Category: Featured Connections

UW-Green Bay Featured stories


From struggle to stand-out: Canzoneri finds success at UW-Green Bay

In a few days communication student William Canzoneri will take his last class at UW-Green Bay and his transformation from undecided major to confident and experienced graduate will be complete. Watch out world.

His happy ending is not something Canzoneri would have pictured while in high school.
“I wasn’t the most diligent student in high school, despite making varsity on both football and wrestling. I think I finished somewhere under a 3.0.”

His college career began inauspiciously. He dropped out of technical college, re-enrolled and then prepared to transfer. Two factors influenced his transfer location: a $25 career assessment test and a visit to a friend at UW-Green Bay.

“The career assessment gave me three top choices: writer, public relations, and FBI agent,” he said, “Not wanting to be a starving artist despite how much I enjoyed writing, and the fact that being an FBI agent sounded intimidating, I chose public relations.”

As for what school to attend, the visit to a friend solidified Canzoneri’s decision to attend UW-Green Bay.

“I fell in love with it,” he said, “The beautiful trails, the nature, the openness. So different from the city.”

After transferring to UW-Green Bay, Canzoneri jumped at the chance to gain even more experience by joining the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). After serving on the fundraising committee, Canzoneri was elected as Treasurer of the organization for the 2014-2015 academic year.

“The PRSSA has allowed me the chance to work on real PR plans, network with incredible professionals and fellow students around the country, and make great friends.”

Among other opportunities, Canzoneri was invited to join Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines; he completed an editorial assistant internship; and he and his UWGB classmates were part of the team that won the Edelman Case Study Competition in Chicago, in Spring 2015, competing against college teams from across the nation. Most recently, he was chosen as a finalist for “Talking the Talk,” a competition hosted by Time Warner Sports. See his audition here.

“All of these successes have both challenged me, matured me, and made me more confident,” he said.

When looking to the future, Canzoneri is focused on constant improvement.

“I always tell myself: You need to do better Bill,” he said, “That shapes my thought process. I want to do more, work harder, make better habits.”

This change, from struggling student to stand out success, is something that Canzoneri is thankful his UWGB education provided him.

“From sundown at Lambeau Cottage to getting happily lost somewhere in the Cofrin Arboretum, I salute you UW-Green Bay,” he said, “You’re outstanding, incredible, fantastic. Thanks for everything.”

Story by 2015 UWGB graduate Katelyn Staaben


Dr. Coussons gives the gift of music

The Green Bay Symphony Orchestra’s 100-year collection of music scores will remain available for the community via UW-Green Bay’s David A. Cofrin Library on a limited basis. The music collection has been donated to the Cofrin Library and can be accessed by local music groups requesting the scores at the service desk on the library’s third floor. The historical documentation about the GBSO was donated to the library’s Archives and Area Research Center, on the library’s seventh floor.

“This substantial musical score collection will remain a community resource thanks to the generous donation by Dr. Herbert Coussons,” said Paula Ganyard, Director of the Cofrin Library.

Both the youth and orchestral music libraries were purchased and donated by Dr. Coussons (a Green Bay-area physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology) after the GBSO disbanded as a professional organization in the past year. The Youth Symphony, Civic Symphony and music programs at UWGB and St. Norbert College retain access to the collection that includes photos, news clippings, season program books and historic audio recordings of concerts.

“The UWGB Archives is pleased to add the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra historical records to its collections,” said University Archivist Deb Anderson. “The original documents date from the Symphony’s inception in 1913 to its final performance in 2015. Included in the collection are photographs, recordings, programs, and scrapbooks. The collection of Green Bay Symphony Orchestra records helps us preserve the rich musical heritage of the area.”

The Symphony records will complement the Green Bay City Band records also housed in the Archives Department.


Camper sitings: Art, science and video camps in full swing

It’s never quiet on a college campus. Mid-July means summer campers overtake the walkways, the labs, cafeterias and the outdoor spaces. Students enjoyed the High School and Middle School Art Camps, Life’s a Lab–Reality Science Camp, and Video Game Programming recently.

High school art students could study among a variety of class offerings: photography trashion/fashion, acrylics, computer animation, selfie drawing, metals: jewelry and small sculpture, watercolor, screen printing and graffiti! Middle-school students chose between drawing, ceramics, comic book illustration, photography, fashion design, book-making, watercolor, acrylics, mixed media art and jewelry making. They proudly modeled and exhibited their work at the end of camp.

UW-Green Bay partnered with Bellin College to offer Life’s a Lab, where campers explored careers in the health sciences — specifically in physical therapy, sports medicine, emergency medical fields, radiology/oncology, mortuary, and research science.

The Video Game Programming Camp was for those interested in the applications and programming behind video games. Students learned how to write gaming programs and develop their own games. These camps are filled to capacity.

Dan Moore from UW-Green Bay’s Outreach and Adult Access area captured students learning, dreaming, creating, inspiring and enjoying. Enjoy the photos below and check out more about UWGB Summer Camps.

High School Summer Art Studio
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Middle School Summer Art Studio
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Life’s a Lab-Reality Science Camp
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Introduction to Video Game Programming Camp
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Business grads can relate to hard work, local roots

bartels-top-storyMore than most, Todd Bartels ’82 and Julie (Rose) Bartels ’82 can appreciate the return on investment from UW-Green Bay.

They know that many of UW-Green Bay’s 6,900 students are from cities, small towns and rural areas within 100 miles of campus. They know that many earn their own way through college. They know that most UW-Green Bay alumni stay local after graduation, stepping up to serve among the region’s teachers, planners, health professions and civic and business leaders.

They’re familiar with that profile because they share it. Both Todd (from Appleton) and Julie (Green Bay) juggled work, school and family to earn UW-Green Bay Business Administration degrees before finding satisfying careers close to home.

Todd is a senior vice president with Associated Bank, headquartered in Green Bay. He had previously spent many years as an executive with JPMorgan Chase before moving in 2006 to Associated, where he oversees large business accounts.

Julie’s career has focused on healthcare information and technology. She’s highly regarded in the industry, currently leading the Wisconsin State Health Innovation Plan and serving as executive VP for national health information with the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value.

In 2014 the couple donated funds to establish the Todd and Julie Bartels Annual Scholarship for continuing students in physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology – areas the couple views as emerging growth areas for the economy. They established the fund with appreciation for their own University careers and the first-hand knowledge that college is hard work.

“There wasn’t a lot of ‘down time’ in my case, because I was working,” Todd recalls. “Go to class. Go to work. Study. Repeat.”

For Julie, UW-Green Bay was a great fit for a married young mother who was working part time while balancing a full-time credit load. “Without access to a local, high quality and affordable four-year campus, I would not have been able to pursue my degree for many years,” she says.

The Bartels Scholarship fund represents just the latest effort by the couple to give back to their alma mater. Julie was a board member with the Founders Association, while Todd has been active with the Phoenix Fund on behalf of Division I Phoenix Athletics.

Superior vision: Why a Northwoods diesel specialist invests here

brian-wendt_top-storyUp in the northwoods of Wisconsin, an upturn in manufacturing is picking up speed, often to the satisfying hum of a finely crafted diesel engine.

One company in particular — with new ties to UW-Green Bay — is both driving and benefitting from that resurgence. Superior Diesel, headquartered in Rhinelander, customizes industrial-grade diesel engines for commercial users for whom there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

“We’re proud to be the largest value-added distributor of John Deere engines in the world,” says president Brian Wendt.

Engines are shipped directly to the plant, located in the forest along Highway 8 in the industrial park west of town. Warehouse shelves are lined with products by Deere, Kohler and other manufacturers awaiting testing and tuning at the hands of Superior’s skilled production specialists.

Each job begins long before, of course. Clients can expect field visits and exacting analysis of their intended end-use applications. Specialists in mechanical, electrical and design engineering pore over schematics and blueprints. Powering an electric generator is different than pumping water. Emissions requirements vary by locality. Drive-train components perform differently in 110° conditions than at minus-20°.

When Superior’s team devises a solution, the custom-designed components are jobbed out, usually to a local supplier or metal-fabricating shop within a 150-mile radius of Rhinelander.

Wendt is proud that Superior’s success is spinning off employment across the north. There’s also satisfaction in knowing high-torque diesel power remains in demand for logging and agriculture in Wisconsin and beyond, and in new industries, as well.

Partly in appreciation of its local roots, partly anticipating the need for future engineering, purchasing, sales, accounting, production and product-support people, Superior has established two endowed scholarship funds at UW-Green Bay.

Scholarships are open to residents of Oneida, Vilas, Lincoln, Price and Forest counties. Wendt hopes local students will pursue the education that will make them even more valuable when they return north. One of the scholarships is reserved for UW-Green Bay’s new program in engineering technology, and Wendt is hopeful of setting up internship opportunities, as well.

Close-ups: Take in the sights, sounds and smells of summer at UW-Green Bay

UW-Green Bay campus summer photo galleryCampers, future students and even a few felines are enjoying the early part of summer on arguably the most beautiful college campus in the Midwest. A personal stroll would be well worth your time. Enjoy.

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

UWGB Alumni Association Golf Outing raises $15,000 for scholarships

top-story-golfAn early morning rain transitioned into sunny skies just in time for the shotgun start to the 35th annual UW-Green Bay Scholarship Golf Outing, Friday, June 12. One of the Alumni Association’s longest-standing events, the outing set a new record for dollars raised with more than $15,000 generated for student scholarships through fees, sponsorships, raffles and auctions.

The net winner of the outing was a UWGB faculty team of John Katers, John Luczaj, Patrick Forsythe and Chris Houghton. Gross winners were Andrew Branam, Greg Metzler, Seth Kabat and Heather Ryczek.

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Photos courtesy of Kelly Selner ’00


Go Green: Student-athletes post record-setting year, in classroom

Student-athletes at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay combined to achieve a department-wide grade point average of 3.36 in the spring of 2015, marking the 31st consecutive semester above a 3.0 GPA and the highest cumulative GPA semester during that time.

“We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes who once again have demonstrated success in the classroom. This is an outstanding example of UWGB teamship between faculty and university and department staff and coaches. Everyone is committed to student success,” Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie said.

For the spring semester of 2015, 14 of the 16 sport programs at Green Bay achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, while 12 of the 16 achieved a 3.36 or higher. The 3.36 cumulative GPA is a new record for Green Bay during its run of 31-straight semesters, besting the previous high of 3.29.

“Achieving a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA for 31 semesters in a row is an amazing feat,” said Human Biology Prof. Donna Ritch. “The coaches and the athletics staff recruit not only athletically skilled individuals but also academically talented students. Most of our student-athletes realize that they attend UWGB to earn an education because they will not have an opportunity to play professional sports. They dedicate themselves to doing well in the classroom as well as on the playing field and court.”

Seven programs achieved a 3.50 or higher, led by men’s tennis with a 3.80. Women’s cross country (3.73), women’s volleyball (3.70), women’s basketball (3.61), women’s Nordic ski (3.60), women’s soccer (3.58) and women’s swimming and diving (3.52) all posted  above 3.50 GPAs.

A total of 169 student-athletes achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher, which accounted for over 76 percent of all student-athletes. The total number of student-athletes to achieve a 4.0 or higher was over 17 percent (39 total).

“This is very exciting and we are very proud of the success and accomplishments of our student-athletes during these past 31 semesters. It takes a team effort and we are blessed with outstanding student-athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and administrators to help make this happen,” Assistant AD for Compliance and Student-Athlete Welfare Mike Kline said.

“Our student-athletes often demonstrate the same dedication in the classroom that they demonstrate on the court, field, or trails,” said Human Development Prof. Ryan Martin. “They care about their studies, and it shows in their high quality work.”

The percentage of student-athletes to graduate with honors (3.5 or higher) was over 55 percent, with a total of 123 Phoenix student-athletes registering Honors, High Honors or Highest Honors.

In addition to Green Bay’s academic success this spring, three Phoenix programs posted perfect Academic Progress Rates (APR) in the 2013-14 academic year.

Earning perfect APR scores were men’s cross country, women’s cross country and volleyball. Eight other programs posted an APR of over 980 (perfect score = 1000). A total of 11 Phoenix teams finished above the average four-year APR for all NCAA academic schools, which was 978.

The APR is a real-time measure of eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. It is designed to improve the academic success and graduation rates of all student-athletes.

– Story courtesy of Green Bay Athletics,

Travel tip: Course provides trip inside human body

UWGB travel course in GermanyIt 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.

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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.”

UW-Green Bay International Education and Study Abroad have banner years

top-story-internationalThey are UW-Green Bay’s ambassadors to the far reaches of the world. A record 229 UWGB students traveled to 30 locations outside the United States in 2014-15. The most popular destinations — Cuernavaca, Mexico, Spain, Italy and South Africa. And 2015-16 enrollment numbers are just as promising.

UWGB’s Office of International Education (OIE) also helped International students navigate life in the United States, the unpredictable weather of Green Bay, and the culture shock of a foreign land. Those students came from 30 countries with nearly 25 percent of them from China, followed by Brazil, Germany, France, Japan and Canada.

Without the OIE, students who often are still learning English as a Second Language (ESL) would be incredibly challenged by instances sometimes even challenging for US residents — airport pick-up and academics, orientation, immigration, programming, financial and health insurance, taxes, driver’s licenses and more.

OIE professionals expect an equally busy year, having already enrolled about 45 new students, with applications still being accepted for 2015-16. New international students are picked up from Green Bay’s Austin Straubel airport on August 24 and 25 and orientation begins almost immediately.

“The students are exposed to community culture with a four-day orientation program designed around local events (Art Street, Farmers Market, Lambeau Field tour) and a trip to Door County,” OIE Student Coordinator Kristy Aoki says. “They also receive an overview of campus services, academic orientation and placement testing. Some international students arrived over summer and are already participating in a summer Intensive English Program.” The mentoring continues all year long and even after students leave UWGB.

“In some ways, we are always their connection to this country,” says Aoki. “The Office of International Education staff becomes an important point of contact for most incoming international students and outgoing study abroad students. Imagine moving to a new country and relearning a completely new system for just about everything from basic cultural norms and creating new friendships to navigating a new educational system, health care and immigration laws. Both studying abroad and international students are brave and courageous for taking the risk to try something new and truly step outside of their comfort zone.”

OIE staff members are rejuvenated by the impact these experiences make on the students they serve — both those that Study Abroad, and those that make UWGB their home for just a short time. Former International Student Niklas Haemer, native of Germany, was so moved by his experience, that he left this grateful post recently on the UWGB Facebook page:

“Unfortunately everything comes to an end and now it is time to leave something behind which has shaped my life a lot… I will never forget this time of my life…I want to thank the people who made this year unbelievably awesome.”

OIE Director Brent Blahnik says the outcomes for students in “mobility programs,” (both study abroad and international students) enrolled at UWGB — have impact beyond cultural competence.

“Studies show that students who study abroad improve their GPA’s and retain higher academic performance in the semesters following a sojourn abroad. Students report greater independence, self-confidence, and maturity; and they also develop skills needed for employment including an ability to problem solve and work through ambiguity,” Blahnik says. “Students learn how to thrive in diverse environments, improve foreign language skills, and take calculated risks. Further national studies show that students who study abroad have higher job placement rates in the 12 months following graduation (nearly double) and earn approximately $7,000 per year more than their peers who do not study abroad.”

Those who report back on their study abroad experiences often have similar themes: life-changing, priceless, confidence-building, but student Ben Freeman seemed to capture it best — “It’s only when you get away from everything you thought defined you that you truly discover who you really are.”