NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus proudly celebrate alumni in Peshtigo making a difference in our region!
Every day, Ashley (Kostreva) Haile, of Peshtigo, helps others through her work as an LPN at Advocate Aurora. Haile works part-time with an ophthalmologist and a plastic surgeon.
The 2002 Menominee High School graduate found her path to nursing success through both NWTC Marinette and UW-Marinette (now UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus). Haile graduated from UW-Marinette with an Associate of Arts and Sciences in 2004. She transitioned to NWTC Marinette and earned her Practical Nursing Technical Diploma in 2006.
With her family, Haile is a long-time resident of Peshtigo. Growing up in the region, Haile chose to start local for college, “Especially because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” Plus, staying local for college allowed her to experience leadership opportunities on the court (basketball and volleyball) as well as in and out of the classroom (Student Ambassadors and Student Senate), even in her first year of college. Transferring from UW-Marinette to NWTC Marinette was simple thanks to the communication between the two campuses. “They worked really well together to make sure my classes lined up.”
At both campuses, college success was all about connections for Haile. “Everybody was someone you knew. I felt like they were there for me. You felt important. No matter where you went, you could talk to anybody.” Haile points out that one of her instructors at NWTC was connected to one of her high school classmates and is now a coworker.
Learning local also helped her financial situation. She saved money by living at home and attending colleges with lower tuition, which also meant less student loan debt for the future. “You can get the same education starting local and saving money impacts your life for many years to come.”
Haile’s college experience included some struggles, but she points to those as great growth opportunities. “I stumbled along the way just like anyone would. I learned how to communicate—how to keep those lines of communication open, how to manage every day. Being local really helped me manage everything when it came to getting ready for the real world.”
Haile is proud to say she attended both local campuses of NWTC and UW-Green Bay. She plans to return for further schooling and is happy to hear she has local options once again. NWTC offers an associate degree in nursing and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus offers a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Both campuses are again working together to help students like Haile reach future goals.
NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus cheer on the great work Haile is doing and are proud to call her an alumna of our two campuses.
UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus ’01 alum Amber (Baker) Olsen recently highlighted in the second alumni spotlight of the Menominee County Journal.
In her job as a Public Health Nurse for Delta and Menominee Counties, Amber (Baker) Olsen uses her knowledge of nursing, her passion for education, and her knowledge of her home community to help young people learn about their own health.
The 1999 Menominee High School graduate found her path to public health nursing through both NWTC Marinette and UW-Marinette (now UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus). Olsen graduated from UW-Marinette with an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in 2001. She earned both a Medical Assistant (MA) Technical Diploma (2003) and an associate degree in nursing (2010) from NWTC.
Olsen says her path to her current role was not always certain, but she used resources inside and outside of the two campuses to guide her. She started at UW-Marinette because she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study and so she opted to stay at home, save money, play basketball, and figure out her future plans.
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
As a young girl, Grace was drawn to jump in and help when somebody was sick or injured. If you have a calling to take care of people—become a nurse. Get started today at this website. UW-Green Bay’s Nursing Program provides you with hands-on nursing experiences in a variety of medical settings in the greater Green Bay area. The Aurora BayCare Medical Center Nursing Skills Center gives nursing students real-life experiences using high-tech patient simulators to prepare students for their hands-on, hospital-site clinicals. For more information visit https://www.uwgb.edu/bsn-traditional/.
UW-Green Bay: B.S. Nursing Program Video Transcript:
When people get sick or ill or their even upset like its emotional, you want to help them. And I feel like a lot of people turn away from that and I was always interested in jumping into it. If that’s you, you know you want to take care of people or you want to push yourself to be a nurse and go through nursing school, I think that this is the opportunity.
UW-Green Bay offers that.
A lot of hospitals actually require that you have your BSN within five years of hire. So, it’s awesome that Green Bay offers an opportunity for you to get your BSN and not have to go back to school. You can just be done, and work and I think that’s awesome.
The professors at UW-Green Bay are very approachable and knowledgeable and are RNs and nurses themselves, so they’re able to make students feel ready to go into the nursing field because of all the opportunities you have in clinical as well as in the simulation lab, where your able to practice on patients and then take it out into clinical and be with real patients so when you start your first nursing job you’re ready to go because you had years of experience.
The thing I enjoy the most about the Nursing Program at UW-Green Bay is the ability to take classes that you’re focused on and like what you want to take to your specialty and the advisors do a really nice job of making sure you’re getting to where you want to go.
After graduation from UW-Green Bay, I hope to be a NICU nurse and I feel that after all this, all the schooling that I’m going to feel very fulfilled with my journey through UW-Green Bay and their ability to give me what I needed from them and to move forward and take into the real world as a nurse.
I’m really excited to work with patients and their families. Even like the tiniest of patients because I feel that the experiences that I’ve gained through UW-Green Bay have made me the person that can take care of anyone. Especially little ones. When it comes to nursing you just know that, it’s something you need to do.
Here’s a fresh new look at the Aurora BayCare Nursing Skills Center on the third floor of Wood Hall on the Green Bay Campus. UW-Green Bay’s partnership with Aurora BayCare ensures our nursing students are prepared to deliver high-quality, safe patient care as they prepare for their clinical courses. The Aurora BayCare Nursing Skills Center serves as a hub for clinical skills learning including clinical courses with hands-on skills (e.g., starting IVs), simulation of clinical events using hi-tech patient mannequins, and open lab student practice time. Take a look at our Nursing program and watch this new video.
“UW-Green Bay nursing students, including traditional nursing, RN-BSN completion, and MSN students will (and have) assist as vaccinators, with post-vaccination observation and more,” says Christine Vandenhouten, Chair of UW-Green Bay’s Nursing programs.
Green Bay, Wis.—Announced this week, vaccination efforts across the state will get a boost thanks to a grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP) at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and a partnership with the UW-Madison School of Nursing and four UW System nursing schools—UW-Green Bay’s among them.
“It’s a time for ‘all hands-on deck’ to get Wisconsin residents vaccinated and UW-Green Bay Nursing is excited to partner with local healthcare providers to educate and vaccinate in the COVID pandemic,” said Christine Vandenhouten, Chair of UW-Green Bay’s Nursing programs. “UW-Green Bay nursing students, including traditional nursing, RN-BSN completion, and MSN students will (and have) assist as vaccinators, with post-vaccination observation and more. This initiative reflects the strong collaboration of UW Nursing Schools to respond to community needs and challenges at a time of great need.”
A Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP) news release dated Feb. 9, said “the grant supports the coordination, education and deployment of nursing students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers to provide clinic support and vaccine administration, as well as educational programs on preventing spread and making safe choices during the ongoing pandemic.”
“Administration of the vaccine across our state will require tremendous coordination and effort among many organizations and agencies,” says Richard Moss, PhD, Chair of WPP’s Partnership Research and Education Committee. “We are pleased to partner with the UW-Madison Nursing School and nursing schools throughout the UW System to help address the urgent need of vaccine administration.”
Badger Nurses Collaborating on Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Delivery (BN-CoVED) received a $185,000 COVID-19 Response Grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program as well as supplemental funding of $100,000 from an anonymous donor.
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to more than 8,700 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.
The Aurora BayCare Nursing Skills Center on the third floor of Wood Hall on the Green Bay Campus is nearing completion and has a fresh look. The updated signage includes the text “Your patients are waiting for you. Become a nurse,” and “Save one life, you’re a hero. Save 100 lives, you’re a nurse.”
“Nurses are the heart and soul of patient care and this has never been more evident than during the COVID pandemic,” said Nursing Chair Chris Vandenhouten. “The UW-Green Bay partnership with Aurora BayCare ensures our students are prepared to deliver high quality, safe patient care as they prepare for their clinical courses.”
The Aurora BayCare Medical Center Nursing Skills Center, in the final stages of construction, will serve as a hub for clinical skills learning including clinical courses with hands-on skills (e.g., starting IVs), simulation of clinical events using hi-tech patient mannequins, and open lab student practice time.
PESHTIGO—This year, Peshtigo students will be able to register online for their classes. Guidance counselor Angie Matykowski states, “COVID gave us a little push to get scheduling set-up online. We believe this helps students take more ownership and control of their future. We’re hoping that the online format sparks more discussion between students and parents at home, too.”In the past, Peshtigo students would look over the course catalog, and then select their courses with guidance, and support staff would enter the information. This is the time of year where students and school officials start thinking about the schedule, but the process is looking different. Guidance counselors continue to meet with students in small groups and individually to discuss and develop future course plans. Students are responsible for inputting their own course selections.
Newberry reminds everyone of Peshtigo’s Nursing Assistant and Introduction to Education programs as options in high school. Also, Peshtigo has five AP (Advanced Placement) classes as well as seventeen dual enrollment classes students may use to apply to post secondary college programs like NWTC and UW-Green Bay.
MARINETTE—Sarah Pettit has wanted to be a nurse since she was 5 years old. This May, she will receive her Associates Degree in Nursing from UW-Green Bay Marinette Campus and has secured an externship with Aurora Medical Center—Bay Area. While many choose to leave the Marinette area to seek success, Pettit was able to go through school and enter her dream career from within the community that saw her grow up.Pettit went to UWGB Marinette Campus for two years after high school to earn her associates degree, and also as a way to save some money. “It was a lot cheaper route than going to a four-year college right off the bat,” she said.