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Appleton woman wins UW-Green Bay award for top graduating senior

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Tonya Filz of Appleton has been selected to receive the December 2011 Outstanding Student Award presented by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association.

She will receive the award Friday, Dec. 16, at a student awards program beginning at 6 p.m. in the University Theatre.

The honor will also be acknowledged the following day (Saturday, Dec. 17) as part of the University’s mid-year commencement ceremony where, additionally, Filz has been chosen to be the student speaker. She will deliver brief remarks on behalf of this semester’s graduating class of about 435 students just prior to the awarding of degrees.

Tonya Filz presented her research at the American Psychological Association Convention in Washington D.C., August 2011

Tonya Filz presented her research at the American Psychological Association Convention in Washington D.C., August 2011

Filz will receive her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with honors and distinction in the major.

She is the daughter of Tom and Lori Filz, Appleton, and graduated high school in 2007 through iQ Academy Wisconsin, an online program managed by the school district of Waukesha and open to students from across the state.

The UW-Green Bay Alumni Association has awarded the Outstanding Student Award to one high-achieving graduating senior at each commencement since spring 1976.

Members of the award selection committee praised Filz for her commitment to bettering the lives of children and her impressive record of achievement as a student researcher collaborating with faculty members on projects of scholarly importance.

Over the course of her undergraduate career at UW-Green Bay, Filz was chosen to serve as a research assistant and work side-by-side with Profs. Regan A.R. Gurung, Ryan Martin and Kristin Vespia on projects investigating diverse topics such as anger and aggression, student perceptions of undergraduate teaching assistants, and civil discussion of controversial issues.

On this latter topic, Filz is co-author with Prof. Vespia of a chapter scheduled for inclusion in a new book to be published by the American Psychological Association (APA) on best practices in teaching psychology. The chapter is “When controversies lead to controversy: Preventing and handling classroom disruptions.”

Filz has been listed as co-author of publications and research presentations made to the APA national conference in Washington, D.C. She assisted with poster presentations on issues including online examinations in face-to-face classes, online examination and student strategies for success, and honor codes in online learning.

On campus, Filz served a term as president of the Residence Hall and Apartment Association, the student governance group related to policies and programming within UW-Green Bay’s 2,000-student Residence Life complex. Off campus, she worked as a therapist with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project, providing services to children between the ages of 3 and 12. She was also a children’s advocate intern with Harbor House domestic abuse shelter in Appleton.

Filz says her post-graduation plans involve continuing her education as a doctoral student in clinical psychology. She hopes to work as a psychologist helping troubled children to be resilient in response to trauma, or as a researcher and educator contributing to increased understanding of childhood disorders.

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