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Alumni Testimonials

Mark Ard

As a combat Marine Corps veteran I feel very passionately about Veterans and the challenges they face as they transition back into civilian life.

Currently I work for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Office of Veteran Services. My official title is Local Veterans Employment Representative. In this role I coordinate a program designed to facilitate and assist special disabled veterans secure and retain full time permanent employment with the State of Wisconsin.

In this capacity it is critical that I have a firm understanding of the structure of the bureaucracy and the political system that governs it. Understanding the process through which law becomes codified and the impact that executive prerogatives have on the enterprise as a whole has also been indispensible.

My degree in Political Science from UW-Green Bay has opened doors and made opportunity possible where there was none before. It is without a doubt the single most important self-investment I have ever made.

Kristine Becker

As a Deputy Clerk for the Manitowoc County Clerk of Court, my position entails providing the necessary support to the Circuit Court Judges, local attorneys, pro se litigants, and other departments such as the Child Support Agency. On a daily basis I process filings for the Small Claims, Civil and Family Court. I also assist the Criminal Unit by processing bonds, scheduling hearings, and processing payments of fines and fees. My job can be challenging due changes in laws and unique circumstances I come across; however, that is what make my job exciting.

As a Political Science major, I was well equipped to take on my job duties. This was a result of the knowledge and experiences I gained in and outside the classroom. Many of the opportunities I was able to take advantage of can be attributed to the amazing Political Science faculty. Some of these opportunities included being a teaching assistant, a contributor to the creation of a Political Science capstone, and job shadowing local judges.


Tom Brown

I'm currently the Development Coordinator for the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. My primary responsibilities revolve around prospect development and conducting data and statistical analysis. The best part of my job is being able to work with our corporate sponsors and individual donors - without them, we couldn't provide services that make a difference in the lives of over 145,000 people across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota every year. Although I'm not working in the political field, the Political Science program at UWGB and previous work experience from working on Congressional and Senate campaigns provided me with skills that are transferable across a variety of fields.


Matt Christianson

Currently, I am employed as a manager at a local transportation company. In my current position I help manage the south eastern region of the United States. It is both exciting and challenging to manage a region that is decentralized. With large profile customers, tight deadlines and limited on-site support options, I can honestly say there is rarely a dull moment.

After having graduated from UWGB with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, I wanted to gain experience in managing operations at a corporate level. It was then I took my current position. My choice to pursue a degree in Political Science came just after serving in the Marine Corps. It was a very good decision that has given me the skills to be successful. The skills I gained are well balanced. These skills include policy interpretation, tactful situation management for those tough customers, and the ability to work with diverse groups of people.


Aaron Damrau

I am currently an Attorney at the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office in Wausau. I graduated from UWGB in 2011 with a BA in Political Science and History. I earned my JD at the University of Minnesota Law School in 2015 with a concentration in Criminal Justice.

Working as a Public Defender is my dream job. All of my clients have some sort of liberty interest at stake that the State or County is attempting to take away. It's my job fight to ensure my client's Constitutional rights are upheld. All of my clients are indigent and would never be able to retain private representation for their cases. My areas of practice are: criminal defense; juvenile delinquency; children in need of protection or services; mental health commitments; guardianship and protective placements; and child support defense. I am extremely fortunate to be able to get in to court most every day and to work with attorneys, judges, medical professionals, and experts in various fields.

As an attorney, there is so much information we are required to learn that isn't law related. My cases could involve science, medicine, drugs, mechanics, electronics, and procedure or protocols. When our cases go outside of the legal sphere, we have to learn (or re-learn) about that specific area, apply it to the current law, and then apply that to our client's specific facts. My life is in a perpetual state of learning and I rely on my interdisciplinary education from UWGB consistently.

My legal education started at UWGB. My first year I took American Government and Politics, which piqued my interest in government and individual rights and liberties. After enrolling in Constitutional Law, I began to seriously think about law school. My senior year, there was a visiting professor who taught an independent study called Advanced Topics in Law and Politics for students interested in attending law school. This class simulated the first year of law school, including reading caselaw and being cold called for answers. This course without a doubt gave me a head start to my legal education.

I had a few mentors throughout my time at UWGB. My first year I needed to go see a professor during office hours. I really didn't want to, and it was probably the most intimidated I had ever felt up to that moment, but I worked up the courage and did it. I can honestly say it was the watershed moment to my education. Meeting one on one with professors not only helped me better understand the courses I took, it helped give me direction in life. If I would have never met with my professors one on one, I can't say I would be where I am today.

My advice to all students is to find a professor you think you would be comfortable talking with one on one, and go to their office and start asking questions. Your professors teach because they want to help students, and they are a wealth of knowledge, take advantage of it.


Heather Heuer

About six months after graduating from UW-Green Bay, I landed a new career with the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin as an Information Management Specialist. I work alongside the elected officials of my tribal government in the Business Committee Support Office. What is so exciting about this position is that I am in the middle of all the action as it relates to small and large bodied governmental meetings. I actually have thousands of bosses because each Oneida Member over the age of 21 is given the authority as the governing body that the entire tribal organization reports to throughout the year.

My Political Science degree helped to lay out a professional foundation on which I have been speedily building through my work experience thus far. I feel that I am able to be a more active and informed participant in what often feels like a complicated political process. Ultimately, the Political Science degree taught me to work effectively, efficiently, and proactively through exercising critical thinking and analysis skills.


Vanya Koepke

I currently work at Schneider National as a Sales Account Representative. Each day I wake up motivated to work hard alongside talented colleagues. This motivation is certainly needed, as Schneider is a $4 billion company that is based in over 160 locations in the U.S. and abroad. My daily task focuses on the logistics of freight transportation for our current and prospective customers. I do this in a manner that is in line with Schneider's core values of Safety, Integrity, Respect, and Excellence.

The most exciting aspect of my job is that of building relationships with customers and making sure they are satisfied with the service Schneider offers.

I am thankful to have majored in Political Science at UW-Green Bay because the program and its professors instilled in me the skills necessary to succeed both as an individual and as a professional. This success can be found in the three job offers I received coming out of college. It can be found in the innovative approach of finding success in politics and business. Most importantly, it can be found in the way my professors instilled a love of place--a love for Green Bay. This passion can be seen in my volunteering as Chair of the Ambassador committee for the Current Young Professionals, as a board member on the Howe Community Resource Center's board of directors, and as a board member on the UWGB alumni association. This passion has also allowed me to turn down a job at the capitol in Madison, and run for public office in Green Bay, work for local campaigns, and succeed in the business sector.

In all, I have been able to succeed and meet the challenges of my field in large part due to the incredible professors in the Political Science program at UW-Green Bay. It was their investment, as well as the internship, teaching assistant, and hands-on experience that has put me in a position to be successful.


Britteny LaFond

The day after I finished law school I began my career as a criminal defense attorney at Petit & Dommershausen SC in Menasha, WI. I meet with clients and other attorneys, analyze complex legal issues, and get to litigate those issues in court. The best part about my job is that every single day I encounter something new and I get to keep on learning. My Political Science degree from UWGB helped me get where I am today by introducing me to analytics, bettering my methods of communication and persuasion, and giving me the research and writing skills to succeed both in law school and in my new career as an attorney. The Political Science Department not only prepared me for the future, but also supported me every step of the way.


Ryan McConnell

I currently work as an Assistant Director of Community Living for Carroll College in Helena, MT. Working in the first-year residence hall at a small, Catholic liberal arts college brings about a different experience each day! My primary duties include teaching a first-year seminar class, managing the budget and facility needs of the hall, supporting student leadership and governance, and instilling a vibrant learning environment through student conduct processes and student staff programming.

Working in higher education requires a number of skills to navigate the various political environments in and out of the learning institution, proposing institutional policy changes, and assessing effective practices for student learning and use of college resources. UWGB's Political Science faculty and curriculum have given me many steps ahead of others in being prepared for the challenges of both graduate education and my daily work with students, faculty, and staff.

Danny Mueller

I'm currently a PhD student studying environmental policy and politics at Washington State University, in Pullman. While this particular program's specialty at WSU is political psychology, the best part about it is the freedom the program gives us to explore whatever interests we have in whatever ways we feel are best suited to answer the questions we have. A lot of programs might require PhD students to use the preferred research methods of the department or of that student's advisors or committee members and also might limit interdisciplinary approaches to research, but the program I'm in encourages us to take our own approach and explore whatever disciplines or methods are important and useful to our research. When I combine this welcomed flexibility and freedom with the rich environmental conscience of the Pacific Northwest, I find myself in a great setting to do research on environmental policy. Sometimes that freedom can be a bit daunting, but this is where I feel majoring in political science at UWGB has been an enormous asset. The political science faculty at UWGB always encouraged me and all students to explore politics critically and with interdisciplinarity to properly examine political issues from as many angles as possible, a very useful skill that keeps me questioning my own research as well as others' and provides me with direction in an independent academic atmosphere. Aside from the obvious benefit majoring in political science provides when moving on to a PhD in the same discipline, I believe the major has provided me with both the solid foundational knowledge to understand all kinds of political issues – whether in my own research, while reading others', or when simply interpreting current events – and also the ability to think critically about all kinds of information that I encounter, political or otherwise, and carefully research, analyze, and interpret that information. In short, being carefully critical and making educated decisions in a world where we are incessantly bombarded with information that can often be disingenuous requires a particular set of skills that can only be honed through careful, guided study; political science at UWGB does exactly that.

Ben Schmidt

A decade later, I remain delighted with my political science education at UWGB and indebted to faculty. Initially, studying political science provided historical context, an understanding of government, foreign and domestic policies and institutions, and helped to develop a critical thinking thought process to analyze the world around me, as well as myself. Specifically, I reflected on my own experiences in the Marine Corps and the invasion of Iraq, but students and faculty more broadly contemplated the political events and policies at the local, state, national, and global levels. From here, we learned of the problems many people and states around the world face, which, in the end, are political problems requiring political solutions. This naturally led to analyzing proposed policy alternatives and those already implemented in other areas, including the unanticipated results and long-term impacts. Throughout the program, we developed valuable life and job skills, including the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing, how to read and research, presentation skills, critical thinking and analysis skills, and the ability to cooperate and collaborate, and political science faculty facilitated our journey by supporting us in our academic and employment pursuits, internships and assistantships, advising and student organization participation, and through our accomplishments and recognition.

At the end of the day, my education in political science forced me to reevaluate life and assisted me in becoming a better person, American, and global citizen, by considering both my needs and the needs of others. I returned to public service as a lecturer and federal employee reinvigorated to serve. In graduate school, the few jobs I’ve held since graduation, and in my personal life and interactions with others, it’s clear I received a world-class education.

Anthony Sirianni

I am currently pursuing a graduate degree at Beijing Normal University. My program is titled Ecological Environment Protection and Management. The most exciting facet of my graduate education is being taught by professors who are leaders in their respected fields. In addition to my school's faculty, numerous international experts routinely visit to teach specific coursework. My Political Science degree from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has immensely aided me during graduate studies. Research and teamwork are key elements of my program. The ability to critically analyze data and effectively convey information is crucial; especially while working alongside peers who hail from countries all over the world.


Jared Spude

I am currently a Client Services Manager at Breakthrough Fuel Inc. in Downtown Green Bay, WI. I work daily with leading executives of some of the top industry leading companies many of which are fortune 500 companies. We are a one of a kind business that works closely with our clients transportation sector to save our clients money, cut the volume of gallons of fuel consumed annually and reduce the emissions and carbon footprint they have on the environment. We pride ourselves on being an implied knowledge organization that is a trusted adviser to each and everyone of our clients.

The most exciting part of my job is that I get to be key player in changing the market place. Fresh out of college I have the ability to talk with top executives in large companies, have a voice and influence real change!

My Political Science degree has helped me in many ways. Directly, it helped me find a job via networking and becoming involved in community projects and events. Likewise--the degree from UWGB came with great real-life experience via internships and other partnerships. More than anything, however, the degree has taught me about the how important relationships are, given me the confidence to speak in front of people, taught me how to think critically and independently, opened my mind to new ideas and different ways of thinking, and ultimately how to understand complex situations and problem solve!

Randy Tranowski

Upon graduation from UW Green Bay, I applied to and was accepted by AmeriCorps Public Ally Program. After several rounds of intensive interviews, I would give my year of service to Pioneer Preparatory School: A Challenge Foundation Academy, location in the Maryvalle Community in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Public Ally Program -- which gives individuals the opportunity to focus on professional development while working full-time with a non-profit organization in developing communities -- provided a hands-on approach to my studies when I attended UW-Green Bay. Because Green Bay gave me the foundation and textbook theory on leadership, goals, objectives, differences in culture, traditions and more, I was able to challenge myself and deliver more than I had anticipated. I was able to accept a position as the school-Community Coordinator following my year of service and also became a supervisor for this year's Public Ally.

I have raised over $15,000 in fundraisers and nearly $6,000 in successful grant writing opportunities. I have been able to connect with and share my findings on school programs to unite, engage and inspire youth with both community organizations and local businesses.

It is my responsibility to create a community-school at Pioneer and am constantly looking for collaborative efforts with organizations to help our students and their families grow, learn and achieve.

Green Bay provided me travel, academic success, and the change to look at situations in a new light by examining the multiple factors that go into decision making that can become potential for progress or result in a setback. It gave me the change to tap my interest in education and the Fine Arts in the creation of an Honor Project, "Get smART," examining the role of Fine Arts and high school standardized testing.

Opportunities exist that are easily and readily accessible to help you succeed in life after college, but it is up to you to take advantage of them. The chances I had helped me realize what it is that I really want to do with my life and the classes, readings, interactions with Green Bay Faculty, internship/volunteer opportunities and gatherings furthered those efforts of turning ideas into reality, and thoughts into actions. I am now applying for graduate school, where I plan on studying International Community Development. My hope and goal is to create an international non-profit organization that utilizes the arts to serve as the foundation to mobilize social change in minority groups - primarily in working with youth.

But above all, Green Bay taught me how to be "me." How someone studying Musical Theatre can add Political Science and Public Administration to their list of majors, study in Poland for one semester, then make their way to Ecuador for an internship. It taught me independence, how to rise above self-doubt, and to remember that you have people - friends, peers, roommates, educators who truly care about you and want you to succeed in the path you've chosen. There is a wealth of knowledge and opportunities available to you -- you simply have to take advantage of it so you, too, can positively impact and change tomorrow - today.


Tawny Wilber

After returning home from a tour of duty in Iraq, I developed a great passion for assisting other veterans in their endeavors to adjust from the military to the civilian workforce. I have recently gained employment at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Office of Veteran Services. My official title is a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist. In this role, I provide the intensive services necessary to meet the employment needs of Veterans who are economically or educationally disadvantaged, disabled, homeless, or facing other significant barriers to employment.

This career demands great knowledge in terms of understanding how government is structured, how decisions are made, and how societal conflicts are managed. My coursework in Political Science and Public Administration at UW-Green Bay have been instrumental in assisting me in achieving my career goals, as well in contributing to my success on the job. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to assist other veterans, and my degree in both majors has made it all possible.

Hilary Zanoni

I am currently an independent consult for UberEATS Houston. I am responsible for ensuring a tight check-in/check-out process for drivers as well as managing and tracking daily food inventory with great precision so that UberEATS Houston can operate smoothly. What I find most exciting about my current line of work is the expectation that I have to manage multiple assignments at one time and figure out how to resolve issues correctly and efficiently on the fly. Even though my current line of work involves logistics and food distribution, my Political Science degree has helped me get to where I am today. This degree enabled me to pursue and complete a master's degree in Public Policy. My master's degree opened my eyes to the possibilities of indirectly being involved in the policymaking process and gave me the freedom to choose where I wanted to start a career.