UW-Green Bay alumna starts online store to help women

UW-Green Bay alumna Christine (Pfiester) Sandberg ’15 (launched) The Lemonade Boutique, an online women’s clothing with a cause store to help human trafficking victims. The online store prides itself on curating ethically made and fair trade items. Most of the artisans behind the products are overcoming extreme challenges such as human trafficking. In the short five years they’ve operated, they’ve partnered with 30 artisan groups across 20 countries.

At The Lemonade Boutique, “your purchase empowers women to take life’s lemons and make lemonade,” Sandberg says. “When she graduated in 2015, Sandberg says she did not imagine she would be starting an online store, but she always knew she wanted to make a difference in the world.

Video: Commencement speaker Georgie ‘Dolly’ Potts uses her storytelling gift to inspire the 2020 Fall/Winter UW-Green Bay graduating class

Note: Georgie “Dolly” Potts was selected from a number of nominations to be this semester’s Commencement Speaker. As COVID-19 postponed the University’s plans to celebrate with the Fall/ Winter 2020 graduates until Spring 2021, Potts’ speech was recorded and is released today, Fall/Winter Commencement Day, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. See her biography.

Video Transcript

Bear Story

Ani, Nazwin nadisnaquas Mishodanikwe-Prairie Band, Totem Kikos.

Hello, my name is Dolly Potts, I introduced myself in my language (Potawatomi). I have been named Student Speaker for the 2020 Fall/Winter graduates. This is quite an honor, for those who do know me, know that I am a storyteller. I am sharing with you a story that I believe will carry with you into your future:

Eagle Clan decided one day to host a lodge. Eagle built an enormous lodge. Plenty of space for all the clans to comfortably sit. Eagle placed cedar boughs along the sides of the lodge for the clans to sit. The smell of cedar filled the air. After completing the lodge Eagle went out into the forest to invite all of the animal clans to his lodge.

On the day of the lodge all the animal clans entered the lodge. Coyote was first in as they would be the clan at the door. Coyote would announce all the other clans. Being Coyote they entered the lodge yipping and yapping nodding to Eagle clan. Sniffing the air, they could not help but smell the cooking fires nearby.

Fish Clan was next quiet and serene. Looking sternly at Coyote clan immediately quieting them with calming nature. Fish Clan reverently sat down in their places.

Hoof Clan was next, they danced into the lodge gracefully. Their wide eyes open and ears perked for any noise to alert the others to. They nodded to Eagle Clan with their long necks.

Bear Clan was last to enter. Huffing and puffing with massive breaths all the other clans scooted a little closer to the lodge wall giving Bear Clan all the space they needed. Bear Clan sat down on the soft cedar boughs and stared at Eagle Clan to begin.

Each clan representative gave Eagle clan a report on their responsibility in the forest. Coyote reported all of the sounds mentioning if any were different or unusual. Fish Clan talked about the waters of the forest how much or how little there was. Hoof Clan talked about the sights and sounds of the forest. If they had seen or heard anything to report to all of the clans.

Bear Clan was last. Bear stood and all of the animal clans fell silent. Bear stood to his massive height from his cedar bough seat. In a voice rumbling from deep in his chest. Bear told the animal clan that he was the leader of all the clans. There was no one stronger than Bear and he had no enemies who could defeat Bear.

All the clans looked up at Bear nodding in agreement. Yet Bear added if there is danger in the forest, come to me and I will protect you. For his testimony all the animal clans loved and respected Bear.

What a great feast it was. Coyote munched noisily on his chicken soup at dinnertime. Hoof Clan savored their maple sugar. Bear Clan gulped and chomped on the most delicious berries. Eagle looked at all of the clans satisfied for they had hosted a good lodge. All the animal clans were happy and safe in the forest.

My story is a story of Power, as we go into our future many of you will have Power. Our college education will afford us positions that are supervisory or as directors. It may lead us down other paths too, like more Education or building our families and communities.

As we go into the world, go in as the Bear—strong, respected, and caring. Be proud as testimony to the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay. Meet your future in a good way.

Thank you.

Storyteller Dolly Potts will share her journey and advice (virtually) with her graduating peers

Note: Georgie “Dolly” Potts was selected from a number of nominations to be this semester’s Commencement Speaker. As COVID-19 postponed the University’s plans to celebrate with the Fall/ Winter 2020 graduates until Spring 2021, Potts’ speech was recorded and will be released on what was to be 2020 Fall/Winter Commencement, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 at news.uwgb.edu.

LIFE AS A STORY

Georgie “Dolly” Potts is a firmly grounded person. That includes in this present moment of celebration at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, as well as her past and her future.

As a member of Prairie Band Potawatomi from Kansas and a graduate receiving a bachelor’s of arts in First Nations Studies, Pott’s achievements transcend academics. In her nomination, Mai J. Lo Lee noted, “Dolly is an exemplary UW-Green Bay student because of her love for learning, compassion to listen and her ability to connect life to learning.”

When asked about her “special” ability to connect life with learning, she says simply, “I’m good at telling a story.” Even more remarkable is not just her talent in telling, but retelling stories. “These stories come from my ancestors. We pass them down to our children, to our grandchildren.”

And her journey to today is a story few others could tell.

In just two years, after transferring from College of Menominee Nation, Pott’s stature among students, faculty and the First Nations community on campus has grown through her words of encouragement, empathetic listening and a unique life perspective influenced by Potawatomi traditions.

“We believe in the seven generations. I am in the middle. I learn and listen to my ancestors from the past three generations and I look to the future three generations,” Potts explains. “These stories come from my ancestors. We pass them down to our children, to our grandchildren.” She recognizes this is a concept that doesn’t always fit neatly in a Western worldview. But she adds, “If you talk of the seven generations to a native, they know exactly what you’re talking about.”

These “native” traditions she describes simply as “choosing the way of the earth.” And it’s not just all talk. Potts travels throughout the region to participate in teachings from tribal Elders (a title of respect that also applies to her), from her community and others. She uses these learning experiences, to directly impact the students and colleagues on campus and in the community through teaching, demonstrations and celebrations.

Every question she is asked comes not with just an answer, but also a story—including her name Dolly. “My oldest sister named me Dolly. When I was born, there were 10 years between us, so I was her dolly. Georgie’s after my father.” Addressing her as Koya (Grandma) Dolly is also acceptable—especially considering she has three sons, one daughter, 13 grandchildren and number 14 on the way.

Potts describes herself simply: “I’m a traditional native. I grew up with my ways.” Her “growing up” included life on a Kansas reservation and attendance at a Catholic boarding school in South Dakota. Her love of Wisconsin began in her teenage years, traveling to the Green Bay-area to take part in tribal pow wows. Potts remembers “We would all get together to sing and dance.” The purpose of dancing? “For joy.”

Beyond her naturally fun-loving nature, Potts’ achievements within the University and community have been impactful and transformative. First as an intern in the Education Center for First Nations Studies, where she worked with the local indigenous community. During that time, she arranged for several Elders and knowledge-keepers to present to campus on various topics. Her nomination as Commencement Speaker noted, “As an undergraduate student and tribal Elder, Dolly’s skills and abilities surpass those of many professionals already working in a higher education setting.”

Potts’ activism and community outreach has extended state-wide to Madison, where she shared her research on Act 31—a requirement that all public school districts provide instruction on the history, culture and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin’s 11 federally-recognized American Indian nations and tribal communities. In true “Koya Dolly” fashion, she met with Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford-Taylor and established a “grandma-to-grandma” connection.

But most of all Potts enjoys being herself. “I love who I am. I’m very proud of being native.” Essential to her identity is a tribal oral tradition she explains as “telling stories about our ancestors, or the world around you that helps explain human nature.”

The unique quality of “Koya Dolly’s” power to connect with others is that it comes from her giving nature. She shares that power freely in the form of her stories. Lisa Poupart, director of the First Nations undergraduate and doctoral programs, describes her as a role model for all students and community members. “She embodies the commitment to lifelong learning and service to others,” Poupart said. “We will all benefit from her wisdom and shared words at commencement.”

As for her Commencement Speech, she’s got a story to share and offers this hint: “It’s about a bear and about power. Because many of the students that are graduating will go into positions of power.”

And as for plans beyond graduation?

“I’ll use my education as a pillar to support the foundation of my people.” And for Potts, that foundation stands on a love of learning about the past, present and future.

Her story continues.

UW-Green Bay alumni featured in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall

The Alumni Wall in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall was initially installed more than 10 years ago and it was time to make a change, according to Director of Alumni Relations, Kari Moody.

MAC Hall is part of prospective student tours and is a major thoroughfare for current students as well. “It’s a great location to showcase the success of our alumni and help current and future students see alumni who are similar to them, doing great things,” says Moody. “We want student to know that UW-Green Bay is a pathway to success.”

An internal group of campus personnel made the decision about each of the alumni featured, and how their successes resonate with students and prospective students. They plan to change the 24 graphics out annually to highlight more alumni moving forward. Because of the pandemic and less traffic on campus this year, this group of alumni will be on display for two years.

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

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

UW-Green Bay unveils new Phlash caricature; items now available at The Phoenix Bookstore

Phlashing the Phoenix


Phlash—at least cartoon Phlash—has taken on the characteristics of a Fighting Phoenix… tough, tenacious, and proud! Katie Stephenson ‘2020 (Design Arts) created the new artwork with some direction from Green Bay Athletics, The Phoenix Bookstore, Marketing and University Communication and campus leadership.

Stephenson was a graphics design assistant for the Office of Marketing and University Communication when she was given the assignment in spring of 2020 to create a caricature of the Phlash mascot to be used for new merchandise.

“My goal was to give something both adults and kids could connect to and take pride in while supporting our school and athletics at UW-Green Bay,” said Stephenson. “I like that it is more modern and representative of our mascot. Phlash is fun, sparky, and unique. This mascot illustration is representative of that and I hope it gives something people can really connect with.”

Katie Stephenson

Stephenson’s inspiration was from her personal experience in Athletics (Swimming and Diving) and the embodiment of Phlash’s personality.

“Phlash has some really great characteristics that draw people in and to our athletic events. I tried to embody that in the illustration.”

Stephenson is ecstatic to see her work around campus.

“There is no better feeling than seeing all my work in public! Especially with this project, it brought it to a whole other level when I saw it being used all over campus. It’s my favorite part of the job, I get to take pride in the work that I put into the project once I see it in public. Each time I see this project I am reminded of how nervous I was taking it on but also how fun and challenging it was to make along the way!”

She said she was so engaged in the process, that she couldn’t stay away from the marketing office until it was completed.

“It was an absolute blast! My supervisor and others were extremely kind and patient. I’m sure after my first extremely rough few sketches they were just as nervous as I was. But half way through after a lot of editing and refinement we could all look back and admire the process and maybe giggle at the first few rough drawings.”

The project also helped Stephenson with her professional portfolio, and landing her first job, right out of college, as a designer for American Tent.

“While my portfolio is very well rounded with many projects from my classes this was my star project. I have gotten some great feedback on it, and someone took special notice in it and now I have my first job working for a great local company.”

The campus also used the new Phlash with a mask as its campaign graphic to fight COVID-19 on campus this year.

New Phlash items now available at the The Phoenix Bookstore include sweatshirts and T-shirts. On order are:

  • Onesie
  • Standard hat and visor
  • Toddler t-shirt and long sleeved – Green
  • Youth long-sleeved t-shirt- Green
  • Adult long-sleeved- Black
  • Window cling-bust
  • Stuffed animal


Story written by Sue Bodilly and Charlotte Berg, Marketing and University Communication intern

Determined leader: Dean Katers is recognized for regional efforts in science and sustainability

He is a determined leader and a UW-Green Bay alumnus who continues to inspire.

Dean of UW-Green Bay’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology, John Katers, was recognized by two major organizations this fall for his dedication to science, engineering, and sustainability.

Katers persistence and leadership in the drive for engineering degrees and the long-awaited Resch School of Engineering at UW-Green Bay, and his unwavering commitment toward the establishment of the Brown County STEM Innovation Center on the Green Bay Campus, has no doubt added to his legacy.

In late August, Katers received word that the Central States Water Environment Association (CSWEA), named him the three-state organization’s 2020 William C. Boyle Educator of the Year Award. The award recognizes accomplishments in the education and development of future water environment professionals by educators at all levels, from primary grades through graduate students. Katers believes his long history with NEW Water, a government utility that reclaims waters and promote pollution prevention and water conservation, may have led to the nomination. Many of his former students work at the organization.

John Katers

Under normal circumstances, the award would have been presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting in August. His award will also be announced in the next publication of Central States Water, and Katers will be recognized at CSWEA’s 2021 Annual Meeting.

“A big congratulations to you on your well-deserved award and for all your essential work in keeping our waters clean and sustainable for generations to come,” said Jane Carlson, second president of CSWEA. “Your ongoing commitment to the protection of our water environment is greatly appreciated.”

And just last week (Friday, Sept. 18), Katers was presented the 2020 Wisconsin Section American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Engineer in Education Individual Merit Award. The list of award winners through the years included Dr. Al Zanoni (1998) and Dr. Tom Wenzel (1996), two of Katers’ former faculty members and mentors at Marquette University where he completed his Ph.D.

“Dr. Zanoni was my major professor at Marquette and I believe I am the only Ph. D. student of his that finished, while Dr. Wenzel was the Chair of Engineering,” Katers said. “I am not sure that I am entirely deserving of the award, as we have a great team of people at UWGB and in CSET that do remarkable work with our students each and every day, but I am very proud to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Zanoni who I greatly respected as an educatorbecause of his passion and dedication to training the next generation of engineers.”

The Engineer in Education Individual Merit Award is given to those who contribute to civil engineering through actions that serve to advance the art, science or technology of civil engineering.

Katers currently chairs the Brown County Solid Waste Board and has done extensive research on solid waste management and recycling, agricultural waste management and treatment, and pollution control and waste minimization.

In the featured photo, Katers welcomes the Green Bay Packers to the Tiny Earth kick-off (a search for antibiotics) press conference at the STEM Innovation Center in Sept. 2019.

Operation Community Cares

UW-Green Bay alumni helping with basic goods through Operation Community Cares

As the effects of the Coronavirus begin to be felt in households across Brown County, Operation Community Cares is working to ensure that everyone has the necessary essential items to make it through these difficult times.

Operation Community Cares, in partnership with United Way, Brown County Board, ADRC, the Green Bay Packers, Paul’s Pantry, BCVSO and Veteran volunteers, are working together to provide a safe way for area residents who don’t have the funds and can’t leave their homes to receive essential supplies and connect them to available resources.

Currently, whether directly through Operation Community Cares or with partner organizations, there are nine UW-Green Bay alumni working in key leadership positions on this project. Those alumni are Sarah Inman ’92 (Political Science), Will Nething ’19 (Business Administration), Brandon Danforth ’19 (Business Admin), Ken Corry ’16 (Integrative Leadership Studies), Holly Ladwig ’15 (Social Work), Jill Sobieck ’92 (Human Development), Jenna Hunt ’15 (Integrative Leadership Studies) and Elaina Koltz ’06 (Human Development); as well as current UWGB student Nic Olp.

The Operation Community Cares mission is “to distribute basic needs items to vulnerable populations in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe, systematic manner. Our process will identify and continue to work with existing personnel and families in need and identify new personnel and families that have become victim to the circumstances upon us.”

Operation Community Cares plans to establish either a centralized hub for individuals to receive essential items or use a distribution delivery system already in place or a new method of delivery. A volunteer staff will help make this plan a reality for the greater good of the general public while keeping personal health and safety a priority. Thanks to the UW-Green Bay alumni making a tremendous difference in the community.