Pong Moua (Environmental Science) served as Garden Blitz communication coordinator and Caitlin Curtis (Environmental Policy and Planning) as assistant volunteer coordinator at the seventh annual Green Bay Garden Blitz from May 28-31, 2020. Moua (pictured above), Curtis and 48 volunteers installed 74 raised bed garden boxes at private homes, Kennedy School and Veterans Manor.
Facing challenges due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2020 Garden Blitz accomplished its goals safely and on schedule. Kim Diaz, Blitz coordinator, said “working with Pong and Caitlin was a joy because they were so talented, dedicated and willing to learn.”
UW-Green Bay Prof. Kevin Fermanich (Water Science, Geoscience and Environmental Science) has been named the 2020 NEW Watershed Champion. He formally received this recognition on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 from NEW Water and the Green Bay Water Utility during the 2020 World Water Day event.
Prof. Fermanich is a lead co-principal investigator on a collaborative project studying the links between edge-of-field water quality, soil health and field management at sites in Great Lakes priority watersheds. Additionally, he is a soil and water resources specialist with Wisconsin Extension.
Fermanich was recognized at the seventh annual World Water Day event hosted by NEW Water, the brand of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the Green Bay Water Utility at the Jack Day Environmental Education Center. World Water Day (www.worldwaterday.org) is a commemorative event launched by the United Nations in 1993 to bring awareness to global water issues. The two water entities honor World Water Day to call attention to local water issues, including aging infrastructure and impairments, and to celebrate the efforts of a local champion in caring for the watersheds of Wisconsin.
The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Water and Climate Change.” Globally, this means an increasing demand for water as populations increase, which can drain natural resources and cause environmental damage.
“The Green Bay Water Utility is adapting to address the water effects of climate change to continue to protect health and safety to our customers,” said Nancy Quirk, general manager of the Green Bay Water Utility.
Fermanich has worked at UW-Green Bay since 1998. Along with many partners, Fermanich and his students study water quality, watershed management, soil health, Green Bay restoration, and agricultural management issues. He is a lead co-principal investigator on a collaborative project studying the links between edge-of-field water quality, soil health, and field management at sites in Great Lakes priority watersheds. Additionally, Fermanich is a soil and water resources specialist with Wisconsin Extension.
“Our era faces a number of water challenges, not only globally, but here in Wisconsin as well. Dr. Fermanich exemplifies the spirit of working together to find solutions to the many vexing water challenges we’re facing today,” said Tom Sigmund, Executive Director of NEW Water.
This post is written in cooperation with NEW Water. Photo submitted by Tricia Garrison, NEW Water. In the photo, from left to right, Tom Sigmund, executive director, NEW Water; Prof. Kevin Fermanich and Nancy Quirk, general manager, Green Bay Water Utility
UW-Green Bay alumni Drew Votis (Biology and Environmental Science) and Ashley Votis (Education) talk about farming on ancestral property, their journey of efficiently managing the farm and the future of their farm with Agri-View. More via Ancestral farm leads dairy into future | Agri-View.
LaForce President and CEO Brian Mannering will receive an Honorary Alumni Award
Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will recognize a number of outstanding alumni and one honorary alumnus at the 2020 Alumni Awards Dinner, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 in the Phoenix Rooms on the Green Bay Campus at 5 p.m. The event is open to the public. The cost is $50 per person. For more information, contact the UW-Green Bay Alumni Office at 920-465-2074 or email@example.com.
Receiving this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award are Neil Diboll ’78, Todd Jadin ’84, Paul Northway ’90 and Lisa Merkel ’00 and ’10. Diana Delbecchi ’10 and Amanda Reitz ’08 will be honored with the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award and Brian Mannering, CEO and president of LaForce, will be designated as an Honorary Alumnus.
The Alumni Awards highlight UW-Green Bay graduates and other individuals who have made special contributions to UW-Green Bay, their communities and professions. Awardees go through a nomination and selection process by committee consisting of internal staff and past Alumni Award recipients. About the awardees:
Neil Diboll ’78 (Environmental Sciences) is currently a prairie ecologist at the Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wis. He attended the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, MI (Boot Camp for Biologists) during the summer of 1977. He has since worked for the U.S. Park Service in Virginia, the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado and the University of Wisconsin. In 1982, Diboll began his involvement with Prairie Nursery, producing native plants and seeds and designing native landscapes. He has since devoted his efforts to championing the use of prairie plants, as well as native trees, shrubs and wetland plants, in contemporary American landscapes. In addition to helping popularize the use of native plants long before they were “cool,” Diboll developed the first scientific methodology for designing prairie seed mixes. Diboll’s work includes designs for residential, commercial and public spaces throughout the Midwest and Northeast United States. The essence of Diboll’s philosophy is that we, as stewards of the planet, must work to preserve and increase the diversity of native plants and animals with which we share our world. The protection of our natural heritage and our soil and water resources is essential to maintaining a high quality of life for today and for the children of future generations to come.
Todd Jadin ’84 (Business Administration) is vice president of Associate Relations and Talent Management for Schneider, a premier provider of transportation, intermodal and logistics services. In this position, Jadin is responsible for delivering an exceptional associate experience on behalf of the company. He is accountable for corporate recruiting, learning and development, change management, associate relations, employment law compliance and the human capital processes—which includes performance appraisals, succession planning and overall talent management. He began his professional career with Schneider in Feb. 1985 as an extended coverage manager. Since then, he has held leadership positions in nearly every operating unit of the business. Previous roles during his 35-year tenure have included director of Network Planning, general manager of Integrated Delivery Fleet Services, senior vice president of Dedicated Services, senior vice president of Operations, vice president of Alliance Capacity and vice president of Schneider’s Mexico division. As an industry expert, he has represented Schneider on the Council of Logistics Management, the North American Transportation Alliance, the American Trucking Associations Intermodal Council and the BNSF Customer Advisory Board. He has also been recognized as a “Logistics Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine. Most recently, he was awarded the inaugural Don Schneider Presidential Award by Schneider in Feb. 2019. Jadin served or continues to serve his community in his role on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Green Bay, the UW-Green Bay Founders Association and the UW-Green Bay Alumni Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Schneider Foundation core team. In addition, Jadin has been actively involved in youth basketball in the Green Bay area. He serves as president of the Green Bay Area Girls Basketball Association, he coached numerous boys and girls Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball teams and he was a member of the boys’ varsity staff at Notre Dame Academy High School. He has been married to his wife, Sara, for 30 years, and together they have four children: Hanna, Kate, Dante and Tessa.
Paul Northway ’90 (Business Administration, Political Science) joined American National Bank in 2013 as part of a succession plan for key executives who were retiring. In his current role as CEO, Northway is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the local business bank, as well as being the caretaker of the company’s culture. Northway is also a member of the bank’s Board of Directors. With nearly 30 years of experience in the financial industry, Northway is very adept at developing mutually beneficial relationships throughout the community. Prior to joining American National Bank, Northway had leadership roles at Baylake Bank (regional
president) and Associated Bank (Commercial Banking Team leader). Northway is a lifelong resident of Northeast Wisconsin, having grown up in De Pere. He obtained an MBA at UW-Oshkosh and completed the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. Passionate about his alma mater, Northway and his wife, Kristin, have established a scholarship at UW-Green Bay for business students. He serves as a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees. A season ticket holder for men’s basketball and a supporter of the Phoenix Fund, you will find him cheering on the Phoenix from his seats behind the bench. He served on the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association board for a number of years. Additionally, Northway regularly speaks to classes on campus about the topic of selling and sales management. In 2012, he was recognized by the Cofrin School of Business as an honorary inductee into Sigma Beta Delta. Other community involvement includes service on the board of directors and executive committee of both, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley and Curative Connections. Northway served as the chair of Curative’s Rising Tide Capital Campaign in 2018. His contributions in the community have been recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin (Marie Krohn Award) and Neighborworks Green Bay (Community Builder Award). Northway and his wife have two children, Andrew, a current UW-Green Bay student, and Aaron.
Lisa Merkel ’00 and ’10 (Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning) A passionate teacher, Merkel has been an educator at Green Bay West High School since 2001, where she currently teaches Physical Science and Chemistry classes. The effects of poverty on learning was the focus of her research as a graduate student at UW-Green Bay. For nearly a decade, Merkel developed and taught two graduate classes related to the education of impoverished children to area educators and administrators through the UW-Green Bay Outreach Program (now Continuing Education and Community Engagement). She contributes her expertise on the effects of poverty on learning in a variety of programs including the Green Bay West Building Leadership Team, AVID, S3 teaching teams, Student Council and the Medical College of Wisconsin Equity Team. In 2014, won an equity award from the Green Bay Education Association for her dedication and commitment to uniting cultures through education. In 2016, Merkel was awarded the Herb Kohl Foundation Fellowship Award for teaching excellence and innovation in the State of Wisconsin. In 2018, she received a Serious About STEM (SAS) grant for $100,000 from the Medical College of Wisconsin to implement the program she developed to increase positive outcomes for first-generation female students interested in STEM fields. Lisa and her husband, UW-Green Bay Professor Brian Merkel, love spending time with their three beautiful children and Jade, an unapologetically spoiled Weimaraner and true baby of the family.
Diana Delbecchi ‘10 (Psychology and Human Development) is a passionate social justice advocate with a key interest in refugee rights and issues around educational equity. After graduating from UW-Green Bay in 2010, she served as the University’s Student Employment and Scholarships coordinator for almost five years. Leaving to pursue her own dreams of a higher education, she moved to Ireland and received a Master’s Degree in Gender, Globalisation and Rights. Since graduating in 2016, she has spent time working abroad in a refugee camp providing educational programming for out-of-school refugee youth, where she conducted a research project that led to the design and implementation of the first youth education program in a refugee camp of 700 residents. Delbecchi also helped found a local group for resettled refugee youth in Green Bay called the United ReSisters. This group helps make the dreams of college education accessible, affordable and achievable for these young women. The group recently published a book on their experiences titled “The First Winter.” Delbecchi also served as the assistant director for a freshmen travel program at St. Norbert College and is currently the Green Bay Area Public School’s first-ever Community Schools Resource coordinator. Delbecchi was a contributing author for the scholarly publication, “Journey to Refuge: Understanding the Refugee, Exploring Trauma, and Best Practices for Newcomers and Schools.”
Amanda Reitz ’08 (Elementary Education) is the founder of Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary (HEA). She was born, raised, educated and now lives in Green Bay. Reitz’s passion is simple; she loves creating positive change for pets and people across the nation. She founded HEA at just 21-years old. This dream wasn’t supported by everyone. Her father’s words were, “forget about it…it’s never going to happen.” Ironically, he has been extensively involved every step of the way. Today, both of her parents and her brother have made HEA’s
mission their life’s work. Reitz founded HEA when many communities were killing more than 50% of the dogs and cats that entered their animal shelters. Since 2006, HEA has successfully paired more than 4,000 companion animals with loving families. While proud of the impact, Reitz is far from satisfied. There are still hundreds of thousands of animals dying in shelters every year. She wants to see a world where the life of every companion animal matters. Reitz has been recognized by UW-Green Bay’s Inside Magazine as a Service-Minded Alumni, the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce (1 of 20 People You Should Know), and by You Magazine (1 of 20 Women to Know). She’s also a graduate of Leadership Green Bay’s class of 2012. Grateful for her faith, her family and her community, Reitz finds the greatest joy in being able to engage her heart in the service of others—both people and pets.
Brian Mannering will receive the Honorary Alumni Award. Mannering is committed and passionate about the Green Bay community and the important role that UW-Green Bay plays in the continued growth and prosperity of Northeast Wisconsin. Although not an alumnus, the president and CEO of LaForce Inc., has demonstrated incredible support for UW-Green Bay. He is a member of the Phoenix men’s basketball golf
committee, is an avid fan, and spreads this excitement throughout the company he leads. Mannering and LaForce continue to support various initiatives throughout campus including a recent gift to the Phoenix Innovation Park and the development of the University’s new Mechanical Engineering Program. LaForce Inc., headquartered in Green Bay, Wis. with additional offices across the United States, is a leader in providing door opening solutions for life safety and building security. Mannering has a proven executive management track record with more than 30 years of experience driving sales and growth for LaForce. He began his career in shipping & receiving and has held numerous positions in the company, including vice president of sales and vice president. In 2007, he was named president of the growing company, and in 2016 he acquired the title of CEO. Mannering models efforts of community engagement and encourages LaForce employees to do the same through corporate donations and employee activities. A native of Green Bay, Mannering believes the development of a community has a strong impact on the success of a company. Mannering is a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees and is an active supporter of the NEW Community Shelter. He previously served as a board member for the Green Bay Boys & Girls Club. Brian and his wife Amy have been married for 33 years and have three children: Austin, Alyssa (a UW-Green Bay graduate) and Brock.
“Becky Berry, a Marinette native, graduated from UW-Green Bay with her bachelor’s degree in environmental science. Her primary area of study has been with cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. According to Sue Bodilly, the director of content and media relations for UWGB, Berry’s research has been ongoing for the last six semesters, and has been presented nationally, notably at the 2017 International BMAA conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.” More via UWGB grad makes strides with her scientific research | Eagle Herald.
Congratulations to Manitowoc Campus student Makenna Pucker ’20, who has been selected as a 2019 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar and will receive a $1,000 scholarship designated for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members.
Pucker outlined her future plans in this video. The Rosendale, Wis. native, plans to transfer to UW-Green Bay and is looking into a double major in Human Biology and Environmental Sciences. Eventually she hopes to become a psychiatrist or enter a medical field such as genetic counseling.
Associate Prof. Amy Kabrhel (Chemistry) is the advisor of Phi Theta Kappa on the Manitowoc Campus.
The Leaders of Promise Scholarship, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, recognizes 200 Phi Theta Kappa members with awards totaling $200,000. Recipients were selected by a panel of independent judges from nearly 900 applicants. Promise Scholars are selected based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.
The Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program was launched in 2001 to assist new Phi Theta Kappa members in obtaining an associate degree and encourage participation in Society programs.
Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations. Learn more at ptk.org.
Malcore, a Brussels, Wis. native, graduated May, 18, 2019 from UW-Green Bay. The award this year was designed to recognize a UW-Green Bay undergraduate student with the best-judged poster presentation at the 18th Annual UW System Symposium for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity at UW-Green Bay on Friday, April 26, 2019.
The Sager Award was made possible by the generosity of emeriti faculty members Paul and Dorothea Sager. Their endowment was created in 2009 to honor the memory of Chancellor Emeritus Edward Weidner and his commitment to UW-Green Bay and the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum. The Sager Award acknowledges your excellence in communicating original scientific research from a classroom or extracurricular academic project. Your work is a significant accomplishment that reflects favorably on your experience here at UW-Green Bay and the effective guidance of your faculty and staff mentors. Her main faculty mentor was Assistant Prof. Lisa Grubisha (NAS).
Malcore will enter the Program in Biomedical Sciences, a doctoral program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and will be exploring human genetics in her first year.
“Because UW-Green Bay is a smaller school, I think I had a lot of opportunities to get to know the faculty personally, and I even had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant during my sophomore year, which I don’t think would have been possible at a larger school,” Malcore said. “A lot of the faculty was very helpful in encouraging me to apply for graduate programs and putting together my applications. UW-Green Bay also has a large environmental focus, and I had the unique opportunity to be involved with the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity on campus doing both field and lab research for two years with their Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) project. It was through my involvement with this project that I realized I had a passion for research, and I hope to find a project that I am equally excited about in graduate school.”
Her winning poster:
Three other poster presentations as honorable mention recipients:
These awardees were selected from 30 eligible UW-Green Bay posters. The selection committee consisted of faculty members Robert Howe, Vicki Medland, Bobbie Webster (Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Natural Areas Ecologist), James Marker, Richard Hein (Manitowoc Campus), Amy Wolf, Brian Welsh, Brian Walsh (UW-System), Karen Stahlheber and Douglas Brusich.
Success comes at your own pace. Yuntlekalau Mamie McLester, Satuday’s graduating class speaker, knows this well. As a non-traditional student, mother and mentor, McLester forged a path toward earning her degree that was neither fast nor easy, but is indeed her own. UW-Green Bay is the fifth and final college she’s attended on her path to completing an undergraduate degree. Along the way, she’s found the importance in one’s passion should be encompassed within earning a degree.
Her unique journey toward obtaining this diploma today included asserting her passions, finding belonging in the right program, having a valuable sense of community on campus and starting a family. Originally from Oneida, Wisconsin, McLester is of the People of the Standing Stone and she’s of the Wolf Clan.
McLester graduates today with a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations, a minor in environmental science and a certificate in Environmental Management and Business. She was nominated to serve as Commencement Speaker by John Arendt, Forrest Brooks, Carol Cornelius, Elizabeth Wheat, JP Leary, Lisa Poupart, Rosa Serrano, Karen Stahlheber, Alison Staudinger and David Turney.
Described as a powerful Haudenosaunee woman, she embodies the work of her ancestors as a positive campus leader. Her contributions to the upward mobility of student successes include but are not limited to serving as a peer mentor in the Gateway to Phoenix Success program, leading the Intertribal Student Council, assistant teaching undergraduate students Ethnohistory with Carol Cornelius. Her strength in helping others comes from being an active community member and a mother. As a student she attended the Wisconsin Sustainability in Business Conference, was a presenter at the Widening the Circle Conference, and presenter at the Wisconsin Indian Education Association. She continues to advocate for wellness and social change in underrepresented communities.
This past year, as an intern at the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council’s Native American Research Center on Health, McLester looked into policies and practices that colleges and universities could adopt to help foster greater academic success and better overall wellness for Native American students. McLester served as the student representative on the search and screen committee for the Native American Student Success Coordinator for the UW System, and was the only student from across Wisconsin selected to do so. The work she completed through her internship leaves an important legacy for other Native students who attend UW-Green Bay.
McLester credits UW-Green Bay faculty and fellow students for encouraging her to get involved and to use her voice to encourage the real conversations about inclusion and diversity that are so important in Wisconsin and beyond.
“Ms. McLester works collaboratively across all social groups to build consensus and promote inclusion,” wrote Associate Prof. Lisa Poupart in her letter of recommendation. “Her strengths are many and include strong intellectual abilities, excellent oral communication and presentation skills. She is an authentic ally in action to members of oppressed social groups including people of color and the LGBTQ communities. She is always working to understand her own privilege and challenges those around her to grow and do the same. Her approach to challenging others is effective and firmly rooted in respect.”
Upon graduation, McLester will be applying her education at the Oneida Cultural Heritage department as a language and culture trainee. She was recruited by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin to serve as an Indigenous language apprentice, where she will be applying for acceptance into an adult immersion program in Ontario.