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!


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, Class of 2009

Contract administrator, Defense Contract Management Agency, Department of Defense

Lecturer, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Tanya 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

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.
 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!


Ashley Skalecki

Currently, I am the grants manager at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation where 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!