Make a Difference Day

Photo gallery: UW-Green Bay Make a Difference Day

UW-Green Bay set out to make a difference and it certainly did, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. Partnering with the Volunteer Center and many organizations on campus, about 250 students, staff and faculty donated a few hours for great causes (veterans and the Einstein Project, etc.) or those in need, such as elderly homeowners. The photos tell the tale.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Make a Difference Day 2019

Photos by Dan Moore, UW-Green Bay Marketing and University Communication


Lakeshore Big Band to feature aerialist Linda DiRaimondo and Roncalli Jazz Band

Manitowoc, Wis.—Aerialist! Jazz! Romance! UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus Lakeshore Big Band presents “Evening of Passion” on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 at the Capitol Civic Centre, Manitowoc. Conducted by Paul Sucherman, the concert will be a celebration of songs of love both lost and found.

Lakeshore Big Band (LBB) is excited to have aerialist Linda DiRaimondo perform suspended from the battens above the Capitol Civic Centre stage during the concert. DiRaimondo grew up in Manitowoc and started aerial dancing in 1998 while attending medical school at UW-Madison. For the past 20 years, in addition to pursuing her dream of practicing psychiatry, she has been serving on the Board of Directors of Cycropia Aerial Dance and performing, choreographing, costume designing, and directing aerial dance performances with Cycropia and as a solo artist. She will be performing to Little Willie John’s classic 1956 tune, Fever and the 1952 cha-cha classic Kiss of Fire.

The Roncalli High School Jazz Band will be Lakeshore Big Band’s on-stage guests. They will be performing four selections under the direction of Roncalli band director, Corey VanSickle. He said the band is excited and has been practicing every Friday before school starts and has been looking forward to this opportunity since last spring! Roncalli Jazz Band includes freshmen through senior high school musicians from throughout the lakeshore community.

“Evening of Passion” will feature the Manitowoc Public School District Music Parent Association’s Tunes-n-Taters silent auction “Solo with Lakeshore Big Band” winner. UW-Green Bay student Aliya Hammer joins the LBB trumpet section and will take center stage for a solo or two.

LBB has also prepared a few songs to honor the memory of LBB founder Michael J. Arendt. Gone too soon, but in our musical hearts forever.

Following the concert, the audience is invited to a reception in the Capitol Civic Centre’s Mertens Family Lobby to meet the conductor, vocalists, aerialist and members of the Manitowoc Campus Lakeshore Big Band and Roncalli Jazz Band.

Tickets for “Evening of Passion” are available at the Capitol Civic Centre Box Office during business hours or on the website The cost is $16 for adult tickets and $9 for students and balcony seating, CCC preservation fee and taxes additional. For further ticket information, call the CCC Box Office at 920-683-2184. View dates and details about upcoming Lakeshore Wind Ensemble and Lakeshore Big Band concerts at



James Kabrhel teaching a class.

UW-Green Bay’s ‘Dr. K’, James Kabrhel receives Underkofler Award for Teaching

For James Kabrhel, helping his students fall in love with science, in a world that is increasingly anti-science, or accepting of pseudoscience, is one of the joys of his job.

As a teacher of General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry at UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus, Kabrhel uses current events and items in the news to make subjects that can be both boring and overwhelming,  interesting and appealing.

James Kabrhel-1Kabrhel’s ongoing commitment to helping students understand the difference between science and pseudoscience, as well as his ability to educate undergraduate students is what compelled Gregory Davis, former UW-Green Bay provost to nominate Kabrhel for the 2019 Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award. Kabrhel was presented with the award, Friday, October 25 at the Alliant Energy Awards Ceremony, in Madison.

“From a personal perspective, his name came to light soon after we were aware that the Sheboygan campus was to become part of UW-Green Bay,” Davis said in his nomination letter. “In the intervening time—roughly a year and a half— I have heard many exceedingly strong comments as to his ability and dedication to the education of undergraduate students. It is so clear from student comments that James ability in this realm is atypical—in the good way! I am also delighted to see the commitment that James has made to providing students with guidance in understanding the difference between science and pseudoscience.”

Given each year to a teacher who personifies dedication, the Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award is an endowed award from Alliant Energy and is awarded to three teachers each year within the University of Wisconsin System from the Madison, Platteville, Baraboo, Fond du Lac, Richland, Rock or Sheboygan campuses. The award committee looks for teachers who not only communicate their subject matter effectively, but also inspire in their students an enthusiasm for learning.

Kabrhel said that he enjoys starting college students on their scientific career.

“I noticed my students had a very high stress level,” he said. “It seemed like they were stressed out all the time. I wanted to be able to give them a choice of assignments—to create a video or a podcast about a subject—that would let them have more control.”

Kabrhel’s classes incorporate current events and issues into the classroom discussion, and the assignments as well.

“More than a decade’s worth of teaching chemistry at the UW Colleges has provided me with many different perspectives on education and scientific understanding. The rise of the Internet and a vastly changed political climate has wrought a large increase in anti-intellectualism and anti-science sentiment,” Kabrhel said. “At the same time, we have made profound advancements in technology and medicines. At the intersection of these two aspects of society are students who are ready to learn. For those students, I have incorporated ways to deal with the aforementioned changes: discussion of how pseudoscience has pervaded our culture, and the use of different media in instruction and presentation of scientific concepts.”

For his students, the combining of media in instruction and focusing on current events makes science classes easier to digest.

“I had not anticipated becoming a Chemistry major, as I had a previous teacher who had not set a good impression of the field. Though my interest was piqued, I had lost my momentum within the subject. However, from the first day of general Chemistry with Dr. K, my faith had been restored,” said Sabrina Maric, one of Kabrhel’s students. “Pseudoscience is a topic that is regularly discussed in class. This is one of the ways that Dr. K is able to keep a bunch of tired college students awake at morning lectures. The conversations around this topic are not only enjoyable in the classroom, but they manage to establish critical thinking of the outside world.”

Maric said Kabrhel would insert current news articles about pseudoscience into lectures, and link them back to concepts already presented in class. In one example, she said the topic of discussion was Monsanto and the use of pesticides. Maric said Kabrhel went through what chemicals Monsanto used and at what dosages they were harmful to people at. Then, she said, he switched the conversation to organic farming and non-GMO food looking at the pseudoscience there while talking about concepts such as what does organic really mean?

“The connection between the topics discussed in class and current events allows for us as students to easily apply what we learn in the classroom to our daily lives, which is what Dr. K has established to be his ultimate goal in his courses and display his genuine interest for the subject,” Maric said.

His classes help students understand the greater picture, some students said.

In a recommendation letter, Lydia Luebke and her organic chemistry classmates said Kabrhel was committed to his students’ success.

“Dr. Kabrhel has always put his entire heart and work ethic into teaching his students. He always provides his students with the latest experiments and shows us how our chemistry coursework relates to industry, medicine, and research,” Luebke wrote. “Dr. Kabrhel has an even greater purpose as an educator; teaching his students about what the term ‘organic’ means in the public domain. He requires every student to submit a project pertaining to this idea in General Chemistry. In this project, students learn the importance of understanding marketing campaigns by capitalizing on consumers’ limited knowledge about the true meaning of organic, a compound containing carbon. By requiring his students to submit these paper/video projects, we begin to understand the complicated field of agriculture and how the field of chemistry has influenced agriculture over the last decades as farmers are faced with dwindling tillable land supply, greater production cost and increased demand.”

A graduate of Juniata College in Pennsylvania, Kabrhel earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 2006. He began working as a lecturer in chemistry in 2007 at UW-Sheboygan (now UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus), before moving up to assistant professor and, in 2015, associate professor. In the fall of 2015, Kabrhel also served as the interim associate dean of academic affairs for the Sheboygan campus. In 2015, Kabrhel was awarded the Arthur M. Kaplan Award recognizing outstanding contributions to education by the faculty and academic staff of UW Colleges. And in 2018, he was nominated for the UW College Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in teaching.

Kabrhel also extends his love of science outside the classroom, often presenting lectures on pseudoscience in the classrooms of other professors. Kabrhel is also the organizer of Cool Chemistry shows which he does with his wife, Amy Kabrhel, a professor of chemistry at UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus. In Cool Chemistry, the Kabrhels and students from his chemistry classes perform chemistry demonstrations for kids five and up every spring.

“His passion for teaching and science truly shines through in our annual Cool Chemistry shows. James is the organizer of this show, and coordinates his general Chemistry and Organic Chemistry students to select, practice, and perform chemistry demonstrations for an audience of up to 300 people each year,” said Karrie E. Rukamp, senior lecturer with the Department of Chemistry in the UW college system. “Additionally, James serves as the host and emcee for the event- in which capacity he explains all the science behind each of the experiments performed, in ways that anyone, from small child to adult, can easily understand.”

Kabrhel said he plans to spend the award money on attending chemistry and chemistry education conferences to learn more about the science he loves so much, as well as how to better teach it. The best parts of inserting current events into his lectures, he said, is finding out about the topics he covers.

“We may talk about any number of things—like gluten free diets, or the label chemical free, or about herbal supplements,” Kabrhel said. “The best part about talking about them in class is that I get to learn about these things too.”

Feature by freelance writer Liz Carey
Photos by Dan Moore, UW-Green Bay Office of Marketing and University Communication


Theater Thursday day trips planned for spring from all four campuses

The UW-Green Bay Continuing Education and Community Engagement Department is rolling out the Theater Thursday program for spring 2020, titled Four for the Footlights. The planned spring trips are “The Lion King” at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee, “Wicked” at the Overture in Madison, “Guys & Dolls” at the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at the Palace Theater in Wisconsin Dells. There is no limit to the amount of shows people can attend, and there will be pickups for transportation at UW-Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan campuses. Prices vary depending on the show, but all fees include a breakfast snack, lunch and dinner. For more information and to register, please visit their website. Questions can be sent to

Reminder: National Anthem Auditions, Nov. 1 and 2

Green Bay Athletics seeks singers (students, alumni and community) to perform the National Anthem at one of the sporting events during the 2019-2020 season. Auditions will be held in Studio Arts 214 on the UW-Green Bay campus on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 from 4 to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2 from Noon to 1:30 p.m. If you are interested in auditioning, please be prepared to sing the anthem memorized and without accompaniment. For more information, please contact Kasiah Vetter at

UW-Green Bay graduate student receives honors achievement of LGBTQ+ advocates and their allies

UW-Green Bay graduate student Isaac Kabacinski (Social Work) is one of 13 honorees of the 2019 Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People, an annual honor given to LGBTQ+ people or their allies who have helped to create a safer and more inclusive climate for LGBTQ+ people. The award celebrates the memory and legacy of Dr. Paula B. Poorman, a highly regarded faculty member at UW-Whitewater dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people. Recipients will be honored on Nov. 7, 2019. The ceremony will be hosted by UW System President Ray Cross, and will be done in conjunction with the 2019 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award ceremony. More information about the award can be found here.

Prof. Cristina Ortiz to be honored as a recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award

Cristina Ortiz
Cristina Ortiz

Prof. Cristina Ortiz (Spanish and Humanities) will be honored as one of 13 recipients of the 2019 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award on Nov. 7, 2019. The award ceremony takes place in Madison and will be done in conjunction with the Dr. P.B. Poorman Awards for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People ceremony. The award is an annual honor given to faculty, staff, students or community members to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the UW System, as well as communities across the state. More information can be found at the UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Awards.


UW-Green Bay faculty participating in STEAM Engine event, Nov. 13

Prof. Ryan Martin (Psychology) and Assistant Prof. Luis Fernandez (Music) will be participating in the STEAM Engine event at the Neville Public Museum on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, starting at 6 p.m. Prof. Martin will be speaking at the event, while Assistant Prof. Fernandez will be performing. STEAM Engine is an interactive event held at the Neville Museum that features speakers with exciting projects, new business ventures and cutting edge research. The event is free and open to the public. Music and networking starts at 6 p.m., followed by presentations at 6:15 p.m. The event is scheduled to go until 8 p.m.