The December 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Student Award presented by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association is Jordan Grapentine of Appleton. She will accept the honor Friday night (Dec. 12) during a student awards ceremony on campus, and be acknowledged during the next day’s UW-Green Bay winter commencement ceremony at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.
Grapentine will graduate Saturday with a bachelor’s of science degree with magna cum laude, or high, honors, and majors in Psychology and Human Development.
The UW-Green Bay Alumni Association, which has been designating a single Outstanding Student Award recipient for each graduating class since 1976, recognized Grapentine for her undergraduate success as student, researcher and volunteer in service to others. She was nominated and selected from among approximately 500 graduating seniors eligible to receive diplomas at Saturday’s ceremony.
Grapentine is a 2010 graduate of Valley New School, a small public charter school of the Appleton Area School District. She says her career plans include doctoral studies, with the goal of teaching at a public institution and continuing her research into best practices for helping at-risk students succeed in college.
As a peer mentor with the First-Year Seminar Program at UW-Green Bay, Grapentine assisted with course activities, encouraged new students to pursue co-curricular interests and served as an informal adviser and counselor. Her success in that role led to a position as peer mentor coordinator and, later, as assistant to the director of the Phoenix GPS (Gateways to Phirst-Year Success) program, a new initiative designed by Associate Prof. Denise Bartell to help at-risk students navigate the early challenges of college life.
Grapentine assisted Bartell with her academic research aimed at improving success rates for students in transition. The quality of Grapentine’s contributions to that work was reflected in her being chosen to co-present at the National Conference on the First-Year Experience in February 2014 in San Diego, and to make a second presentation at next February’s conference in Dallas. Additionally, she and several student colleagues were chosen to help represent UW-Green Bay at the annual Posters in the Rotunda undergraduate research symposium this past spring in Madison. They presented the project “Gateways to Phirst-Year Success: Navigating College by Building Relationships.”
Grapentine served as a teaching assistant in the Introduction to Human Development course and worked with Assistant Prof. Jenell Holstead on research into the effectiveness of after-school programs in the Green Bay area. More recently, Grapentine interned with the University’s FOCUS program to enhance orientation by offering more activities of possible interest to students from diverse backgrounds. She investigated offerings at peer institutions nationwide and recommended that the American Intercultural Center, Pride Center and the Veterans’ Center here become more active with events and open house sessions for newcomers.
Grapentine has been a chapter president and active volunteer with Circle K, a student-led service organization. She made trips to Louisiana and Alabama with the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and worked at a camp in Wisconsin Dells serving individuals with disabilities. Other volunteer involvement on campus and in the community included work for local schools, food pantries, the local LGBTQ community, the Humane Society and the Brown County Human Services Department’s Pals Program.
After the passing in January 2014 of her friend and fellow research assistant, KaNisha Flemming, who died of leukemia, Grapentine and others organized a successful series of fundraisers to create the KaNisha Flemming Memorial Scholarship. The newly created scholarship assists Psychology or Human Development students whose lives have been affected by cancer.