meder and Kevin Collins about the recent upgrades to the rehearsal space within the UW-Green Bay Music program and they’re likely to respond in song. That’s how good the new acoustics are.

Renovations in the Studio Arts building, including a high-tech expansion, places UW-Green Bay at the top of the list for those seeking musical genius. In fact, the energy is palpable when speaking with the professors about their updated space. “Every time they (students) make a sound, their educational experience is enhanced,” says Collins.

Recent physical updates include: instrumental rehearsal space, addition of a state-of-the-art digital recording studio and isolation booth, and enhancement of the number and quality of instruments and existing practice rooms, make UW-Green Bay’s music facility one of the most advanced in the region.

After securing a grant to improve technology and update their facilities to become more environmentally-friendly, the department got to work. “The acoustics were terrible, and it was very difficult to hear each other,” said Collins, describing the instrumental practice rooms — one designated for choral rehearsal and the other for band and orchestra rehearsal. Flat walls, noisy air-handling units and an inefficient sound barrier between rooms had diminished the effectiveness of the rehearsal space, built in 1973. Acousticians from the Chicago area were hired to improve the space — its first update in the history of the program — by creating un-parallel surfaces, slanting walls and by adding wood ceiling panels with beautiful, reflective surfaces. Updates have created a space where students can hear each other more clearly and sound bleed-through between rooms has been reduced by 70 percent.

Recording Studio Redux

SA-Music-Rooms-sound-board-960The program’s recording studio also needed to be updated and moved, as it wasn’t Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible. The new room includes the latest in high-tech, industry-standard digital recording equipment, Pro Tools HD, and allows students and staff to bring unlimited creativity into their recordings. “The software allows students to collaborate on campus, and over the internet — anywhere in the world — in real time,” says Collins.

An isolation booth, providing a dead acoustical environment with a direct link to the new recording studio, was also added in the space redesign. Rehearsal rooms tie into the recording studio as well through a video camera and Ethernet connection. “Theoretically, we can record from any room on campus,” says Assistant Prof. Bill Sallak. “It’s a really exciting opportunity. As the recording program grows, we won’t have to deal with ripping out drywall and running cable; we can talk about repurposing rooms to think of them as extensions of the recording program.”

This is great news for the University’s music program in a time when music and the fine arts in schools are feeling a crunch. Not here. “Our administration is so supportive, “says Collins, “and it’s a cultural thing and starts at the top. Our previous chancellor was extremely supportive, and our current chancellor keeps it a priority.”

A Musical Resource for Campus and Community

Students involved in the music program aren’t the only ones benefitting from the new and improved digital recording technology. Plans to collaborate with other majors, such as theatre, graphic design and marketing are already in progress. The faculty is committed to fully utilizing this technology to enhance student knowledge and experience within the music program, across other disciplines and within the community.

“We’re now able to teach at an advanced level,” says Meder, citing the music technology systems class that has learned the basics of audio and live recording techniques. The program will expand to include a full emphasis on recording technology and an added benefit to other majors within the music program. “Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has a recording technology program that provides a two-year degree,” says Meder, “we’d love those students to continue their degree here, and give them access while still at NWTC.” A string instrument program will also begin next semester — something the department hasn’t been able to offer for many years.

The program’s highly regarded summer music camps can also be taken to a whole new level.

“Kids are doing amazing things on YouTube…super, high-quality stuff,” says Collins. “We take the training wheels off and give them the tools to hit the ground running and they can do amazing things.”

The community-based Green Bay Civic Symphony rehearses at the University on a regular basis, and now their experience is immeasurably enhanced. “It’s so much better from a hearing perspective,” says Seong-Kyung Graham, conductor with the Civic Symphony. “We’ve been very, very grateful to the University that we are able to use the facility.” She says the strength of the local cultural music scene is a direct result of having a university that hosts such a strong music program. “I feel like there is a special bond and support in the community, especially considering its size.” says Graham. “They help us to be a better ensemble.”

“This is an exciting time to be in the arts,” says Collins. “The need now is for scholarships to bring in those kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access to updated technology and instruments. Now we are able to give students the highest level of quality technology, that they would never be able to afford otherwise.”

— Story by freelance writer Kristin Bouchard ’93

Meredith is active in keeping alive Dvorak’s memory

Prof. Sarah Meredith, poses with Antonin Dvorak III, a great grandson of famed composer Antonin Dvorak.

Prof. Sarah Meredith, poses with Antonin Dvorak III, a great grandson of famed composer Antonin Dvorak.

UW-Green Bay’s Prof. Sarah Meredith (Music, Women’s and Gender Studies) was the cover feature of the Tuesday, January 3, 2017 issue of the Calmar Courier, for her role in preserving Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s local ties. The piece is as follows.

Dvorak’s Memory Remains
Professor Active with Keeping Alive Remembrance

By Michael Hohenbrink

In the summer of 1893, one of the world’s most famed composers traveled to northeastern Iowa and stayed for a time. Enchanted by the area, Antonin Dvorak composed two works. In addition to the music he composed, Dvorak also left his mark on the area, for example with the home where he stayed, which now houses a museum. Dvorak’s legacy can also be felt in a number of other ways.

One mark left by Dvorak is upon Sarah Meredith, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. “When I was a grad student at the University of Iowa…we made a road trip there,” she said. “That was sort of how my interest started.” Her father had suggested the idea, and it planted a seed. Dvorak became a research interest, one that has remained over the years. Growing up near Anamosa, Meredith said she has always been fascinated by Dvorak’s visit to Spillville. Meredith undertook her doctoral work at the University of Iowa with one of her main areas of study as the vocal repertoire of Dvorak.

She recently journeyed to the Czech Republic to serve as a judge for the 51st Dvorak International Voice Competition in Karlovy Vary. Meredith has been involved with this since 1994. The competition is a chance to keep alive Dvorak’s memory. “I have judged at this competition many times since 1994 and brought the first American singers there in 1997,” said Livingstone. While there, she had a chance to spend time with Antonin Dvorak III, a great-grandson of the famed composer. Interestingly enough, the younger Dvorak has also been to Spillville. “He loves Spillville,” said Meredith. More than any other topic, that is the one Meredith notes Dvorak speaking about. Nor is the interest limited to just Dvorak. “All the Czech people I met there they all know about Spillville.”

Dvorak's Memory Remains Calmar Courier Cover Story

Dvorak’s Memory Remains Calmar Courier (pdf)

UW-Green Bay Psychology posts three semester-ending events

UW-Green Bay psychology has three big events planned next week.

PSI Talks on Monday, (Dec. 5) at the Weidner Center
Join UW-Green Bay psychology at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for four engaging talks from UWGB psychology students and alumni. The talks will be on topics related to stigma, feminism, and autism.  Learn more about the speakers or RSVP here. View last year’s talks here.

Grand opening of a newly developed Virtual Museum of Psychology (Dec. 7)
Several UW-Green Bay psychology students will host a grand opening for their newly-developed Virtual Museum of Psychology from 2 to 3 p.m. Dec. 7, in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall Room 201. The museum will serve as a space for people to learn about basic theories and major studies throughout the history of psychology, along with various careers in psychology. Learn more or watch the livestreamed event via the UWGB Psychology Facebook page.

Biennial poster session and annual awards ceremony, also on Wednesday (Dec. 7).
The Psychology Program’s Research Methods in Psychology Poster Session will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7 in the Winter Garden of MAC Hall. This poster session is held each semester to provide Psych 300 (Research Methods in Psychology) students a public means to present their work.  An award ceremony for the Psychology Star Awards will follow at 4:30 p.m. in the same location.

Capturing the spirit of the season: Phoenix Snowflake

UW-Green Bay Phoenix Snowlfake

Caution: this project is only for the young, and the young of heart. In celebration of the first day of December, your friendly UW-Green Bay marketing and communication team brings you a printable paper craft download that combines Phoenix spirit and the spirit of the holiday season.

Download Phoenix Snowflake [PDF]

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Download and print the Phoenix Snowflake template.
  2. Fold along the gray lines.
    • Fold first in quarters, then in thirds, keeping the phoenix pattern facing up.
    • Burnish the edges of each crease.
  3. Cut away the gray areas.
    • Use a sharp scissors.
    • Don’t bother to cut out the circle. The extra paper will give you something to hold onto.
    • Cut the detailed areas at the center first. The facets of the snowflake become increasingly less secure with each cut. It will be easiest to do the tiny detailed areas first.
    • Pinch the folded paper tightly, to prevent it from moving. It may help to use a clamp-style paperclip to hold it securely.
  4. Proudly display your Phoenix allegiance and snowflake-cutting prowess for all to enjoy!

Go Phoenix!

Prairie companions: UW-Green Bay ecology class works at restoring Keith White Prairie

Principles of Ecology classs working in arboretum

Equipped with work boots, buckets and loppers, UW-Green Bay Prof. Amy Wolf (NAS) and her Principles of Ecology students continued the restoration and maintenance of UW-Green Bay’s Keith White Prairie Oct. 4. Students worked to remove invasive and woody species and collect seeds. They also worked in the greenhouse preparing plants donated by Prairie Nursery (owned by UW-Green Bay alumnus Neil Diboll), for transplanting. Ecologist Bobbie Webster, Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Natural Areas, assisted with the project.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Bob Howe, Natural and Applied Sciences

UW-Green Bay reading group has stood test of time

June 23, 2015 Book Club Meeting Left to right: Peter Kellogg, Larry Smith, Ben Cruz-Uribe, Bob Wenger, Naresh Rimal, Sherry Lacenski, Jacqulyn Jahnke, and Tom Nesslein.

June 23, 2015 Book Club Meeting
Left to right: Peter Kellogg, Larry Smith, Ben Cruz-Uribe, Bob Wenger, Naresh Rimal, Sherry Lacenski, Jacqulyn Jahnke, and Tom Nesslein.

They tackle subjects from economics to the environment. Their discussions have depth and offer varying perspectives. But the uniqueness of this particular reading group is its staying power. The group, comprised of mostly UW‑Green Bay faculty and staff members (now mostly retired), has stayed together for a decade.

May 3, 2016 Book club meeting Sherry Lacenski center

May 3, 2016 Book club meeting
Left to right, front row:
Smith, Sherry Lacenski, Jacqulyn Jahnke
Back row: Tom Nesslein, Bob Wenger

It got started when The Phoenix Bookstore employee Sherry Lacenski (now retired) asked some campus individuals to gather and discuss a read inspired by her daughter who was working in the Peace Corps. It soon evolved into a weekly group which met to discuss books concerning environmental, political and economic issues. Books are selected two at a time, based on input from the group. A few selections from the recent reading list: On Political Equality, The Social Conquest of the Earth, Globalization: What’s New, Thinking Fast and Slow and more than 30 other books and academic papers.

The group has held steady at about eight core members who have been with it from the start. But they would always enjoy more club members, and greater perspective. Currently the group is reading, Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Next up is March of Folly, by Barbara Tuchman. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to contact Lacenski at

— Story by Communication Intern Kelsie Vieux

Alumni Association supports runners

UWGB Alumni Cellcom Marathon Volunteers

High-fives and “appreciations” were aplenty as the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association once again took the lead in serving its community with an expanded water station at the Green Bay Marathon on Sunday. About 30 alumni and family members handed out water, oranges and ice cubes at the 10-mile mark of the half marathon. It is always a fun event with alumni runners often acknowledging their Phoenix pride and appreciation. Check out the fun for yourself on the Alumni Association facebook gallery.

‘Hats off’ to these creative grad caps


As always, creative individuals among the 700-plus graduates who took part in spring commencement May 19 at the Kress Events Center took advantage of the opportunity to express themselves through mortarboard art.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore and Sue Bodilly, Marketing and University Communication

May ’16 Commencement: Day in photos


An audience of 4,500 joined several hundred faculty, staff, dignitaries and proud family and friends in celebrating the achievements of the spring 2016 graduating class at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday afternoon (May 14). About 953 students were eligible to participate in the program at the Kress Events Center. Chancellor Gary L. Miller presided over commencement, the 93rd in the institution’s 50-year history.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication

Other 2016 May Commencement Posts