Rozalyn Stoa diving into the water during a Feb. 2019 swimming and diving team meet at the Kress Events Center pool.

Rising Phoenix: This UW-Green Bay Alumna dives into graduate school with National Sorority Award

UW-Green Bay Phi Kappa Phi alumna Rosalyn Stoa received great news this summer. She was selected for the National PKP Fellowship Program for 2020. This award was given to graduate students only and Stoa was the chapter nominee for UW-Green Bay.

The application included a summary of her accomplishments, a personal statement, an example paper that she wrote, a transcript, and letters of recommendation. Compared to her grad school applications, she said this was a piece of cake.

“I actually had forgotten that I applied to this scholarship (‘COVID and all made time abstract’). It was awesome to hear and I was over-the-moon ecstatic when I got the news. I’ve applied for UW-Green Bay awards and scholarships, but nothing at the national level before, so it felt like I was breaking out of my little Green Bay shell,” said Stoa.

Rosalyn Stoa
Rosalyn Stoa

The former Green Bay Phoenix swimmer and local Preble High School graduate was also a student researcher in Psychology. Due to COVID-19, she celebrated her Spring 2020 graduation by participating in Dive-Thru Commencement.

She recommends that students apply for any scholarships or internships that come their way and get involved in things that interest you.

“I would say that getting involved with a variety of things, such as research, club leadership, community service and having a good working relationship with your professors gives you a leg up. Communicate with your professors and have them look over application materials. Being open to new opportunities, even if they seem outside of your wheelhouse is extremely beneficial. If it doesn’t work out, you’ve at least learned something.”

She will receive an award of $8,500 for graduate school and is attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado to pursue a Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Story by Charlotte Berg, intern, Marketing and University Communication

Graphic of the Covid-19 virus enlarged under a microscope with the text, "COVID-19 Why it Matters, Part 10: Where can I find accurate information?"

Video: COVID-19 Why it Matters, Part 10: Where can I find accurate information?

This video series features UW-Green Bay’s Immunologist Brian Merkel on COVID-19 and Why it Matters. This series empowers viewers with knowledge to help them navigate through the pandemic. Merkel has a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. He is an associate professor in UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology & Biology programs and has an appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He will be responding to a number of questions related to COVID19 and try to get behind the “why” it’s important to be educated in your decision-making as we navigate the pandemic together.

Video Transcript Part 10: Where can I find accurate information? 

Hi, I’m Brian Merkel, Immunologist at UW-Green Bay and we’re here to talk about why Covid-19 matters to you.

Another important question that I get quite often because people want to help, they want to make sense of their world, their environment, they want to understand challenges like Covid-19. So, the question related to all of that is, where do I find accurate information?

Oftentimes during this conversation the internet comes up and the reality with the internet is although there’s a wealth of information, not all of it is useful, not all of it is valid. So, the question becomes how do I wade through all of that?

It’s a matter of identifying scientific studies and using credible internet websites a Johns Hopkins University website, Mayo Clinic, in our region Brown County Health, our Wisconsin Department of Health Services also has an incredible website in terms of information related to Covid-19 specifically. There is an opportunity to participate in something called confirmation bias. Let’s say, for example, I have some idea that Covid-19 was created by aliens. If you actually go to the internet any search engine and type in Covid-19 and aliens, it will confirm your belief. You’re going to find hits on the internet and information on the internet that confirms, that’s the confirmation bias, what your beliefs are.

Inaccurate information can be spread very quickly through social media and that creates challenges, as well. So, you’ve got the internet, we have to realize there’s good but we also have to realize there’s the potential pitfalls of the internet and if we don’t embrace those realities it becomes very difficult to deal with challenges like Covid-19. Because Covid-19 doesn’t care how we’re behaving, good, bad, or indifferent, it is what it is.

But it is a global problem and it’s a challenging problem and we don’t want to make matters worse because of the things that we’re doing.

COVID-19 Why it Matters Video Series:

Introduction with Brian Merkel https://youtu.be/M-yYPSPk30Q

Part 1: What are viruses and where did this one come from https://youtu.be/DYbiIv8ICgs

Part 2: Two main types of viruses https://youtu.be/O-OVk3rx96s Part 3: Why is this virus serious? https://youtu.be/EDFyNN8i5G4

Part 4: Why wash hands/wear mask? https://youtu.be/FlcAvlt876Y

Part 5: I’m young! Why should I care? https://youtu.be/TDrEV_beY1U

Part 6: Can pandemics be stopped before they start? https://youtu.be/lgWnJZNYbFI

Part 7: Pandemic is not local, why wear a mask? https://youtu.be/IG3Sl3q-xH8

Part 8: Why does everyone need a flu shot this year? https://youtu.be/DGpBFj0fJkA

Part 9: What is the science behind a vaccine? https://youtu.be/eQ3FclkYaQo

Part 10: Where can I find accurate information? https://youtu.be/pLMlU5Xnkgo

Noel Craig

In his element: A Phoenix soars worldwide because of his Chemistry career

After graduating from UW-Green Bay with a Chemistry degree and laboratory experience in 2016, Noel Craig is in his element at SEAL Analytical—a world leader in design, development and the manufacturer of equipment that aids in analyzing of materials and compounds specifically for environmental applications.

It was perhaps a bit nostalgic for Craig to be back at his alma mater recently, helping to set up new equipment in some of the same lab spaces he worked at while he was a student. His return was to install a new water analyzer and train students how to use it in Assistant Professor Mike Holly’s (Water Science) labs.

Craig’s story is not unlike other students who attend. He had different ambitions when he started at UW-Green Bay…

“I actually wanted to be a dentist! I had a chance to shadow some dental students and I didn’t fare too well. Fortunately, I was taking Organic Chemistry during that semester and fell in love with it. I loved the challenge of balancing an equation and solving the pathway of a mechanism.”

He had many opportunities to explore his new-found passion.

At UW-Green Bay, Craig worked alongside Prof. Kevin Fermanich and a graduate student to collect freshwater samples. “The samples collected were from freshwater streams in the Green Bay Watershed via automated samplers,” he said. “Commonly the water would become very turbid due to rain and we wanted this to test for Total Phosphate. The Total Phosphate was found by performing a Kjeldahl Acid Digestion on the samples and analyzing them colormetrically—which is what it sounds like: the more phosphate in the sample, the more color that would be formed during the analysis.”

After a couple of months, he was able to assist graduate students with their research. He started his own research project, finding the different levels of Water Extractable Phosphorus in soils from different types of tilled farm fields.  He found a relationship between less tilling and less water extractable phosphorus.

Craig says he can’t thank Prof. Fermanich enough for the opportunity and experiences he gave during his time as a laboratory technician. And it certainly helps him with his current role at SEAL—helping customers with the work they do in their labs, troubleshooting their chemistry and instrumentation over the phone or e-mail. This can sometimes take just a couple of minutes or it will take all day. When the questions are a bit more complex, it makes this part of the job extremely rewarding.

During the pandemic he also leads installs and trainings virtually.  The instrument for UWGB that was manufactured by SEAL Analytical is shipped to the customer’s lab and a virtual training is scheduled for one to three days depending on the customer’s prior knowledge.  The first day is spent unpacking the instrument, installing the software, running diagnostic testing, and giving an overview of the hardware.  The next couple of days are spent going over what they would like to analyze like Nitrate, Phosphate, and others.

Craig wanted to work for SEAL for many reasons.

“My drive to constantly challenge myself and work for a company where I’m recognized as a person and not just a number,” he said. “The travel that I’m able to do for installations and trainings is a great perk. Before starting at SEAL, I hadn’t even left the country. Now, I have traveled to Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and almost every state.”

“I never stop learning! I’ve learned so much about engineering.  A majority of my work is with chemical instrumentation.  This instrumentation requires an understanding of electronics, physics, software, and chemistry.”

His advice to current students is to take advantage of the opportunities and resources that are available at the University, including clubs. While it was difficult to push himself to join the clubs that were available on campus, they led to leadership opportunities, which he says kick-started the skills he uses daily. They also led to friends that he will have for the rest of his life.

Story by Charlotte Berg, intern, Office of Marketing and University Communication