Outlook Magazine - Fall 2019

Magazine for Alumni and Friends of UW-Stout

Magazine for Alumni & Friends • F all 2019


Alumni succeeding in health care

Multiple efforts come together in new, rustic Harvey Hall benches

Co-op program has provided 37 years of value to students and employers







22 36

S T A F F Josh Bokor ‘19 Graphic Designer, University Marketing

Chris Cooper University Photographer

Fall 2019 • University of Wisconsin-Stout

Mesa Covill ‘07 ‘09 Senior Alumni Relations Officer

Megan Hultgren Student Designer, University Marketing Willie Johnson Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Alumni Relations Cheryl Keyes ‘92 Production Manager, University Marketing

Amy Luethmers Chief Marketing Officer


Doug Mell Executive Director of Communications and External Relations

Jerry Poling Assistant Director, University Communications Pam Powers Communications Specialist, University Communications Jennie Smith ‘11 Donor Relations and Special Projects Coordinator

A L U M N I N E W S 18 19 22 23 26 28 29 30 C L A S S N O T E S 32

M E S S A G E F R O M T H E C H A N C E L L O R 2 Bob Meyer says goodbye

Almost 40 years later, Hafners are committed to the university

Alumni succeeding in health care

O N C A M P U S 4 5 6

Alumni take California trip in honor of teammate Alumnus visits 100 countries before age 40 Alumni help keep downtown Menomonie current

New chancellor to be named by early December

Cade Walters ‘14 Graphic Designer, University Marketing Emily Wettergren ‘19 Graphic Designer, University Marketing S H A R E YO U R N E W S We’d love to hear from you, and your fellow alumni would too! Drop us a line about your promotion, a reunion, or just to reminisce. S T O U T T R A D I T I O N S Your Alumni Association is interested in learning what traditions were part of your days on campus. Were there bon- fires after the hockey games; did you have weekly dances; what event(s) did your fraternity or sorority hold each year? As you think back to those events, please share them with us.

Stout Proud numbers

Clock Tower bells quieted during renovation project Multiple efforts come together in new, rustic Harvey Hall benches Snapshots of the 2018-2019 academic year

7 8

Alumni Association was formed to serve graduates; alums now serve others

Alumni stats

Alumni have enjoyed varied, fulfilling careers in law enforcement

10 12

Campus news

Co-op program has provided 37 years of value to students and employers

Class notes

P A T H WAY S F O R WA R D 14 15 16 Pathways Forward New Vice Chancellor Willie Johnson

A T H L E T I C S 36

Gymnastics team led the way for Blue Devil athletics in 2018-19

E M A I L alumni@uwstout.edu

Donation provides boost for new child and family center

P H O N E (715) 232-1151

O N L I N E Share your news or ideas at www.uwstout.edu/alumni


O N T H E C OV E R Mary Wileman celebrates May 4 after receiving her diploma at Johnson Fieldhouse. Wileman, a special education major from Naperville, Ill., is one of 1,319 new UW-Stout graduates.

facebook.com/stoutalumni @uwstoutalumni_official



Well, this is it … my last “welcome” for the Outlook alumni magazine.

As most of you probably know, I retired as of Aug. 18, ending 32 years on campus as a faculty member, dean, administrator and, for the last five years, as chancellor. Those years don’t account for the time I spent as a student earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UW-Stout. I am Stout Proud! I want to take this time to thank everyone who has made these years so special for me and my family. After all, my wife, Debbie, has two degrees from UW-Stout, and my daughter Erica is an alumna. My daughter Melly is a UW-Madison graduate, as well as a STEPS for Girls camp graduate here, so Wisconsin higher education means everything to our family. My gratitude starts with the tremendous faculty, staff and students, who I was privileged to work with every day. As a former student here myself, I have a special appreciation for the bright, hard-working and innovative students who attend UW- Stout. I also am proud of the 98.7 percent employment rate our students have within six months of leaving campus. The success of our students is directly attributable to the dedication and excellence of our faculty and staff. As a former faculty member (and college dean), I know how hard our faculty and staff work and how that work translates into student and institutional success. Our alumni also are a source of tremendous pride and enjoyment for me. I attended as many alumni events as I could, and I always came away with a smile and a special appreciation for how fondly our alumni look back at their time on campus and how happy they are to get together with other UW-Stout graduates. A big part of UW-Stout’s success depends on us maintaining strong partnerships with business and industry. We rely on these partners to help us keep our curriculum current, to employ our students, both through our co-op program and after graduation, and to help us financially. We do our best to return the favor, especially through the Discovery Center, to help our business and industry partners thrive. As chancellor I worked closely with other chancellors in the UW System, our Board of Regents and UW System leadership, including President Ray Cross. These are true professionals who work hard under very trying conditions, and I was proud to call them colleagues. It is always hard to say goodbye, but I leave knowing that UW-Stout has a bright future. Interim Chancellor Patrick Guilfoile, our former provost, will do an excellent job. He is bright, hard-working, conscientious, and will be assisted by our senior leadership team. Now is the time for me and my family to start a new phase in our lives. We will always be grateful for our time at UW-Stout and will return as often as possible.

So, thank you and best wishes. Go Blue Devils!


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K


FA L L 2 0 1 9


The search for a leader New chancellor to be named by early December; interim leaders appointed

The search is on for the eighth chancellor of UW-Stout.

That search began after Chancellor Bob Meyer announced in March that he was retiring after 32 years of working at UW-Stout, the last five as chancellor. Meyer’s last day was Aug. 18. Former Provost Patrick Guilfoile is serving as interim chancellor. Associate Vice Chancellor Glendali Rodriguez is serving as interim provost. The UW System Board of Regents has established a search and screen committee to recruit and review applications for the next chancellor. Members are: • Vice chair: Julie Bates-Maves, associate professor in the College of Education, Hospitality, Health and Human Sciences (faculty) • Former Regent John Robert Behling • Anne Kelly Hoel, professor in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management (faculty) • Regent Cris Peterson • Robert Ward, board member, Stout University Foundation (community/alumni member) • Alexander Serier, vice president, Stout Student Association (student) • Regent Carolyn Stanford Taylor • Former Regent S. Mark Tyler A consulting firm, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, is aiding in the search and screen process. A position description is available at: https://uwstout.cld.bz/ Chancellor-Search. The schedule for the search and screen process calls for all applications to be due Sept. 13. Semifinalists will be interviewed at a neutral site Oct. 18-20. Finalists are scheduled to visit campus Nov. 4-15. The Board of Regents is scheduled to appoint the new chancellor Dec. 5-6. • Chair: Regent Jason Plante • Lystra Yates, records manager, Registration and Records (staff)

It is undetermined, at present, when the new chancellor would actually take office.

More information is available at: www.uwstout.edu/chancellor-search.

Patrick Guilfoile

Glendali Rodriguez


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K





#1 NO. 1





NO. 4 IN U.S.



NO. 16 IN U.S.




TOP 400 IN U.S.

NO. 21 IN U.S.




FA L L 2 0 1 9


sound familiar to all who have walked on or near UW-Stout’s campus has gone away temporarily — Sounds of Silence Clock Tower bells quieted during renovation project; North Hall, Price Commons reopen A the Clock Tower bells in Bowman Hall.

The five bells, which sound the Westminster chime every quarter hour during the day and evening and ring for special occasions, were silenced in May because of ongoing renovation on the historic building. Workers are putting a new copper roof on the tower, refurbishing the quill weather vane and repairing doors, brick and steel supports. The work is part of an $8.95 million renovation project that began in spring 2018 and will end in October or in spring 2020, depending on the weather. The bells still can be rung for special occasions, such as funeral tolls for retirees and employees. Most of the Bowman Hall work has been on the exterior, replacing about 30,000 damaged bricks, mortar throughout and some brownstone accents. New, historically accurate windows and doors are being installed. Also, the one-floor extension on the south end that houses Registration and Records was renovated inside, exposing original brick and beams. Bowman Hall was built in 1897 by James Huff Stout, the university’s founder. North Hall, built in 1967, was completely renovated for $21.74 million. It features a new main entrance, new lounges in the center and new bathrooms, which were moved to the exteriors of the building as part of 14,000 square feet of new space. All student rooms were updated. Merle M. Price Commons, also built in 1967, fully reopened in August after a $7.57 million first-floor renovation. Changes include new glass entrances, a new patio on the west side and a central fireplace lounge, along with renovated student services offices and a new Qube — the LGBTQ resource center. The second-floor, previously remodeled, houses a student cafeteria; it remained open during the renovation. Although Bowman Hall work continues, two projects have wrapped up for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.

Top and middle: Workers have been repairing and replacing brick and stone on Bowman Hall and the Clock Tower; bottom: construction workers making renovations to North Hall.


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

Donation, university history, student work come together in new, rustic Harvey Hall benches


“We want to be supportive of Stout because it’s a great school,” said Jerry Talen, now of Chicago, who also was an adjunct professor at UW-Stout. Emma Talen died in 2018. The Talens also have a charitable trust and scholarship in their name with the Foundation. Along with the engraved university names, the benches will have the Made at Stout and Salzman logos. Each bench, more than 6 feet long and weighing about 200 pounds, features thick parallel beams, end caps and four legs. “They’re rustic, yet elegant,” Johnson said. “They have a sturdiness to them, a nice shape and are quite comfortable.” One of the student workers is Meghan Cops, a senior technology education major. She enjoyed learning new skills during the process and contributing to a project with permanence. “Whenever I come back to Stout, they’ll still be here,” she said.

project that will help UW-Stout students take a load off their feet has come together thanks to a donation, a design that incorporates university history, and applied learning. Five wood benches are being created in Jarvis Hall Tech Wing and will be installed this fall in the corridors of Harvey Hall, one of the university’s oldest and busiest classroom buildings. Each white pine bench will be inscribed with one of the university’s five historic names: Stout Manual Training School, Stout Institute, Stout State College, Stout State University and UW-Stout, with fonts appropriate for the time periods. They are the product of much collaboration. Former city residents Emma and Jerry Talen of Menomonie donated to Stout University Foundation to kick off the project, and retired architecture professor Courtney Nystuen designed the benches. The wood was partially donated by alumnus J.R. Salzman, owner of J.R. Salzman Wood Company near Menomonie. The benches were made under the supervision of Professor Jerry Johnson and with five students. The Talens owned First Bank and Trust next to campus from 1980 to 1995, a bank once run by UW-Stout founder James Huff Stout and now home to the Graduate School. When a new bank — Dairy State — was built on the east side of town, their friend Nystuen designed it. He used timber peg construction — no nails. The benches also are timber peg.


FA L L 2 0 1 9




U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

AN IDEA COMES OF AGE UW-Stout: 1891-2016

The book that chronicles the first 125 years of UW-Stout’s history is available at a new website and a new price. “An Idea Comes of Age: UW-Stout, 1891-2016,” can be purchased through the university at Shoppes@Stout, a university marketplace, or go to bit.ly/30vyApr. The price has been reduced to $19.95, plus tax. Orders, which will include a signed copy of the book, can be picked up on campus or mailed for an additional charge. The 498-page hardcover book includes nearly 140 historic photographs.


Campus News

Sorensen Hall dedicated In late October, a dedication was held for the renaming of Millennium Hall to Sorensen Hall, in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Charles W. Sorensen. He was chancellor from 1988 to 2014 and died in 2018. “Chuck would be pleased and proud of this great honor,” said Toni Poll-Sorensen, his wife, who attended along with 13 other family members and about 150 special guests. A plaque with a photo of Sorensen and highlights of his career was installed in the second-floor atrium.

Polytechnic Summit returns In June, UW-Stout hosted the Polytechnic Summit, 10 years after holding the inaugural summit. More than 100 academic and business leaders attended from 16 polytechnic universities, including from six foreign countries. The summit helps polytechnics discuss the latest applied research and trends and to explore opportunities to collaborate, partner and share best practices. First esports team planned In the spring, the university approved a plan to add an esports team in fall 2020. The coed team, first in the UW System, would play video games competitively against other esports college teams across the country through the internet. The popularity of esports at universities — about 125 teams in the U.S. — and as a professional sport has taken off in the past few years.

New computer networking labs opened In February, four new Computer

Networking and Cyber Security Labs were opened in Micheels Hall. The expanded labs, with team work stations and equipment matching each lab’s level of instruction, previously were in Fryklund Hall. Education program anniversaries Two anniversary celebrations will be held this fall for School of Education programs. The 100th anniversary of career and technical training and education program will be Saturday, Sept. 28. The 50th anniversary of the marketing and business education program will be Friday, Oct. 4, the day before homecoming.


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

Motion capture studio opens In May, a School of Art and Design grand opening was held for the new motion capture studio in Micheels Hall. Movements of an actor in a special suit are brought to life with animation software, making the impossible seem possible through special effects. Motion capture studios are standard in the movie industry and are used in other fields, such as video games, health care and athletics. Food pantry for students opens In April, Helping Hand food plus pantry for students opened in University Services, 817 S. Broadway St. It provides access to food and other life essentials for students facing any level of food insecurity. Nationally, about one-third of university students are food-insecure.

Blue Devil Guarantee scholarship Many first-year students at UW-Stout are benefiting from the new Blue Devil Guarantee scholarship. All students automatically qualify if they generally meet UW-Stout’s admission standards. The awards are $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000, renewable for a second year, depending on ACT or SAT score and high school grade-point average. Professor receives UW System award, grant In the spring, Saleh Alnaeli, an assistant professor of computer science, received the prestigious UW System Regents Scholar Award, along with a $50,000 grant. Alnaeli will lead a nine-person team, mostly students, in 2019 and 2020 at UW-Stout and UW-Parkside in a software security research project.

Video major, No. 50, approved In October, a new undergraduate major — UW-Stout’s 50th — in video production was approved by the UW System. It builds on the existing photography and video minor, along with other related majors such as graphic communications and graphic design. “This program is not aimed at film and video as fine art, but rather as a communication medium for business, nonprofits and other entities wishing to reach an audience through visual means,” Interim Chancellor Patrick Guilfoile said.


FA L L 2 0 1 9


Co-op program has provided 37 years of value to students and employers


ob Dahlke, director of the Placement Office in 1982,

recalled being nervous as he prepared to convince the Chancellor’s Council to start a Cooperative Education program at UW-Stout. But the now-retired director of Career Services knew it was the type of program the founder of the university, Sen. James Huff Stout, would have favored with its hands-on approach to educating students for careers. “For many reasons, it seemed like a commonsense idea that reached its time to be born,” Dahlke said. After the Chancellor’s Council approved the request to write a five-year grant, the program started with eight students. Over the past 37 years, there have been nearly 22,500 co-op enrollments, 1,058 in 2017-18, supporting UW- Stout’s polytechnic designation by providing students with the opportunity to experience an active and applied focus on learning in their professional field. Students receive academic credit for paid positions related to their majors. All undergraduate and graduate majors offer Cooperative Education programs. It has grown to be one of the largest programs in the country and the largest in Wisconsin with about 578 employers providing job sites. “Companies were taking a risk hiring college graduates without experience,” said Dahlke, who retired in 1993. “Furthermore, companies were spending more time and resources on training programs.” In contrast, those studying to be teachers were required to take a semester as student teachers, proving they were ready and wanted to enter the field. “They were hiring a graduate who knew what they wanted to do,” Dahlke said. “They were a proven commodity.” “Students returning from co-op share their experiences with classmates and teachers, earn money to offset tuition, help to solidify their career choice, understand the value of work experience related to their majors and often lock up a job offer upon graduation,” Dahlke said.

Bryan Barts, director of Career Services (left), with Bob Dahlke, former director and the driving force behind the creation of UW-Stout’s co-op program.

That still rings true. Co-op students report feeling more confident in their professional abilities and gain an increased understanding of workplace expectations. “It’s a real experience that has value and meaning to a student and an employer,” said UW-Stout Director of Career Services Bryan Barts. “Students find value in what they are doing in their education and learn how it applies to their future.” Under the program, students must work in paid positions for a minimum of 320 hours per term. Many students choose to take part in more than one co-op. During 2017-18 the average hourly wage for co- op enrollments was $15.52. Achievement Award from CEIA, the Cooperative Education and Internship Association. Knudtson held a co-op from June to December 2017 at Johnsonville, the bratwurst and sausage company from Sheboygan Falls. The packaging major worked with Johnsonville’s packaging team, under the mentorship of several Stout packaging alumni. He began a full- time job in April at General Mills in the Twin Cities. Bethany Henthorn, Cooperative Education coordinator, said co-ops are a triple win — for employers, students and keeping the In April, December graduate Ryan Knudtson earned the National Cooperative Education Student

university on the pulse of industry needs. Industry and university relationships are built and strengthened, often resulting in financial and equipment support. “I always tell students the co-op program is our secret sauce,” Henthorn said “This is the experience that is going to make them highly employable. We want the co-op experience to springboard them into their professional careers.” In the university’s most recent Career Services annual report, 98.7% of UW- Stout graduates had jobs or were furthering their education within six months of leaving campus. Henthorn noted the co-op program helps support those outcomes. “When you have a UW-Stout graduate who has participated in co-op, they are ready to work,” she noted. Barts expects the program will expand. “I see it happening more as parents and students look for clear evidence of the value of higher education and how it translates and prepares graduates for the workplace,” he said. The Career Services office would like to thank and acknowledge the work and commitment by several individuals who have been instrumental in the program’s longevity and success, Dorothy Dale, Howard Slinden, Amy Lane, Jacquelyn Goodman and LaMont Meinen.


FA L L 2 0 1 9




reetings UW-Stout alumni and friends. It is with great pleasure that I join the Stout University Foundation team as the new Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Alumni Relations. UW-Stout’s dedication to its polytechnic mission and its unique blend of liberal arts and hands-on learning is not only what drove me to apply for this role but is what has driven the extraordinary progress made toward our Pathways Forward campaign goal. I am excited to be a part of a truly transformational time for UW-Stout. With one year remaining in our campaign, we are poised to achieve the goals established under the leadership of former Chancellor Meyer, the Stout University Foundation Board and the Pathways Forward Campaign Steering Committee. Thank you to all our alumni, friends and industry partners who have chosen to invest in UW-Stout. You have shown that every gift, regardless of size, makes an impact on our campus and allows us to continue delivering the best educational experience of our students. Over the next year, I look forward to meeting with alumni and friends around the country and learning more about UW-Stout through your passion and stories.

Warm regards,

Willie Johnson


BEGAN WORK: May 1, replacing Mark Parsons, who retired April 1

PREVIOUS POSITION : Vice president of Development and Alumni Relations at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill. EDUCATION: Master’s in business administration, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University; bachelor’s degrees in business administration and social work, Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa PERSONAL: Grew up near Des Moines, Iowa. He and his wife, Sandy, have two grown children, Evan and Chelsea. He likes to walk four to five miles a day and enjoys visiting presidential libraries and museums. QUOTE: “What we are here for is the students. We have to make sure they have a meaningful experience at this institution.”


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K


CAMPAIGN TOTAL $38,626,071

OF $35,000,000 GOAL $40,000,000 ASPIRATIONAL GOAL




$16,888,011 OF $15M GOAL

$12,169,246 OF $12M GOAL

$9,568,814 OF $8M GOAL



FA L L 2 0 1 9


the future caring for

donation provides boost for new child and family center


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

The CFSC is a child-care lab on campus — one of only two in the UW System — where UW-Stout students in early childhood education and other majors help care for and observe children. The current house-like facility with an outdoor playground is aging and has space issues, both of which are limiting its potential. Ross Denison’s donation is a major boost for a proposed facility that could cost $5.5 million. Space is split between the center and Heritage Hall. “This is a fine university, and we should have a premier early childhood center,” Ross Denison said. “The time has come for early childhood alumni to kick it up a notch and confirm that this is a cutting-edge program. As alumni, we have benefited greatly from our Stout experience, and it’s time to pay it forward.” Ross Denison, of Milwaukee and Fort Myers, Fla., would love to see a new facility that stands out, one so impressive that people would say, “We have to go up to UW-Stout and see that.” “The possibilities are endless. Anything we can do that helps with positive child- rearing benefits us all,” she said. Ross Denison graduated from UW- Stout in 1970 in early childhood education. It’s where she came of age as an adult. “It was growing up. I loved learning and growing up. I was not a

great student, but Stout gave me this chance,” she said. “It was just the best. I just thrived here.” She went on to earn her master’s degree from UW-Stout in 1974 in adult education. Her career included 30- plus years as training coordinator with 4C-Community Coordinated Child Care of Milwaukee County. She and her late husband, Hugh Denison, had one son. She credits Hugh with impressing upon her the importance of giving back. He was chair of a $65 million capital campaign at his alma mater, Lawrence University in Appleton. “He loved asking people for money. I learned everything about philanthropy from him. He got me thinking about a Stout gift,” she said. She has made other donations to UW- Stout over the years and served on the School of Education advisory board in 2004-05. Beyond the child center at UW-Stout, Ross Denison believes it’s important to support higher education, especially with the UW System facing reduced state funding in recent years. UW-Stout can be a more expensive university to operate because of its polytechnic designation and the need for cutting-edge equipment to support program options. open to everybody, places like Stout.” “What better thing is there than education? I love places that are

Mary Ross Denison, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UW-Stout, has donated $1 million toward a new Child and Family Study Center on campus. M ary Ross Denison knows firsthand that an investment in someone’s future can make a difference. She was a somewhat unsure young student from Milwaukee when UW-Stout took a chance on her in the mid-1960s. That investment changed her life — and by extension other lives through her eventual career in early childhood education. Ross Denison wants UW-Stout to continue to change lives. It’s why she has donated $1 million to the Pathways Forward comprehensive campaign for a new Child and Family Study Center, along with a separate estate gift.

“What better thing is there than education? I love places that are

open to everybody, places like Stout. Education is a way out. We need to start with these babies, the earlier the better,” she said.


FA L L 2 0 1 9


L ike many UW-Stout graduates, Tracy and Kerry Hafner look back fondly at their years on campus — the friendships they made, professors who made a difference in their lives, the education that laid the foundation for their careers. When their diplomas were handed out — Tracy 1981, Kerry 1982 — they headed down the highway to put that education to good use. In their case, however, UW-Stout never fully disappeared from their rearview mirror. Appreciative of the experiences they had — they met as freshmen and married in 1983 — the university always has been a special place to them. It’s why, as they approach their retirement years, they’ve chosen to bookend their lives by committing to UW-Stout a second time. This time the Hafners, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., are paying it forward to other students. They have created two endowments in applied mathematics and computer science, a scholarship named after one of Kerry’s professors, Nasser Hadidi, and a professional development fund for faculty. In addition, they have provided ongoing support for Blue Devil football and have made an estate commitment to Stout University Foundation. “We’ve done well in our careers and have the financial wherewithal to give something back,” Kerry said, noting they plan to return to campus in September for the Foundation’s annual scholarship reception. Almost 40 years later, Hafners are committed to the university

Tracy grew up in the Minneapolis area and graduated in home economics with a business concentration. Her career has been in mortgage banking, currently with Central Bank Co. in Kansas City. Kerry, from Milwaukee, graduated in applied mathematics then went to the University of North Carolina, earning master’s and Ph.D. degrees in biostatistics. He applied after Hadidi made him aware of UNC’s highly regarded program. “It changed my life completely,” Kerry said, noting he received a prestigious federal grant from UNC that paid his tuition and provided a job. Kerry is a senior vice president at PRA Health Sciences, overseeing federally regulated human trials for new drugs. “It all goes back to the things I learned at UW-Stout and North Carolina. I use them every day,” he said. Some of their fondest memories of UW-Stout revolve around football. Kerry was a standout tight end, inducted into the school Hall of Fame. Tracy and friends went to every game, piling into her station wagon for road games. In 1982, Kerry was signed by the Green Bay Packers as a free agent and made it to the second-to-last roster cut on Coach Bart Starr’s squad before the season began. Recently, the Hafners, who have two sons, hosted a Stout Alumni Association event in the Kansas City area and hope to see it grow. “Everybody had the same sentiment of great memories and a good education,” Tracy said.


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

Good Doctors Stout Of THE

Alumni succeeding in health care, including recent graduate accepted at Harvard Medical School


nown for its strong programs in technology, art,

design, education, engineering and management, UW-Stout might not always be on the radar of students looking to enter the health care field. Yet, for the past 20 years UW-Stout has been turning out graduates who are succeeding across a broad spectrum of careers in health care. What’s the secret to attending UW- Stout and becoming a doctor, dentist or pharmacist, to name a few options? The applied science program, applied biochemistry and molecular biology program and other programs have core classes that prepare students to enter graduate school professional programs. A case in point is Trever Koester, a May 2018 applied science graduate who had his eye on medical school all along. He took the MCAT — medical college admission test — that summer, scored in the 99th percentile and began applying to medical schools. Among those that said yes was one at the top of his list — Harvard. “It was pretty unbelievable,” he said, recalling receiving the acceptance email March 1. “It’s a very tough process even to apply, and the rejection rate is so high.” For example, the 2022 class a year ahead of him has 165 students out of more than 6,900 who applied.

K o e s t e r



In early August, he began classes at the Harvard medical campus in Boston — separate from the main campus in nearby Cambridge, Mass., ready to tackle four years at one of the world’s best-known schools, then four to five years of a residency. “Choosing Stout was one of the best decisions I ever made. The university did a phenomenal job preparing me for the MCAT,” said Koester, who graduated from UW- Stout in three years with a 4.0 grade-point average. For the past year, Koester was a clinical research coordinator at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. He helped conduct research on a rare pediatric hip disease, something he believed set him apart from other Harvard applicants, and had opportunities to meet with children and families affected by it. Having overcome several adolescent health issues, Koester hopes to become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. “You can make a big difference in people’s lives,” he said.

Trever Koester, right, and research interns at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul demonstrate a virtual reality system that makes cast removal for young children less traumatic. Koester ‘18, started at Harvard Medical School this summer.


FA L L 2 0 1 9


Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2014. He founded Elevate Life Chiropractic in his hometown of Stevens Point. He started in the business administration program but switched to applied science after realizing his career calling. “UW-Stout had everything I needed to advance to graduate school,” Trzebiatowski said. “Having access to advanced technology within the labs challenged me to explore and challenge myself.” A May graduate, Joshua Freyholtz, is beginning the Surgical First Assistant program at Mayo College of Health and Sciences in Rochester, Minn., with an eye on eventually becoming a physician assistant. “The applied science program was able to set me up for success,” Freyholtz said.

Multiple success stories

having instructors willing to assist with test prep in areas I felt I needed a little extra push with, prepared me well for the MCAT. I felt completely prepared to start medical school,” she said. In May, Kym Ludwig graduated from the University of Wisconsin pharmacy school in Madison and in July began a residency at Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz. She hopes to eventually work for the Indian Health Center as a community provider to “give back to Native American communities” and to do research on chronic disease management. A 2013 UW-Stout graduate, she also earned a certificate in American Indian Studies from North Dakota State University in 2018. “I always felt that UW-Stout professors and mentors cared about my success not only during college but after college as well, and that could be attributed to the fact that they were able to spend ample time with me as an individual,” said Ludwig, who cited the university’s many resources, such as Multicultural Student Services. Wade Trzebiatowski graduated from UW-Stout in 2010 and then from

While Koester appears destined for success, other graduates already have found it. More than 100 alumni of the applied science program alone have gone on to practice as doctors, dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and in other health-care positions, according to the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management. Desiree Nardini Scholl graduated from UW-Stout in 2004 and then in 2008 from Rosalind Franklin University medical school in Chicago. A podiatrist at Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin, she is board certified in foot and ankle surgery. At UW-Stout, she appreciated professors “who truly care and were a big part of helping me learn to go beyond the classroom. Well-rounded, challenging curriculum, as well as

Above: Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare Hospital in St. Paul, where Trever Koester was a clinical research coordinator. He helped conduct research on a rare pediatric hip disease.


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

T r z e b i a t o w s k i



S C H O L l




f r e y h o l

J o s h u a

l u d w i g

K y m

t z



FA L L 2 0 1 9


Globetrotter with goals Stensberg, who visited 100 countries before 40, views travel as an investment


evin Stensberg regretted that he never took the opportunity to study abroad as a UW-Stout student.

Many people say they will travel when they have time or are retired. Stensberg urges anyone who desires to travel to do so when they are healthy and able to enjoy it and while the places they want to see still exist, particularly natural wonders that may be in danger, or even historic sites that could suffer damage such as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. “It is an investment,” Stensberg said of traveling. “I saw it as an expense. It would have been a very valuable class to take. Traveling is a great experience and it opens doors. I don’t know very many people who have traveled and regret the time or money they spent on it.” Stensberg enjoys the friendships he has made around the world. He plans to visit Antarctica, meaning he will have visited all seven continents, but is focusing on a doctoral program he started fall 2018 at Northeastern University in Boston in organization leadership studies. He has a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. He originally chose UW-Stout for the hotel, restaurant and tourism management degree. While living in Menomonie he loved experiencing the Red Cedar Trail, Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts and visiting the Twin Cities.

He has been busily making up for that by visiting six of the world’s seven continents. In June 2018 Stensberg accomplished a goal he set to visit 100 countries of the 197 on Earth before he turned age 40. Now at 39, Stensberg planned to visit his 109th and 110th countries, Monaco and Andorra, respectively. His first trip out of the U.S. was in 1997 for a Spanish class trip to Mexico. The 100th country he visited was Iceland. After graduating from UW-Stout in 2001 with a degree in service management, Stensberg worked in New Jersey and Washington, D.C., in university housing. His dream was to work overseas. In 2012 he took a job with Loyola University Chicago in Beijing, China, as a dean of students. “I loved it,” he said. “I decided I had to do some more traveling.” He managed short contract study abroad sites in Greece and England and served as an assistant executive dean for a spring 2015 voyage of Semester at Sea, through which he traveled for four months on a cruise ship with 650 college students. In between the contracts he would backpack, staying in hostels and eating simple meals. “For 1½ years I didn’t have an address,” he noted. Stensberg lives in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, a fishing village on the Red Sea about an hour north of Jeddah. Since 2016 he has managed graduate services at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, where he oversees the student center, residence life, orientation and communications to students. The 1,000-student graduate school was the first coed university in the kingdom. Students from 90 countries, including the U.S., attend. Stensberg believes in traveling to experience places, not just to visit more countries. “It’s really about the quality of what you’re doing,” he noted. “My favorite thing about travel is to get a new perspective. It can help you react to people with different political views or ideologies than you have. Really, they just come from a different way of seeing something.” One of his favorite trips was to Ostersund, Sweden, on the shores of Storsjon lake. “Life is very chill there,” Stensberg said. “It was just wonderful to relax, eat great local food, read and have some mindfulness.”

Kevin Stensberg enjoying St. Basil’s in Moscow, Russia.


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K


Some of the downtown business owners who are UW-Stout alumni include (clockwise from lower right) Micah Maraia, Lisa Anshus Frank, Jennifer Rentmeester and Abbey Schmaling.

W alking in downtown Menomonie is almost like attending a UW-Stout alumni event. Anshus Jewelers, Studio MLM, Iris Boutique, Mike’s Art & Design Supply, Mood Boutique, the Abbey and more are businesses owned by alumni. Many other downtown businesses are managed by or employ alumni and students.




“Menomonie would not be Menomonie without UW-Stout,”

“UW-Stout is essentially the business,” Mike Tarr said. “I don’t think we could survive without that customer. “The store is here because UW-Stout has the biggest undergraduate art and design program in the state.” By the cash register is a Stout Proud pennant. Since 2015 the store has offered four $150 stipends each year to students as a way to give back. Students fill out a simple application, including a biography, images of their work and the names of two faculty mentors. The stipends are awarded based on need and merit. “I wanted to show students I care about them,” Mike said. “I came to this business as an artist connected to the program. What I sell matters to me.” Micah Maraia, who owns Studio MLM in the former Masonic Lodge building he owns, is a 2003 industrial design graduate. Maraia also owns Dotz, a company that invents and develops cord and cable management products. His businesses, which he started in 2008, have been in downtown Menomonie since 2010 and in the current space since 2016. Being close to campus allows Maraia to hire alumni, three currently. Studio MLM is a full-service, multidisciplinary design and development company. Midwestern town. What I like is the close proximity to the post office, the bank, the airport is nearby and the living expenses are low. I do work with the school. I’ve taught a class there, do guest critiques and judge competitions.” Across the hall in the building, at Main Street and Broadway, is Jennifer Joyce Design, a floral studio specializing in wedding and event floral design. It is owned by 2004 “It’s a nice town,” he said of Menomonie. “Because of the university it is not your typical

said Lisa Anshus Frank, who owns Anshus Jewelers, which her family has operated downtown for 104 years. “It brings a vibe. Stout helps keep Menomonie current. We can’t be stagnant.” On a daily basis Anshus Jewelers, on Main Street, has university students stop in for jewelry repair or a watch battery. Those relationships expand to couples who meet at UW-Stout buying wedding bands, said Frank, a 1990 business administration graduate who has worked four decades in the family jewelry shop started by her grandfather, Nels, in 1915. Frank took over the business five years ago from her father, John, and her mother, Audrey, a 1949 UW-Stout textiles graduate. Attending UW-Stout while having the family jewelry store close by was like having two worlds side by side. She lived in the dormitories for two years and then an apartment with friends. “As soon as I went up the hill (to downtown) from Froggatt Hall, I was home,” she recalled. “As soon as I went down the hill to campus, I was in a different place. I made new friends. It was a different environment.” Alumni Mike and Kari Tarr co-own Mike’s Art & Design Supply. Mike graduated in studio art with an emphasis in ceramics in 1995. Kari graduated in 2002 in graphic design and is an adjunct instructor, teaching foundation art classes. Mike’s, on Main Street, is the only art and design supply business in Menomonie. Mike worked there from 1996, when it was Penco, until 2007, becoming manager. Then he earned his Master of Fine Art in painting and drawing at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He returned to manage Penco in 2009 and bought the business in 2011. ART, DESIGN INFLUENCE




U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

interior design graduate Jennifer Rentmeester. She has been in the studio for two years but has 22 years of experience in the floral industry. She rents studio space for classes, workshops or special events such as bridal or baby showers and offers pop-up retail sales. “I think Stout is an integral part of downtown Menomonie,” said Rentmeester, who employs UW- Stout students, citing their influence on retail sales and eventually as business owners. A native of Menomonie, Rentmeester believes her education influences her business on a daily basis. “I feel a lot of my courses and what I learned through Stout apply to what I offer people through my work,” she noted, adding she talks with clients to learn their vision and then uses design fundamentals like color and texture to create her art-based floral creations for events. Using sustainably-grown products is another focus for her event work. Rentmeester also is a wedding and special events manager at the historic Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts downtown. Abbey Schmaling has used much of what she learned as a 2012 industrial design graduate to help remodel the building on Main Street that houses her business, Abbey Pub. “Industrial design is a very broad design,” she said. “The concept is having a particular problem and coming up with a solution or working to make something better. I like to never be bored. I love creating and building things.” The Abbey, which is decorated with old church pews and stained glass, attracts students and other local residents, who like the pulled pork sandwiches with a Cajun horseradish or honey mustard sauce and the pork nachos. POPULAR PUB

Schmaling came to Menomonie from southern Wisconsin to attend UW-Stout and chose to stay. “Menomonie’s got some small- town charm but is also progressive because of the college,” Schmaling said. “They balance each other.” Other businesses in downtown owned by alumni include: • Stitched Up and 7th Bone Tailoring Agency, Erin Hogan-Braker • Mood Boutique, Veronica Smith • Iris Boutique, Leah Ritchie • Brewery Nonic, Ryan Verdon • The Market, Jason and Jeremy Davis • The Arena- Jason and Jeremy Davis • The Gin Mill (opening soon) - Jason and Jeremy Davis • Tabby’s Catfe, Amanda and Karlyn Davis • Waterfront Bar and Grill, Jason Davis • Happy Apple Therapy Center, Rachel Funk Johnson • Silver Dollar Saloon, co-owned by Peter Gruetzmacher • Thread Lab, Lori Krause MORE





Do you own a business? Email alumni@uwstout.edu to get your alumni owned and operated window cling


FA L L 2 0 1 9


Friendships & Memories

Alumni take California trip in honor of teammate

A manda Geissler created a bucket list of things she wanted to do in life. When the 2007 UW-Stout alumna and standout women’s basketball player died in a plane crash Dec. 31, 2017, in Costa Rica at age 33, half of that list remained forever undone. In Geissler’s memory, nine former teammates decided to check off one of those items when they traveled to California in July 2018 and drove along the coast on Highway 1 in a van. The five-day trip started at Half Moon Bay and ended at Manhattan Beach.


U W - S T O U T O U T L O O K

They brought Geissler’s No. 2 basketball jersey with them, a symbol of their beloved friend joining them on the trip. Geissler, a Thorp native, was a point guard for the Blue Devils and played in 112 games from 2003 to 2007. The two-time team captain earned an applied science degree. “Amanda was super energetic,” said Erin Konsela, 2001 alumna and a current admissions counselor at UW-Stout. “Her energy filled a room. She was one of those people everyone wanted to be around. There was no judgment ever. She was eager to learn and to be the best person she could be.” Geissler led UW-Stout to three WIAC conference titles, completed the Great Wall of China Marathon and Ironman Wisconsin. She loved to travel and reveled in her dream job working for Backroads, a travel company that specialized in unique, outdoor activities for families. On the California trip, her friends hiked at Big Sur, camped on beaches by the ocean, saw elephant seals, laughed and cried as they remembered Geissler. “Throughout the trip it was like Amanda was with us,” Konsela added. “It was a very happy time. We had a moment of silence for her. We took her jersey to the ocean and watched the sunset. There is not a day that goes by I don’t think of Amanda.” Geissler kept a journal and would tell her friends to write down their dreams and then make them happen, Konsela said. Steffanie Nemitz, a 2006 dietetics alumna, recalled Geissler as someone people enjoyed being around. The trip was truly special, added Nemitz, a chiropractor from Cuba City.

“Amanda literally touched the lives of people across the world,” Nemitz said. “Her smile was contagious, and she made you feel like you were the only person that mattered. Our trip reflected a quote by Amanda in her journal: ‘I would challenge anyone that their best memories were part of some type of adventure. Whether they intended to adventure or not.’” Lindsey Olsen, a 2005 alumna, said losing Geissler changed her and her friends’ lives. “The silver lining is Amanda lives in our broken hearts and gives us the strength and inspiration in our everyday lives,” Olsen said. Olsen said she will remain friends for life with her teammates. “We were teammates but most importantly friends, and friends we remain,” Olsen said. “Stout gave us our degrees, but it also gave us the vehicle to create friendships and memories for a lifetime.” Also, on Amanda’s bucket list was to raise money to start a charity. Her family has started a fundraiser in her name at the Pencils of Promise website to build a school in Ghana, Africa, where Amanda traveled on a company mission trip when she was employed by Eli Lilly and Company. Passionate about children and education, the goal is to keep Amanda’s light shining by building a school in her memory.

To donate go to: fundraise.pencilsofpromise.org/fundraiser/1698162

Former basketball teammates of Amanda Geissler toast (left) their friend, who died in a plane crash in December 2017, during a trip to California. The teammates pose with Geissler’s No. 2 basketball jersey (right) as a symbol of their beloved friend joining them on the trip in July 2018.


FA L L 2 0 1 9

Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker