Tag: Environmental Science

Katers, recent grad Grossmeier talk women in STEM for Press-Gazette story

One of UW-Green Bay’s newest alumni (a cum laude grad and Chancellor’s Medallion winner, to boot) was featured in a Saturday (May 17) Green Bay Press-Gazette cover story about the trends on women in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Corinne Grossmeier, who graduated this weekend with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science, spoke with reporter Patti Zarling about her early interest in the sciences, talking about positive influences from her parents and sometimes not-so-positive feedback from peers. NAS Chair Prof. John Katers also is quoted, saying he tells students that jobs and opportunities are there — regardless of gender. The story also looks at some interesting statistics pertaining to women in STEM at UW-Green Bay. Full story.

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.

Fearsome Phragmites? Grad student explores exotic, native species

A UW-Green Bay alumnus and current master’s student is investigating a much-maligned invasive species in Green Bay’s backyard — and exploring the idea that efforts at eradication might not be what’s best, after all. Matt Peter, a 2011 graduate of the University’s environmental science program, is working to broaden the knowledge of Phragmites on Door County shores, studying not just the loathed invasive plant, but also the native species. Extensive efforts to kill exotic Phragmites could have important implications for the native plants, as well, Peter says. He’s working with The Nature Conservancy to study the differences between the two and how each responds to various natural stimuli. Our new feature story has more.

Alumni Rising: Peter investigates understudied native phragmites

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay graduate student Matt Peter is out to broaden the base of knowledge of a currently understudied subject — the effects of native phragmites on Door County shores.

You see, it is the exotic invasive plant that seems to take over shorelines in a matter of a few years and are the scorn of naturalists, tourists and homeowners. The native species may be getting a bad rap, right along with it. Maybe.

Peter, a native of Rothschild, Wis. near Wausau, and a graduate of UW-Green Bay’s environmental science program in 2011, is working with The Nature Conservancy to study the differences between the two and how each responds to various natural stimuli. A recent feature in “Pulse,” a print and online resource for Door County art, news and entertainment, featured Peter’s work earlier this fall.

The feature explains an extensive effort to kill the exotic species in Door County and a possible indifference, and the effect it could have, if the native phragmites are destroyed along with the exotic.

“Native species, such as native Phragmties, have co-evolved with the other species in their ecosystem,” Peter explains. “Over time, each species has established its own niche within the natural environment and  has developed a set of services that it provides to the surrounding ecosystem. Essentially, each native species is a small piece of a very complex puzzle. Therefore, by eliminating the native Phragmites you may also be weakening the health of the ecosystem.”

He says that many organizations including The Nature Conservancy and “even the United States government” aim to protect and promote biodiversity.

“By definition, this requires them to focus on specific species genotypes (aka subspecies). Laws, like the Endangered Species Act, recognize the importance of protecting genetic diversity. Through an understanding of the importance of genetic diversity, the goal of our project is to determine differences in the native and exotic genotypes of Phragmites to help shape effective and efficient management strategies for conservation groups and land managers.”

Peter said he chose UW-Green Bay for its environmental science program. He chose to stay and pursue his master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy because of the faculty and graduate students he had an opportunity to interact with as an undergraduate.

“The ES&P faculty is outstanding and being able to work with many of them as an undergrad is really what drove me to stay here for grad school. Also, as an undergrad I interacted with many previous grad students and I was really impressed with the work that they were doing. I admired how challenging the program is and the quality of the work that is produced from the ES&P program.”

Peter is working toward a spring 2015 graduation date, and possible future career as a land manager or restoration ecologist.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.

 Matt Peter, Environmental Science and Policy graduate student, studies effects of native phragmites on Door County shores  Matt Peter, Environmental Science and Policy graduate student, studies effects of native phragmites on Door County shores  Matt Peter, Environmental Science and Policy graduate student, studies effects of native phragmites on Door County shores

UW-Green Bay to partner with EPA on Toxics Release Inventory project

UW-Green Bay is one of eight schools across the country selected to participate in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) University Challenge, an initiative that challenges the academic community to use TRI data and related information to promote informed decision-making in communities and among manufacturers and in government. UW-Green Bay’s project will include two primary components: one, students and faculty will work to develop a curriculum manual based on an existing TRI research project that has been used in Prof. John Katers’ Industrial Pollution Control course since 1999. This manual then could be used by other universities across the country. The second component involves program participants working to create a new but similar manual and related training program for high school students, thereby exposing more students to TRI data and creating interest in environmental science and the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. UW-Green Bay is in good company on the list — other newly selected schools include UCLA, and current partners include Cornell and George Washington universities. We’ll have more at a later date; meanwhile, you can find additional info here: www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-university-challenge.

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

EMBI students earn $9,000 in research grants for landfill, Clean Sweep work

Two UW-Green Bay science students will receive maximum $4,500 awards from the UW System Solid Waste Research Council.

Kyle Sandmire, a graduate student in Environmental Science and Policy, has earned funding for his “Resource Recovery Facility Feasibility Study” to assess opportunities to reduce waste and increase resource recovery for Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties at a future landfill site in southern Brown County. Sandmire is supervised by John Arendt, associate director of UW-Green Bay’s Environmental Management and Business Institute.

The second research grant goes to Brian Yagle, an undergrad majoring in Environmental Science. Yagle will work with the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to evaluate the Wisconsin Clean Sweeps Grants program. He will help identify trends in the use of funds, participants served by grantees, and consistency in terms of the proposals and data provided in the annual reports. Yagle is supervised by Associate Prof. John Katers, EMBI’s director.

The UW System program funding the students’ work was created by the state Legislature in 1990. Research typically involves alternatives to solid waste disposal, including the reuse and recycling of materials, composting, source separation and the disposal of household hazardous wastes.
 

EMBI students earn $9,000 in research grants for landfill, Clean Sweep work

Two UW-Green Bay science students will receive maximum $4,500 awards from the UW System Solid Waste Research Council. Kyle Sandmire, a graduate student in Environmental Science and Policy, has earned funding for his “Resource Recovery Facility Feasibility Study” to assess opportunities to reduce waste and increase resource recovery for Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties at a future landfill site in southern Brown County. Sandmire is supervised by John Arendt, associate director of UW-Green Bay’s Environmental Management and Business Institute. The second research grant goes to Brian Yagle, an undergrad majoring in Environmental Science. Yagle will work with the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to evaluate the Wisconsin Clean Sweeps Grants program. He will help identify trends in the use of funds, participants served by grantees, and consistency in terms of the proposals and data provided in the annual reports. Yagle is supervised by Associate Prof. John Katers, EMBI’s director. The UW System program funding the students’ work was created by the state Legislature in 1990. Research typically involves alternatives to solid waste disposal, including the reuse and recycling of materials, composting, source separation and the disposal of household hazardous wastes.

From uncertain undergrad to full-ride Ph.D., E.S. alum is ready for next step

After transferring to UW-Green Bay as a sophomore, Adam Von Haden wasn’t sure what he wanted to study.

He’d started out as a Computer Science major, but the first-generation college student quickly realized that wasn’t for him.

So he took a few classes at UW-Green Bay, and before long discovered an academic — and career — pursuit that allowed him to explore a newfound passion for environmental science. Thanks to his own drive and the guidance of faculty members — particularly Associate Prof. Mathew Dornbush — Von Haden earned his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and his master’s in Environmental Science and Policy. In January, he’ll begin Ph.D. studies at UW-Madison, using a full-ride scholarship to further his passion and his career.

“I started taking classes and really got interested in environmental science,” Von Haden said “… I did take a few classes with Matt and we got to know each other, and that’s kind of how it started, at least in terms of pursuing a research career. I kind of figured out what I wanted to do within environmental science.

That research included an undergraduate project based in Texas, in which von Haden and Dornbush studied plant diversity and reproduction; and an undergrad/graduate study looking at biofuels closer to home. A graduate of Green Bay Preble High School, Von Haden will be the third UW-Green Bay student currently enrolled in the Madison Ph.D. program.

“It’s fun for me because I got to see him as this undergrad, with a ton of potential, getting introduced to this project in Texas,” said Dornbush, chair of the Environmental Science and Policy graduate program. “And then from there you could kind of see the spark catching and it’s like ‘oh, I could do this’ — and the from there I think it just snowballed.”
Even before deciding to pursue his Ph.D. — a decision he made relatively recently — Von Haden was furthering his research interests and trying his hand at teaching. He served as a limited-term employee doing biofuels research with Dornbush after earning his master’s in May 2011, and served as an associate lecturer during fall semester 2012. Von Haden says he’s more likely to do full-time research than to teach, but he hasn’t yet decided exactly where his career will take him.

With just days left until he moves to Madison, Von Haden is quick to credit UW-Green Bay — and especially Dornbush — for opening the door to academic and career success. But those who know Von Haden will just as rapidly say he’s blazed his own trail — and they’re confident he’ll continue to succeed.

“He’s earned every opportunity he’s had here,” Dornbush said. “These (thesis-based graduate programs) give us an opportunity to catch these fantastic students like Adam. … So he’s off to Madison and he’s going to continue down his career path, and some day that will come back. Some day Adam will be at a university somewhere, writing grants — and maybe some of our students will go work with Adam.”

International viewpoints: Environmental class draws from four continents

International studentsWhen UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. John Katers had his Industrial Pollution Control students introduce themselves earlier this semester, Marina Hauser got a pleasant surprise.

“It was really exciting when we realized we were four international students in one class,” said Hauser, who hails from Switzerland. “We went around to introduced ourselves and it was like, ‘Oh, Kenya! Oh, Germany! Oh, Spain!’ … And now we hang out a lot.”

Hang out a lot — and learn from one another, too, Katers said.

“The Industrial Pollution Class this year is fairly unique because we’ve got essentially four international students — one from Germany, one from Switzerland one from Spain and one from Kenya,” Katers said. “And along with that we also had a visiting instructor from Chile. So with that group we essentially had four continents represented, which was very interesting.”

On a recent afternoon after class, the students took time to introduce themselves and discuss their experience.

“I’m Marina Hauser; I’m from Switzerland. I study Environmental Science and I’m here for four years,” Hauser said, flanked by her fellow students.

“I’m Michael Hannemann. I’m from Germany — Frankfurt — and I’m studying Environmental Sciences and Policy, my graduate program,” added her new friend.

‘I’m Rodrigo Canibano, I’m from Spain and I’m studying in Leon,” Canibano said. Like Hannemann, he’d arrived at UW-Green Bay at the beginning of the academic year.

“Hi I’m Sravani Karnam; I’m an international student from Kenya, and I’m studying environmental science and chemistry,” said Karnam, the final student to introduce herself. Also present was Prof. Alex Godoy, who’d just wrapped up a lecture for the class.

“I am visiting professor from Chile; this is my second time here,” Godoy said. “I was visiting scholar one year ago … and now I’m so happy to be teaching here in Environmental Science and in Humanistic Studies.”

UW-Green Bay offers great opportunities for international students, Katers said.

“That’s always one of the questions I like to ask the students, is ‘why did you come to Green Bay?’ ” he said. “And again I think we do have a very strong environmental reputation, both on the ecological side and also on the physical sciences side, as well, which would include pollution and water quality and those types of issues. So I think that really is a draw.”

That’s certainly the case for Karnam, who said she’s learning a lot and benefiting from multiple perspectives.

“This class has focused a lot on industrial aspects of pollution control,” she said. “It’s given us hands-on experience about how every industry works in Green Bay. The regulations in the U.S. (are) very different than in a developing country like Kenya.”

Hannemann agreed, adding that his field of study benefits greatly from multiple perspectives.

”I think Environmental Science is an international issue, or international behavior,” he said. “So I think it’s good that all the international people are here, also in the U.S. to hear about the environmental programs or environmental issues in a class like Pollution Control is.”

Or, as Godoy put it, simply and effectively:

“When you can share the class with people from around the world, you can open your mind.”

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