Category Archives: Teaching Excellence

“I would take my UWGB education…any day of the week.”

Commencement speaker Joseph J. Carroll, Ph.D., a rising star in the world of ophthalmology research, told the Class of 2014 at UW-Green Bay Saturday that he has always believed his college education was a terrific investment.

Carroll is a 1997 Human Biology graduate of UW-Green Bay who today is an associate professor of ophthalmology, biophysics, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a widely published researcher on human vision and the cellular structure of the eye. He congratulated the more than 600 new grads in attendance on the wisdom of their college selection.

“The key word is ‘value,’” he told them. “You’ve just gotten the best value of your life. Trust me. Better than the dollar menu at McDonalds.”

In his address to an audience of nearly 5,000 at UW-Green Bay’s Kress Events Center, Carroll praised the University’s faculty members, calling them not only amazing educators, but definitive experts in their respective fields.

He recalled his own positive experiences with faculty including Andy Kersten, Donna Ritch (and her “infectious passion for biology that has stuck with me”), Forrest Baulieu and even Prof. Harvey Kaye, who Carroll said “unintentionally helped steer me away from sociology by giving me a bad grade.”

He acknowledged there’s a tendency to think a small- to mid-size public university might not offer the same educational quality of bigger and “bigger-name” school, but quickly added that he believes UW-Green Bay “is second to none.”

“The truth is, I would take my UWGB education over one from Marquette, Harvard, Stanford, Duke, you name it, any day of the week. Not only was it a fraction of the price, but in my time as a graduate student and as a post-doctoral fellow, and now as a faculty member at the Medical College of Wisconsin, I have interacted with students from colleges and universities all over the country. Some of them have been smarter than I, and most were better looking, but never once have I felt that they were better educated or better prepared to succeed.”

Carroll said it’s always a thrill to return to campus, which has undergone major changes since he graduated in 1997.

“Walking around campus, I reminisce about the countless hours I spent working and playing pool in what is now the Phoenix Club, relaxing in the “people pockets”, playing golf at Shorewood where a chance encounter with an optometrist inspired me to pursue a career in eyeballs, or watching the men’s basketball team enter the national spotlight with three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, and upsetting Cal in the first round 20 years ago.”

He closed his address by returning to the theme of being intellectually prepared for life’s challenges — “The Prepared Mind” of his talk’s title — and told them to be alert to opportunities and new people and places.

“If you are constantly surrounded by the same people and things, you can’t expect new opportunities to just show up. So don’t wait for opportunities to find you, create them. Actively seek them out.


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UW-Green Bay’s Meacham wins literary journal contest for flash fiction chapbook

UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Rebecca Meacham, English and Humanistic Studies, has won a literary journal contest award for her chapbook of flash fiction, which will be published in early March.

“Morbid Curiosities” earned top honors in the chapbook contest of New Delta Review, a literary journal produced by graduate students in the Master of Fine Arts program at Louisiana State University. Meacham’s work consists of 14 stories that are between 290 and 1,000 words long, in keeping with the style of flash fiction, which generally describes very short stories. The entire chapbook will be about 45 pages long.

Meacham’s collection explores the line between private loss and public spectacle in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, with stories often imagined from found things: suitcases, watches, news headlines, school spellers. Events range from the mundane to the extraordinary, with one tale imagining the voices behind the suitcases of inmates in a New York insane asylum from 1910 until 1960. Another story uses the language of an 1870s primer to help students seek revenge on a cruel schoolmaster, while yet another assumes the point of view of a tornado. Twelve of 14 of the collection’s stories have been, or will be, published in journals. Many are available online, and can be accessed via Meacham’s website,

The New Delta Review award was chosen by Mark Yakich, writer and professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans. In reviewing the collection, Yakich reflects on how Meacham uses death and irony in her works of flash fiction: “What I glean most of all here is that while many of us live lives of intentional or unintentional irony, it is death that best ‘enfold[s] the layers of irony’ we’ve lived. As at the end of the story ‘Mrs. Williamson Winds the Watch,’ we view death ‘surprised’ and something to ‘back away’ from, but also we often find ourselves ‘smiling’ to endure morbidity: ‘giddy as a girl carrying the sun in her pocket, poised on the brink of radiance.’ “ That story is one of two set in Wisconsin, written as Meacham was researching the infamous Peshtigo Fire of 1871.

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Education: Alumni Stories

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Designer Spotlight – Addie Sorbo

Addie Sorbo, president of Strawberry Fields Design and lecturer in graphic design and two-dimensional design at her alma mater UW-Green Bay, was featured in the AAF Fox River Ad Club’s Designer Spotlight. She talks about her new e-commerce business, ScriptCharms, and shares some insight on what it takes to launch a new business:

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Dalke publication

Karen Dalke, lecturer for Democracy and Justice Studies,
recently published an article, “Adopting a Mustang through an Anthropological
Lens: Exploring Cultural Concepts across Species” in Bhatter College’s
Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies. It was a special issue on Animal

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Morgan’s essay published in foreign relations review

Eric J. Morgan, assistant professor of Democracy and Justice
Studies, recently published an essay in the January 2014 issue of Passport:
The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review
. His essay,
“Americans in the World: Reflections on a Travel Course to South Africa,”
discusses Morgan’s experience of planning and leading a UW-Green Bay travel
course for the first time, exploring how the two-week immersion in Cape Town
last year changed both his students and himself. Additionally, Morgan’s review
of Glenda Sluga’s Internationalism in an Age of Nationalism appeared in
a recent issue of Cercles: Revue Pluridisciplinaire du Monde

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Success by design: A big year at the Addys for UW-Green Bay

A UW-Green Bay student is advancing to the national American Advertising Federation Addy Awards competition, having qualified at the district level earlier this year.

Senior Matt Vanden Boomen is one of two UW-Green Bay graphic design students — along with fellow senior Sarah Schrader — who were honored during the district awards ceremony, held in February at Lawrence University in Appleton. Two faculty members — Toni Damkoehler and Addie Sorbo — also took home Addy Awards during the event, which recognizes outstanding student and faculty work in advertising.

Vanden Boomen (pictured above) is a senior Design Arts major who received two Student Silver awards and one Student Gold award at the district competition. The Student Gold designation automatically qualifies his piece to be judged at the national level, with awards presented June 8 during the AAF’s national conference in Phoenix.

Receiving three trophies during the district-level Addy gala is notable because even professional designers rarely receive even two, organizers say. Vanden Boomen remains humble despite the success, he looks toward the future and how the designation may turn the heads of potential employers.

“The company I was interning for offered me a paid position soon after they found out about my work winning awards at the Addys,” Vanden Boomen said. “This accomplishment will definitely set me a part from others designers in the future, too.”

Vanden Boomen received Student Silver medals for his Design Studio III coffee shop “404” campaign and for his Design Studio III “Mustache Milk” men’s cologne package design. The Student Gold medal was awarded for his part in the graphic design of last fall’s issue of UW-Green Bay’s student produced magazine, the Sheepshead Review.

Designing the Sheepshead Review is a collaboration among many students and a faculty adviser, Vanden Boomen said. He was the creative editor on the project, while fellow student Jake Jenkins participated in the effort as the journal’s chief layout editor. The student editor-in-chief, Kelsey Duquaine, gave input into the final product, and faculty advisor Chuck Rybak, English and Humanistic Studies, was also key during the design process, Vanden Boomen said.

Schrader (pictured left), a senior Design Arts major, was recognized for her work in advertising design. No stranger to the Addys, Schrader received a district Student Silver Award for the second consecutive year. She noted that her time at UW-Green Bay has been filled with opportunities to pursue goals outside of academics, and she insists every student should do more than just class work. Earning recognition during the Addys was that something extra for Schrader.

“This is a recognizable award, it’s not just a local event, it’s possible to receive national attention,” Schrader said. “Everyone is striving for it.”

Schrader received Student Silver for her “Open MIC Night” poster for the University Union, where she is a graphic designer.

The image of the brooding artist doesn’t accurately describe Vanden Boomen or Schrader. Their creative process allows for constant change and adaptation, both say. Each year the Addys come around and the two students set out to find their best work from the previous year.

“I don’t design anything with the intention of entering it,” Schrader said. “I prefer to review my previous year’s work, and then decide which has been my strongest piece.”

UW-Green Bay students weren’t the only ones hauling in the hardware during the annual gala. Associate Prof. Toni Damkoehler received three awards during the Feb. 28 ceremony. Damkoehler, a UW-Green Bay alumna and current faculty member in the Design Arts department, earned a Gold Addy and two Silver Addys for designing a promotional poster for the UW-Green Bay Theatre program. Her creation of a poster illustration for the UW-Green Bay Theatre and Music production of Gone Missing was awarded with a Gold Addy. The same poster received a Silver Addy in the “advertising for the arts” category. Finally, Damkoehler’s work on UW-Green Bay Theatre’s bobrauchenbergamerica poster was awarded a Silver Addy.

Another UW-Green Bay alumna, lecturer Addie Sorbo, received a Silver Addy award for her design of the poster used during the advertising campaign for the 2012 production of UW-Green Bay Theatre and Music’s Cabaret.

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Dietetics students shine at statewide nutrition conference

UW-Green Bay Dietetics programs (undergraduate and internship) were well
represented at the recent Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual
conference in Stevens Point. Jessica Davidson, a current dietetic intern and
UW-Green Bay Human Biology graduate, was recognized as Dietetic Intern of the
Year. Caitlin Baker, a Human Biology major with a Nutrition Science emphasis,
was recognized as Student of the Year; and Denise Halbach, a Human Biology major
with a Nutrition Science emphasis, was awarded the Bernice Mateika Scholarship.
What’s more, the UW-Green Bay student and internship delegation (more than two
dozen in all) came up with an idea on the spot for a feed-the-needy exercise as
part of the conference.


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Marcelo Cruz, Ph.D. – Urban Planning: Students Act Local, Think Global

Recreating Green Bay River-front for pedestrian recreational use.

Recreating Green Bay River-front for pedestrian recreational use.

Dr. Cruz’s UW-Green Bay students have interned in local planning and community development agencies and organizations. He strongly believes in getting students to act local while thinking global. As part of this global link Dr. Cruz leads students on travel courses to Ecuador and Switzerland.

UW-Green Bay faculty, students, city and state government, citizens, and developers collaborate to reveal and respond to the demographic shifts in local community.  In the Green Bay Press-Gazette (June 9, 2013), Dr. Cruz reported that residential living increasingly are in demand in downtown Green Bay, the story says, and it’s a local trend that mirrors what’s happening elsewhere in the country. Empty nesters, young, upwardly mobile professionals and dual-income married couples without children are driving the trend, Cruz said. “They want to be able to work and play and live nearby, where they don’t have to use their automobiles,” said Cruz, who lives downtown and doesn’t own a car. He added that urban planners like the popularity of downtown living because increased residential density requires fewer resources and is more environmentally friendly. But whether it’s sustainable long-term remains a concern, Cruz said.

Dr. Marcelo Cruz – (

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Biology Faculty Merkel and Students Published

February 2013: “Prof. Brian Merkel of Human Biology reports the recent publication of a paper in the refereed journal for undergraduate biological research, BIOS. This paper enlisted the help of two former UW-Green Bay students, Kristy Nelson (Human Biology major) and Lynn Sternhagen, (Adult Degree). Also contributing was Prof. John of St. Norbert College. The study examined the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the immune system of mice. The title, author and citation: The Effects of Aroclor 1260 on Antigen Presentation and Superoxide Anion Production in CD2F1 mice. Brian Merkel, Kristy Nelson, Lynn Sternhagen, and John Phythyon BIOS 83(4) 121-126, 2012”

From UWGB Inside Newsroom:

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