Danielle Strebel, a UW-Green Bay student majoring in Human Biology (nutritional science and dietetics) has been selected to receive a competitive summer internship in public health. She is assigned to Outagamie County’s Public Health Division where she will pursue a project titled: “Public Health in Practice: A unique hands-on opportunity to learn about environmental health, public health preparedness and community health education.” Strebel’s placement is one of several dozen internships made possible statewide through a program of the Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers administered by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. AHEC Director Nancy Sugden says the program “is designed to teach students about health issues facing underserved populations in Wisconsin.”
It was a return trip for UW-Green Bay Human Biology professors Amanda Nelson and Donna Ritch, but a whole new world for 17 UWGB Human Biology and Bellin College of Nursing students.
The group recently returned home from a summer travel course to Guben, Germany, and a chance to work with world-renowned German anatomist Gunther von Hagens — inventor of the preservation process plastination, now made famous by the Body Worlds touring exhibits.
The course is designed around the use of human cadavers in teaching and research environments, which includes the four-day workshop at the Plastinarium and a trip to Auschwitz. The students were able to meet and pose for a picture with von Hagens during a tour of the facilities.
The workshop led students through each step of the process of plastination, from autopsies to dissection to tissue dehydration to positioning to curing. In addition to completing a full dissection of two human cadavers, the UWGB students had other opportunities — injecting and positioning animal hearts and kidneys, among them.
Human Biology senior Crystal Remsza and her roommate Bridget Schedler decided to explore the experience together.
“I figured any experience I can get will help me in the long run, but it turned out better than I expected,” Remsza said. “The plastinarium experience was incredible,” Remsza said. “Dr. Nelson told us before leaving that we would get a lot of hands on experience and she was absolutely right. Dissecting cadavers was something I never imagined myself doing, but I loved it. I was able to apply everything I’ve learned about the human body from my classes to a real specimen in front of me. The coolest part of my time at the plastinarium was removing all of the internal organs in one piece. There were four of us working on this and once we finally removed everything from the heart, lungs, intestines, etc. it was a proud moment!”
Schedler, a senior from Grafton, Wis., who hopes to be a physical therapist one day, said the experience was “amazingly unforgettable.” “I gained a unique perspective on human anatomy that cannot be taught from a book. It was much more intriguing than anything I thought it could be.”
Likewise, senior human biology major Kelly Strasser said that everyday the trip provided a unique experience.
“From your basic muscle dissection of human cadavers to an all-out autopsy, we were able to carry out tasks I had never anticipated would be possible as an undergraduate student,” Strasser said. “Most importantly, the freedom that we were given to explore and problem solve during our dissections was incredible. The staff encouraged us to figure out on our own which techniques were most effective for a given task. This helped to build our independence and confidence as students.”
The students’ enthusiasm is something Prof. Nelson, who was leading her third course to Guben, has come to expect.
“The students were very engaged in the process of plastination and their intense focus was palpable by the plastinarium staff,” said Nelson. “They were in awe of the hands-on experience they received. If they wanted to do something, they just asked and soon found themselves doing just that (i.e., using a saw to remove a human skull, witnessing the preparation of a lion display).”
“In addition to the content of the course, I always hope that the students immerse themselves in the culture of the countries we visit,” said Nelson, who has led her third summer tour to Guben.
The group enjoyed side trips to both Krakow and Prague, embracing the culture of Poland and the Czech Republic, according to Nelson, and visiting a concentration camp, as well.
“That visit prompted discussion of Nazi experimentation and the controversy regarding the use of the results of these experiments,” she said. “Prior to traveling, the students were required to give group presentations on similar topics, such as organ/body donation, eugenics, Nazi experimentation.
The experience will pay dividends down the road, when most of the students prepare for medical careers and graduate school.
“Without a doubt, this experience provides a unique talking point at a graduate school interview,” Nelson said. “Securing a seat in a professional program has become increasingly difficult and this course is a highlight on many of our students’ resumes.”
Remsza, who hopes to be accepted into dental school upon graduating from UWGB in May of 2016, said the experience have her a glimpse of a future in the medical field.
“This experience was important to me because it allowed me to really imagine myself with a career in the medical field,” she said. “I am even more anxious to go on to dental school and I’m curious to see what my future holds.”
Strasser, who will begin applying to athletic training programs at the end of this summer sees a direct link between this trip and pursuing her future career goals.
“I now have so much I can add to my resume for graduate school applications,” she said. “With programs being so competitive, it is important to participate in activities that make your resume stand out. My experiences in the plastinarium will certainly do that. I now have all these unique experiences I can draw from for my application and interview processes that will help me stand out and be remembered.”
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved promotions and tenure for UW-Green Bay faculty members during the board’s meeting June 4 and 5 at UW-Milwaukee. Those promoted from assistant professor to the rank of associate professor with tenure are:
• Tohoro Francis Akakpo, Social Work
• Hernan Fernandez-Meardi, Humanistic Studies
• T. Heather Herdman, Nursing
• Minkyu Lee, Art and Design
• Deirdre Radosevich, Human Development
• Courtney Sherman, Music
• Alison Stehlik, Art and Design
• Mussie Teclezion, Business Administration
• Gail Trimberger, Social Work
• Le Zhu, Human Biology
Human Biology Profs. Donna Ritch and Amanda Nelson guided a group of 17 UW-Green Bay students on a study tour of Germany recently including a week at the famous “Plastinarium” in the city of Guben. (The Plastinarium is the place that produces the BodyWorks exhibit familiar to American museum-goers, made possible by techniques engineered there to preserve tissue and vital organs for anatomical display.) The two professors were interviewed by the local newspaper. If your German is passable, or you’d like to plug the text into an online translation utility, or you’d just like to see the photo, click here.
While some students will spend summer in relaxation mode, UW-Green Bay’s Lorenzo Lones will be working in a lab at one of the top research programs in the nation.
Likewise, UW-Green Bay junior Tresavoya Blake, a History and Democracy and Justice Studies major, will be interning at Loyola University Chicago in its Multicultural Affairs Division this summer as part of a National Undergraduate Fellowship Program.
Each are mentored and encouraged by Justin Mallett, the director of UWGB’s American Intercultural Center.
Lones, a double major in Psychology and Human Biology, will be participating in the University of Iowa Summer Research Opportunity Program throughout June and July. The eight-week program is designed to prepare participants for future doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.
While at the University of Iowa, Lones will be working with Dr. Andrew Pieper, MD, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiation Oncology.
“One of the things that interested me is that the professor I will be working has a very diverse lab team,” said Lones, “He has women, Latinos, African-Americans, so it is just a very diverse team. Also, his research is closely aligned with the type of research I want to do in my career.”
Lones will be working with Pieper to study the effects of two chemicals on mice: One that helps create new brain cells in the memory center of the brain and one that helps stop cell death.
“We have a lot of psychiatric medication that deals with symptoms, but his lab is actually looking at what is causing the symptoms and trying to change the course of the disorder in the brain instead of just alleviating symptoms,” Lones said.
This experience will be a first for Lones who says he has never worked directly in a lab such as this before.
“This will be the first time I’m in the lab actually manipulating things,” he said, “As far as animals are concerned too, I’ll be working with the rats. So that will be a pretty nifty hands-on experience for me.”
Entering UWGB, he thought he would someday be a school psychologist. “I took Prof. Dennis Lorenz’s physiological psychology class and started studying the nervous system and then realized I really like understanding how the brain works.”
He followed that with a molecular biology course with Prof. Uwe Pott, and is honing his career path to research.
“What I want to study is not necessarily the act of giving treatment, but looking at what is the course of treatment… instead of of being a doctor, doing medical research that doctors can benefit from.”
For Tresavoya Blake, the fellowship is an extension of involvement at UW-Green Bay. She laughs as she begins her list… “Women of Color, Black Student Union, the Diversity Taskforce…”
Her involvement provided a strong case for acceptance into the National Undergraduate Fellowship Program through the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the benefits associated with it — such as the eight-week fellowship at Loyola.
“I’ll be actually working with the different staff in different departments, working on any projects they might want me to do,” she said, “Basically learning more about the student affairs field and narrowing down which department or division of student affairs I would be most interested in pursuing when I go to graduate school and eventually start my own career in student affairs.”
Both Lones and Blakes said they understand the need for mentoring and appreciate the faculty and staff who support and encourage them.
“After my experiences here at Green Bay, especially in the American Intercultural Center, and seeing how they helped me just stay here and become more comfortable in the university, that’s the kind of impact I want to make on students in general,” Blake said. “In my future, I want to be the person that helps students of color, underrepresented students, and students in general, navigate through college.”
Lones said he is grateful to the faculty and staff that have helped him prepare for this opportunity, including Prof. Kris Vespia, who worked with him over winter break to help prepare his personal statement.
“The multicultural advisors, Crystal, Justin, and Mai, they do a really good job at keeping me on a straight path,” he said, “The faculty here at the school have been tremendous. They’ve been extremely supportive. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”
Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern
Julia Shariff is still wrapping her head around the possibility of one day being called, “Dr. Shariff.”
The May 2015 UW-Green Bay Human Biology and Spanish graduate took a major step toward her long-awaited goal with recent acceptance into the inaugural class of the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Classes begin this summer.
“To be honest, the idea of med school seemed like something other people did, not someone like me… The reason I decided to declare my major and head down that path was because of the amazing faculty at UWGB. I had always had support from my family to follow my dreams, but having a respected non-family source of support and belief in my abilities was what I needed to take the plunge.”
Being able to stay in Green Bay while in medical school is providing a level of comfort for Shariff (pictured with Bellin’s Bart Miller, above). The Green Bay Southwest High School graduate recognizes the value of “staying home” for her undergraduate degree, and will follow in the footsteps of a number of family members who took the same path.
“The benefits of staying in Green Bay are numerous,” she says. “It will both decrease the cost of living, but ease the transition into medical school. I’ve heard that the first year comes with its own academic adjustments so taking on medical school in Green Bay provides me with comfort and familiarity. I absolutely love the atmosphere of Green Bay — not too big and not too small. There’s plenty to do and opportunities to learn in this area. Having a medical school in Green Bay brings a lot to the area, especially when it comes to establishing community physicians.”
Shariff already has an insider perspective into health care in the region, having shadowed at Bellin Hospital in preparation for a research project, “The Lost Connection: Benefits of being a bilingual professional in the U.S. healthcare system,” which earned her prestigious selection as a “Posters in the Rotunda” showcase presenter in Madison in Spring of 2015.
Her project provided insight into the Green Bay area’s growing population of Spanish-speaking residents.
In true interdisciplinary fashion, Shariff developed the idea in collaboration with Prof. Cristina Ortiz of UW-Green Bay’s Spanish and Humanistic Studies academic programs.
“As Julia’s adviser, I conveyed to her that medical schools are seeking well-rounded students who are knowledgeable and have academic experiences beyond the sciences,” Ortiz says. “Her Spanish skills and academic work in Spanish have been key players in positioning Julia as the desirable candidate she is for medical school.”
Explains Shariff, “My research methods consisted of a lot of field observation, interviews, and of course investigation of previous reports and studies. I interviewed three individuals specifically: a bilingual doctor, a bilingual physician’s assistant and a Spanish interpreter. Through my research I developed a list of pros and cons for various communication methods in the healthcare system, thus determining the overall most efficient and practical method was the employment of a bilingual physician.”
Shariff studied abroad, in Spain, as part of her undergraduate experience. She was also an active tutor for the Organic Chemistry class, while serving as UWGB’s Health Science Club president, and co-president of UWGB’s Colleges Against Cancer organization.
“Green Bay is founded on the tight knit community and surrounding areas, and the promotion of this network is huge in the message MCW-Green Bay wants to send: promoting community based health care and cooperation of health systems in the state,” Shariff said.
“It has been a very long process, and to be accepted at such a respected institution as the Medical College of Wisconsin is both an honor and a privilege!”
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce the Spring 2015 Student Nominated Teaching Award recipients. Recipients will be presented their award at the University Leadership Award ceremony on Friday, May 15.
• Early Career Award Recipient — Sara Schmitz, Lecturer, Human Biology, director of Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics
• Experienced Teacher Award Recipient — John Katers, Professor, Natural and Applied Sciences, NAS chair, Environmental Science chair
From CATL: “Congratulations and thank you for exemplifying outstanding teaching at UW-Green Bay.”
Retirement-party announcements are making the rounds on campus. For the benefit of retirees and various other off-campus readers, here are several notices that have been widely shared:
• Cliff Abbott, Forrest Baulieu and Jeanellyn Schwarzenbach of the Information and Computing Science faculty are retiring, and colleague Adolfo Garcia is relocating out-of-state. A joint farewell is planned for noon to 1 p.m. Friday, May 8, in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall’s CWing.
• Mike Stearney, dean of Enrollment Services, is retiring after 31 years, with a sendoff on Tuesday, May 12, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Union’s 1965 Room.
• Associate Prof. Warren Johnson of Human Biology will greet well-wishers from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, in LS 468.
Five UW-Green Bay student-athletes have been recognized as members of the 2015 Winter Academic All-Horizon League Teams. The teams, which represent success in competition as well as in the classroom, were voted on by the league’s faculty athletics representatives and athletics communications directors. Earning academic all-league honors for the Phoenix were women’s basketball’s Megan Lukan, Communication and Business Administration; and swimming and diving’s Claire Friederick, Human Biology; Tanner Nordlund, Business Administration; James Wise (undeclared) and Ryan Korslin, Human Development.
Former Green Bay Phoenix cross-country standout Callie Bartel (Human Biology, class of ’09), a Prevea assistant athletics trainer assigned to Phoenix Athletics, beat last year’s time by nearly 10 minutes in finishing Monday’s Boston Marathon in 3:04:59, good enough to place 3,551 overall and a highly respectable No. 239 in the women’s division of the race that attracts marathoners from around the world.
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Other marathon results — Actually, it’s a small world, Boston-wise. Finishing a few minutes and places behind Bartel in the women’s division was Sarah Mahaney, age 33, who happens to be the daughter of our own Jan Snyder of the Provost’s Office. Mahaney finished her first Boston marathon (and only second 26.2-miler ever) in 3:07:22, good for women’s place 307. And, finally, Bob Blihar, an applications director with CIT, ran the inaugural Oshkosh Marathon over the weekend and shaved 28 minutes off his previous best and won his 50+ age group in 3:54:18. Congratulations, all.