UW-Eau Claire helps to unleash The Power of AND by challenging students, faculty, staff and alumni to explore their multiple passions and academic pursuits. Blugolds are not defined solely by one interest or discipline. They are competitive, successful graduates with much to offer the world.

Here you can be a scientist and a poet; a musician and a marketing guru; a nurse and a world traveler.

What will your AND be?

a head for numbers AND a heart for music
recycler AND researcher
editor AND educator
research AND restoration
embracing cultures AND cultivating success
advocate to the hearing impaired AND social media guru
science AND social justice inspired AND inspiring
entrepreneur AND entertainer
battling hunger AND building skills
triathlete AND tenacious researcher
mentee AND mentor
competitive AND caring
college student AND competitive race car driver devoted teacher AND groundbreaking researcher
Critical Thinking and Creativity virtuoso AND volunteer
a head for academics AND a heart for adventure
first-generation grad AND fearless world traveler
What's your AND? Engagement and Energy
hometown hockey hero AND humanitarian
playwright AND pioneer
Flexibility and Focus
celebrated adviser AND community resource
International and Inclusive
citizen educator AND citizen scholar
chasing dreams AND celebrating history
broadcast journalist AND bridge builder
businesswoman AND bicyclist
hockey hearts AND business minds
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Courage and Confidence
children's health advocate AND health career champion
teaching criminal justice AND taking on cyberbullies
tickling the ivories AND tapping into technology
conservation AND community

a head for numbers AND a heart for music

If you ever come across Dr. aBa Mbirika on the UW-Eau Claire campus, you won't forget it. With his flashy style and big personality he is truly a sight to see. Get a glimpse inside the world of aBa to see how a head for numbers AND a heart for music become a powerful combination.

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recycler AND researcher

Ryley Glasgow is part of a faculty-student research team whose work is gaining international attention for developing a new method for converting waste plastics into useful chemicals, a process that has the potential to significantly reduce a waste stream that's currently sent to landfills. The research — published in the journal Chemical Communications — involves converting waste plastics into chemicals that can be reused to remake other plastics or be used as building blocks for chemical applications in the pharmaceutical or cosmetics industries. While not yet commercially viable because the catalyst the researchers used is prohibitively expensive, the researchers hope their work will motivate others to consider methods for making use of waste plastics. Glasgow, a sophomore chemistry and computer science major, has been engaged in undergraduate research since his freshman year. But the waste plastics project has been especially meaningful because it relates to sustainability and the environmental impact of the chemical industry. Finding new ways to contribute to sustainability is helping him meet his goal of applying his research skills to something that could benefit society. Through his work as a student researcher, Ryley Glasgow is a recycler AND a researcher, and that's pretty powerful.

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editor AND educator

For more than two decades Maria Gifford has been using her journalism talents to help people live healthier and more balanced lives. Through her work as a health writer and editor, Maria shares valuable information about health and wellness issues in ways that are easy for people to understand and incorporate into their daily lives. She's written and edited articles and information for the Mayo Clinic and other health care organizations, as well as edited and guided content on websites such as everydayhealth.com. Maria's consumer health and wellness stories appear in international publications such as Ladies' Home Journal magazine. She also wrote a book on alcoholism and ghostwrote chapters for other health-related books. By using her communication skills to share complex medical and scientific information in ways consumers can understand, Maria Gifford is an editor AND educator, and that's pretty powerful.

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research AND restoration

When Quinn Collins enrolled in a conservation biology class he didn't realize the impact the class would have on his future as well as the future of one of the university's most treasured natural areas. The class spent a semester researching and developing a plan for better managing the invasive plant species that are threatening the biodiversity of Putnam Park, a 230-acre nature preserve that cuts through the campus. Quinn then spent a spring semester helping to complete the proposed management plan and sharing it with campus and community groups whose support is necessary for the plan to be implemented. Quinn — a biology, ecology and environmental biology major who graduated in May — welcomed the opportunity to use his research and critical-thinking skills to help preserve a natural area that provides the campus community with many learning and recreational opportunities. His work to manage the invasive plants in Putnam Park helped him land a job with the Great Basin Institute in Nevada, a nonprofit organization that works with the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. He's now working there as an invasive plant mapping and treatment technician. Thanks to his research AND restoration efforts, Quinn has a job that he's excited about in his field, and he helped preserve Putnam Park for future Blugolds to use and enjoy.

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embracing cultures AND cultivating success

A first-generation college student with a passion for the Spanish language, Lacey Struensee embraced the many opportunities available to her at UW-Eau Claire. She spent a semester studying abroad in Costa Rica and participated in a yearlong exchange program in Puerto Rico. As she pursued her degree in Spanish for business professionals, Lacey never forgot that neither her parents nor her older sisters had the opportunities she had to study while immersed in other cultures, learn a second language or receive an exceptional university education that would open many doors. After earning her degree with high honors in 2013, Lacey began a career in the nonprofit world. Through her work with Latino high school students in an after-school program in Madison called Escalera, she uses both her Spanish language skills and her understanding of the challenges facing first-generation college students. She uses her personal experiences to support and guide her students as they navigate the path toward a postsecondary education. While Lacey will never forget her roots or what it took to get where she is in her life, she welcomes opportunities to learn about the new cultures and lifestyles she's encountering in Madison and wherever her life takes her next. Through her studies and by inspiring others, Lacey Struensee is embracing cultures AND cultivating success.

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advocate to the hearing impaired AND social media guru

Kayla Lake, 2012 communication sciences and disorders graduate

When I graduated high school there was no doubt in my mind how my future would look. I chose to attend UW-Eau Claire based on its accredited and well-known communication sciences and disorders program. The path to my future was very clear, and I was confident in the journey ahead. During my undergraduate studies I encountered many opportunities to expose myself to new ideas and fields of study, all of which I took. Whether I was tutoring in the Writing Center, participating in a cultural exchange trip or getting involved with a new student organization, my mind began to open to the possibility of a different future. When I graduated with my bachelor of science degree in 2012, I was ready to take a path less traveled. My unique education and experiences at UW-Eau Claire led me to my current position as a marketing executive at the largest hearing aid manufacturer and research institute in the country. My education has given me a passion for the hearing industry that has fueled my occupational success. I am proud to say that I am an advocate for the hearing impaired AND a social media guru. I hold a communication sciences and disorders degree and I can build a website. I am forever a Blugold and evidence of the Power of AND.

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science AND social justice

Ong Xiong is biology researcher, a Hmong studies advocate, a McNair Scholar and an International Fellow. Her many involvements and recognitions barely capture her personal and professional journey at UW-Eau Claire. At regional and national conferences, she has shared the discoveries of her research excursions to the Andes Mountains in Argentina, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the Superior National Forest in Minnesota. Each excursion has enhanced her appreciation for nature's diverse life forms and their fascinating behaviors. Her research experiences advanced from collecting data in the field and lab to performing statistical analysis and mentoring fellow student researchers. From this study of the world and its life forms she developed a deeper understanding of her place in this interconnected world. Empowered by her professors and fellow students to actively fight for social justice, she engaged university leadership and increased understanding of Hmong knowledge and value systems across campus. After graduation, Xiong plans to research processes that shape organisms and their communities, and she aspires to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the public and policymakers. A powerful combination of intellectual stimulation and personal enrichment will help Ong Xiong use her expertise in ecology to tackle pressing issues and create a better community wherever she may go.

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inspired AND inspiring

Etzel Lopez-Ortega, 2013 Spanish graduate

I first stepped on the UW-Eau Claire campus my sophomore year of high school. At the time, I spoke very little English and had never been away from home. I came to campus because my ESL teacher recommended the Office of Multicultural Affairs pre-college camps. I had moved from the Republic of Panama when I was 13 years old, and neither of my parents had attended college in the U.S., so the idea of college was foreign to all of us. Through the pre-college camps, I was lucky to meet Jodi Thesing- Ritter, associate dean of students. She opened many doors for me and pushed me to apply to college. I had a low GPA in high school, making it unlikely that I would be accepted to any four-year school. I was wait-listed at UW-Eau Claire, and later only accepted conditionally. Jodi became my college mentor during my first year in the Blugold Beginnings program. She introduced me to professors, connected me with tutoring from other Blugold Beginning mentors and provided the overall support my own family could not give to me. During my first year, I accomplished many things, including earning a 3.5 GPA and becoming president of the Student Association of Latinos and of Alpha Lambda Delta, a national honor society. I graduated in May 2013 — a year early — with a bachelor's degree in Spanish with an emphasis in business and minors in global studies and Latin American studies. I graduated cum laude with a 3.4 GPA. I found my major when I followed my passions, which included learning more about my roots and working with international and multicultural students. I'm pursuing a master's in college student personnel at Arkansas Tech University because I want to make the same impact on others that Jodi made on me. After I graduate in May 2015, I will pursue an education policy Ph.D. at UW-Madison. My future plan is to become a dean of students just like Jodi Thesing-Ritter, who has changed my life and the lives of countless other multicultural students.

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entrepreneur AND entertainer

As a full-time business management/entrepreneur major who also tours Wisconsin performing with a rock band, Nick Anderson already had a lot going on in his life. But when a professor showed his class a video about research around happiness and the specific things people can do each day to rewire their brains to be more optimistic, Nick's life got even busier. Inspired by the happiness research, he created a program to guide people through the journey toward becoming more optimistic and happy. The result of his efforts is "Sunshine 29," a book that he published this spring after forming his own company, A Happier Mind. The book is a 29-day program to change the way people see their days and make them more optimistic and happier. Nick credits a network of people with helping him transform his vision for his project into reality. He's especially appreciative of his professors who have supported his creativity and encouraged him to reach for his goals. As a college student, musician, published author and business owner, Nick Anderson is an entrepreneur AND an entertainer, and that's pretty powerful.

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battling hunger AND building skills

Thanks to Nathan Schaffer, fewer Eau Claire kids will go hungry this summer. The economics and geography major is leading an effort to help more elementary-age kids access Feed My People Food Bank's Weekend Kids' Meals during the summer months when schools are not in session. Schaffer stepped up after learning that the food bank sends meals home with more than 1,600 Eau Claire elementary school students every week during the school year, yet just 1,600 meals are distributed to kids during the entire summer. Schaffer and his team of Honors faculty and students developed a plan to make the weekend kids meals available at more locations in Eau Claire that attract kids during the summer, including playgrounds and the public library. Their plan also calls for free bus service to those sites so kids can easily get there. To bring their plan to life, Schaffer spent countless hours making calls and leading meetings to get buy-in from a variety of organizations, such as the bus company, the food bank, schools and the city. Schaffer, who will continue his volunteer work coordinating the summer program until he graduates, says the project gave him an opportunity to help solve a real community problem by using the creative thinking, problem-solving and communication skills he's developed through his classes — the same kinds of skills that he'll need to one day be successful in the fields of economic development or city planning. Nathan Schaffer is battling childhood hunger AND building professional skills, and that's pretty powerful.

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triathlete AND tenacious researcher

Tayo Sanders II, materials science major, University Honors student, McNair Scholar

In high school I was involved in baseball and football for four years. After my first year of college, I had trouble motivating myself to stay fit. At the Blugold Organization Bash my sophomore year, I discovered the Triathlon club and soon became a team captain and traveled to Tempe, Arizona, to compete at collegiate nationals. Our team continues to grow each semester and helping new members achieve their fitness goals has been tremendously rewarding. Maintaining a healthy body is important and maintaining a productive and creative mind is crucial. My three years of research experience has allowed me to grow tremendously as a student and individual. Research is challenging and can be frustrating at times, however tenacity is rewarded when an experiment finally goes your way! Thanks to the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, I will work with a team of researchers in France on nanoparticles and present at a national conference. Because of UWEau Claire's dedication to undergraduate research, I've been given opportunities I never dreamed of, such as a paid summer research excursion to France. I can swim, bike and run my way to the finish line and make new breakthroughs in nano research thanks to the Power of AND.

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mentee AND mentor

Dr. Nicholas Robertson, 2004 chemistry graduate

My freshman year I enrolled in a general chemistry class taught by Dr. Mike Carney, a UW-Eau Claire grad who had just returned to campus to teach after working in industry for a decade. After the class, Dr. Carney invited me to work with him on a summer research project. I didn't understand the science yet, but the processes in the lab were fun and I was instantly hooked. I enjoyed working on new reactions that no one in the world had tried before. I continued to be part of Dr. Carney's research team until I graduated in 200. It's the main reason I decided to pursue graduate school and my experience paved the way for my successes at Cornell University. I hit the ground running thanks to my lab skills. I now teach chemistry to undergraduate students at Northland College in Ashland, where I have an active research group of my own. I teach my undergraduate researchers the same way I was taught; I get them working in the lab right away. Since Northland is a small college with limited infrastructure to support complex research, I collaborate with Dr. Carney and his students on projects. As a result, we have three generations of Blugolds working together on meaningful research. My time with Dr. Carney changed my career path and enabled me to reach a far higher academic level than I otherwise would have been able to. Those experiences led me to a career that has been immensely satisfying and enjoyable. And as a result of his efforts, I've been able to mentor students who have started pursuing graduate school as well, so the cycle continues.

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competitive AND caring

Koral Pischer, junior marketing major

When I came to UW-Eau Claire, I was unsure about what field I wanted to work in. I switched from biochemisty/molecular biology to social work and then to marketing with an emphasis in professional sales. My transition into the College of Business was as smooth as could be. For my service-learning requirement, I chose to be a volunteer advocate for the Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault here on campus. Although I completed my service-learning hours quite some time ago, I continue to volunteer because I think it is an important cause. My life would be extremely different if I had decided on another university. Within the past year I have been able to take advantage of the most wonderful opportunities. As a member of the Sales Team I was able to compete in two competitions, The Great Northwoods Warm-Up collegiate sales competition and the National Collegiate Sales Competition in Kennesaw, Ga., where our team took first place and I finished third out of 134 competitors individually. The great sales and marketing staff here prepared me to excel in that competition. Because of events like these I received an internship with 3M Co. for the summer. I am the first student from UW-Eau Claire to intern in the Frontline Sales Initiative internship program with 3M, and I will be working hard to ensure that they will want to build a relationship with future students. Reaching for my personal best and working so that others can do the same is powerfully rewarding for me.

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college student AND competitive race car driver

Aaron Telitz is balancing his love of racing and his interest in geography as he pursues his dreams of becoming a professional race car driver and a college graduate. The UW-Eau Claire junior geography major is finding success on the racetrack and in the classroom. He's also finding ways to bring his passion for racing into his studies. For example, he's involved in a research project focused on technology that was first used on race cars but now improves the safety and fuel efficiency of everyday vehicles, and he's creating an interactive Web geography information systems program that locates racetracks throughout Wisconsin. As he excels at the racetrack and in the classroom, Aaron Telitz shows us it's possible to be a college student AND a competitive race car driver.

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teaching criminal justice AND taking on cyberbullies

As a professor of criminal justice at UW-Eau Claire, Dr. Justin Patchin teaches about justice in the classroom. But as an internationally known expert on cyberbullying, he also teaches and works to prevent injustices in the cyber world. Patchin has been exploring the intersection of teens and technology for more than a decade and is the co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. He works to share current information and trends about online bullying with parents, teachers and teens so they can be better prepared to prevent, identify and address cyberbullying. Patchin has given presentations to thousands of educators, parents and teens across the country, and been regularly interviewed by news media from around the world. He has written five books and numerous articles for academic and professional publications. His co-authored book "Bullying beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying" was named Educator Book of the Year by ForeWord reviews, and his most recent book, "Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral," written for teens, was released in December 2013. Patchin also maintains a cyberbullying education website, which includes his updated research, a blog, and other resources and features designed to get current information quickly to those who can use it. He formerly was a visiting scholar with the FBI, conducting research and training FBI staff on issues related to cyberbullying. With his work in the classroom and in the realm of cyberspace, Dr. Justin Patchin teaches criminal justice and takes on cyberbullies.

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hockey hearts AND business minds

hockey hearts AND business minds

A chance meeting between two sports fanatics — Justin Kaufenberg, a 2003 economics graduate, and Carson Kipfer, a 2004 graphic design graduate — in the UW-Eau Claire residence halls set the foundation for a partnership that would extend far beyond the walls of a classroom. The self-proclaimed "stats junkies" bonded over their love of playing hockey; Kaufenberg played four years of Blugold hockey and Kipfer competed at the intramural level. Their love for the game and their specialized skills in business and design led to the idea for Puck Systems, a website tool specifically intended for hockey organizations, and ultimately the creation of their successful company, Sport Ngin (pronounced "engine"). By the time they graduated from UW-Eau Claire, Kaufenberg and Kipfer had a dozen hockey associations paying to use their product. They made the move to the Twin Cities and rewrote the Puck Systems program so it could accommodate organizations in any sport. The result was Sport Ngin, a proprietary platform that currently powers more than 4,000 leagues, tournaments and sports organizations around the world. The company works to change the way leagues, teams, players, scouts and fans interact with a range of athletic organizations. Kaufenberg and Kipfer's shared passion for design, technology and sports has recruited clients from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, China, Germany, England and Turkey, and include USA Hockey, the National Lacrosse League, the British Baseball Federation and the Wisconsin Sports Network — and that's pretty powerful.

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businesswoman AND bicyclist

Packing up and relocating to Paris, France, to begin a business career immediately following college was proof that Jennifer Sallis welcomed adventure. The 1992 UW-Eau Claire French and Spanish graduate worked first in marketing for an American company in "The City of Light" until her transfer with French cosmetics giant L'Oreal in 2001 to New York, "The City that Never Sleeps." Almost 10 years later, Jennifer experienced another grand adventure when she completed a 4,200-mile bicycle trek. The trip departed from Seattle with more than 50 cyclists from around the world. They crossed over the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Midwestern states (including Wisconsin) and the Adirondacks, completing the journey as a group nine weeks later in Boston. The cross-country journey exposed Jennifer to amazing scenery, the kindness of her fellow riders and the abilities they never knew they had. Soon after, the Ralph Lauren Corp. hired Jennifer to lead change management for its global system implementation based on her experience at L'Oreal. Today she continues at Ralph Lauren and lives with her husband in Princeton, N.J. Jennifer chose adventures in business AND bicycling, and that's pretty powerful.

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devoted teacher AND groundbreaking researcher

By his third year as a UW-Eau Claire faculty member, Dr. Matt Jewell had already established himself as an internationally known scholar for his work on research to improve superconductor technology in the medical and science fields. In 2013 he received a $750,000 U.S. Department of Energy grant for his faculty-student research. But Jewell's high-profile work in the lab hasn't distracted him from his first priority: being an accessible, patient and devoted teacher. His dedication to students was rewarded when a student nominated him for a university award through the Services for Students with Disabilities Office. "His continued devotion to his students in making sure they continue moving forward in their education and his inexhaustible patience for all those redundant questions makes him a perfect candidate for this prestigious award," the student wrote. Matt Jewell is a devoted teacher AND groundbreaking researcher.

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playwright AND pioneer

One of the best known and most prolific women playwrights of African descent, Tess Onwueme has received prestigious international awards that place her among a select group of world-class writers. A playwright, scholar, activist and producer, she creates works that explore a range of social, political, historical, cultural and environmental concerns of Nigerians, specifically women, youth and people of the relegated, underprivileged and silenced have-nots, especially those of the Niger Delta and related Third World societies. UW-Eau Claire's first Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity, Dr. Onwueme recently was named the first University Professor of Global Letters. With her passion for drama and storytelling and her success as a scholar, Tess Onwueme is a playwright AND a pioneer.

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celebrated adviser AND community resource

When Bonnie Isaacson goes about her work as an adviser to nontraditional students, she often draws from her own life experiences. She was a low-income, first-generation student when she enrolled at a two-year campus following high school. Fourteen years later, married and with four children, she decided to continue her education at UW-Eau Claire. While working as a program assistant in several offices on campus, she completed her bachelor's program and then went on to earn a master's degree. The path she followed is similar to those of many of the adult students she advises today. For nearly 20 years, Bonnie has used her own experiences to advise and advocate for nontraditional, veteran and transfer students. Her work to help nontraditional students to succeed on campus has earned her a variety of honors, including the UW System's Regents Academic Staff Excellence Award. Bonnie is involved in a number of state, regional and community initiatives that relate to the nontraditional student population she serves. Through her efforts on and off campus, she is improving the lives of those students she touches in her work. Given her journey from returning adult student to advocate for nontraditional students, Bonnie Isaacson is a celebrated adviser AND community resource.

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chasing dreams AND celebrating history

Like many kids growing up in Wisconsin, Brent Hensel dreamed of someday being part of the Green Bay Packers. But it wasn't the on-field glory he was after; it was a chance to be part of what he considers to be the greatest sports story ever — a celebrated and legendary community-owned professional sports franchise that has thrived in a small Wisconsin city for nearly a century. Thanks to UW-Eau Claire's public history program, Brent has made his lifelong dream come true. He's now the first-ever curator for the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. As curator, he's helping the Packers create a new, modern hall of fame inside historic Lambeau Field. With the Packers organization dating back to 1919, the hall of fame will share nearly 100 years of the team's storied history. Brent was teaching social studies when he came to UW-Eau Claire to study public history. While passionate about history, he knew he didn't want to build a career around classroom teaching. He credits history professor Dr. John Mann with starting him on the journey that has taken him to his dream job with the Packers. With Dr. Mann's support, Brent first landed an internship with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. That internship led to a seven-year stint as curator for the New England Patriots. His journey now has brought him back to Wisconsin, where he will help educate people about the history of the team he's cheered for since he was a young boy. Brent Hensel is chasing his dreams AND celebrating history, and that's pretty powerful.

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tickling the ivories AND tapping into technology

tickling the ivories AND tapping into technology

Zach Halmstad, 2004 music graduate

A lot of people are surprised that I made the leap from studying music at UW-Eau Claire to starting a software company. I honestly believe that we couldn't have done this successfully if I hadn't had my background in music. My piano teacher taught me to put myself in the shoes of the listener and see how they react. We've applied that same lesson to everything we do at JAMF. I see so much value in a liberal arts education. When we first started out everyone had to wear different hats, and they weren't all for something we were experts in. You had to learn enough to appear to be an expert but also to perform as one. My liberal arts education taught me how to research topics I'm not an expert in so I could perform as one. There are many artists and creative people who have liberal arts educations who work at JAMF Software. A certain kind of person tends to be successful both in the arts and at JAMF Software. We find that often people who have a talent for being creative are good problem-solvers. Not surprisingly, we hire a lot of Blugolds.

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broadcast journalist AND bridge builder

broadcast journalist AND bridge builder

As ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of major events in the civil rights movement continue, UW-Eau Claire broadcast journalism major Ginna Roe coordinated a historic conversation between a Freedom Rider and a police officer who was charged with maintaining order in the South during the civil rights era. Ginna brought together Charles Person, a young Freedom Rider who was badly beaten more than 50 years ago at a bus station in Alabama, and Drue Lackey, a Montgomery police officer during that same time period. Ginna met each of the men separately while she was participating in the university's January 2014 Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a semiannual trip that takes students to historic sites in the South that were important to the nation's civil rights movement. After talking with each of the men separately, she proposed they meet to discuss their views and experiences. That meeting occurred in March 2014 and was covered by Ginna and other UW-Eau Claire journalism students. Ginna also planned and moderated a public discussion, attended and covered by UW-Eau Claire students during the March Civil Rights Pilgrimage, at the King Center in Atlanta, featuring three of the original Freedom Riders, including Person. By bringing Person and Lackey together for the first time to talk about their overlapping pasts and by enabling the Freedom Riders to publicly share their perspectives on historic events, Ginna Roe demonstrates she's a broadcast journalist AND a bridge builder, and that's pretty powerful.

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virtuoso AND volunteer

Since third grade, Kaitlyn Witherspoon has been involved in orchestras, chamber groups and music camps, and has received awards for her artistry. Along the way she has become a youth mentor — as a teacher's assistant for her school district's elementary summer strings program and through the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. Kaitlyn was the first recipient of the Eileen Phillips Cohen String Scholarship, a prestigious full-tuition scholarship for extraordinary student musicians at UW-Eau Claire, providing powerful support for her to achieve her dreams and make music that inspires others. Through her musical accomplishments and connections, Kaitlyn has proven herself to be a virtuoso AND valued volunteer.

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a head for academics AND a heart for adventure

High school English teacher Steve Wisner turned his three-month motorcycle adventure to South America into a learning opportunity for his students. Using videos, Skype and blog entries, the 2000 UW-Eau Claire grad shared lessons in history, geography, habitat, culture and storytelling as he traveled thousands of miles from his home in Wisconsin to Valparaiso, Chile. His videos feature rainforests and deserts and vibrant cities and mountain villages throughout North, Central and South America. His interviews introduce his students to the diverse people he met along the way, including a Mexican outfitter who worries about falling tourism given the fears of violence in his country and a Tarahumara Indian ultra-marathon runner who competes in races wearing sandals made from old tires. Seeking out new places, people and experiences has been a way of life for this educator. Before settling into his teaching career, he worked as a fly-fishing guide in Idaho and Montana and a commercial fisherman in Alaska, as part of ski patrol and avalanche control in the state of Washington, and as a traveling videographer for an outdoor television show in Wisconsin. He hopes to inspire his students to seek their own adventures as a way to learn about the world around them. By turning his journey to South America into a learning experience for his students, Steve Wisner shows us what's possible when you have a head for academics AND a heart for adventure.

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first-generation college grad AND fearless world traveler

Courtney Allen, 2013 psychology and sociology graduate

As a first-generation African-American student who graduated from a public high school in Milwaukee, I arrived at UW-Eau Claire terrified by the idea of college and uncertain if I could succeed on this campus. Then, just a week into my freshman year, I was elected vice president of my residence hall council. That experience motivated me to take every opportunity that came my way. I went on to hold many leadership positions on campus, including being president of my sorority and a founding officer of the UW-Eau Claire chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Growing up in a low-income family, I didn't have the opportunity to travel much. So when I went on the university's Civil Rights Pilgrimage to the South it opened my eyes to so much. I learned about the passion and the pain of the civil rights movement, but I also was amazed by the differences I saw in the people and culture of the South. Seeing those differences within the United States made me curious about the rest of the world. I came home from that trip determined to study aboard so I could learn about other countries and cultures. My first study abroad experience was a summer in South Korea. I had the experience of a lifetime! I knew I had to continue to travel to learn more. Before I knew it I was off to China, then Argentina and finally England. I studied abroad four times as an undergrad while double majoring in psychology and sociology — and I still managed to graduate in five years. Thanks to UW-Eau Claire, I became a first-generation college grad AND a fearless world traveler.

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hometown hockey hero AND humanitarian

A defenseman who also is the Blugold men's hockey team's leading scorer, David Donnellan makes a habit of doing the unexpected. The senior business management major grew up in Eau Claire, where he was celebrated as a record-setting high school athlete. After high school, he played in the United States Hockey League's junior program and briefly for a Division I university. But recognizing the high quality of UW-Eau Claire's academic and hockey programs, David decided to return to his hometown to continue his education and his collegiate hockey career. A team captain, David clearly is a leader on the ice. But his efforts off the ice are equally as impressive. Each summer David travels to Guatemala to build houses for people in need. He says it's rewarding work because he knows he's helping to provide people with a safe place to live. By shining on and off the ice, David Donnellan is a hometown hockey hero AND humanitarian.

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citizen educator AND citizen scholar

As Ruth Cronje combines her talent for teaching with her passion for the environment, her students find themselves immersed in real-world projects ranging from building an awareness of pollinator habitats to creating a pollution tour of the Chippewa River. A UW-Eau Claire English professor who teaches scientific and technical writing, she often partners her students with community organizations so they build their research and writing skills while discovering the power of civic engagement. By helping students use their newly developed skills to educate the community about pressing environmental issues, Ruth Cronje is a citizen educator AND citizen scholar.

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children's health advocate AND health career champion

Dr. William Klish had a successful, decades-long career as a physician and nationally recognized researcher and expert on childhood obesity. Now he and his wife, Marian Klish, have donated $100,000 to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation in support of a center at UW-Eau Claire that guides students along the path to successful careers in the health sciences. The William J. and Marian A. Klish Health Careers Center, dedicated in fall 2013, will make possible for today's students what Klish was able to accomplish after earning his Blugold degrees in chemistry and biology back in 1963. Dr. William Klish has made his mark both as a children's health advocate AND health career champion for UW-Eau Claire's health sciences students.

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Critical Thinking and Creativity:
Essential preparation for 21st-century careers

Blugolds enter the work world brimming with confidence, natural curiosity and a better understanding of the world around them. Our transformative liberal education is an essential component of a challenging, mind-opening academic experience that emphasizes the knowledge and skills necessary for any 21st-century career. When paired with intense focus in an academic field of study, the liberal arts add layers of thinking and problem-solving skills that transcend the first job and provide a lifetime of intellectual inspiration.

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Flexibility and Focus:
Encouragement and opportunity to explore multiple passions

There are plenty of adventures to be found outside the classroom at UW-Eau Claire. Students can dig deeper into their area of study through internships or research projects, or they can dive into social and cultural activities — or both! Students are encouraged to venture outside their comfort zones and discover new passions — performing in music and theatre arts, gaining leadership experience, participating in community service, traveling outside the region or organizing student activities. Pursuing more than a degree introduces Blugolds to all that is possible in life.

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Courage and Confidence:
One-on-one collaboration with faculty and staff

UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff are intently focused on each student's well-being and success. They eagerly mentor students in and out of the classroom, putting extra effort into encouraging them to think and explore outside their comfort zones. Students often find themselves working individually with faculty and staff, whether as partners on undergraduate research projects, side by side in the community or to secure the perfect internship or job interview. This kind of personal attention is representative of UW-Eau Claire's campus culture, in which people genuinely care about the direction of students' lives.

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International and Inclusive:
Immersion in different communities and cultures

UW-Eau Claire prepares students to be confident citizens of the world through immersive international and cultural experiences. Blugolds are offered many opportunities to interact with, learn from and befriend people from different communities and cultures, both on campus and around the world. Many are introduced to new places and people through study abroad programs or homeland cultural excursions. Others experience communities and cultures different from their own for the first time on campus. They grow to value and respect the different stories, experiences and hopes everyone contributes to the life of the university. Through these meaningful interactions, Blugolds develop an aptitude for working, living and communicating in a global society.

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Engagement and Energy:
A lifelong passion for active citizenship

Blugolds provide the leadership and vision to address community needs by embracing civic engagement and service-learning as integral components of a liberal education. The university builds bridges between campus and the community by connecting its people to service-learning and community redevelopment projects. Students, faculty and staff work side by side with community partners to envision what is possible and make it happen. It's a responsibility Blugolds take seriously. The lessons learned at UW-Eau Claire about civic engagement create a lifelong passion for active citizenship and leadership.

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conservation AND community

When birders and other community members gathered along the Chippewa River on UW-Eau Claire's lower campus this spring for the community's first "Welcome Back Bird Day" — a celebration of the return of songbirds to Wisconsin from their wintering grounds in the tropics — Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff was there sharing her knowledge, enthusiasm and binoculars. A professor of biology who specializes in insect and avian ecology, conservation and habitat restoration, Kleintjes Neff welcomes opportunities like the songbird celebration to share her expertise and passion with the community as well as with her students. As an educator, she routinely involves her students in conservation work on campus or in the surrounding community so her students can experience firsthand the rewards of being stewards of the land. Her goal is that long after her students have graduated they will be inspired to volunteer for nature centers or nature conservancies in their communities. Through her work as a biologist and educator, Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff is committed to both conservation AND community, and that's pretty powerful.

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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire • 105 Garfield Avenue • P.O. Box 4004 • Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
General Information: 715-836-INFO (4636)

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