Tag: Biology

Alumna’s project spurs discussion on perceptions, portrayal of female beauty

A December 2011 UW-Green Bay grad’s efforts to shatter the notion of the “ideal” female appearance and shed light on how women are portrayed in the media were featured in a weekend story in the Press-Gazette. Kayla Schroeder, who earned her degrees in Biology and Design Arts, gave her first talk on the perception and portrayal issues at the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay, prompting six girls to volunteer as photo subjects. Photos of the girls were displayed during a May 5 event and the girls posted comments — initially more critical of their own pics, versus those of peers — using sticky notes. More girls volunteered for a second shooting to further the discussion, and photos from both shoots will be on display and open for comments beginning at 6 p.m. today (Wednesday) at Harmony Café, 1660 W. Mason St. “My hope is that the girls will gain a new outlook on their beauty and that this project will have a persistent effect on their self-confidence,” Schroeder said. Full story.

Ryan Taylor ’05 works in dream job at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

top-disney-zookeeperFrom the frigid cold temperatures of Green Bay to the warm climate of Central Florida, Ryan Taylor has made a career out of his love for animals.

Looking for a change in weather, Taylor took a job in 2008 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one of the largest animal theme parks in the world, as an animal keeper, taking care of hoofed stock like giraffes and zebras on the Safari.

Taylor is trained in all areas of the West Savannah team and works with each of the animals. Part of his job of taking care of the animals includes feeding, cleaning, medical, observing, recording and communicating about them.

“It’s literally a dream job,” Taylor said. “I get to work with animals at Disney World. I was a Disney kid growing up so the perks are pretty sweet. And working for Disney allows for a lot of career opportunities, like my research.”

He also takes care of the Greater Flamingos and is involved in a research study based on color patterns and social behavior. Taylor participates in wildlife bird monitoring surveys and is the leader for monitoring bluebird nest boxes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Before working at Disney, Taylor was involved in many organizations during his undergraduate studies. He is a UW-Green Bay 2005 alumnus with a degree in Biology with an emphasis in animal and field biology.

A work-study experience at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, got him a start. There he participated in all of the animal husbandry that was involved with the job, from exhibit maintenance and animal rehabilitation, to medical procedures and interacting with the guests. A summer internship there gave him experience in rehabilitating orphaned, sick and injured animals and taking care of them or placing them under foster care.

“Working at the Wildlife Sanctuary gave me more than four years of helpful experience that is needed to move ahead in the animal care field. I worked with all types of native animals in all types of ways, which gave me excellent experience,” Taylor said.

“As long as I can remember I have always loved animals and have always wanted to be a zookeeper,” Taylor said. “Studying animal biology at UWGB and working in the field at the same time seemed to be the best way for me to achieve my goal. It allowed me to experience society and the world on my own, away from home. It got me to where I am today.”

Story by Cheyenne Makinia, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication

UW-Green Bay announces recipients of ‘Distinguished,’ ‘Recent’ alumni awards

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will recognize five meritorious graduates of the institution at the 2014 Alumni Association Awards Night on Thursday evening, May 1.

This year’s honorees are Craig Dickman, Class of 1982, Constance Downs ’96, and Bob Pyle, ’83, each receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award; and JoAnn Miller ’01 and Crystal Osman ’08, recipients of the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.

The annual program spotlights UW-Green Bay alumni who have made special contributions to the University, their communities and professions. The ceremony takes place in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay.
The event is open to the public. It begins with a 5 p.m. social and includes dinner at 6 p.m. followed by the program. The cost is $35 per person. For more information, contact the UW-Green Bay Alumni Office at (920) 465-2074 or alumni@uwgb.edu.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Craig Dickman Class of 1982

Craig Dickman
Class of 1982

Craig Dickman is a 1982 Business Administration graduate of UW-Green Bay. The founder, CEO and chief innovation officer for Breakthrough Fuel, Green Bay, he has won acclaim for his innovative approach to supply chain logistics and fuel cost management.

In less than a decade, Dickman’s Green Bay company has grown to become a partner to some of American industry’s leading brands. Prominent clients have included Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Heinz, Georgia-Pacific, John Deere, Polaris Industries, SCA Tissue and Shopko, among others. This year, Breakthrough Fuel received the prestigious Kraft Foods “Transportation Partnership Award” and the “External Business Partner of the Year” designation from Procter & Gamble, an award honoring 15 companies selected from among the 82,000 suppliers and agencies with which P&G does business. Breakthrough Fuel has won similar corporate honors bestowed by Unilever and the Whirlpool Corporation. The firm helps its clients analyze their fuel costs using advanced metrics and software, seeking ways to reduce shipping costs including the use of alternative fuels to cut both expenses and emissions. Dickman is the inventor responsible for two patents for energy management and has additional patents pending with the United States Patent Office.

Active in the greater Green Bay community, Dickman has served since 2012 as a member of UW-Green Bay’s Council of Trustees and Foundation Board. Last summer he was elected to the board of directors of the Green Bay Packers organization, and in December he delivered the commencement address at his alma mater.

Constance Downs Class of 1996

Constance Downs
Class of 1996

Constance Downs received her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy in 1996. She is an administrator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., with experience across a range of environmental and public policy issues.

Downs joined the EPA in 1999 with the agency’s Center for Environmental Information and Statistics, where she supported research on U.S. public interest in environmental issues. She has served as branch chief for the EPA’s Records Content Management Branch and, since 2011, as associate director of the agency’s Toxics Release Inventory Program Division — a position that brings her into content with researchers including UW-Green Bay faculty members. Downs also led the EPA’s “E-Docket” initiative and Regulations.gov project which provide online access to all federal regulations and created the ability to review and submit comments on pending policies.

In her previous career, before enrolling in UW-Green Bay’s graduate program, Downs spent nearly 15 years in the private sector, working for a Japanese bank in New York and for a Tokyo-based consulting company, where she provided market research and analysis to companies in the United States, Japan, Australia and other Pacific Rim nations. She addressed a broad array of market areas including agriculture, food service, tourism, manufacturing and the financial sector. More recently, Downs has offered her service as an independent consultant to Japanese production companies developing television documentaries and museum exhibits.

Bob Pyle Class of 1983

Bob Pyle
Class of 1983

Bob Pyle, a 1983 Business Administration graduate and president and CEO of Pioneer Metal Finishing, is active in the Green Bay community in support of the University and local non-profits.

He joined Pioneer in 1998 as vice president of sales and marketing after previous experience with Fort Howard Corp. and KI. He was promoted to executive vice president in 2001 and president in 2002. Under his leadership, the company has grown from 450 employees to over 1,400 and, since 2006, has expanded from three locations in the Midwest to over 14 locations throughout the United States and Mexico. Pioneer bills itself as the North American leader in surface coating, with an extensive client list of manufacturers who use the firm’s corrosion and wear-resistant finishes and adhesive coatings. Pioneer’s services are used extensively in the automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial and electronics industries.

Pyle was a standout member of the Phoenix golf team during his undergraduate days, honored as team MVP in 1983. As a member of the Phoenix golf team, Bob was honored as the team MVP in 1983. He is an assistant coach for the Ashwaubenon High School girls golf team.

Pyle and his wife, Jean (a 1984 UW-Green Bay graduate) have been longtime supporters of the Phoenix Fund and the Green Bay golf and basketball programs. He is an active board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay and the Wisconsin State Golf Association (WSGA).

Outstanding Recent Alumni Awards

JoAnn Miller Class of 2001

JoAnn Miller
Class of 2001

JoAnn Miller, who graduated from UW-Green Bay 2001 with a major in Biology and minor in Environmental Science, was the 2013 Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year. A National Board Certified Teacher, she teaches college prep biology, Advanced Placement biology, and Intro to Human Biology (for college credit with UW-Green Bay) at Oconto Falls High School. She was named her district’s teacher of the year in 2012 and was recognized statewide with a prestigious Kohl Teacher Fellowship that same year. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Miller has been adviser to her school’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Club and Science Club. In 2007, she founded the annual STEM Symposium, a showcase for students to present original scientific research and projects to classmates, community members, area business leaders and the general public. As a past recipient of the Wisconsin State Teachers of the Year Award, Miller joins other award winners in providing advice and counsel to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and other DPI officials.

Crystal Osman Class of 2008

Crystal Osman
Class of 2008

Crystal Osman, a 2008 graduate of UW-Green Bay’s undergraduate program in Environmental Policy and Planning, is a widely recognized ambassador for Green Bay revitalization as program manager for the non-profit business improvement districts Downtown Green Bay, Inc., and Olde Main Street, Inc. Osman, in addition to advocating for business development, has championed green space, sustainability and cultural initiatives to enhance urban life. She was a founding team member of the New Leaf Market Cooperative and a leading committee member for the East River Trail Task Force to connect the Fox and East River trails. As a student at UW-Green Bay, Osman was active in student government and a member of the team that implemented U-Pass, a program to subsidize free student ridership on Green Bay Metro buses. She continues to volunteer her time for environmental causes including Baird Creek Preservation Foundation, Sustainable Green Bay and the Earth Week Coalition, among others.

Leading and learning: Labs provide rich experience for Biology students

UW-Green students in biology labsIt is a biologist’s dream … to examine, discuss, identify and chronicle, confirm, question and corroborate.

UW-Green Bay students — many of them biologists in training in Prof. Mike Draney’s Invertebrate Biology class — certainly have these opportunities for applied (hands-on) learning experiences.

In a lab environment, students who are learning the taxonomy, morphology, biology and ecology of most of the animal phyla, collect, prepare and identify their own invertebrates and look at specimens supplied by Draney.

The Biology students also have sensational resources at their fingertips — in this case, the University’s Richter Museum of Natural History (www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/richter/). It is one of Wisconsin’s most significant collections of animal specimens for scientific research and education.

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– Photos by Eric Miller, photographer, Office of Marketing and University Communication

For Linda Vang, a Biology major from Green Bay, having access to both collections and an outdoor lab — the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum — is great preparation for her future plans … pursuing a graduate degree.

“We have opportunities to be in the field, work with the equipment, and develop skills in collecting and identifying animals,” she says. “Connecting the concepts taught in lecture to a lab that is filled with hands-on projects has definitely improved my ability to learn about and appreciate these animals. There’s a bigger impact when you learn by doing.”

In this recent lab, students studied mollusks (snails, clams, octopi, etc.) and were able to examine a few hundred specimens from the Richter Museum’s collection of seashells and from Draney’s personal collection. Students were asked to learn to identify any given specimen to phylum and class (and sometimes to subclass or order).

“The hands-on experiences I get in labs allow me to make connections between the lecture material and real life,” says senior Biology major Kari Matuszak, who hopes to be a teacher some day. “I consider myself someone who learns by doing, so having the opportunity to examine real specimens deepens my understanding of the material … these experiences have helped me learn to think critically and examine issues from multiple perspectives.”

Matuzak said it is the applied learning experiences and the relationships with faculty that stand out in her academic experience.

“I have had the opportunity to learn from many wonderful professors throughout my college career,” she says. “From my experience, professors at UWGB are incredibly knowledgeable and love to share their expertise with students. Professors like Dr. Draney are easily accessible and are willing to go the extra mile to help their students succeed.”

Says Vang: “I worked with professors on a research project, so there are opportunities at UWGB that provide guidance and preparation toward my future. In my experience, the professors are easy to talk to, and they guide you to an answer, plus they’re excited about what they teach!”

A pre-reunion reunion

It was a pre-reunion reunion for Drew Stuckey, a 1979 Nutritional Sciences graduate who now resides in Mt. Kisco, New York, and his daughter Abby, a UW-Green Bay freshman. The senior Stuckey, now an RN for the New York University Langone Medical Center, called on his college roommate, current Dean of Enrollment Services Mike Stearney, to help him surprise Abby on the plaza level of the Environmental Sciences lobby following a biology lecture on Friday, Nov. 1. The two have their choice of activities to fill the weekend, with both Family Weekend and Alumni Reunion Days held on campus Nov. 1-3.

Feature: Her business is blood… and hair… and anything DNA-related

With shows like CSI, Castle, Breaking Bad and The Mentalist drawing big audiences, UW-Green Bay grad Amber Rasmussen lives the life that intrigues the masses. She’s a DNA analyst for the State Crime Laboratory in Milwaukee. It’s not as glamorous or dramatic as TV might lead you to believe, of course, but it is interesting and important. Rasmussen is a 2003 graduate in Biology and Human Biology with nice things to say about her experience here and mentors including Associate Prof. Warren Johnson. See the feature by editorial intern Cheyenne Makinia.

Feature: Her business is blood… and hair… and anything DNA-related

With shows like CSI, Castle, Breaking Bad and The Mentalist drawing big audiences, UW-Green Bay grad Amber Rasmussen lives the life that intrigues the masses. She’s a DNA analyst for the State Crime Laboratory in Milwaukee. It’s not as glamorous or dramatic as TV might lead you to believe, of course, but it is interesting and important. Rasmussen is a 2003 graduate in Biology and Human Biology with nice things to say about her experience here and mentors including Associate Prof. Warren Johnson. See the feature by editorial intern Cheyenne Makinia.

Not quite ‘CSI’, Rasmussen works in forensic science reality

CSI, Castle, Breaking Bad, The Mentalist — UW-Green Bay graduate Amber Rasmussen lives the life that intrigues the masses. Albeit with a bit more reservation and realism than your favorite evening crime series.

Rasmussen is a DNA analyst for the State Crime Laboratory in Milwaukee — “receiving, processing, analyzing and writing reports on the forensic findings of evidence pertaining to crimes which have been submitted to the State Crime Laboratory in Milwaukee for evaluation,” she explains.

“Specifically, as a DNA Analyst, I attempt to identify the presence of body fluids such as saliva, blood and semen on evidentiary items, process items in order to collect any potential DNA and then process any samples collected to develop a DNA profile.”

The combination — of working in the sciences and performing a needed public service — is very fulfilling, she says. Her work doesn’t quite present the “CSI effect” that crime shows are known for.  Still, she enjoys the unpredictability of her job and an opportunity to do her part in piecing together evidence.

“My favorite part of my job is being able to examine evidence and develop DNA profiles from that evidence that help to fit all the pieces of whatever happened together,” Rasmussen said.

The Appleton native earned her degree in biology and human biology in 2003 from UW-Green Bay. After graduation she worked for two years in Bethesda, MD, as a an Intramural Research Training Award fellow at the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health, researching oral wound healing and carcinogenesis.

She completed her master’s degree in forensic science in 2011 from Marshall University in Huntington, WV. While there, she secured a research assistantship in Marshall University’s DNA laboratory. She began working at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory after graduation.

Currently, Rasmussen is training to be a part of the newly formed Crime Scene Response Team at the Milwaukee laboratory as a photographer documenting the crime scene. The team will add increased coverage throughout the state.

Rasmussen said she felt prepared for work at the graduate school level because of her classes at UW-Green Bay.

“Many of my peers in graduate school expressed concerns that their undergraduate school had not sufficiently prepared them. By contrast, I recognized most of the topics and felt that many of them were a review of what I had already learned while attending UWGB.”

She chose UW-Green Bay for its small class sizes and its reputation for a strong Human Biology program. During her time at UW-Green Bay she was involved in TriBeta, Phi Eta Sigma and her senior year she worked with Dr. Warren Johnson researching the heat stable catabolite modulator factor in E. coli.

“Dr. Warren Johnson was an excellent mentor for helping me to consider my options for after graduation,” Rasmussen said, “and provided insight and support for obtaining a research fellowship and also helped with applying to graduate school.”

One of her favorite memories of being a student was watching Packers games with friends on campus.

“During home games one of the guys would open the window, and yell at the refs if he thought they made a bad call.”

Story by Cheyenne Makinia, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication

Wild about exotics: Biology grad founds local animal rescue

For 2011 biology grad Jamie Kozloski, taking work home with her has taken on a whole new meaning. Kozloski, in fact, rooms with those for whom she cares — exotic birds and lizards, many of whom live in the bedroom of her Ashwaubenon home. Kozloski is the founder of Kingdom Animalia Exotic Animal Rescue, housed at her house, and her story appears in today’s (Thursday, July 11) edition of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Kozloski fell in love with reptiles at age 11, the story says, and decided to major in biology with an emphasis in animal biology. During school, an internship turned into a job with Green Bay Animal Control, and Kozloski recently filed for nonprofit status for her rescue organization. The Press-Gazette story is accompanied by a great photo gallery and video. Read more.

UWGB education brings Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary employees full circle

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary employees Ben Nelson and Matt Rupnik have something in common beside their current place of employment. Both are also University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumni.

No surprise. The neighboring entities — the Sanctuary is just minutes from campus — have a long and continuing partnership that includes numerous UW-Green Bay Biology and Environmental Science students serving as interns and volunteers at the Sanctuary through the years.

Nelson, a 2003 double major in Biology and Environmental Science, is now assistant director for the Wildlife Sanctuary. He returned to Green Bay after serving as a wildlife biologist for the USDA Wildlife Services in the greater Chicago area. The relatively young alumnus has worked as a natural resource scientist, a wildlife biologist and the branch manager of a wildlife management consulting firm.

“I certainly believe my education at UW-Green Bay has helped me in my role at the Wildlife Sanctuary as well as throughout my entire professional career,” he said.

Nelson said one course at UW-Green Bay, taught by Prof. Robert Howe, was particularly influential in helping him decide on a post-college career. In that course, Howe was approached for advice from an organization in regard to how to sustainably manage a property. Each student in the course looked at a different aspect of environmental/natural resource management and created a specific management plan that covered their topic.

“I selected white-tailed deer management for my project,” Nelson said, “and have been actively involved in white-tailed deer management in many different capacities ever since that course, including here at the Wildlife Sanctuary.”

Nelson wasn’t brand new to Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in August 2012. His connection started during his undergraduate career at UW-Green Bay when he arranged an independent study assisting a UW-Green Bay graduate student with research on Canada geese at the sanctuary.

Nelson said he coordinated the study through the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity and Dr. Howe. “Now, as assistant director for Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary,” Nelson said, “I serve as the staff adviser to the sanctuary’s director on resource issues and activities related to fish and wildlife.”

His other responsibilities vary, but include anything from recommending policy, guidance and plans to serving as a liaison with state, national and international organizations in the fish and wildlife community.

Like Nelson, Rupnik, who is at present a senior animal keeper, also started with the sanctuary as a current student. The 2007 Biology grad held a work-study position there during spring semester junior year and all of senior year of college. He also worked as a temporary seasonal maintenance employee one summer and as a rehabilitation intern the next. Post-graduation, he worked at a private wildlife sanctuary in Texas for four years, as an animal care intern and an animal keeper before returning to the Wildlife Sanctuary.

He now works under the direction of the curator by assisting in the care of animals in the Wildlife Sanctuary’s permanent collection, as well as caring for injured or orphaned wildlife that come in as part of the facility’s rehab program. He also helps supervise part-time keepers, interns, work-study keepers and volunteers, making certain that they are “providing the proper care for each animal and following correct husbandry procedures.”

“I will help clean cages, prepare and distribute animal diets, calculate medicine dosages to administer to patients as directed by the curator or vet, record observations of animal behavior, handle or restrain animals, perform basic maintenance on animal enclosures and provide informal or formal presentations to the public either in person or over the phone,” he explained.

Rupnik said his classes at UW-Green Bay helped him develop skills he regularly uses on the job.

“My anatomy, mammalogy, environmental science and many of the lab exercises provided me with the skills, knowledge and thought processes necessary for what I do on a daily basis,” he said.

He added that much of what he learned was thanks to the work-study program, internships and his volunteer work.

In spring, a number of UW-Green Bay students worked at the sanctuary, including Zachary McLees, a Biology major and a work-study keeper; Haley Sharpe, a Biology major and rehab intern, who finds that her ornithology class at UWGB helps her work with the many birds that are brought to the sanctuary; intern Rachel Schiller, a Biology major who graduated this May; and Emily Ruff, a recent graduate who was also a regular volunteer.

“We have a great relationship with the Wildlife Sanctuary,” Prof. Howe said, “largely because of connections with the former director, Ty Bauman, and current director, Mike Reed. Both have been extremely supportive of our students.”
Story by Michael Duenkel
Photos by Veronica Wierer