Being good at something is one thing. Being passionate about learning is another. Outstanding Student Award Recipient, Joshua Vollmar, came to appreciate the difference after taking an Introduction to Human Biology class, realizing that learning about health science while sharing compassion through active volunteerism were key to how he wanted to build his future career. That combination of learning and living make Vollmar a most deserving recipient of this year’s Outstanding Student Award.
Vollmar was presented with the award by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association at a May 17 student award ceremony on campus and was recognized on Saturday, May 18 at the 99th Commencement Ceremony at the Kress Events Center. The Alumni Association, which has been designating a single Outstanding Student Award Recipient for each graduating class since 1976, recognized Vollmar for his undergraduate success as a student and volunteer service for others and the community. He was nominated and selected from all students eligible to receive diplomas at May commencement.
Vollmar graduates today with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology with a Health Science emphasis. A native of Suring, Wisconsin, Vollmar first came to the UW-Green Bay campus as a fifth grader on a Phuture Phoenix field trip more than 11 years ago. Today, he crossed the stage as an example of UW-Green Bay’s finest: a graduate with a 3.787 GPA, five semesters earning honors, a student highly engaged on and off campus, a Chancellor’s Medallion recipient and a Phoenix ready for more.
Throughout childhood, money was tight and an education past high school was rarely discussed. “I never thought getting a degree was an option for me, let alone being able to have an extensive resume,” Vollmar wrote in his award application. “Attending UW-Green Bay has changed my life for nothing but the better. I have found passion in pursuing a career in medicine and am hoping to return to the area to continue serving the community.”
As a first-generation college student and Phuture Phoenix, Vollmar received several scholarships upon enrolling at UW-Green Bay. He credits these scholarships as the turning point in his education, when he was able to focus more on his academics than on his financial responsibilities. These awards also granted him the opportunity to experience a human biology travel course to Germany and Poland.
Vollmar also worked throughout college to fund his education, starting as a table assembler for a woodcrafts organization and ending as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Bellin Health.
As a human biology major aiming to make a difference, Vollmar immediately got involved in campus organizations including the Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, where he assisted in turning the organization from inactive to a bustling chapter with 68 members and 22 graduate members and helped create the Human Biology Professional Development Council. Vollmar is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and has participated in the UW-Green Bay Fall Research Symposium, the Tiny Earth Research Symposium and the Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity (URSCA) Symposium.
Vollmar’s community volunteer record is impressive and includes giving of his time and talent to numerous community and campus events over the last four years. “Every chance I was given to give back to the community through donations or assisting with an event revolved around one driving force, and that is compassion. While there may be times when the world needs more of it, I am grateful to have witnessed the power of compassion and the effect it can leave on a community. I am excited to carry these qualities into my future career.”