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.

 

 

Photos: UW-Green Bay alumni honored at 2020 UW-Green Bay Alumni Awards

‘Where do you get these great people?’ UW-Green Bay, of course.

Six University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumni were honored at the 2020 Alumni Awards on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, and Brian Mannering was honored as an honorary alumnus. See their profiles.

Todd Jadin is vice president of Associate Relations and Talent Management at Schneider, and is responsible for corporate recruiting, learning and development, change management, associate relations, employment law compliance and the human capital processes. In his acceptance speech, Jadin incorporated a video of Schneider President Don Schneider, who, Jadin said, regularly asked, “Where in the hell do you get those great people?”

“Well, in my case it was from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I was a bit of an anomaly back then as the majority of the college hiring that Schneider did in that era came from Don Schneider’s alma mater, St. Norbert College… I will also tell you that in 1984 I was just happy to be an alumni much less a distinguished alumni. I do like the ‘ring’ of that.” Much of the rest of Jadin’s speech is worth repeating…

“Schneider came to campus for screening interviews and had pulled my file from the placement office and requested an interview. I decided to go. I was successful and then invited to the corporate office for a structured interview process. One of those interviews was with Don Schneider and he had me at ‘hello.’ It was then I decided if Schneider offered me a job I would give them a shot. It is the only interview I’ve ever had.

Thirty-five years and 15 jobs later within the organization and I’m still there. It’s because of the education and foundation that I received from UWGB, so thank you for that. To know that someone who was born and raised in Green Bay and never had any interest in leaving the area could get the quality of education I received and work at a world-class company in the same city is something I’ve never taken lightly. I am

Todd Jadin wearing green and orange

blessed in that regard. The tie I’m wearing (orange and green) is a gift from UW-Green Bay as the result of a business award I accepted here a couple of years ago on behalf of Schneider and that night I was wearing an orange tie. I commented on how I would have worn an orange and green tie since both organizations were near and dear to my heart but I didn’t have one. UW-Green Bay fixed that the following week. In addition to UW-Green Bay, I’d like to thank Schneider for taking a chance on a young college grad many years ago.”

Outside of his work, Jadin has served in many leadership roles in the community, including a role on the board of directors for the Green Bay YMCA, the UW-Green Bay Founders Association and the UW-Green Bay Alumni Board, along with his involvement in youth basketball, serving as the President of the Green Bay Area Girls Basketball Association while coaching numerous boys and girls AAU teams. Jadin was one of four alumni recognized with the distinguished alumni award:

Lisa Merkel has been an educator at Green Bay West High School since 2001, teaching Physical Science and Chemistry. Merkel focused her graduate school research on the effects of poverty on learning, something that she is still passionate about today. She contributes her knowledge on poverty related to learning in a variety of programs, including the Green Bay West Building Leadership Team, AVID, Student Council and the Medical College of Wisconsin Equity Team.

Paul Northway is the CEO of American National Bank, responsible for setting the bank’s strategic direction, as well as overseeing the company’s culture. Along with his work, he has had a positive impact on UW-Green Bay. Northway, along with his wife, have established a scholarship at the University for business students. In addition, he serves as a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees and is a season ticket holder for men’s basketball and a supporter of the Phoenix Fund. Northway expressed his passion for UW-Green Bay in his acceptance speech.

“I have been passionate about the University because I truly believe that my education was one of those pivot points in your life that makes a difference,” reflects Northway. “I also believe that our community is stronger because of the University.”

Neil Diboll is a prairie ecologist at the Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, devoting his time and energy to championing the use of prairie plants, as well as native trees, shrubs and wetland plants in contemporary American landscapes. Through his work, Diboll developed the first scientific methodology for designing prairie seed mixes. Diboll was unable to attend the event.

There were two recipients of this year’s outstanding recent alumni award:

Diana Delbecchi, now Green Bay Area Public School’s first-ever Community Schools Resource coordinator, spent time reflecting on her deep connection and love for her alma mater.

“UW-Green Bay is like a magnetic force pulling me back to it, time and time again,” states Delbicchi. “To this day, this campus welcomes me with open arms, just as it welcomes all students… Overwhelmingly, I love this school. It not only gave me the confidence to follow my dreams, but it has always shown me the importance of being rooted in community; through giving back, building others up and committing to the betterment of all.” She ended her speech stating how “this honor feels like UW-Green Bay loves me back.”

Since graduating, Delbecchi has spent time working abroad in a refugee camp providing educational programming for out-of-school refugee youth. This experience led her to conduct research, eventually leading to the implementation of a young education program in a refugee camp of 700 residents.

Fellow award winner Amanda Reitz is the founder of the Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary (HEA), which seeks to pair neglected animals with caring families. Since 2006, Reitz and HEA have paired more than 4,000 companion animals with loving families.

Mannering, the president and CEO of LaForce, Inc., was honored for his continued commitment to the greater Green Bay community and UW-Green Bay. Although not an alumnus of UW-Green Bay, Mannering has demonstrated unwavering support for the University, demonstrated by his long-standing support for various initiatives, such as the Phoenix Innovation Park. Mannering reflected on the connection between LaForce and UW-Green Bay:

“At LaForce, my main role is to guide the company, empower people and cultivate a strong culture of team and community. Those same values are resident in the UW-Green Bay culture, and it’s a significant reason why LaForce employs so many GB grads.”

In the featured photo above, from left to right, Jadin, Merkel, Reitz, Delbecchi, Northway and Mannering. (Missing, Diboll).

Enjoy the gallery. Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Alumni Awards 2020

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication; event recap by Emily Gerlikovski, Marketing and University Communication student assistant.

2019 Student Speaker Hannah Malmberg

Student Commencement Speaker Hannah Malmberg tells fellow Phoenix to have the courage to start anew

Student Speaker Hannah Malmberg (Political Science, Communication) tells her fellow grads to have the courage to start anew. Here’s her speech:

Hello everyone. I feel like we’ve been trained to introduce ourselves with our name, major, and a fun fact about ourselves. So why not do it one last time? My name is Hannah Malmberg, I’m a Political Science and Communication major, and as for a fun fact about myself? Well I ran out of those after the 20th time of having to do this on the first day of class.

But I do have a fun fact for you. Did you know that the UWGB mascot wasn’t always a Phoenix? Up until 1970, the mascot was a water-skiing badger called the Bay Badger. Which honestly does sound kind of cool, but it made me think about the meaning of being a Phoenix.

What is a Phoenix, besides a dope mascot named Phlash?

The Phoenix is an ancient mythological creature found in folklore spanning several cultures that symbolizes renewal and rebirth. It bursts into flames before beginning its new life and soaring.

Which is beautiful, but in order for the Phoenix to be resurrected from the ashes and start anew, it must first fall.

While we may not be living in a legend of old, I’m sure many of us can relate to a tale about failing before finding success. I know that I can.

Before what was supposed to be the first semester of my sophomore year of college, I actually dropped out of this University.

2019 Winter Commencement Student Speaker Hannah Malmberg
Hannah Malmberg

My freshman year was a struggle. My mental health was in one of the worst states it had ever been in since I began my battle against mental illness many years ago. I felt disconnected and lost from everything and everyone around me. I wasn’t adjusting to college life like I had expected. Combine that with the fact that high school had been academically easy for me, so college was going to be too right?

Well not exactly. I even failed a class, American Government and Politics. Which is hilarious considering I became a Political Science major. Don’t worry, I retook it.

After taking a semester off, I decided to reapply and was admitted once again to the University. This time around, I challenged myself and sought help from those around me when I needed it. I also wanted to become that person for others as well. I became a peer mentor in the Gateway to Phoenix Success Program so that I could help others have an easier transition to college than I did. I am proud of helping the next generation of Phoenix succeed. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have a second chance and try again.

So to me, being a Phoenix means being resilient because I know my story is not unique. We have all faced obstacles along our journey to this very day. But look at us now! I’m proud of that fact that we have created a community of support where we help each other rise when we one of us has fallen.

As I look out at all of you, I see how much we have grown and I know that the sum of our achievements is extraordinary. We have served as mentors and tutors. Conducted research, created beautiful pieces of art, and competed as talented athletes. We have left this campus and community better and stronger than when we arrived.

We may live in an uncertain world, but I know we will land on our feet and excel. We will create the world we want to see for ourselves. We are Phoenix after all.

Before I go, I would like to take the time to thank those who have helped me along my college journey. To my family, thank you for letting me discover my own path and for letting me make mistakes while loving me all the same. Today I am thinking about my Grandma Doris who always inspired me to pursue an education but passed away before she could see me graduate. To my friends, thank you for being there on those sleepless nights, for listening to me when I’m at my wit’s end, and for helping me create some of my most cherished memories. I am forever grateful for meeting you. I also want to thank the incredible faculty and staff I have met here at UWGB, especially Dr. Levintova and Dr. Helpap. I would not be up on this stage if it wasn’t for the guidance you gave me, the confidence you helped build, or the opportunities you provided.

So congrats UWGB Class of 2019, we finally made it and for old time’s sake, Go Phoenix. Thank you.

Ginger Turck

Veteran Marine Nurses a Dream

After a long journey, Ginger Turck graduates with a BSN on Saturday

Ginger Turck’s journey across the Weidner Center stage on Saturday, Dec. 14 for UW-Green Bay Commencement will be just like any other graduate. But few others have made more stops along the way.

This mother of three, Marine Corps veteran with a Business Administration degree (also from UW-Green Bay) already on her resume´—now earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)—may be the most traditional non-traditional student participating in the University’s 100th commencement ceremony, Saturday.

“She went through a long journey to be a BSN,” says Assistant Prof. of Nursing, Myunghee Jun. But Turck’s journey isn’t measured in miles—but in time and challenges.

Turck grew up a self-described “Tomboy” in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee, working in landscaping during the summers and began college 1995. She admits at the time she was more into volleyball than study hall. Originally attending college as a walk-on for the women’s volleyball team Turck soon realized “my heart wasn’t into college at this time which was reflected in my grades.”

“My parents said that if I was going to leave school, I would have to find something else to do.” So she enlisted in the Marines. “They say it was the hardest boot camp, so let’s see.” (Plus, only eight-percent of all active enlisted Marines are female, the lowest ratio in all of the U.S. military branches.) And the toughest part of boot camp? “Being away from home for three months and Parris Island sand fleas.”

It was later in field training when life handed her a lemon in the form of a hand-grenade. And this advice to anyone contemplating a similar experience—“Never throw a hand-grenade like a baseball.”

Turck was taught the correct over-the-shoulder technique, but kept throwing short of the target. “On my last try, I had an ‘I’m-going-to-show-you moment,’ so I launched it. Something didn’t feel right. I hit my target, but tore my shoulder.”

Ironically, it was that injury that would eventually lead her to nursing and her advocation to work in a VA clinic. Turck was separated from her reserve unit, which was activated and sent to Iraq in 2003 for Operation Enduring Freedom. She returned to Green Bay as an active reservist but saw her civilian prospects landing her back into landscaping. But her commanding officer offered a bit of advice. “My captain told me I should do something else besides digging dirt and suggested school.”

In 2006, Turck was medically separated from the Marine Corps and was sent to the Milwaukee VA for evaluation of her continuing shoulder/wrist problems. Her biggest problem? Being a woman in the VA healthcare system. “I would go into my appointment and staff would look at me and ask ‘Where’s the veteran? He needs to check in himself,’ seemingly confused as many said they had never treated a woman veteran before.”

With a second chance at college, now married (to a fellow Marine), Turck graduated from UW-Green Bay with a degree in Business Administration (Management and Finance) in 2008. And this time, she credits her professors with putting her “heart back into learning.”

This time odd timing was just bad timing—she hit the streets with a fresh degree and into the teeth of the great recession. Finding it impossible to find a job in banking in finance, she returned to landscaping and worked as a correctional officer, while trying to rehabilitate her shoulder and her career. The bottom may have been when she temporary job as took a brief job as a test examiner. “I knew I wanted more in life” she remembers.

Turck was accepted into Vocational Rehab through the VA, began nursing school at the Rasmussen College School of Nursing and graduated as a registered nurse (RN) in 2016. But fate was not finished throwing her curve balls. Her first nursing job was at an extended care facility that soon closed its doors.

“Nursing did not start out well” She admits. And this college graduate, Marine veteran, professional landscaping, correctional officer, long-term care facility nurse and mother of three needed a break—both emotionally and professionally. She was accepted into UW-Green Bay’s RN to BSN program, designed for associate degree registered nurses looking to advance their career. She decided not to work while in school, but still life beyond the classroom presented its own challenges.

“Shortly, after beginning classes my maternal grandma’s health began declining so I helped where I could, studied when I could as my mom, who had previously helped babysit, was spending her time at appointments and in hospitals with my grandma.” Her grandmother passed away on August 19, 2018, the same day as her late stepdad’s birthday and her wedding anniversary. Turck would also say good-bye to her paternal grandmother in 2019.

But true to her Marine spirit, Turck did not retreat. “In January 2019, I gave birth to our third son at 5 a.m. and much like the birth of my first child in 2014, I again was online to introduce myself for my next nursing class that also began that day.”

It was also time to make peace with VA through both a clinical placement during the summer 2019 semester, and as a patient at the Milo C. Huempfner Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, which neighbors the UW-Green Bay campus.

“Throughout my time at the Green Bay clinic I have never been overlooked as being the veteran, nor forgotten as a patient.”  Or a woman, for that matter. “When I went there for treatment for my shoulder, I had to bring my one-year-old  son with me. He was crying, so my doctor held him the whole time during my examination.”

And as for what future holds, Turck sees a life still filled with challenges, but perhaps fewer holes.

“With any hope, there will soon arise a chapter called Milo C. Huempfner VA Clinic nurse and veteran patient advocate Ginger Turck, RN, BSN.”