See a problem. Solve the problem. See a need. Fill the need. That’s part of the Wisconsin Idea. It’s also what drove three compassionate, UW–Green Bay students to start a podcast highlighting members of Northeast Wisconsin’s Latino community. Kelly Lamas (Spanish, Social Work), Mario Huarota (Spanish Education) and Kory Brunette (Spanish) told an NBC26 reporter that they were allowed to “create what we thought would be best for our school and our goals and our mission for this project and spread awareness to the community.”
They say this podcast allows them to both practice their Spanish comprehension and showcase real people in their community that may be otherwise overlooked. To date, the students have interviewed members of the community who are bilingual therapists, DACA recipients, restaurant owners, and others.
Assistant Prof. Mario Jimenez Chacon (Humanities) is the faculty member who proposed the idea. As the project is not tied to a particular class, but the Spanish program, he hopes it will continue into the future as a long-term digital humanities project.
You can listen to the podcast, here.
When Alyssa Ehlke decided she wanted to become a nurse in 2014, she had no idea of the surprises being a student in 2020 would hold.
Now, as a student in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s nursing program, Ehlke is one of the UW-Green Bay nursing students providing Wisconsin residents with COVID-19 vaccines that promise to bring life back to some sort of normal in the midst of a pandemic.
“I think that there’s always a little bit of anxiety when you know there is something that is such an unknown (like the pandemic)… it’s frightening because we’re so needed,” she said. “But then, at the same time, I realized how important the job that you’re going to have is. I think that was the biggest realization to me. It’s like ‘Oh, okay, my job is going to be something that’s going to make a difference.’”
Ehlke, 30, already has a bachelor’s degree in math and psychology, and originally wanted to go into teaching. But after working alongside people in healthcare professions, she realized nursing was what she really wanted to do. Now, as a sophomore nursing student, she is working as a CNA at an assisted living facility while taking classes in the nursing program, doing clinicals at the VA hospital and helping to administer vaccines to veterans who served their country.
“I think we are so fortunate to be able to have that opportunity, which is actually exciting,” she said. “We were told that if it weren’t for pandemic, we would not get the experience of doing all these vaccinations… We’re learning more about applying what we’re learning in classes to real-life situations and what’s going on in the world today.”
Launching a new pre-licensure nursing program in the middle of a pandemic presented challenges to administrators in finding practical hands-on experience for the students, said Christine Vandenhouten, chair of Nursing & Health Studies at UW-Green Bay.
“Many of our counterparts at other nursing programs saw health systems like our local hospitals, reducing the number of students who could be in a given clinical setting by half,” Vandenhouten said. “What that meant was that the educational institutions had to double the number of faculty to teach and find twice as many clinical settings to engage them in clinical learning…
“Planning for this spring semester for traditional programming was particularly challenging because we were faced with the need to create simulated clinical experiences conducted in a skills lab or find twice as many faculty and clinical units to give students the necessary clinical experiences,” she added.
With the approval of the COVID-19 vaccines in the fall, and distribution beginning in the winter, having students assist in administering vaccine helped the program provide students with a unique clinical learning experience.
But it also helps the communities in and around Green Bay. Nursing students are supporting vaccination clinics in Green Bay at Aurora BayCare Medical Center and the Milo C. Huempfner VA Clinic, and in Manitowoc at the Lakeshore Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center, Vandenhouten said. Additionally, she is in talks with other communities and health systems to assist their efforts in the future.
Students get academic credit for their participation, as well as real-world experience. In addition, they get a $500 credit towards their tuition if they work 16 hours in the Covid clinics. Vandenhouten said that as of today, 27 of the 34 traditional BSN students have participated in the vaccination program. The Nursing program students will continue working in the vaccination clinics in April with the goal of having all 34 students participate.
Jordan Barnes, 22, who is also working towards her bachelor’s in nursing, said she was excited to learn that she would be volunteering in health care in the middle of the pandemic.
“I was excited when I found out we would have the opportunity to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the public,” she said. “It was an exciting time because every vaccine I administered was one step closer to life going back to normal. I was able to learn the science behind the vaccine and how it works in our body, so I was able to ease the nerves of some patients and make them feel more comfortable with their choice to get the vaccine.”
Barnes started her college career with the goal of getting a degree in Human Development with minors in Psychology and German so she could go into counseling. But in her junior year, she decided she wanted to go into nursing instead to do more for her patients.
“My mom works as a hospice nurse and seeing her compassion as she shares her experiences with me is what really drove me in that direction,” she said.
After graduating with her Human Development degree in December 2020, she started working on her nursing degree. Now, as she works in healthcare settings as part of her training, the experiences, and the pandemic, reinforce her decision.
“I do not think I had any concerns going into nursing school in the middle of a pandemic. If anything, it made me feel like I knew for sure that this is the career path for me. Knowingly walking into what some people may refer to as ‘a disaster’ and continuing says something about that person and what kind of caretaker they will become,” she said.
The most surprising part about the experience, she said, was the reaction of the patients.
“I did not realize how grateful and excited patients would be as they walked into the clinic for their first dose of the vaccine,” she said. “I know that the vaccine is being given in waves and so it is eye opening that people are on waitlists while some people are passing on it when it is made available to them.”
Ehlke, who contracted COVID-19 last year while working at a local long-term care facility as a certified nursing assistant, said reactions to the vaccine fell into one of two categories.
“You have two different spectrums. You get the people who were like, ‘Oh, shoot. How is this going to affect me? Is this going to work? They’re hearing stories about how we’re going be getting a booster so is this really going to be effective?’” she said. “And then you have the people who come in and they’re so excited. They’re like ‘This is just one step forward to us not having to worry about going out in public and catching this virus…’”
Participating in the vaccination effort has been frightening, but fulfilling Ehlke said.
“At first, it was nerve-wracking because, you know, you are administering a shot into someone’s arm, but afterwards, it kind of makes you realize that you’re a part of history,” she said. “My dad contacted me afterwards and said, ‘You know, you will one day look back on this and realize that you are doing something that not many people will ever get to experience.’ This is something that is going to make a difference in a lot of people’s lives. And like I said, that’s kind of the reason why I wanted to go into nursing in the first place.”
By freelance writer Liz Carey
Photos by UW-Green Bay’s Michael Shaw and Christine Vandenhouten
Cover photo: Nursing student Precious Vang.
Family and friends of former State Representative and UW-Green Bay alumna Sharon Metz (’84, Communication and the Arts), who passed away on June 19, 2020 have created an endowed scholarship in honor of Metz and her husband, Tom.
The Sharon and Thomas Metz Scholarship will benefit undergraduate students who are majoring in First Nations Studies and demonstrate financial need. It will be renewable for up to two years.
Mitch Metz, son of Sharon and Tom, says this scholarship aims to carry on his parents’ fight for recognition and respect for indigenous people.
“We are happy to work through the university to make sure that Mom and Dad have ‘passed the torch’ and are helping shape a new generation of advocates and leaders on tribal issues,” said Mitch Metz.
During her 12 years of service as a legislator from Green Bay, Sharon Metz was instrumental in passing what became the Wisconsin Indian Education Act in 1979. She also laid important groundwork for passage of Act 31 in 1989 and is one of the overlooked heroes in that effort.
Sharon and Tom founded HONOR—Honor Our Neighbors Origins and Rights—in 1990. Their efforts through HONOR organized nationwide support for Native peoples during the height of the treaty rights controversy in Wisconsin. Sharon and Tom rallied strong non-Indian support to stand with the tribes on many issues, including treaty rights, team mascots, religious freedom, gaming, and the protection of burial and sacred sites. Tom worked to make accurate, authentic books and instructional materials available to teachers, students, and community members when such materials were not easily found.
The University is honored, says Chancellor Michael Alexander, to carry on the Metz legacy through this scholarship, which provides critical encouragement and support for students in the First Nations Studies program.
“UW-Green Bay is proud to support students in our First Nations Studies program,” Alexander said. “It is truly a distinctive and important program, and this scholarship support will be an immense help to students interested in the degree.”
The Sharon and Thomas Metz Scholarship will award its first $1,500 scholarship in spring 2021. The endowed fund means the scholarship will support student in the First Nations program in perpetuity.
The community is invited to honor the Metz’s legacy with gifts to the scholarship fund. Gifts may be made online. Checks may be written to the UW-Green Bay Foundation, and mailed to: UW-Green Bay Foundation, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311-7001. Write Sharon and Thomas Metz Scholarship in the memo line of the check. Questions may be directed to University Advancement or 920-465-2074.
UW-Green Bay alumna, Sherri Underwood Johnson and her mother created a Facebook craft sale with proceeds going to the Dorothy Underwood Nursing Scholarship to benefit UW-Green Bay’s nursing students. Sherri’s mother, Dorothy, who is 88, has created some of the items. This fundraiser will run until 2 p.m. Nov. 28, 2020. Find the fundraiser on facebook.
“If nothing else, the year 2020 has shown us the importance of medical personnel. There is an ongoing need to support the education of nurses and to ensure caregivers for generations to come,” Johnson wrote in the fundraiser description.
In 2006, Sherri Underwood Johnson, RN, established a nursing scholarship at UW-Green Bay in honor of her mother, Dorothy Underwood, RN. Dorothy worked as a nurse for 43 years and kept her nursing license until the age of 78. The scholarship also honors Ruby Sirk Wolverton, Dorothy’s aunt, who is part of the family legacy of nursing.
If you would like to support this scholarship, donations can be made directly to UW-Green Bay with an online gift, or by mailing a check to UW-Green Bay Foundation, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, Wis. 54311.
Those who wish to support the Facebook fundraiser may choose a handcrafted item made by Sherri Underwood Johnson or Dorothy Underwood with a minimum donation of $40. Look under the “Discussion” tab for photos of what is available.
UW-Green Bay Director of Career Services Linda Peacock-Landrum, advises new graduates and job seekers to use this current COVID-19 experience to their advantage when applying for jobs.
Hello, May graduates. My name is Linda Peacock-Landrum and I’m director of Career Services at UW-Green Bay.
I wanted to take a few moments to really talk with you about your life after graduation and what might be in store for you as a new professional. Trust me when I understand that this is a difficult time this pandemic has impacted the job market in ways that we’re not going to understand for many months in the foreseeable future. But what’s critical for you to understand is that UW-Green Bay and Career Services are here to support you and assist you for the months ahead your Handshake account will remain active. If you’ve not utilized Handshake please take time to login and learn how this tool can assist you. It is a way for you to complete a profile upload a resume and search for jobs online you also can access a vast number of videos recorded workshops and other resources made available by Career Services.
Another thing that I want you to think about too, is focusing on strengthening connections. You can do this easily by utilizing LinkedIn. If you’ve not created a profile, take the time to do that today. LinkedIn is a way that you can network with professionals and connect with organizations to learn about things that will help you in your job search in the months ahead. Once you’ve had a chance to do that, take some time thank those professionals and make certain that you make a timeline to follow-up with them sometime in the future.
Secondly, I want you to reflect a moment about what this pandemic has really done for you and how it has impacted your skills. How have your technology skills changed? Have they gotten better? How have they become enhanced? Think about the transition to online course delivery changes. You can speak to employers about how you’ve become flexible and adaptable. Trust me, your peers have shared stories with me and your stories and their stories are going to help employers to value the commitment, the dedication and the work ethic that you can bring to them into their workplace.
Try to focus on what’s positive in this new normal. I know that might not be easy, but that may help you in the long run.
Thirdly, I want you to think about opportunities that you wouldn’t have been open to before. I know that you may have had a dream to be able to be living somewhere and doing something but that might not be possible at this particular moment, but be open to opportunities. What does that mean? Look at organizations that are in certain industries or organizations that offer the types of opportunities that can help you get your foot in the door for the future. It might mean that you take a short term or temporary assignment. Those are perfectly okay and acceptable but really think about opportunities that might add to your experience base could also add to your skillset or in some cases may allow you to enhance something that needed to have further development.
Lastly, I want you to think about your academic courses and your projects. Likely many of you had good work experience, internships and research opportunities. But also think about your coursework and your projects. What are the things that you can bring from those experiences? Document those on your resume. The best resume for any opportunity is going to be tailored for that unique position that you’re looking for. Think about in detail, how you can adapt to a changing work environment and what critical unique value you can bring to an organization.
I want to circle back to where I started, which is that UW-Green Bay Career Services is here to support you and offer any assistance that we can. We will be available through the summer for appointments by phone and virtual platforms. We can assist you with exploring options and understanding how to apply for jobs, search strategies, reviewing your resume, talking about interviews. But what is critical is understanding that we’re here to help you. Please reach out. Trust us, we’re here to help you and we want you to succeed once you’ve graduated from UW-Green Bay. Remember this is your time to rise as a Phoenix and offer your unique talents to an organization.
Congratulations Class of May 2020! We look forward to celebrating in person with you in August.
UW-Green Bay responsiveness helped the local Center serve more clients than any in the state of Wisconsin
When local small businesses and entrepreneurs needed help navigating the pandemic, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of UW-Green Bay answered the call—literally—serving remotely, 591 distinct businesses with disaster consultation since March 15… the most of any state center (Madison was second with 163 businesses served).
Wisconsin SBDCs have been the “go to” for the EIDL and PPP opportunities for small businesses. During the start of the pandemic, UW-Green Bay transferred three people from the Continuing Education and Community Engagement Staff to temporarily the SBDC staff to help manage the overwhelming workload.
“Our center has provided triage counseling to more businesses in three weeks, than we typically do in a year,” said director Tara Carr. “I am so very thankful for the support and commitment the University has taken to assist the SBDC in the recovery efforts with small businesses in our 12-county region. Once the administration was aware of the overwhelming workload the SBDC was experiencing, with no hesitation and within hours, additional temporary staff were assigned to the department. As I reflect on the timeline, these changes were made on a Saturday and the temporary staff began that Monday! Words cannot describe my gratitude and sense of pride to be a part of the UW-Green Bay family.”
The need is great.
“The majority of small business owners have been extremely concerned and scared of losing their business,” Carr said. “Scared in the sense of having the fear of ambiguity regarding the future and how long they will have to endure the economic slowdown. The other part of the concern is how long can the business financially endure the decreased or ceased revenue, while continuing to pay overhead expenses? To get funding for a startup, business owners collateralize their homes, retirement, savings, and/or use personal credit cards. As you can imagine, when the revenue comes to a halt for an extended time, the stress can be insurmountable.”
At the same time, the SBDC is getting calls from entrepreneurs who want to start a business or need advice.
“There are also many existing business that have been able to pivot their business model to accommodate the social distancing issues and changing consumer needs,” Carr said. “Entrepreneurs are amazingly creative people with tremendous problem-solving skills. They are able to identify a need and figure out how to take the resources they have and make it work for the consumer. It is truly impressive to watch!”
UW-Green Bay was proactive in its response to the COVID- 19 crisis. As a result, the Small Business Development Center at UW- Green Bay temporarily closed the center doors on March 11. The staff has been working at home since March 12 and continue to serve clients by phone, email, and virtual meetings.
“We were fortunate enough to have previously replaced all desktops with laptops and phone lines with cell phones,” Carr said of the quick transition. “The SBDC staff is mobile. Typically we meet with our clients face-to-face, and the social distancing can create some challenges for the non-technology clients, particularity in the rural areas. (Staff members) are highly skilled and their solution-oriented approach is the key to success.”
Over the past several weeks, triage outreach has been made by phone, email and social media, informing business owners and SBDC clients how to prepare for the economic crisis they are experiencing. Triage is the first line of contact provided to these businesses. For more advanced and customized consulting, appointments were made with the expert business consultants.
The current SBDC at UW-Green Bay team: Diane Welhouse, David Stauffacher, Ray York, Judy Price, Tammy Clausen, Melissa Schleicher and Tara Carr
Highlights of the SBDC community outreach:
- Clients consulted since January 1, 2020: 350 (goal for 2020 = 351)
- Non-clients consulted since March 15, 2020: 507
- Total small businesses served since January 1, 2020: 857
- Consulting hours for non-clients: 318.70
- Consulting hours for clients: 608.90
- Total consulting hours by SBDC since January 1, 2020: 927.60
- In addition to consulting, the entire team attends multiple weekly federal and state webinars and trainings for consulting clients.
- Disaster 2020 consulting: The Green Bay Center is #1 in the state by serving 591 distinct businesses since March 15th. (Madison is #2 at 163 businesses).
At the Dine Like a Professional Etiquette Lunch on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, UW-Green Bay Career Services announced that Imperial Supplies is its Recruitment Partner of the Year for 2019. Imperial Services has had an exceptional commitment and demonstrated comprehensive support of Career Service’s mission. Since 2011, Imperial Supplies has continued to support UW-Green Bay students in their journeys to success. Its team members have served as Mock Interview Day volunteers, participated in classroom panel discussions, made guest lecturer presentations, offered insight as featured program speakers and served on the alumni advisory board.
With headquarters in Green Bay since 1958 and only five miles from campus, local company representatives take pride in providing both time and financial support to UW-Green Bay. Imperial Supplies is an office sponsor for Career Services and a sponsor of Green Bay athletics. The organization has hosted students for job shadows, as well as welcomed students, faculty and staff onsite for informational corporate tours. Nearly 10% of all team members at Imperial’s corporate office in Green Bay are alumni of UW-Green Bay. In addition, 13 students have served as interns for Imperial since the organization launched a reputable internship program in 2018.
Linda Peacock-Landrum is in her 23rd year with UW-Green Bay Career Services, and her connection to Imperial Supplies began in her first year in Green Bay in 1997.
“That was the first year in Green Bay for both Jenny Lowe and me,” Peacock Landrum said. “We met at a local recruitment event that year, and when she transitioned to Imperial Supplies three years later, we reconnected to lay a solid foundation that our organizations could build upon.”
Lowe is the current Vice President of Human Resources for Imperial Supplies. Peacock-Landrum also sparked a connection with Sara Oettinger, a 2008 graduate of UW-Green Bay and current manager of Talent Acquisition for Imperial Supplies.
“One of my early interactions with Sara Oettinger of Imperial Supplies occurred in 2011 when she attended an event held in this very facility. She immediately offered her support and advice as an alumna to assist our students. Over the next nine years, the support, outreach and recruitment efforts by Imperial Supplies has grown,” said Peacock-Landrum. “Career Services and UW-Green Bay both are fortunate to have a partnership with Imperial Supplies. We look forward to many more engaging years in the future.”
Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.
– Photos by Liesl Sigourney and text by Joshua Konecke, Marketing and University Communication student assistants.
UW-Green Bay was a co-sponsor of the 2020 Brown County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Jan. 18, 2020. “2020: Envision Change. Act Now” was the theme of this year’s celebration, now in its 25th year, locally. The free event was held at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. A number of UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members are on the planning committee. Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.
– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication
UW-Green Bay Habitat for Humanity visited Taos, New Mexico over the week of Jan. 12 to help build, organize and restore buildings for local families to have a place to call home.
Shelby Smith (Communication) took charge of the Life at UWGB Instagram page during the trip to Taos, posting photos and keeping the UW-Green Bay community updated on how they were helping the community.
Smith said members of the group stayed busy every day of the trip. The fourth day of their trip consisted of tiling, grouting floors and painting house lot signs. Even in New Mexico, the group could not escape the snow! On the final day, members made final touches on the houses, but also celebrated their work with some fun in the snow. Snowball fights and saying goodbye to the connections they made in Taos capped off a fantastic trip. While there, members of the group got to meet the family they helped build a home for, and they experienced a home dedication ceremony.
During their off times, members were able to appreciate the beauty of the area. On the second day of visiting Taos, they hiked to see an ice cave at nearly 8,000 feet of elevation. This trip is captured in the photo above. They also visited Black Rock Hot Springs, hiked Vista Verde Trail Head, drove the Enchanted Circle and experienced the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. This was all part of their Cultural Day to better understand the community they were going to serve.
Past trips for the UW-Green Bay chapter included home builds in Hawaii, Illinois and North Carolina. The organization also visited Taos during winter break trip 2015.
For members of the group, the trip was a life-changing experience. On Instagram, they write, “There’s nothing better than traveling with friends, both old and new, and doing good in a community far away from your own. That’s the power of Habitat for Humanity.”
Story by Emily Gerlikovski. Photos from Shelby Smith.
UW-Green Bay’s Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) Office, Office of Student Life and the Black Student Union (BSU) welcomed the community for a celebration of Kujichagulia (self-determination) at UW–Green Bay’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Delivering the keynote address was Robyn Davis, president and CEO of Brown County United Way.
Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African and African-American culture and identity, based on the seven principles of African heritage. This year, we celebrate the principle of Kujichagulia, the principle of self-determination and the right of persons to speak for themselves and decide their own destiny. All are welcome to attend regardless of background, faith or culture, as we celebrate the commonalities and values that bring us together rather than the differences that drive us apart.
In addition to a dinner menu celebrating African and African-American heritage and cuisine, the Kwanzaa celebration featured a performance by the Appleton North Step Team.
Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.
– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication