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.”


Path leads to Juilliard for Arts Management alumna, Hannah Claire Lewis

One of the most elusive elements of life is discovering a passion and having the moxie to pursue it. It can be a lifelong process, but one that is worth the while. For one University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumna, it didn’t take a lifetime, but it did take some discovery.

From a UW-Green Bay undergraduate student working in the classroom to New York City raising funding for the arts, Hannah Claire Lewis has (’16, Arts Management) been on quite the journey.

Initially, Lewis began her undergraduate career with a passion for dance.

“When I was younger, it was a dream of mine to own and operate my very own dance studio,” said Lewis. “After teaching at various dance studios throughout the Green Bay area, I quickly realized that while I enjoy teaching, my passion for dance could be utilized in a capacity that did not involve running a dance studio.”

Lewis wanted a way to still be part of a community that valued her artistic roots while exploring different avenues within an arts organization. During her sophomore year at UW-Green Bay, she found that different avenue: arts administration.

Photo Credit: Maria Dalmasso
Photo Credit: Maria Dalmasso

Specifically, in a class titled, “Funding and Financial Issues in the Arts” taught by UW-Green Bay Professor of Art and Design, Ellen Rosewall, Lewis’ love for fund development was born. Lewis embraced this newfound passion, and was accepted into Indiana University’s Arts Administration Graduate Program. There she had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant, complete a development and special events internship at Bravo! Vail Music Festival in Colorado and serve as the development associate at the Indiana University Auditorium. “Due to the amazing mentorship of Professor Rosewall coupled with the opportunities I had to further my skills and education, I was able to land a position in my dream city so soon after graduating,” Lewis said.

That dream city is none other than New York City, where Lewis is currently completing a 10-month fellowship with The Juilliard School. As part of her fellowship, Lewis works with the Office of the Provost and Dean tacking budgets, planning events, handling correspondence with donors, and engaging with the talented classical musicians studying at Juilliard. In addition, Lewis is working on a research project with a painting donated to the school decades ago painted by George Gershwin.

Lewis’ ultimate career goal is to teach Arts Administration at a University. However, before pursuing teaching full-time, Lewis wants to work for a think tank, such as the Urban Institute.

“I am a firm believer that the field of Arts Administration needs more arts and cultural researchers,” said Lewis. “The economic standpoint of how the arts can bolster a community is important, but Arts Administrators need to understand the who’s, what’s, why’s and how’s as well.”

For instance, one question Lewis is looking to better answer is what motivates donors to donate in the performing arts. Lewis looks to seek answers to this question and many more as a member of the current generation of Arts Administrators, so this generation and the next has a better chance to succeed in the field.

Feature by Joshua Konecke, Marketing and University Communication student assistant.

UW-Green Bay alumna Jennifer Nowicki opens pop-up shop, ‘Cultivate Taste’ in Sheboygan, Oct. 1

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumna Jennifer Nowicki ’19 (Business Administration) has been an entrepreneur almost her entire adult life. She has worked in the tea industry for 25 years and is Wisconsin’s only certified tea specialist (Specialty Tea Institute ’09). In addition, she has co-owned a coffeehouse, owned a tearoom in Milwaukee, and has been a representative for the United States Tea Industry in two world tea conferences.

Jennifer Nowicki

Nowicki is currently taking on a new challenge. Hers was one of three “pop-up shops” to be announced as a finalist in the Two Rivers Pop-Up Shop Contest, recently. Her shop, “Cultivate Taste,” a specialty tea shop, opens Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019. It is located near the “Field to Fork” restaurant at 510 S. 8th St. in Sheboygan.

After obtaining a minor in business, Nowicki returned to UW-Geen Bay to major in Business Administration and was encouraged by UW-Green Bay entrepreneurship lecturer, Ryan Kauth (Cofrin School of Business), to get involved in business competitions. “I think the contests help validate my experience and education,” said Nowicki.

With her knowledge and years of experience in the tea industry, Nowicki would like to own one physical retail location and eventually have a tearoom again. “I enjoyed having a physical location when I had my tearoom in Milwaukee and developed quite a few loyal customers,” said Nowicki. “I see this as part of my business.” In addition to her pop-up shop, Nowicki sells her tea online and wholesale, a side of the business she also hopes to grow.

Kauth says Nowicki has what it takes to be an entrepreneur: “Jennifer has grit: passion for what she does and the perseverance to see her business ownership goals through. No matter what,” he said. “She also is a lifetime learner. It helps if entrepreneurs are curious and ask a lot of ‘Why?’ questions. Jennifer coming to UWGB to finish her degree and pushing herself in competitions is what got her where she is. That’s also why the Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs invited her this past spring.”

Being an entrepreneur has seemingly always been in Nowicki’s DNA. Along the way, she said it has been important to have the courage to try new things and consult the advice of others.

“I think I always had an entrepreneurial mindset and even asked small business owners what it took to be one in my 20s,” said Nowicki. “If I do not know something, I am not afraid to get the education I need to succeed or figure it out if formal education is not there.”

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Photos submitted. Story by Marketing and University Communication Student Assistant, Joshua Konecke.

Fred ‘Doc’ Heide at the Northern Sky Theater dedication

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large traces Northern Sky opening to UW-Green Bay roots

On Labor Day weekend, the Northern Sky Theater dedicated its new $8 million Creative Center near Fish Creek in Door County. Critic at Large Warren Gerds traces the roots of this Northeast Wisconsin gem all the way back to UW-Green Bay and alumnus Fred ‘Doc’ Heide ’74 (Humanism and Cultural Change). This is a story worth reading to remind a community the value of a regional public University. Read the Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Extra! From a hole in the ground – who’da thunk?, via WeAreGreenBay.com.

Heide said, “I agree with your theory: UWGB has had many unanticipated positive effects on the community, and Northern Sky is an excellent example.”

Read more on Heide, who served as a Commencement speaker in 2012, and a look back at early UW-Green Bay.

Photo by Heidi Hodges

Samantha Kuba in the medical examiner's lab

A dissection class was the impetus for alumna Samantha Kuba, now a medical examiner

UW-Green Bay Chair of Biology and Human Biology Prof. Dan Meinhardt, writes about a rare opportunity to observe one of his former star students, alumna Samantha Kuba ’13 (Human Biology, Biology) in action, as she continues to develop her UW-Green Bay found-passion in dissection into a career as a medical examiner. His story and insight, follows:

As I get decked out in a disposable apron, surgical mask, and shoe covers, I notice the lack of any noticeable smell. In fact, I sense nothing remarkable in the prep area between a small suite of offices and the morgue. Almost all my experience with human dissection has involved preserved cadavers, which are maintained in a distinct-smelling ethyl alcohol solution (formaldehyde is still used to harden soft tissues in specimens for dissection, but too harmful for long-term preservation). Here I sense nothing but the chilly air-conditioned air and the generic smell of “office.”

The safety equipment I’m being instructed to don would be at home in any light industry setting, like one of the many dairy food facilities back in Green Bay. But as I am led into the morgue, where two recent decedents in body bags lie awaiting their autopsies, all thoughts of food run quickly from my mind.

Medical Examiner Samantha Kuba
Samantha Kuba

I am visiting the Pinal County Medical Examiners Office at the invitation of former student, and 2013 UW-Green Bay graduate, Samantha Kuba. Sam, an Appleton native, says she “fell in love” with dissection while earning degrees in Human Biology and Biology (emphases in Health Science and Animal Biology, respectively) at the Green Bay campus. She describes my Comparative Anatomy class as her first real introduction to dissection, and credits two other UW-Green Bay experiences for getting her hired into her current career.

“I participated in the Germany/Plastinarium trip in 2012, and…the cadaver lab my final semester. Out of 245 applicants for a lab-tech position at the Maricopa County (Arizona) Medical Examiner, Sam says, ‘I was chosen entirely because of what I was able to do at GB.'”

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner serves the Phoenix metro area, the nation’s eleventh largest, so Sam’s training made her witness to everything the field could throw at her. After a little over a year and a half, she left Maricopa for a unique opportunity to set up and lead a new facility at nearby Pinal County.

“I basically got to start up my own morgue. I set all the standard operating procedures, organized the work space how I wanted, and trained all staff. I currently run all morgue related operations.” In addition to all this, Sam is working toward certification by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, and training in forensic photography. I know her hard work is recognized when I see the respect afforded Sam by her supervisor, Pathologist Dr. John Hu. “I am the doc’s eyes in the body, and he trusts that I’m going to alert him to any abnormalities,” Sam tells me.

Samantha Kuba
Samantha Kuba

We’ve kept in touch since Sam left the University, so I was aware of all the impressive things she’s been learning and doing, the amazing stories she can tell, but even that didn’t prepare me for what I saw. It’s not for everyone, so I’ll spare the details, but the anatomist in me was floored by both the speed and precision of Sam’s dissection. It came as no surprise when a newly hired tech told me how lucky she was to learn the job from Sam. As I watched the team finish, I also felt lucky to get the chance to see her work, and proud to have played a small part in her training. In a little more than an hour Sam and her trainee had processed two decedents, and my time at the morgue came to an end.

It may seem ironic to some, biology is the study of life after all, but for specimen-based researchers like me it usually involves working with dead organisms. Often, the field of anatomy is viewed as old fashioned, offering nothing new to learn. But even humans, one of the most studied organisms on the planet, continue to offer new insights. And when it comes to understanding the cause of an individual’s mysterious death, or finding those responsible for a murder, careful dissection is one of the only means to an answer.

Samantha Kuba getting her start at the plastinarium
Samantha Kuba getting her start at the plastinarium

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing someone take the training they received at UW-Green Bay and apply it to such important, fulfilling work.

Story and photos submitted by Associate Prof. Dan Meinhardt to the Office of Marketing and University Communication.


Video: UW-Green Bay Alumni Award recipient, Lisa Fay Coutley, shares her Phoenix story

Lisa Fay Coutley ’04 (English) says she learned how to dream big at UW-Green Bay. Coutley is an assistant professor of Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is also a poet, essayist, teacher and editor, and in the past year, was named among UW-Green Bay’s most honored young alumni. More on Coutley.

Video: UW-Green Bay 2018 Alumni Award recipient, Doug Wirth, shares his Phoenix story

Doug Wirth ’89 (Social Work) entered UW-Green Bay feeling good about who he was, but unsure about who he would become. According to Wirth, a degree from UW-Green Bay prepares you well for the world of work. Wirth is the president and CEO of Amida Care, a Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan in New York City. More on Wirth.

Video: UW-Green Bay 2018 Alumni Award recipient, Josh Kaurich, tells his Phoenix story

Josh Kaurich ’07 (Masters of Environmental Science and Policy) knew he had a lot more to give, but was unsure on how to express that. At UW-Green Bay, he received guidance on how to connect learning to life. Kaurich serves as principal for Verita Energy, LLC and founded and manages Midwest Energy Procurement Solutions, LLC. More on Kaurich.

Video: 2018 Alumni Award recipient, Cordero Barkley, shares his Phoenix Story

It’s been quite a year for Cordero Barkley ’09 and ’16 (Business Administration, Management), who says he came to UW-Green Bay a boy and left the campus a man. Barkley was recently named director of finance and investments for TitletownTech, having previously served Associated Bank as the assistant vice president, trust relationship manager with Associated Private Client & Institutional Services. Also in the last few months, he has been honored by the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association and chosen as a Future 15 Award recipient by the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce. Barkley says the University played a fundamental role in his self-discovery.