Class notes: Winter 2023-24 Learning Connections


Norma Cross
BA 1953 — English Literature/Theatre
Norma taught high school English for many years in San Carlos, California. In 1985 she and her husband moved to Basel, Switzerland, where he worked as an economist. She still receives birthday and Christmas cards from former students. For 30 years she and her husband spent their vacations restoring a 17th century mas in southern France, which they only recently sold. Although she now suffers from dementia, they still travel a good deal in Europe.

Stanley Krippner
BS 1954 — Speech Education
Stanley’s autobiography, “A Chaotic Life,” was just published by University Professors Press, and features an account of his years at UW.

Jane Wiswell Pegel
BS 1955 — Education
Jane was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame.

Roger Remington
MS 1959 — Art
Roger has written a new book for RIT Press on designer/educator Hans Joachim Barschel. An immigrant from Germany, Barschel practiced design in New York for 25 years prior to teaching design at the Rochester Institute of Technology for 40 years.


Gordon Kraemer
MS 1962 — Audio/Visual Education
Gordon began his career as audiovisual director for Greendale schools, retired in 1989, and is living out his final days in Harbour Village, Greendale, Wisconsin. He has enjoyed 34 years of good retirement.

Laurelyn Schellin
BS 1961 Education and English; MA 1962 — Secondary Education
Laurelyn continues to serve as president of the Salem, Oregon, Wisconsin Alumni Association Chapter. She has also served as executive director of the Oregon Governor’s Commission on Libraries and the Oregon Commission for Women. Laurelyn is the aunt of former Bucky Badger Jeremy Schellin; and sister of varsity cheerleader Edwin Schellin (also a School of Education alum) and UW-Madison’s first nuclear engineering graduate Steven Schellin. Before moving to Oregon, Laurelyn served on the UW–Madison faculty.

Kay LaBelle
BS 1964 — Art Education
Kay is a retired art teacher.

Lydia Berrong
BSE 1966 — English Education
Lydia is very glad to be a retired educator from New York, as the two states she’s lived in since retirement (New Mexico and North Carolina) do not treat their retirees nearly as well. During the pandemic an English teacher in Chapel Hill started a pen pal project between her students and residents at Carolina Meadows, the CCRC where she lives. It is a great way to stay connected with students!

Andrew Krance
BS 1965, MS 1966; MFA 1967 — Art and Film
Andrew is a successful artist living in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Recently, while in Seattle, he had dinner with a dear old colleague, Dale Chihuly. Long time, no see. Having painted for over 60 years, Andrew continues exploring new venues. He travels a lot as well, in Europe and cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean, and more.

Freya Grand (Weinstein)
BS 1969 — Art
Freya lives in Washington, D.C., where she works as an oil painter. During the 1990s she worked with architectural firms on many large indoor mural projects, but now she devotes herself full time to her studio practice. Her large, immersive landscapes — inspired by journeys to wild and uninhabited parts of the world — have been exhibited in solo shows at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and at the Art Museum of the Americas, as well as in East Coast galleries. Check out her website:

Lois (Eiduson) Levy
BA 1969 —Education
Lois reports being lucky enough to spend 46 years in the world of education as a classroom teacher, a director of curriculum, and finally as the assistant head of school at The Center for Early Education in Los Angeles. Retiring in 2015, Lois currently serves as a board member of Bright Star Schools, which includes nine charter schools across the LA metropolitan area, offering lower income families a school choice.

Ronald Smith
PhD 1969 — Kinesiology (Physical Education)
Ron retired from Penn State after 28 years in 1996, but has continued his research and writing about the history of college sport. Recently, he received a document from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that they do not want him to testify against the NCAA in the jury trial of Robert Geathers v. NCAA in March 2024. Smith’s 50-page testimony shows that the NCAA did almost nothing about brain injuries and concussions for over a century.


Bjørn Gustav Nielsen
MS 1970 — Business Education
Bjørn has a U.S. patent pending, the POL.ACC concept US63/470,392.

Susan Lobeck-Krug
BSE 1971 — Elementary Education
Sue began her career as an elementary school teacher and after obtaining a master’s in special education, she taught students in junior high and high school, focusing on vocational/life skill programs. She continued using her teacher training skills in the business environment, was a volunteer in a preschool learning environment, and is now retired and living in Madison.

Jerry Phillips
BA 1970 — Secondary Education, Choral Music
Jerry took his love of music to teach junior and senior high school students until he and his wife, Mary, followed their dream of working together and started the very first bed and breakfast in Wisconsin, the Old Rittenhouse Inn. The Inn grew from a modest four-room B&B to a 20-room Country Inn, with a renowned restaurant headed by Mary. They continued their music through shows they directed and accompanied at the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, as well as developing the Rittenhouse Singers that continues today.

Anne Scheer
BS 1971 — Painting
After earning an MFA in graphic design from Boston University, Anne had a successful career in corporate design culminating in being the creative director for a Fortune 500 company. Leaving that position Anne formed a design partnership specializing in alumni communications for Boston educational institutions. After moving to Maine, Anne now paints semi-abstract nearscapes of water and aquatic life.

John McCollow
BSE 1972 — Communication Arts
John emigrated to Australia in 1975, and has worked in rural and remote schools with significant proportions of Indigenous students. He became a research officer with the Queensland Teachers Union and Australian Education Union, and upon retirement was made a life member of both. John completed his PhD at University of Queensland in 1996. His research interests include Indigenous education, teacher unions, vocational education, and education funding.

Marcia Humbert
BS 1973 — History
Marcia taught high school social studies for 34 years. She is now retired and happily living in South Carolina.

Suzanne Reed
BS 1973 — Elementary Education
Suzanne’s elementary education internship introduced her to school media centers. Inspired by the librarians she met, she received her MLS and went on to a career as a school librarian. In retirement she has continued to explore the value of education and information as a volunteer with the USFS, local libraries, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Chicago Architecture Center.

Tom Kratochwill
PhD 1973 — Educational Psychology
Tom began his academic career at the University of Arizona and returned to UW–Madison in 1983 to direct the School Psychology program and Psychoeducational Clinic. He retired in 2016 but remains active in grant projects in WCER. He has continued his work on problem solving consultation and single-case design research methodology.

Carole Dede
BS 1974 — Elementary Education
Carole taught GED and truly loved it. She is now pursuing cultural events in Milwaukee.

Barry Heyman
PhD 1974 — Educational Policy Studies
Barry began his career with the Agency for International Development (USAID) and served in Peru and Haiti during his 23-year USAID career. He then moved to the U.S. Department of State where he is currently working (24 years) as a reemployed annuitant in crisis management and international security. He is also an accomplished photographer:

Elizabeth (BJ) Ermenc
BS 1975 — Theatre
BJ has expanded her advocacy for people with disabilities from the city (Wauwatosa Commission for Persons with Disabilities) to the state level. She is now vice-chair of the Wisconsin Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, serving as the liaison to the Governor’s Committee for People with Disabilities (GCPD). This committee is celebrating its 75-year anniversary, so watch for announcements of events!

Jim Rutledge
MS 1975 — Continuing and Vocational Education
Retired in 2016, Jim now serves as chair of the Life Member Committee of the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals. He is still traveling the country presenting his Developmental Stages of the Extension Professional workshop.

George Abert
BS 1976 — Art
George is a staff architect at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Reni Gower
BS 1976 — Studio Art
Reni received a 2023 Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship for Works on Paper. A solo exhibition, “GEOmatrix: a Perfect Proof,” was on view at VisArts in Rockville, Maryland, from Aug. – Oct. 2023. It will be shown in a new iteration at Rosewood Arts Center, Kettering, Ohio, from March 11 – April 13, 2024. Reni is a curator of traveling exhibitions; COLLECTive Concerns: Collage and Assemblage is her newest venture.

David Zelman
PhD 1976 — Rehabilitation Psychology
David Zelman, founder and CEO of The Transitions Institute, leads programs in which people step beyond what is predictable and create truly extraordinary lives. In his recently published book, “What’s Nex: Get Clear and Get Going,” the reader can expect to be empowered and energized to confidently enter the next important transition in their lives. David tells us, “Oftentimes the key to success lies within us — we just have to find it.”

Marge Engelman
PhD 1977 — Community and Vocational Education (CAVE)
Marge published a book, “Nursery Rhymes in Stitches,” including 20 hand-stitched collages with embroidery depicting 20 nursery rhymes.

Karla (Pfeiffer) Zhe
MS 1977, MFA 1978 — Dance
Karla is a retired professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls.

Philip Althouse
BSE 1979 — History
Philip will be part of panel discussing labor and human rights issues at the annual conference of the Inter-American Bar Association in Rio de Janeiro in Dec. 2023. He was recently elected to serve on the bargaining team to negotiate the first collective bargaining agreement between Cleveland Legal Aid and its employees who are represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers-UAW Local 2320.d.


Sharon Frank
BS 1980 — Communication Disorders
Sharon began her career as a speech-language pathologist, working in the schools and then in a hospital outpatient setting. She opened her private practice 25 years ago, and for the past 10 years has enjoyed focusing her practice on helping athletes with vocal cord dysfunction and dysfunctional breathing. She has presented at several conferences and enjoys teaching other SLPs to help these patients as well.

Lisa Mahaffey
BS 1980 — Occupational Therapy
Lisa recently was awarded a $1.15 million U.S. Department of Education Training Grant, along with co-workers Divya Sood OTD, OTR/L and Gifty Abraham OTD, OTR/L. The tiered occupational therapy grant is designed to train 60 Midwestern university occupational therapy students over five years, with the skills to serve on school- and district-wide mental health teams. The grant will be funded until October 2028.

Karen Sames
BS 1980 — Occupational Therapy
Karen received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association on Oct. 7, 2023. She received the award for sustained advocacy, scholarship, teaching, and leadership in occupational therapy in Minnesota. She is currently professor emeritus in Occupational Therapy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Scott Snyder
BS 1981 — Education
Scott began his career teaching grade school in 1981 to 1985. During that time, he worked in the summer for a small, privately held natural gas utility. In 1985, he went full time into the public utility industry and just retired after spending 37 years in that industry in a variety of operations and leadership roles. Scott is now retired and living on the St. Croix River in North Hudson, Wisconsin.

Jack Edwards
BS 1982 — Physical Education
Jack added an associate’s degree in nursing from Saint Petersburg College to his BS from the UW–Madison School of Education. He retired in 2022 as the surgical services operations manager after 18 years in surgery.

Karen Lee-Wahl
MS 1982 — Behavioral Disabilities
After receiving her master’s, Karen began her career as a learning disabilities teacher at DeForest High School for nine years. She then moved on to serve students with learning disabilities at East High School, and then at Huegel Elementary School in Madison, Wisconsin. She ended her 38-year career teaching 5th grade for 15 years. She is now retired and has done some substitute teaching.

Matt Martin
BS 1982 — Athletic Training
Matt had a long career in medical sales for over 30 years. He recently retired from GE Healthcare with the title of region modality leader with Nuclear Medicine Sales.

Bill Roach
BSE 1982 — Independent Major
In 1982, Bill embarked on his television career as an intern at WISC-TV in Madison, Wisconsin. After a decade in local news, he transitioned to independent contracting, collaborating with various companies for the following 30 years, with a primary focus on his role with ESPN. Throughout his four-decade-long television journey, Bill has garnered 18 Emmy Awards and various other accolades. Presently, while still engaging in freelance work, he works as the marketing director at Vittense Golfland and relishes his role as a grandfather.

John Rury
PhD 1982 — Educational Policy Studies
John is professor emeritus at the University of Kansas, and has written a new book, “An Age of Accountability: How Standardized Testing Came to Dominate American Schools and Compromise Education,” published by Rutgers University Press this fall.

Clark Sheerar
MS 1982 — Educational Administration
Clark is fully retired as an educator. He is now working at Marshfield Medical Center – Eau Claire as a pharmacy technician in the inpatient pharmacy in the hospital — and loving it!

Jeff Anderson
BS 1983 — Kinesiology
After graduating as one of the first — if not the first — grads in exercise physiology, Jeff went on to teach respiratory care. After three years at Gulf Coast Community College, he spent 36 years teaching at Boise State University, and about 33 of those as director of clinical education. He is now an adjunct at both Boise State and the College of Western Idaho.

Nancy Barbiaux
BS 1983 — Secondary Education (English and Communication Arts)
Nancy added broadfield social studies to her certifications. She earned a master’s in history from Cardinal Stritch. She taught for 25 years in the School District of Waukesha, where her specialty was AP World History. In June of 2022 she retired, and she and her husband moved to Fitchburg to enjoy their grandchildren and all the pleasures of Madison.

Laura Pizer Gueron
BS 1983 — Physical Therapy
Laura has worked as a physical therapist for 40 years and was recently asked to be peer reviewer for two articles, regarding trauma-informed PT and PT with refugee communities. She has been affiliated with the Center for Victims of Torture for 31 years and with Gillette Children’s for 23 years. Laura worked as the clinical advisor for PT for CVT Kenya programs for 10 years, until June 2023, and is now helping to set up a PT program on site at CVT for clients in Minnesota.

Lori Ochalek
BS 1983 — Physical Therapy
Lori is newly retired after 40 years. She reports, “We had our 1983 PT Class 40th Reunion at Union South this past September. On Wisconsin!”

Terry Austin
PhD 1984 — Curriculum and Instruction
Terry retired from Virginia Commonwealth University after 36 years as director of bands and four years as the chair of the Department of Music. In Nov. 2023, he received the Virginia Music Educators Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Although he is retired from VCU, he will continue to be a regular guest conductor at the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo as well as the conductor of Commonwealth Winds and the co-conductor of the Virginia Wind Symphony.

Keith Dolan
BS 1984 — Education (History and Broadfield Social Studies)
Keith retired from the classroom in 2018, from Oshkosh North High School. However, he does continue to teach an online U.S. History class on a part-time basis, through the Oshkosh Area School District’s eAcademy program.

Barbara Gruener
BSE 1984 — English (Spanish minor)
During her first 10 years teaching high school Spanish, Barbara earned an MS in education and another in counseling. She was then blessed to be a school counselor at every level preK-12 for 25 years. For her encore career, she worked with the CharacterStrong team and served as lead writer for the PurposeFULL People Toolkit. In 2021, she returned to the classroom to teach high school Spanish to 8th graders and bring her teaching journey full circle. Barbara is also the author of two Mom’s Choice Gold award books.

Kristine Hallisy
BS 1984 — Physical Therapy
Kristi is an associate professor in the UW–Madison DPT program. She worked in high-level sports medicine PT in Detroit before she joined the UWPT program in the fall of 1997. She teaches musculoskeletal coursework, orthotics, and health promotion and wellness. Her evidence-based Tai Chi Prime falls prevention program is being expanded in Milwaukee and beyond as an inclusive program aimed at meeting the cultural Tai Chi needs of African American and Latinx populations.

Dennis McKinley
MS 1984 — Education and Music
Dennis retired from part-time church choir directing after 53 years.

Thompson Brandt
MS 1985 — Educational Administration; PhD 1985 — Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Administration
Thompson of Freeport, Illinois, was inspired by a close friend to take a road less traveled. A newly released novel, entitled “A Measure of Grace,” was waiting for him upon reaching his destination. It tells the story of an arrogant symphony conductor who is diagnosed with ALS and learns — for the first time — to offer grace to others as his life fades away. “A Measure of Grace” is available via

Sharon Kronschnabl-Robinson
BS 1985 — Community Health
NCL cruise ship staff; master’s degree at UCF; health educator at Florida hospital teaching CPR, aerobics — developed fitness center, employee wellness; BSN at Southeastern LA University; moved to Texas to work at hospital in post-partum, pediatrics, childbirth educator, CPR, then outpatient certified diabetes care education specialist (CDCES) for the past 23 years.

Randi Whitman
BS 1987 — Art, Dance
Randi began her dance career with Joseph Holmes Dance Theater in Chicago upon graduating in 1987. Later, she was a founding member of River North Dance Company in Chicago. She moved to Los Angeles in 1990 to dance, as well as to start her own dance production company. Her passion for health and healing led her to Colorado to study Pilates. She now is back in Chicago and owns Frog Temple Pilates Center, going on 24 years continuing her passion for movement, health, and healing.

Deborah Engen
BS 1981 — Elementary Education; MS 1988 — Curriculum and Instruction
Deborah taught grades 2-5 for 31 years. During that time she was an adjunct professor during the summer months for the Institute of Graduate Studies (IGS). When she retired from the public schools she continued to teach graduate-level courses until the pandemic hit. Now Deborah shares workshops with educators and parents in the Houston, Texas area, on “The Nine Essential Skills of the Love and Logic Classroom.”

Jeffrey Jacobson
PhD 1988 — Education Administration
Jeff followed his studies at UW by serving as high school principal in Crandon, Plymouth, and Platteville, and as district administrator of the Dodgeville School District, retiring in 2020. In retirement, he is active as an education consultant guiding community engagement and pre-referendum work in local school districts with HSR Architects and Engineers of La Crosse. Additionally, Jeff serves as the liaison for school programs with the nonprofit movement, We Are Many – United Against Hate.

Yvonne King
PhD 1988 — Continuing Education
In August 2023, Yvonne became a co-author of an Amazon self-published book that tells the story of a Black law school in Chicago, Illinois, from 1975 – 1986. She and one of the other two co-authors were in the school’s first graduating class in 1980, five years before Yvonne enrolled at UW–Madison. The title of the book is, “The Ultimate Challenge: Study Law in a Black Developing Institution.”

Barbara Shultz/Valley
BS 1988 — Occupational Therapy
Barbara is known as “The Kid Whisperer” due to her magically and profound skills working with neuro-atypical kids. Gratitude to Teachers: Bob, Mary, Dr. Ottenbocker.

Curtis Bonk
MS 1987, PhD 1989 — Educational Psychology
In October 2023, Curt received several notable awards, including a Fellow Award from the Online Learning Consortium, as well as the Annual Achievement Award and an Outstanding Book Award from the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT).

Kenneth (Ken) Niemeyer
BS 1989 — Secondary Education (Math)
Ken accepted a new staff role as the assistant to the chair in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, beginning in Dec. 2023. He previously was on the academic staff at the School of Pharmacy, UW–Madison (2002-2020).

Diane Rawlinson
MFA 1989 — Dance Performance and Choreography
After retiring from 30 years as the dance/yoga/fine arts teacher at Wheeling High School in Illinois, Diane has accepted a faculty position at Loyola University in Chicago in the Master of Education/Dance Endorsement residency partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. She will be teaching and mentoring the dance cohort.


Ronald Dentinger
BS 1990 — Communications and Secondary Education
Ronald retired at the end of December 2023, completing a 34-year career as a public school teacher, coach, and assistant principal in El Paso, Texas. In retirement, he has accepted a job to teach at Loretto Academy, an all-girl Catholic High School in El Paso. He explains that in Texas, you can collect a public school retirement pension and teach at private and charter schools.

John Roth
MFA 1990 — Art
John is the chair of the Old Dominion University Art Department in Norfolk, Virginia, and is continuing his research in sculptural furniture forms.

Suzy Favor
BS 1991 — Art
Suzy is a mosaic artist living in Southern California.

Bird Ross
MFA 1992 — Art
2023 marks the fifth year the Forward Art Prize has been awarded to two women visual artists in Dane County, Wisconsin. Bird, along with Brenda Baker (MFA ’90), founded the Women Artists Forward Fund that supports the two $10k Forward Art Prizes annually. Bird and her husband Tom Loeser held an exhibit of their artwork, “Crazy Mixed-up Kids Get to Work,” in Madison in Nov. 2023. Bird and Brenda will have an exhibition, “Land of 10,000 Eddies,” at the Art + Lit Lab in Madison in Jan. 2024.

Chris Kauffeld
BS 1993 — Education (English)
Chris started his career teaching English in Zaragoza, Spain, for two years. He then taught Spanish in high schools in Illinois, Oregon, and Minnesota, also coaching Quiz Bowl and Knowledge Bowl for 19 years. After 30 years in the classroom, he is currently on a one-year leave during which he will be hiking his third Camino de Santiago in Spain. He has roughly 125 miles of the 440 total finished as he writes this update.

Mark Kapocius
BS 1994 — Rehabilitation Psychology
After over 27 years of service as a school counselor and director of human resources for Milwaukee-area school districts, Mark is now serving school districts and municipalities statewide as an attorney at von Briesen & Roper, s.c.

Tamara Koransky
BS 1994 — Education
Tamara has been teaching elementary school ever since graduation, and for the last 18 years she has taught mostly 2nd grade in Oak Park, Illinois. She has combined her passions for teaching and art, and now she also teaches after-school art classes for kids and workshops for adults, too.

Kris Hall
PhD 1995 — Educational Administration
Kris retired for the second time in 2021 after 42 years in education as a teacher, elementary principal, central office administrator, transportation manager, and vocational school director in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. He is currently residing in Dubuque, Iowa.

Dana Hanson
MS 1995 — Special Education (Learning Disabilities)
Dana taught at Thoreau Elementary School in Madison, first as a learning disabilities teacher and then as a cross-categorical teacher, until her retirement.

Beth Lewis Samuelson
MS 1995 — Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Lewis Samuelson is the director of the African Studies program in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.

Diana Moran Thundercloud
MS 1995 — Curriculum and Instruction
Diana was invited to serve as the women’s rights advisor for youth (18-26) who attended the International Youth Media Summit (IYMS) as emerging filmmakers. The 2023 summer summit was hosted at UW–La Crosse. IYMS is now in partnership with UNESCO. Diana plans to attend in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in summer 2024 with students from Mexico. Diana divides her time between Wisconsin & Mexico City. She is also working on a book, the Visual Arts Curriculum/“Indigenous Las Americas.”

Eva Sandor
MFA 1996 — Art
Eva’s series of novels concludes its “mildly magical” arc with entry number four, “Spring’s Eternal,” which finds its hero at the helm of a worldwide peace conference that’s rapidly devolving into mayhem (and magpies). Eva’s books have been particularly well received by fans of the late Terry Pratchett, who find that her world and its denizens satisfy their longing for “funny fantasy with a serious soul.”

Susan Custer
BS 1997 — Dance
Susan completed her BS at UW–Madison as a three-time Department of Kinesiology scholarship award recipient. She went on to teach children and dance for 20 years. She has since returned and completed studies as a UW–Madison as a School of Medicine and Public Health (AHEC) Scholar (23) and is soon to complete her degree as an occupational therapy assistant at Madison College in May 2024. Her capstone project is focused upon teaching music, balance and core strengthening movement to elders and differently abled dancers.

Wendy Johnson
PhD 1997 — Educational Psychology/School Psychology
Wendy has worked for more than 26 years as a school psychologist in public schools, most of those years in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). She retired from MMSD in 2021, but continues to work for the district part-time. Wendy continues her private practice that she began in 2007, providing evaluation and therapeutic services for children, adolescents, and young adults. She is proud to serve on the boards of EAGLE School and Journey Mental Health Center.

Timothy Andrew Kussow
MFA 1998 — Fine Arts, Sculpture
Timothy boasts a rich and multifaceted career. For the past 25 years, he has held the position of professor of visual fine arts-sculpture at Connecticut State in Manchester. Additionally, he has accumulated 16 years of experience as the department chair of the Visual Fine Art and Performing Arts. Beyond his academic endeavors, Timothy is also a dedicated public servant. He has devoted 16 years to the Town of Mansfield Fire Department in Connecticut, where he serves as a firefighter/EMT.

Daniel Krhin
MS 1999 — Educational Administration
Dan has been the executive director of Ripon College’s U.S. Department of Education TRIO program since 1987, and for the last three years has created a very unique financial literacy and retirement planning and funding initiative for 65 students, who mostly come from first generation and lower income demographic backgrounds. Teaching students about the importance of investing strategies, Dan has received money from a private foundation to fund students in the construction of their retirement accounts.

Lisa Peyton-Caire
MS 1999 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
On Aug. 31, the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness (FFBWW) was honored to host the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, for a special visit on the FLOTUS’ Midwest tour. As the CEO of FFBWW, Lisa and her team were host to the First Lady’s roundtable highlighting the President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative during her day-long visit to Madison.


Gayle Ellis
PhD 2001 — Counseling Psychology
Gayle began her career working for Group Health as a PhD, licensed psychologist, and as a nurse prescriber. After several years of not being allowed to control her practice, she left and went to private practice with Family Therapy Center, working with children and adolescents and their families. Currently, she is more than happily retired. In the past six months, she’s been to Portugal, the Rhine River, and now is headed to the Galapagos.

Zara González Hoang
BS 2002 — Art
Zara illustrated her sixth children’s book, “Pa, Me and our Sidewalk Pantry,” written by Toni Buzzeo. It was released by Abrams Books in July.

Dean Pribbenow
PhD 2002 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Dean is currently serving as the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Elmhurst University in Elmhurst, Illinois. He has three sons, and his youngest is a first-year student at UW–Madison.

Holly Anne Burns
BFA 2003 — Fine Arts
Holly recently launched Burns Design Strategy, a strategic design consultancy where she helps organizations solve challenges using an empathetic design approach. In September, she rolled off her position as teaching, learning and technology specialist with UW–Madison’s Master in Design and Innovation Program. Holly writes she has “a passion for connecting people and doing the right thing.” She and her hubby have two kids. She also has a side hustle writing and illustrating children’s books.

Maxine Jeremiah
PhD 2003 — Curriculum and Instruction
After graduating, Maxine began her career in K-12 as a teacher and administrator in Chicago. Today she is an associate director in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.

Karen Mesmer
PhD 2003 — Curriculum and Instruction (Science Education)
Karen is the co-author of a book for new science teachers, “Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Secondary Science,” published by Corwin Press.

Christa Bruhn
PhD 2004 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Christa recently published her timely memoir, “Crossing Borders: The Search for Dignity in Palestine,” for the 75th anniversary of the state of Israel, what for Palestinians marks the 75th commemoration of the Nakba, Arabic for Catastrophe. Christa remains involved in her family’s artisan food business Canaan Palestine ( while serving as a writing mentor to young Palestinians through We Are Not Numbers (

Sarah LaMaster
BS 2004 — Elementary Education
Sarah started her career as a kindergarten teacher in Beloit, Wisconsin. She taught there for 19 years, teaching K-5 mono and dual language. Recently, she moved back to Madison with her family and is teaching 2nd grade at Lowell Elementary.

Sarah Schnuelle
BS 2004 — Elementary Education
After completing maintenance of National Board Certification in December, Sarah now serves as a mentor to NBCT candidates and is active in her local reading council. As vice president of the Wisconsin State Reading Association, she is helping to plan the organization’s annual conference. In addition to providing literacy intervention and coaching at Sullivan Elementary, she is in her second year of an appointment to the Department of Public Instruction’s Reading Advisory Council.

Kendra Braucher
MS 2005 — Special Education
Kendra got her BS from UW–Madison in 2005. She received her master’s degree in special education in 2017 and her Reading Endorsement in 2023. She was awarded “Teacher of the Year” in her district in central Iowa in 2023.

Erin Narloch
BS 2005 — Art
Erin spent more than a decade working in museums, then she began working in corporate archives — first at Adidas in Germany, then at Reebok in Boston. She’s spent time consulting and currently is the senior director of business insights and performance for History Factory, a brand heritage management agency. This year her essay, “Finding Authenticity with the Voice of Influence: Interpreting Sports and Branding,” was published in AASLH’s Interpreting Sports at Museums and Historic Sites.

Ruttanatip (Dang) Chonwerawong
PhD 2006 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Dang is a senior consultant at Arredondo Advisory Group, a DEI consultancy. She focuses on access to higher education for students from low-income families, first generation college students, and — most importantly — students who are historically underrepresented in American higher education settings. She has more than 25 years of experience as a higher education practitioner and senior administrator, much of it at the University of Wisconsin, where she led TRIO Student Support Services for 14 years before becoming an assistant dean for student diversity programs in the School of Education. In that role, she oversaw multiple programs ranging from pre-college to graduate levels. She previously served as associate vice president for student academic support services at California State San Marcos, special assistant to the president of the University of Wisconsin System, dean for student development at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, and associate vice president for student success at California State University, Dominguez Hills. In 2023 she was named by Madison 365 as one of Wisconsin’s 40 most influential Asian American leaders. Dang also appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Larry Meiller Show (check out that appearance here:

Sara Schneckloth
MA 2005, MFA 2006 — Art
Sara is a full professor at the University of South Carolina, where she heads the USC Drawing Program in the School of Visual Art and Design. In 2024, she will run a transdisciplinary Drawing Research Workshop in New Mexico, designed to bring together artists, scholars, and educators who use drawing in their creative and field research. Sara has spent summers drawing in New Mexico since 2014 and brings together geology, biology, and natural material in her work.

Jeff Silber
MS 2006 — Special Education
After a career in private industry, Jeff returned to school and obtained an MS in special education. Being a single parent of two, one who had autism, this began the journey of becoming an effective advocate for children with special needs and their families. The next chapter of Jeff’s career involved providing therapy to children with autism in clinics and family homes. Jeff is proud of Games for Learning and has lobbied for expansion of the program for children with special needs.

Cheryl Schiltz
BS 2008 — Rehabilitation Psychology
Cheryl is the author of “Silencing the Noise of Disability: A Journey of Transformation,” which was released in November 2021. In the book, she reveals her passage from a medical trauma leaving her with psychological and physical change, to healing her world. Cheryl is active in sharing her experiences through presentations, and dedicated to student transitions to employment, disability advocacy, and making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. She is an accomplished photographer and currently working on her second book.

Nga-Wing Anjela Wong
MA 2005; PhD 2008 — Educational Policy Studies
Anjela, a professor of education for equity and justice at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, is among the recipients of the 2023 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award from the Universities of Wisconsin.

Jay Affeldt
BSE 1996 — Biology; MS 2004 — Educational Psychology; MS 2009 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Jay was recently named associate superintendent of high schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Susan Borden
PhD 2009 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Susan has just transitioned to a new head of schools role at ACS-Doha. She continues as the president of the American Women’s Association in Qatar and volunteers with FIFA in her free time. She encourages all Badgers to visit Qatar!

Visalakshi (Viji) Somasundarm
MS 2009 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Viji is currently the Office of Educational Accountability (OEA) team director at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. She has been a multi-state consortium co-chair and participated in the employee advisory, assessment, advanced placement, attendance, data literacy, mathematics, and peer review committees. Viji is a 1998 Tamil Nadu Agricultural University graduate who earned her MS in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from UW–Madison in 2009.


Chia-Chee Chiu
MS 2010 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Chia-Chee moved to the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the summer of 2023. Shady Hill is a pre-kindergarten to 8th grade progressive school founded in 1915. It has its roots in the teachings of John Dewey and leading educators of the time. Chia-Chee serves there as the head of the middle school.

Heather Sternitzky
BS 2010 — Elementary Education
After being a middle school teacher for 12 years, Heather is now an instructional designer for a large Midwestern business law firm.

Meri Tunison
BS 2010 — Secondary Education, Social Studies
Meri began teaching in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District in Wisconsin in 2010 before earning a master’s in educational technology and taking an online learning teacher leader role in the Madison Metropolitan School District in 2014. For the last three years, Meri has been an associate director with Wisconsin Virtual School, focusing on curriculum work and professional learning. She earned an instructional design certificate from UW–Stout in 2020 and became a K-12 peer reviewer in 2022 for Quality Matters.

Cam Stanley
BA 2011 — Secondary English Education
Cam joined the Peace Corps after graduating, and taught as a volunteer in Malawi. After his service he taught in Wisconsin and Abu Dhabi, UAE. When the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan in 2021, Cam joined the International Rescue Committee at Fort McCoy processing refugees as part of Operation Allies Welcome. This initial one-month opportunity turned into a year, and resulted in a move to Virginia for phase 2 of the operation. In June, Cam started a job in Arlington, Virginia, with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

Ellen Visscher
BS 2012 — Elementary Education
Ellen and her family have moved to Portugal to teach elementary school at TASIS Portugal.

Emily Dehmer
BS 2013 — Special Education
Emily began her career as a special education teacher, but now she brings her love of teaching to the ice! She is a figure skating coach with the Figure Skating Club of Madison, Madison Ice Diamonds, and Wisconsin Inspire Synchronized Skating teams. Emily uses her knowledge of scaffolding, SMART goals, and seven learning styles to help skaters reach their goals on the ice. She writes that working with skaters of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, she uses her passion for inclusion and individual success, empowered by the UW–Madison School of Education.

Terrance Green
PhD 2013 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Terrance, originally from Detroit, Michigan, began his career as a high school science teacher and today is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Educational Leadership. He also co-directs the Texas Principals Leadership Academy, and is a William T. Grant Scholar.

Stephen Laubach
PhD 2013 — Curriculum and Instruction (Science Education)
Steve has been the director of sustainability at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where he teaches environmental science and sustainability classes. He is currently working on projects to enhance the school’s environmental legacy, including a feasibility study on setting an emissions reduction target. He was recently named the Aldo Leopold Distinguished Teaching Chair, named after Lawrenceville alumnus (and UW–Madison professor) Aldo Leopold, class of 1905.

Emily Bedford
BS 2014 — Elementary Education
Emily began her career as a 1st grade teacher, and now she has her master’s and is a special education teacher in a Federal Setting III EBD classroom. In the spring of 2023, Emily was recognized for her innovation and creativity teaching using technology, as an Apple Distinguished Educator. Less than 200 teachers worldwide were given this distinction this year. Emily writes that she continues to use what she learned attending UW as she teaches the next generation of Badgers that reside in Minnesota!

Anders Rempel
MS 2014 — Educational Psychology (MSPE program)
A decade ago, Anders completed a PBIS-focused capstone research and initiated a successful school-wide behavior program at a middle school in Manitoba, Canada. He recently accepted the position of vice principal at Olds Koinonia Christian School in Alberta, Canada. He says he fondly remembers his years in the MSPE program and looks forward to implementing more supportive practices as he continues his career in an administrative role.

Hannah Balder
BS 2015 — Rehabilitation Psychology
After completing her undergraduate degree, Hannah went on to obtain a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Michigan State University. She then headed back to Bascom to attend law school, and now works as a disability rights attorney in the Madison area.

Brian Hanson
BS 2015 — Kinesiology (Athletic Training)
Brian has just hit his third year work anniversary with UW Athletics. He serves as the athletic trainer to the men’s and women’s cross country and track & field teams. This is not the only job Brian holds at UW: He is currently undergoing training as a descriptive sensory panelist through the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research. In this role he will provide valuable objective data by way of tasting various cheese and dairy products. Once a Badger, always a Badger!

Nicole Soulier
MS 2015 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Nicole began her career in higher education working as an enrollment coordinator at Madison College. Today, she is director of college access and experience programs there. Nicole is continuing in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis working on her doctorate, with an expected graduation of May 2024. She is currently president of the Cooweeja Native and Indigenous Alumni Affinity Group with the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

Jojin Van Winkle
MA 2015; MFA 2016 — Art
Jojin’s newest experimental films and photography in lightboxes were the subject of a 2023 solo exhibition at the Racine Art Museum (RAM)–Wustum from Aug. 29 – Nov. 25, 2023, associated with her recent 2022-23 RAM Artist Fellowship. Additionally, this academic year she became the Art Department chair at Carthage College (Kenosha, Wisconsin), where she is also the Photography and Film and New Media program director, teaching new media and foundations courses since 2018.

Christiane Wood
PhD 2016 — Curriculum and Instruction
Christiane was recently promoted to associate professor of literacy education at California State University, San Marcos. She co-authored a recently published textbook titled “Innovation, Literacy, and Arts Integration in Multicultural Classrooms: Theory and Practice for Designers of K-8 Learning Environments.”

Lisa Hennessey
BS 2011 — Secondary Education (Mathematics), MS 2017 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Following 12 years in Sun Prairie Area School District as a high school math teacher, 4K-12 mathematics coordinator, and summer school principal, Lisa has made a career shift. She is now working at UW–Madison as teaching faculty and math program coordinator for the Curriculum and Instruction Master’s in Secondary Teacher Education program. Lisa currently is also serving as the president of the Wisconsin Mathematics Council and beginning her PhD in K-12 Educational Leadership at UW–Madison.

Chelsea Blackburn Cohen
PhD 2018 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Chelsea Blackburn Cohen is the Executive Fellow for Community Engagement in the Office of the President at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Jason Kartez
MFA 2018 — Art
After graduating from UW–Madison, Jason moved to Los Angeles, California, where he is a practicing artist and dedicated art educator. In 2020 Kartez published “The Diary Project,” a visual account of the onset of the pandemic in Los Angeles. Jason holds a single subject art credential from Cal State LA and a career technical education credential in art, media, and entertainment. Teaching full-time since 2021, Jason is currently the Fundamentals of Design II teacher at Davinci Design in El Segundo.

Nicole Heimark
BS 2019 — Kinesiology
After graduating from UW, Nicole furthered her education and graduated with her MS in kinesiology from Indiana University, while working as an athletic trainer for the university’s ROTC programs. Today she works as an athletic trainer and research assistant with Leidos Inc., supporting research projects from the Naval Health Research Center surrounding rehabilitation and injury prevention in the Marine Corps.


Nicole Wittkopp
BS 2020 — Elementary Education
Nicole began her career as a middle school teacher and taught for three years in both Wisconsin and Illinois. She taught a variety of middle school subjects including social studies, science, STEM, and language arts and reading. She has now moved to a new subject: Nutrition. Nicole works for the UW–Madison’s Division of Extension as a FoodWIse nutrition educator in Milwaukee and loves working with a variety of age groups and teaching about all things nutrition.

Wai Tung Jocelyn Chan
BFA 2021 — Fine Art
After graduating, Jocelyn continues to create challenging installation artworks using the language of sound and music with her ability of perfect pitch and quadrilingual skill. To gain more exposure, she never stops exploring different opportunities when traveling around the world. Jocelyn is currently advancing her studies in glass at Toyama Institute of Glass Art in Toyama, Japan. Her works have been exhibited across the U.S., Japan and Europe.

Renata Jaeger
BS 2021 — Education Studies and Spanish
Renata graduated in 2021 and spent a year working for AmeriCorps at a middle school in Minneapolis. Today, she works as the administrative assistant to the superintendent of District 75 in New York City. Renata is also completing her MA in Sociology and Education, with an emphasis on Education Policy, at Teachers College – Columbia University. She plans to graduate in the winter of 2024.

Heidi Lubenow
MS 2021 — Special Education
Heidi began her teaching and case management career at an urban elementary school, leveraging multi-sensory reading interventions to improve student literacy skills. She continues to empower students through strength-based discovery while teaching study skills and supporting core content areas at the high school level.

Reyna Groff Zetina
BS 2021 — Art and Spanish
Since graduating, Reyna has worked as a 2D artist for Field Day Lab, a research and game design lab based in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at UW–Madison. You can see some of the games she contributed to at or on her website,

Cecilia Grinis
MS 2022 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
In just under two years of working as the primary career services personnel at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, Cecilia developed and launched the SVM Alumni-Student Mentor Program this past fall semester. The participating alumni are matched 1:1 with students to have casual conversations throughout the year, providing support related to the challenges and opportunities of the DVM program and fostering both their mentees’ and their own professional development skills.

Libby LaDue
BA 2022 — Theatre & Drama and Communication Arts
Libby graduated from UW–Madison in 2022 with a double major in Theatre and Drama and Comm Arts. Wanting to pursue a professional career in the arts, she moved down to Chicago where she got a job at a nonprofit performing and visual arts high school. Libby has spent the year acting in short films and plays around the city. Recently, Libby signed with an acting agency and got promoted to a senior-level position at her company. She is so grateful to UW for preparing her for life post-college!

Colleen Larsen
PhD 2022 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
After graduating and being awarded the Dissertation of the Year by the Council for the Study of Community Colleges, Colleen continued to build awareness about the important role technical colleges play in resettlement and economic advancement. She wrote about this in New America and partnered with the Bureau of Refugee Programs to join the national Skilled Immigrant Integration Program by World Education Services, where she is working on creating training for immigrant and refugee community navigators across the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Alyssa Paolocci
BS, MS 2022 — Secondary Education/Educational Psychology
Alyssa began her career nine years ago at East High School in Madison. She continues to work as the Advanced Placement Psychology and Advanced Placement African American Studies teacher.

Margarita Campos
BS 2023 — Education Studies
Margarita began her career in advising with Cross College Advising Service at UW–Madison as a SOAR advisor for Summer 2023. Margarita now works as a college advisor for the PEOPLE program at UW-Madison.

Maddie Foster
BS 2023 — Health Promotion and Health Equity
Three months after graduation, Maddie began attending Madison College for their Occupational Therapy Assistant program. She has been enjoying her time learning about occupational therapy and being able to help her community by recently volunteering with the geriatric population. She hopes to work with the pediatric or teen population on mental health in the future!

Jesus Cortez
MS 2023 — Special Education
After graduating in May 2023 Jesus began his teaching career as a special education teacher at a middle school in the Madison Metropolitan School District. He is loving his position because he is able to diversify the teaching profession and support students that have a similar background. He is also excited for the opportunity to grow as a teacher through the mentorship he receives from MMSD.

Madeline Lesniak
BS 2023 — Elementary Education
Maddy has been working as an environmental educator in the National Park System. She has worked at Rocky Mountain National Park and will be working at the Grand Canyon next.

Katrina Ramirez
MS 2023 — Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
Katrina returned to her grandfather’s childhood neighborhood and is the senior diversity racial equity and inclusion project coordinator for the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. She is joined by another Badger alum at NORC, Tiara Porter-Beall, the assessment specialist for The Center for Equity Research (CER). The praxis of learning with and from one another is bringing the Wisconsin Idea to Chicago as we improve the rigor and scope of diversity science.

Juliette Schwebel
BSE 2023 — Elementary and Special Education
Juliette has been spending her first year post-grad living and teaching primary school in Melbourne, Australia. She is enjoying this experience greatly as she gets to experience the culture of Australian school systems, while also getting to travel and see all different areas of the beautiful country!

Pahouachua Thor
BS 2023 — Education Studies
Pahouachua recently began her career as a financial aid advisor at UW–Madison. She works closely with the study abroad office and law school to help students understand their financial aid and what can be offered to them.

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