Class speaker and non-traditional student finds direction at UW-Green Bay

It may have taken him awhile to find the right path, but now that UW-Green Bay graduate Sean Babasin ’23 has found his footing, he’s on fire to keep learning how he can help places like Northeast Wisconsin keep its water clean and its environment protected. Babasin shared his Phoenix story and his gratitude to those who helped him blaze a trail that is uniquely his, during his commencement speech at the afternoon ceremony of the Fall 2023 Commencement Ceremony at The Weidner on the UW-Green Bay campus.

“What an honor it is to be here today. I want to preface this by thanking the University for the opportunities it has provided me academically and professionally. My time here has been invaluable in providing me with relevant knowledge and experience that will undoubtedly transfer into the professional world. It has been a challenging time to prove ourselves academically, as a graduating class we’ve had to overcome challenges both physical and mental, enduring through a global pandemic and countless bouts of unrest both local and abroad however, we stayed committed to our goals and ultimately persevered and I am immensely proud to represent such a resilient group of capable graduates.

I was fortunate to have such an attainable dream as a child, join the military and serve our great country and once that was completed, I almost felt as if I had no direction. Unable to make anything happen back home in Los Angeles, I moved from Colorado to Mississippi and ultimately landed in the Fox Valley in 2016. After convincing myself that I was capable of doing much more through use of the rigorous self-discipline and drive instilled in me through my service, I found myself returning to school to get a degree in Environmental Engineering.

My academic success is reliant on one major factor, I am a very reciprocal person in the sense that I require an educator to be passionate about what they are teaching to be successful in learning a new subject. Dr. John Luczaj has provided just that, as he is not only clearly passionate in his line of work but also delivered an outstanding learning environment that made adopting complex earth science topics from physical geology to hydrogeology an absolute pleasure. He changed the way I observe my surroundings. When enjoying the outdoors, I now respect and understand the geologic processes that a landscape has gone through, which makes enjoying the natural environment even more infatuating. I found myself, by design, repeatedly in Luczaj’s classes gaining more of an understanding of the relationship that water and geology shared, excited at the prospect of expanding that knowledge when it came time to sign up for classes every semester. For that I thank him for sharing his vast knowledge and his outstanding dedication to ensuring student success, ultimately training the next generation of geologists, environmental engineers, and other natural applied science majors for their future contributions to society and global health.

I am grateful for my path leading me to UWGB, it provided me with many insights into my potential lines of work through an internship at a water treatment facility in Kaukauna, valuable research projects such as working with Dr. Mike Holly and graduate student Beth Kondro in creating a proprietary media to treat agricultural runoff from surface waters and most recently opened a door for me to work beside Dr. Erin Berns-Herrbolt in investigating natural groundwater contaminates in Northeast Wisconsin. The university was successful in laying the groundwork for me to direct my education towards specific topics relevant to the services I wish to provide in the professional world such as groundwater remediation, water related research or climate change monitoring. Though this is not the end of the road for me in terms of academia, it is still a memorable day for us all. I want to wish every graduate here the utmost success in their respective futures and cannot thank UWGB enough as the school is truly blazing a future for all.”

Read more about Sean here.

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