UW-Green Bay has provided a Legacy of Learning for the Saldana Family

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Feature published in the Inisde Magazine June 2016 edition, Volume 42, No. 2 (page 37) , through the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay website here.

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The Saldaña family is Green with Phoenix Phever

AN_Feature_Saldana-Family-4-624x416Antonio and Judith Saldaña never lost their flame after graduating from UW-Green Bay and have passed on the spark to their two children Nicholas and Savanah. This family of four proudly represents the Phoenix green.

Both Antonio and Judith grew up in Green Bay, and chose to attend UWGB because it was close to home and it was easy to commute back and forth.

“It had a ‘small town’ feeling to it in that the professors seemed to connect with the students,” says Judith.

After Antonio and Judith got married, they continued to live in Green Bay where they have raised their two children Savanah and Nicholas. Nicholas chose to go to UW-Green Bay to further develop his musical abilities while remaining close to his family. Savanah completed her general studies at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), and then decided to follow in her parent’s footsteps and transferred to UWGB.

“Both of my parents are alumni and I have grown up seeing them consistently employed and competent. I believe that this is because of the education they received at this university,” Savanah says.

Antonio received his Associate’s degree in Social Work in 1985, but pressed on and graduated in December of 1988 with a Bachelor’s in Spanish Literature and Language. Receiving his college degree was a huge accomplishment for him and his family.

“I was a migrant worker from age four to age eighteen. Although I am a fourth generation American, I was the first Saldaña to graduate from high school. When I received my college degree, it was an even bigger milestone.”

He might have come from a background of inadequate education, but Antonio truly felt like he belonged at UWGB.

“I had the capability to better myself. The professors were very interested in my background and wanted to hear what I had to say.”

Immediately after graduating, Antonio began his teaching career, and is now in his 28th year of teaching Spanish in Brown County. He was also given a free-lance writing opportunity with the Green Bay-Press Gazette where he was able to educate people about discrimination, prejudice, and racism for 13 years. To date, he is still asked to be a guest speaker and lecturer at UWGB.

Judith’s time at UWGB was split into two parts. Her first phase was when she was 18 years old, and she was considering studying Business or Political Science. She completed her second phase with getting her Associate’s of Arts and Sciences.

“When I returned, the classes meant so much more because I was now ready to ‘learn’ not just memorize. My younger classmates now were also teachers as they offered viewpoints and experiences that were completely different than my experiences at their age.”

Judith is currently employed as the Pre-employment and Certification Test Examiner at NWTC.

Savanah, a senior graduating this May, is majoring in Human Biology with an emphasis on Health Sciences and minoring in Chemistry. She is the Historian for Tribeta, Omega Eta Chapter. While attending UWGB, she has come to appreciate the importance of teamwork and peer support.

“My peers and I are mostly all aiming for professional careers. Having a Human Biology major and a Chemistry minor involves regular late nights of studying after long days in lectures and labs. This rigorous sequence of classes has often involved having classes with the same students semester after semester. Eventually, my classmates and I opened up to each other and have become extremely close. By supporting each other, we have not only been able to succeed in terms of our individual grades, but also by building a great sense of camaraderie.”

After graduation, she will be applying to dental schools for Fall 2017 admissions. Her ultimate goal is to become an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon, to work on patients with extreme facial and dental trauma and deformities.

Nicholas is a Music Performance Major and an Arts Management minor, and was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma as a freshman.

“I remember entering UWGB as an 18 year old kid with some good foundational music skills and a mild ability to articulate relatively difficult ideas, and now I find myself to be a 21 year old senior who is reaching a graduate level of musical abilities and tackling tough questions of comparative religion. Being at UWGB has made me ask myself what I most value in life and that has led me start living out my Apostolic Faith.”

He will complete the family Phoenix team by graduating in May 2017, and will press onward to graduate school and pursue a double Masters in music performance and composition.

Feature published on June 1, 2016 on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay website here.

Out of this world… Two UW-Green Bay students get a chance to pursue space projects

GREEN BAY –The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) has recognized two University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students for their outstanding academic work. James Vasquez has been awarded the STEM Bridge Scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year, and Justin Rasmussen is recipient of the Elijah Balloon Payload Fellowship award — June 1 to August 13 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in Milwaukee, Wis.

Both students are Green Bay natives and have been interested in aeronautics and space-related topics since they were young. They also will have the opportunity to attend the 2016 Annual Wisconsin Space Conference, held at UW-Superior, in August.

The STEM Bridge Scholarship supports outstanding sophomore undergraduate minority students who are pursuing undergraduate, space-related studies. Recipients are awarded $1,000 for the academic year.

Vasquez, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering technology, has a history working on similar types of projects. He has participated and volunteered at the Barlow Planetarium Summer Space Camp, where he helped build model rockets and researched astronomy topics.

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James Vasquez

“I have been enamored with space and everything related to aeronautics and flying. It will always be a dream of mine to float in space,” Vasquez said. “Being part of NASA’s mission in any way would be a dream come true. I hope to contribute my skills and training in manufacturing and design to propel mankind into a new-age of space travel,” he said.

The Elijah High-Altitude Balloon Launch Program is an innovative NASA project that provides opportunities for students to fly their science experiments in a near-space environment. Student teams will design and build science payloads to be launched and retrieved from a high-altitude balloon that will ascend up to 100,000 feet or more before bursting. Team members receive a $4,000 stipend and present their results at the Wisconsin Space conference.

“Ever since I was very young I have been fascinated by the vastness of space,” Rasmussen said. “I remember being in awe while watching the early Mars rovers land. As a species we are rare, privileged, and unique. We have the intelligence and ability to unify and accomplish so much more. The exploration of the universe is the one task that ties us all together for our own survival and growth.”

Rasmussen is a non-traditional student working toward an engineering degree and eventually hopes to study astronautics engineering, aeronautics engineering or engineering physics.

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Justin Rasmussen

“Our carbon footprint is becoming increasingly critical, so I would like to work toward solving that,” he said. “We need many more scientists and engineers on this planet.”

For more information regarding the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, visit https://spacegrant.carthage.edu/

Press release published on May 23, 2016 on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay website here.

Human Development students hop into YMCA partnership

When the YMCA Youth Development Heidi Marquardt (also a UW-Green Bay Human Development alumna) spoke in Prof. Joel Muraco’s (Human Development) Middle Childhood and Adolescence course, she couldn’t have guessed that she would walk away with eight UWGB students who would sign on for volunteer opportunities at the YMCA.

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Rachel Cammack (left), Human Development major, Hannah Lilly (right), Human Development minor.

Out of the eight, three signed on for the “Girl’s Night Outprogram and another student started working at a “21st Century Community Learning Center (21C)” at-risk after school site.

“The student-community connection is pivotal for all students today,” said Muraco. “Increasingly, it is not enough to just have a degree. Students also need real world experience in their field. The best way to get this experience is through volunteer and intern opportunities. Connecting our students with the community ultimately benefits all.”

Girl’s Night Out is an eight-week program designed to specifically offer advice for fifth-grade girls as they get closer to attending middle school.

“These kinds of programs are important because the kids are in the transition phase into middle and high-school,” said Skyler Toyne, a UWGB student volunteer for Girl’s Night Out. “As they transition, it helps provide a role model for them to identify with, and that college isn’t as hard or unattainable like it’s often perceived. They need some sort of support system as they go through this transition phase.”

Story by Marketing and Communication intern Angel Kingsley. Photo by University photographer Dan Moore.

Feature published on May 9, 2016 on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay website here.

Students board the Train Jam express for real-life gaming experience

They were sore-eyed, fatigued and disheveled, but a 52-hour train ride from Chicago to the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco this spring was still the ride of a lifetime for UW-Green Bay students Tom Rismeyer and Jacob Labeots. They were accompanied by UWGB lecturer Ben Geisler (Computer Science) as well as 200 game designers, programmers and artists from across the country.
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Left to Right: Ben Geisler, Tom Rismeyer, and Jacob Labeots.

“We’re thrilled to continue sending student ambassadors to Train Jam each year. This is the second year we’ve done so, and results from both years are very positive,” Geisler said.

The participants met in Chicago and split into groups. The groups were then given the theme “Maximum Overdrive” and tasked with creating a game that incorporated the theme in the time it took to travel to the conference.

Rismeyer and Labeots joined forces with professional Ryan Smith of Human Head Games in Madison to create their game, “Tickets Please.” Focusing on keeping it simple, they had a working version of the game after 45 hours and a completed game close to the time limit.

“Our game was based around the idea that the player was in charge of a train station,” said Labeots. “The player’s job is to place passengers onto their respective trains based off of the information on their tickets. If the train reaches the maximum amount of passengers it can hold before it leaves, the player gets an extra bonus.”

“It involved a lot of new concepts including user interface programming, artificial intelligence work, and animating in-game models,” said Rismeyer.

Labeots and Rismeyer said that working with the professionals was an incredible opportunity.

“The first big developer that I met was actually a technical lead from one of my favorite game companies, and I was almost shocked at how approachable he was. He seemed like just another game developer among the crowd,” Rismeyer said. “While there was a difference in the quality of work between a professional developer and somebody like me, I found it to be very motivating.”

“It was great getting to work with people already in the field. Their knowledge was invaluable,” said Labeots.

Rismeyer learned about this opportunity in the fall semester when there was an e-mail sent to all of the Computer Science students regarding two slots that were open for students from UWGB to take part in the Train Jam and Conference.

“I decided to apply because I have always loved the challenge of game programming, and saw this as the best opportunity to gain practical experience while meeting new people and making important connections in the industry,” he said.

Looking to the future, Labeots, a fourth-year Computer Science major, looks forward to taking this experience and applying it to his future. “Game development is a main goal for employment coming out of college. This was a great opportunity to get to network with people already in the field and get a sense of what it is like to work in the game industry.”

Rismeyer, a junior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Mathematics with an emphasis in Statistics, aspires to become a data analyst post-graduation.

“While I do enjoy programming games, I do not want to bank completely on game development for my future,” he said. “I hope to be a data analyst of some sort after college. It has become obvious to me that this is an emerging field both within game development and the general information technology field, and data analytics and statistical analysis are things that I thoroughly enjoy.”

Geisler said the Train Jam opportunity is an incredible portfolio-building experience for his students.

“Both of the students that took advantage of this opportunity last year are working in the game development field,” said Geisler. “That’s a great track record and we hope to continue this especially as we launch the Game Studies major in fall 2016. Interested students in game development and design should keep their eyes on the Information Sciences section of the UWGB course catalogue, which will officially roll out Game Studies as an emphasis this year.”

Story by Marketing and University Communication Intern Angel Kingsley; photos submitted.

Published on May 6, 2016, on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay website here.

Campus Cupboard, a hidden treasure

Tucked away in a corner near the Phoenix Club in UW-Green Bay’s University Union is an often-overlooked room filled with non-perishable items that are free for UWGB students and community members in need. What is this hidden treasure? It’s known as the Campus Cupboard.

Originally sponsored through UWGB’s Pride Center, Campus Cupboard is a student organization that helps provide food and other essentials to students and community members in need. Students are welcome to come once a month and fill a brown paper grocery bag with selected items. Since September, Campus Cupboard has provided services to more than 75 students, filling a total of more than 85 brown paper bags.

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Skyler Toyne

Skyler Toyne found out about Campus Cupboard through Stacie Christian, coordinator of Pride Center, and their work at the Pride Center. “It has a nice selection of organic food and a great selection of personal hygiene products,” Toyne says.

“I learned about Campus Cupboard because I’m an intern at the Pride Center, and through the guidance of Stacie was given a wonderful volunteer opportunity,” says Joe Stempski, a graduate Social Work intern, and assistant president of Campus Cupboard. “My experience has been both inspiring and thought provoking to witness these resources being given to the people in need within the community.”

The Campus Cupboard is home to non-perishable food items, along with hygiene products like soap and toothpaste. Every semester, the Campus Cupboard partners with the Pride Center for a Clothing and Household Item Swap, where community members can donate items and take what they need. The next Swap will take place in the Phoenix Rooms from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 4. This is free for any student and community member.

The hours for the Campus Cupboard are 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays. It’s located on the lowest floor of the University Union, in the hallway that leads to the Union loading dock — look for the green and white signs outside of the Phoenix Club near the former Erbert’s and Gerbert’s location.

One student has commented that the experience with Campus Cupboard has been exceptional.

“I’ve been able to find a lot of food, and people who work there are really nice, and respect your privacy.”

Story by University Communication editorial intern Angela Kingsley
Photo by Dan Moore

Feature published on March 24, 2016 on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Website.

‘Once’ upon a time, Lane Lee won a song-writing contest

As people sipped their beverages at UW-Green Bay’s Common Grounds Coffee House during a recent Open Mic Night, they may have listened to a local artist whose voice is as heart-melting as the snow on a spring day. From Suring, a small town just northwest of Green Bay, singer and songwriter Lane Lee has been on quite the musical journey.

Lane Lee (his stage name) or Lane Ludtke as he is known by some, has been strumming the guitar since he learned how to walk.

He recently won the “Once” singer/songwriter contest with his original “Runaway Train.” It was a competition, sponsored by the ARTgarage and UWGB’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts to encourage local singer-songwriters to submit an original song to be judged by a panel of local music experts. As the winner, Lee received priority participation lane-lee-250x250at a music showcase at the ARTgarage, an opportunity to record his song at the Rock Garden Studio in Appleton, Wis. and complimentary tickets to “Once,” the Tony-Award winning musical based on the film of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their passion for music, which played at the Weidner Center.

It’s the second time he won a singer/songwriter competition on campus. He won a contest a few years ago sponsored by the University Union. But this contest has showcased his talent on a new level. Lee said he is constantly drumming up song ideas, and thought of “Runaway Train” in his free time.

“I see and hear of so many people leaving to far away places, thinking that it will make them happy, and that they are free from everyone else’s views,” he explains. “However, I never really looked at it in that way, and I like the place that I’m from. So I pieced it together and created a story line for it.”

Lee’s passion for music, which he shares with his mom and sister (who both attented UWGB for music), along with his appreciation for a “country setting,” brought him to UW-Green Bay, where he studies music education. Lee is student teaching this semester and will graduate in May 2016. He aspires to be a music educator.

“I really enjoy being a singer and songwriter and working on original music,” he said. “I hope to expand on it and make it a bigger part of my life. One of my dreams is to make writing and performing my original music a career. It’s something that I really enjoy and work hard at, but teaching is also one of my passions. I enjoy sharing what I know with students and getting them involved with everything music has to offer.”

— Photo by Dan Moore, University Photographer

Feature published on March 4, 2016 on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Website.