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  May 2015

 
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Power of AND

In this issue

Spring commencement to be held May 23

Eight grads to receive Alumni Association awards

UW-Eau Claire again makes Princeton Review green colleges list

Wisconsin, Minnesota rank high for nursing professionals

UW-Eau Claire students meeting the Goldwater gold standard

Prestigious scholarship takes Blugold to South Korea for summer

Biology major completes first-ever University Honors thesis

Blugold women embrace opportunities in computer science

The student behind the Eau Claire Marathon's Blugold Mile

Researchers study worms for answers to human disease

Three faculty honored for mentoring student scholarly projects

Canine visitors help schoolchildren improve reading skills

New Kent State Memorial dedicated on 45th anniversary of event

Alumni Association planning spring events

Champions of The Power of AND

New alumni success stories

Blugold Trivia


Alumni links

Alumni events

Alumni success stories

Blugold Babies

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eView survey

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Spring commencement to be held May 23

Commencement

Spring commencement exercises for 1,362 students at UW-Eau Claire will be held May 23 in Zorn Arena.

Candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences will receive degrees during a 9 a.m. ceremony. Candidates from the College of Business and the College of Education and Human Sciences will receive degrees during a 2 p.m. ceremony. Those unable to attend will be able to view the ceremony online.

A total of 1,270 students are candidates for bachelor's degrees, including 576 from the College of Arts and Sciences, 321 from the College of Business, 271 from the College of Education and Human Sciences, and 102 from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

A total of 92 students are candidates for graduate degrees. In the College of Arts and Sciences, eight are candidates for master's degrees and three are candidates for specialist in education degrees. Other master's degree candidates include 38 from the College of Business, 22 from the College of Education and Human Sciences, and four from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Seventeen students are candidates for the doctor of nursing practice degree. Full story. back to top

Eight grads to receive Alumni Association awards

Shaun Merriman Gary Berg
Tom and Jeannie Flesch Kevin Kjos
John Skoug Tuan Nguyen
Dennis Loney Alumni Association award recipients, clockwise from upper left, are Shaun P. Merriman, Gary Berg, Kevin Kjos, Tuan Nguyen, Dennis Loney, John Skoug, and Jeannie and Tom Flesch.

Eight UW-Eau Claire graduates will receive awards from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association May 23 at a luncheon and ceremony held in conjunction with spring commencement.

Shaun P. Merriman, a 1985 UW-Eau Claire business finance graduate, and Gary Berg, a 1979 English graduate, will receive the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit up on the recipient and the university.

Kevin Kjos, a 1989 music graduate who also received a master's degree in music in 1991, will receive the President's Award, which recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire.

Tuan Nguyen, a 2006 computer science graduate who also received an MBA in 2011, will receive the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award, which acknowledges special achievements and great promise of alumni who are within 15 years of their graduation from UW-Eau Claire.

Dennis Loney, a 1969 speech graduate, John Skoug, a 1975 accounting graduate, Tom Flesch, a 1974 business administration and economics graduate, and Jeannie Flesch, a 1973 business education graduate, will receive the Lifetime Excellence Award, which is presented to alumni who have demonstrated longtime and successful commitment to their careers and communities. Full story. back to top

UW-Eau Claire again makes Princeton Review green colleges list

Campus Mall

For the fifth year in a row, UW-Eau Claire has been named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the United States and Canada by The Princeton Review.

The newly released guidebook, "The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges," includes UW-Eau Claire among the 353 institutions of higher education that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

The Princeton Review, a well-known education services company, chose the colleges based on green rating scores that the company tallied for 861 colleges using data from its 2013-14 survey of school administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school's sustainability-related policies, practices and programs, and schools with Green Rating scores of 83 or higher (on a scale of 60 to 99) made it into the guide. Full story. back to top

Wisconsin, Minnesota rank high for nursing professionals

Student nurses

Good news for the 123 students who will earn their nursing degrees from UW-Eau Claire May 23 — a new report ranks Wisconsin and Minnesota among the best states in the nation for people working in the nursing field.

WalletHub did an analysis to determine which states are best for nurses using factors such as the number of nurses per capita, number of job openings, average annual salary, number of health care facilities and the average number of hours worked.

"We know that the demand for nurses here and elsewhere is expected to grow faster than any other profession in the next decade," said Dr. Linda Young, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UW-Eau Claire. "We also know that many of our graduates will begin their nursing careers close to home, with most staying in Wisconsin or Minnesota. So we're pleased to see these states rank among the best in the nation for nurses." Full story. back to top

UW-Eau Claire students meeting the Goldwater gold standard

Goldwater students
Students receiving Goldwater recognition are, from left, Kelsey Steinke, Sarah Knutson and Elizabeth Stubbs.

Only the top science, math and engineering students in the country are considered for prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, making it all the more impressive to find two UW-Eau Claire students listed among the 2015 winners. 

Blugolds Elizabeth Stubbs and Sarah Knutson are among the 260 students awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year. Stubbs, a junior from Maple Plain, Minnesota, is majoring in materials science. Knutson, a junior from Suamico, is majoring in geology with a hydrogeology emphasis.

A third UW-Eau Claire student, Kelsey Steinke, received an honorable mention in the Goldwater Scholarship program. She is a junior materials science major from Edgar. Full story. back to top

Prestigious scholarship takes Blugold to South Korea for summer

Pa Nyia Thao

A Blugold will spend her summer studying in South Korea thanks to a prestigious international scholarship program that supports students interested in enhancing their global skills.

Pa Nyia Thao, a communication sciences and disorders major at UW-Eau Claire, has received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. As a Gilman scholar, she will study at Ajou University's International Summer School in Suwon, South Korea.

Thao hopes the experience will help her build her knowledge and skill set in working with culturally and linguistically diverse clients. Full story. back to top

Biology major completes first-ever University Honors thesis

Nikki Weiss

A UW-Eau Claire senior biology major with an interest in forensic science will soon graduate with a distinction not conferred on any student who has attended the institution before her.

Nikki Weiss, an anthropology and chemistry minor from Altoona, is completing and defending the first-ever senior University Honors thesis written at UW-Eau Claire in the 31-plus years of the University Honors Program.

Weiss' thesis, titled "Constructing a Narrative of the Past: The Story of Skeletal Tuberculosis," involved examining skeletal data from three different time periods in England, Hungary and Egypt. From this data she determined the proportion of individuals in each population that were affected by skeletal tuberculosis.

"The main thing about working on this thesis is that it has prepared me for graduate school in ways that a traditional lecture-based class could not," Weiss said. Full story. back to top

Blugold women embrace opportunities in computer science

Computer science students Kristin Steele and Natalie Wolf
Kristin Steele and Natalie Wolf are among the 14 women computer science majors at UW-Eau Claire.

Two soon-to-be graduates of UW-Eau Claire have some advice for women considering studying computer science — just do it! 

"Women were the pioneers of computer science, and I think we need to take the field back," says Kristin Steele, who will graduate May 23 with a degree in computer science-software engineering and a minor in Japanese. "You can be the one who shows the world that computers aren't just for guys."

At UW-Eau Claire, just 14 of the 226 computer science majors, or about 6 percent, are women. UW-Eau Claire's numbers reflect a nationwide decline since the 1980s in the number of females studying CS even though career opportunities in the field continue to grow.

Misperceptions about computer programmers and a lack of early exposure to computer science may keep some women from pursuing a career in what they say is a challenging, interesting and high-demand field, say Steele and Natalie Wolf, who also will graduate May 23. Full story. back to top

The student behind the Eau Claire Marathon's Blugold Mile

Nathan Schaffer

The 2,000-plus runners who participated in the 2015 Eau Claire Marathon May 3 had a surprise waiting for them as they neared the end of their race — hundreds of Blugolds were there to cheer them on as they ran through UW-Eau Claire's lower campus.

Members of student organizations, the Blugold Athletics Band and other campus groups lined the way, playing music, providing much-needed water and high-fives, cheering and even spraying the hot and tired runners with squirt guns as they made their way through the center of campus and over the footbridge to Water Street.

Many runners say the Blugold Mile came at the perfect time in their race — mile 11 for half-marathoners and mile 24 for those running the full marathon. The crowds and cheers on campus gave them an energy boost that helped carry them through the last miles.

nathan SchafferAs soon as he heard that this year's marathon would take runners through campus, Nathan Schaffer — a senior economics and geography major from Eau Claire and experienced marathoner — knew he wanted to be part of making UW-Eau Claire a highlight of the racing event. Full story.

See related story about student Shelby Knispel-Greene, who reflects on competing in the half marathon event as she deals with the chronic condition of rheumatoid arthritis. back to top

Researchers study worms for answers to human disease

Jamie Lyman Gingerich
Jamie Lyman Gingerich, assistant professor of biology, worked with students on research that focuses on the role of primary cilia in health and disease.

Worms. To some of us, they're slimy creatures that invade our yards after a rain or what we use for fish bait on a warm summer day. But to a UW-Eau Claire biology professor and her students, worms, specifically nematodes — 1-millimeter-long roundworms — are an integral piece in research that seeks to understand human health and disease.

BraunreiterJamie Lyman Gingerich worked with student researchers Kara Braunreiter, a 2013 biochemistry and molecular biology graduate, and Shelby Hamlin, a 2014 biology graduate, on research that focuses on the role of primary cilia in health and disease. This project aimed to understand one of the genes necessary for proper cilia function.

"Think of the cilium like a radio antenna on your car that transmits signals to the radio — the cell nucleus," Lyman Gingerich said. "When cilia function is disrupted, cells do not function properly, and this can lead to diseases like polycystic kidney disease. We study C. elegans, a nematode worm, because their cilia are surprisingly similar to human cilia, so we hope to be able to transfer new understandings of worm cilia to human health and disease." Full story. back to top

Three faculty honored for mentoring student scholarly projects

Students and faculty at CERCA event

Three UW-Eau Claire faculty were honored for their skill and dedication in mentoring student scholarly projects as part of the recent Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (CERCA). A total of 86 faculty were nominated by students and alumni for these new mentoring awards, which will be given annually.

"The pedagogy of mentoring requires a varied skill set that includes development of appropriate projects, student recruitment and initiation into the methods of the discipline, and the right mixture of support and challenge to help the student develop autonomy," said Karen Havholm, assistant vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. "Skilled mentors intentionally individualize their approach depending on student strengths and challenges."

The Emerging Mentor in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award highlights mentors who have been at UW-Eau Claire no more than five years. Receiving the award were Saori Braun, assistant professor of kinesiology, and Bart Dahl, assistant professor of chemistry.

The Excellence in Mentoring Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award, the premier campus award for a more seasoned mentor, was presented to James Phillips, professor of chemistry. Full story. back to top

Canine visitors help schoolchildren improve reading skills

Therapy dog at Lakeshore Elementary
Lakeshore Elementary first-grader Nicholas Hein practices his reading skills with therapy dog Solomon and Anne Papalia, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of special education and Solomon's handler.

When first-grader Nicholas Hein came bounding out of his elementary school library recently, he knew he was about to meet up with his best reading buddy, Solomon.

Anne Papalia, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of special education, and owner and handler of therapy dog Solomon, sat quietly with Nicholas as he read to the dog, offering the child encouragement and praising Solomon for listening intently to the story being read to him.

Nicholas, 7, spends time each week practicing his reading skills with certified therapy dogs at Lakeshore Elementary School in Eau Claire. His sessions with Solomon and the other dogs that visit Lakeshore have helped him improve his reading expression and fluency. Full story. back to top

New Kent State Memorial dedicated on 45th anniversary of event

Kent State Memorial
Former state Sen. Robert Jauch, Chancellor Jim Schmidt and Student Senate president Jake Wrasse participated in the dedication of the university's new Kent State Memorial.

A time of political unrest across the U.S. that resulted in student deaths in Ohio and student activism in Eau Claire was commemorated May 4 with the dedication of a new Kent State Memorial at UW-Eau Claire.

On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen shot 13 unarmed Kent State University students who were participants and bystanders at a campus protest against the U.S. invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Four of those students died.

At 11:24 a.m. May 4, 2015, the UW-Eau Claire campus community honored the event with the dedication of a new Kent State Memorial on the lawn at the northwest corner of Phillips Science Hall. The date and time marked the 45th anniversary of the Kent State University shootings and the resulting peaceful student strike at what was then Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire to protest the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State deaths. Full story. back to top

Alumni Association planning spring events

The UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association is planning a number of events in the weeks ahead. Here are a few:

Harry Jol
Harry Jol

Let's Do Lunch lecture series. Wednesday, May 27, noon, Eau Claire Golf & Country Club, Altoona. Harry Jol, UW-Eau Claire professor of geography and anthropology, will give a presentation titled "Imaging the Shores of Lake Superior: From Duluth to the Huron Mountains to Pictured Rocks." More info.

Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers. Saturday, June 6, first pitch at 1:10 p.m., Target Field, Minneapolis. Blugold pregame event from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Kieran's Irish Pub, 85 Sixth St. N., Minneapolis. More info. Singing Statesmen alumni are invited to sing the national anthem with current members just prior to the start of the game. More info.

Blugold Booster Golf Outing. Monday, June 15, Wild Ridge Golf Course, Eau Claire. Watch the alumni events calendar for more info.

For more information about these events and others in the works, call the Alumni Association at 715-836-3266 or email alumni@uwec.edu. back to top

Champions of The Power of AND
Power of AND

In this issue of eView, we continue our series spotlighting alumni and other Blugolds who exemplify The Power of AND.

Nick Hora

Chemistry whiz AND
competitive swimmer


Senior Nick Hora got hooked on chemistry in high school. And it came easy to him. The Cedarburg native liked how math combined with chemistry. "I am a numbers guy; I like working through problems," Nick says. Now a chemistry major at UW-Eau Claire, Nick is developing skills that enhance his knowledge in both the lab and the classroom. "Not only are these skills valuable in research, but I'm also learning how to communicate in the scientific world," he says. He's currently part of a faculty-student research team working on computational and physical chemistry with professor Jim Phillips. "Not many people know that UW-Eau Claire has one of the best chemistry programs in the Midwest," Nick says. When he's not in the research lab or in the classroom, Nick often finds himself in the water. A competitive swimmer for 11 years, he's been a member of the Ozaukee Aquatics club, the Cedarburg High School swim team and now the Blugold swim team. At this year's conference meet, he placed in the top 16 in every one of his events. While he enjoys the satisfaction he feels after finishing a hard practice, he's also gained a whole lot more from being a swimmer. "I've learned time management by having to deal with tough schedules; dedication by knowing that every practice counts; and how to be a team player by offering and receiving support and encouragement no matter the situation or how tired we are." To fulfill his dream of being a doctor, Nick plans to attend medical school and study orthopedics and sports medicine after he graduates from UW-Eau Claire in 2016. As a chemistry whiz AND competitive swimmer, Nick Hora has the ability, skills and high standards that will help him succeed as a doctor, and that's pretty powerful.

Read more AND stories on The Power of AND website. And please submit your AND story as well! back to top

Alumni success stories

In addition to the alumni below, you can read about the accomplishments of other UW-Eau Claire alumni on the Alumni Success Stories Web pages:
Dusty Krikau Dusty Krikau '04, a UW-Eau Claire communication graduate, has been named director of communication and special events for the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership Inc. Full story.
Jackson Bigham Jackson Bigham '00, a UW-Eau Claire management graduate, has been named chief compliance officer for SMART Payment Plan. Full story.
Laila Robins Laila Robins '81, a UW-Eau Claire music graduate, has joined the cast of the TNT series "Major Crimes." Full story.
Jim Schmidt Jim Schmidt '80, a UW-Eau Claire English graduate, has received the 2014-15 Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year Award. Full story.
Patrick Guilfoile Patrick Guilfoile '84, who received a master of arts in teaching degree in biology from UW-Eau Claire, has been appointed provost and vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at UW-Stout. Full story.
Lindsey Thoma Lindsey Thoma '10, a UW-Eau Claire nursing graduate, has received HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital's 2015 Nurse Exemplar Award. Full story.
Scott Meyers Scott Meyers '99, a UW-Eau Claire elementary education graduate, has been named principal of St. Louis Park (Minn.) High School. Full story.
Jason Adrians Jason Adrians '99, a UW-Eau Claire journalism graduate, has been named publisher of Casper Star-Tribune Communications. Full story.
Bryan Lenz Bryan Lenz '05, a UW-Eau Claire management graduate, has been named Washington University in St. Louis' first director of recreational sports and campus fitness. Full story.
Jim Mertens Jim Mertens '84, a UW-Eau Claire journalism graduate, has been named prime-time anchorman at WQAD-TV in Moline, Ill. Full story.
Seal Grace Lau '73, a UW-Eau Claire biology graduate, has been appointed to the board of trustees of the Museum of Northern Arizona. Full story. back to top

Blugold Trivia headline
Show how much you know about UW-Eau Claire — AND win great Blugold prizes! Email your answer to this month's question to the Blugold Trivia mailbox (trivia@uwec.edu). Those sending correct responses to this month's question will be entered in a drawing for a Team Blugold T-shirt. The name of this month's Blugold Trivia winner will be published in the June 2015 issue of eView.

May Blugold Trivia question:

One of this spring's Alumni Association award recipients will deliver the "Charge to the Class" during commencement exercises May 23 in Zorn Arena. Which individual has that honor?

Know the answer? Email it, along with your name and class year, to trivia@uwec.edu. You'll be notified by email if you are this month's winner!

April's winner:

Congratulations to Karen D. Wilms Lehner, a 1977 UW-Eau Claire special education graduate and winner of the April Blugold Trivia prize! Karen's name was drawn from among those who correctly answered that Barstow Street served as the venue for the 48th annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival's 52nd Street celebration. back to top

 
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Last Updated: May 21, 2015 Questions/Comments: alumni@uwec.edu

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