Meet some of the School of Education’s outstanding Winter 2022 graduates

As UW–Madison celebrates its Winter 2022 Commencement this Sunday, Dec. 18, we wish to congratulate all of our students who are graduating from programs in the School of Education.

We reached out to a few of our graduating students across the arts, health, and education to learn more about their favorite UW–Madison memories and future plans. Scroll down to learn more about these outstanding graduates, and click their names to read their stories.

Ryan CrayRyan Cray
MS, Special Education

Future plans — “Next, I plan to keep working as an elementary special education teacher in the Madison area. Future plans might include moving to a new city and pursuing a PhD.”

Sherri CyraSherri Cyra
PhD, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Most meaningful experience — “We lean in to lift each other up through this hard but meaningful and important work. There is a special connection or camaraderie that forms through this intense level of learning.”

Alexis FiorentinoAlexis Fiorentino
BS, Kinesiology

Most meaningful experience — “(For my practicum) I was placed with the Wisconsin ETF (Employee Trust Funds) working on a diabetes prevention program for state workers. All semester, my team and I worked tirelessly to carry out a diabetes screening program… There are plans to implement our program soon, and it will be so rewarding to see all our hard work be put into action.”

Juliana GessnerJuliana Gessner
BS, Theatre and Drama

Most meaningful experience — “My most meaningful work has been participating in student productions. Working with other students means we’re all on the same level and we’re all learning together.”

Anna HeinenAnna Heinen
BFA, Art

Lessons learned — “I feel rooted in a strong community now, and feel so connected to my friends. The social skills and life skills I’ve learned in college are equally as important to me as the things I’ve learned about art and working with my hands.”

Savanna Jo RoederSavanna Jo Roeder
BS, Elementary Education/ESL and Education Studies

Path to UW–Madison — “What brought me to UW–Madison is the amazing School of Education. UW–Madison is home to one of the best teacher preparation programs and since my career goal was to become a teacher, I wanted to be enrolled in the best program I could for my future students.”

Emilie SpringsteenEmilie Springsteen
BS, Theatre and History

Choice of major — “Theater has always been my safe space… History was the major that kind of snuck up on me. It was through the wonderful course options for historians that this university holds that I realized I wanted to teach history.”

Serendipity StageSerendipity Stage
BFA, Art

Choice of major — “I initially enrolled as an English major due to my love of creative writing — an art form I still practice and incorporate into my works today. Yet my involvement in The Studio resident learning community as a freshman opened my eyes to my passion for working with the arts in a different way.”

Emma ThelkeEmma Thelke
BS, Education Studies and Political Science

Most meaningful experience — “Moving to online classes for the first time in my life taught me a lot about myself as a learner and it helped me learn how to communicate better with my professors and peers, as well as teaching me how to be a more independent learner.”

Brett WanneboBrett Wannebo
BS, Kinesiology and Neuroscience

Lessons learned — “If there is one piece of advice that I would give to future students, I would suggest that they always remain open to new opportunities. It is amazing how many cool things can happen by chance.”

Lauren ZeppLauren Zepp
PhD, Special Education

Most meaningful experience — “My most meaningful experience in the doctoral program was accepting my identity as a disabled person and learning to advocate for myself. This has helped me to understand myself more deeply, to think differently about access for all, and ultimately helped me to become a stronger advocate and better instructor.”

Yining ZhangYining Zhang
BS, Education Studies and Psychology

Path to UW–Madison — “I came to UW–Madison for the inclusiveness and diversity of the community, the renowned reputation of the School of Education, and the beautiful campus surrounding Lake Mendota.”

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