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Leaders Making a Difference

Lara Fritts

Lara Fritts '93 (Urban Studies) has been hired by the Great Richmond Partnership as president and CEO. Formerly the head of the economic development department in Salt Lake City, she will now become the top executive of the Richmond, Virginia regional economic development organization as of August 12, 2019. More

Bradley Calder

Bradley Calder '14 (Environmental Policy and Planning and Public Administration) has been hired by the Village of Union Grove as the new clerk. He had previously served as clerk for the Village of Big Bend and more recently been treasurer. Positions before this were assistant lake supervisor for Lake Pewaukee Sanitary District and an administrative intern for the Village of Richfield. Read more

Jessica Danen

Jessica Danen '18, (Public Administration), has been hired by by a local non-profit, "Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary, Inc." as their Community Engagement & Education Specialist. This was a natural next step from her internship (and subsequent honor's project) with the local organization "Downtown Green Bay." To read more about connections she made during her tenure at "Downtown Green Bay" and her applied honor's project, read here.

Bradley Pfaff

Bradley Pfaff, '90 (Public and Environmental Administration) has been appointed by Governor Evers to serve as Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary. His previous positions were as deputy chief of staff for U.S. Representative Ron Kind, and executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency. His appointment was announced here.
 In our news here.
 At a recent event

Brian Wagenaar

After graduating from UWGB, I spent a year doing environmental and community service with AmeriCorps Cape Cod (ACC) out on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Our service included shellfish propagation, invasive species removal, shorebird fencing and management, running environmental education activities for children, certifying vernal pools, rescuing stranded and stunned dolphins and sea turtles, trail maintenance and creation, conducting pile burns, clearing out herring runs, and somehow even more. All told, my experience with ACC was incredibly varied, and while difficult at times, a tremendous life experience and survey of many aspects of conservation.

Having had a solid experience with AmeriCorps in round one, I chose to serve with the Watershed Stewards Program (WSP) doing watershed and salmon conservation. My placement was with the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation in Smith River, CA just south of the Oregon border. While there, I worked on water quality monitoring on beautiful rivers and streams, clipped fish at the tribally-owned hatchery, organized a community environmental event, taught watershed education to 3rd and 4th graders, and got to try to my hand at other cool projects like stormwater monitoring and salmon and salamander surveys.
Overall, I would highly recommend AmeriCorps as a career stepping stone and to pinpoint specific interests for recent graduates in the environmental field, as there are tons of great programs doing all kinds of great work relating to trailwork, watersheds, invasive species, wildland fire, and so much more. Looking ahead, I am interested in applying to law school and becoming an environmental lawyer focused on serving the public interest. 

Class of 2017, Environmental Policy and Planning

Ashley Skalecki

Currently, I am the grants manager at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation where I manage our competitive grants processes and administer external grant processes for partner organizations. Each year, we distribute over $1 million in competitive grants. My education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay gave me a foundation of knowledge in philanthropy, nonprofit management, and sound program design, which aids in determining which programs will make a meaningful impact and building nonprofit capacity in our Southwest Florida community. With the help and guidance of professors, I was given real world opportunities at UWGB, which set me up for success as I went on to attain my master’s degree. My education gave me confidence in my skills and knowledge to take a chance and make a change – and I am fortunate enough to see that change every day!

Class of 2018, Public Administration

Jared Spude

My UWGB education helped me in my career by teaching me to approach a problem in a holistic way, providing me practical application experience to be job ready upon graduation, and connecting me with community and industry experts throughout my time of study. UWGB’s model of education challenges students to problem solve creatively—utilizing what is learned in various faculties and studies collectively. The collaborative environment at UWGB puts students of all backgrounds and future aspirations together to collectively work together towards a common goal.

At Breakthrough – what we do is different than what anyone in our industry has done or even thought of doing before, and what makes us successful and unique are the people we work with and the way we approach a problem to collectively find a solution. We have former math teachers, physicists, data scientists, sales professionals, digital analysts and more….all using their creative minds to change an industry. I can’t think of a better way to have been prepared for this, have practiced this and been job ready than through my incredible education at UWGB!

Class of 2016, Summa Cum Laude, Political Science, Public Administration

Taryn Oleson

Since graduating from UWGB in 2014, I have been living, working and playing in Anchorage, Alaska. As a planner for a  consulting firm, my work allows me to collaborate with the public, engineers, and community partners to equitably improve the quality of life for Alaskans and visitors. I specialize in land use, long-range comprehensive, and community park planning. Commuting by car or bike past one of the parks I helped plan, design and permit is one of the highlights of my work day.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be living in a place full of adventure, especially so as a planner in a state still growing and developing from the ground up, but good fortune had little to do with it. The opportunities UWGB provided, the degree I earned, the classes I took, and the professors who were invested in my personal and professional growth contributed to life-changing experiences that led me to pursue a career I love. When I am not working, hiking, or camping, I am teaching ballroom dance, a passion I found through a UWGB student organization my first semester and plan to enjoy for a lifetime.

Class of 2014, Environmental Policy and Planning

Ben Schmidt

Although the Public and Environmental Affairs program prepares students for a wide variety of professions, I’ve found it valuable in preparing me for graduate school and a career in public service. The diversity of courses, faculty, experiences, and techniques for analyzing and evaluating problems and policies in the PEA program, as well as the focus on public administration, management, leadership, organization structure and culture, bureaucracy, government, and ethics, is an excellent balance enabling success in a federal agency within the Department of Defense under numerous layers of bureaucracy that work simultaneously with the military branches, NASA, other defense agencies, foreign governments, and defense contractors, both large and small. The substantial emphasis on critical thinking, writing, communication, and law, regulation, and policy lends itself well  to collaborating with others to develop innovative and workable solutions to complex  problems.The education provided by the PEA program is invaluable and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to give back as a part-time lecturer.

Commencement Speaker, 2009, Environmental Policy & Planning, Public Administration, Political Science
Contract administrator, Defense Contract Management Agency, Department of Defense
Lecturer, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Samantha Fenlon

I am a Community Involvement Specialist for Festival Foods. My role is to oversee public relations and community involvement efforts, including event management and execution, coordinating donations and sponsorships in the community, and assisting with media relations. UWGB has been my foundation as it prepared me for my career and guided me on the path to where I am today.

I often utilize the skills and knowledge gained throughout my time at UWGB, as the courses directly correlate to both my current and prior roles. I also am fortunate to have a network of professionals I collaborate with that I met throughout my time in college. I am appreciative for all that UWGB has done for me - go Phoenix!

Class of 2014, Political Science, Public Administration

Ryan Yelle

After graduating from UWGB , I have held positions in the U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Anchorage Department of Public Transportation. Currently, I am working as a Senior Planner for the Anchorage Planning Department. Anchorage is a vibrant city, and is home to the most ethnically diverse zip code in the U.S. As a planner for Alaska’s largest city, I work to ensure proper public process is followed, and that compliance with land use code for development projects within Anchorage is achieved. What I enjoy most about my job is the ability to participate in the development of my community and the variety of land use challenges requiring unique solutions I face daily.
The great opportunities I was given at UWGB helped prepare me for my chosen career. Due to UWGB’s small class sizes, I was able participate in small-group discussions involving students with differing opinions, backgrounds, and academic pursuits. This experience allowed me to develop the skills necessary to work in such a diverse community like Anchorage. The classes, extracurricular activities, and unique campus setting at UWGB provided me with a fulfilling education. I am grateful for the experiences I had at UWGB and would recommend UWGB to anyone looking to pursue a career in urban studies, regional planning, public administration, and/or environmental subjects.

Class of 2013, Environmental Policy and Planning

Bryce Trzebiatowski

After graduating from UWGB, where I studied Political Science, Public Administration, and Environmental Policy & Planning, I made the unexpected decision to enter a career in campaign politics. In the last couple of years, I have worked with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin during the 2016 election cycle and the New Hampshire Democratic Party for the 2018 midterms, where I worked to elect a full slate of Democratic candidates. Most recently, I have decided to attend the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica to pursue a M.A. in International Peace Studies. This program will allow me to develop a broader global perspective regarding international relations and acquire the skills to identify causes and non-military solutions to world conflicts.
Class of 2012, Environmental Policy and Planning, Political Science, Public Administration