Developing Stories

UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout honors and diversity news

Rayna DeJongh

Paul Calenberg, Vickie Kuester
Paul Calenberg, Vickie Kuester

Calenberg, Kuester Recognized with UW-Stout Diversity Awards

A UW-Stout professor and staff member have been honored with 2018 UW-Stout Diversity Awards for creating an accepting environment throughout the UW System. Paul Calenberg, director of University Theatre and chair of the department of com smunication studies, global languages, and performing arts, has spent 20 years working at UW-Stout. He has spent his career selecting musicals and University Theatre productions that emphasize issues of diversity. Calenberg directed “The Normal Heart,” a show that explored the impact of the AIDS epidemic on the gay community, and “Suessical,” a musical that touched on issues of respect and confidence.

Vicki Kuester has worked at UW-Stout for 36 years, recruiting and aiding the success of international students. Kuester’s efforts through the UW-Stout international education office has led her to work with host families of international students and conduct cross-cultural workshops. Along with overseeing the annual International Week, an effort that involves around 35 countries and attracts around 5,000 people to numerous events, Kuester is an adviser to the International Relations Club. The Diversity Bridge Team announced the awards in an effort to promote an inclusive learning environment in the UW-Stout system by rewarding individuals who diversify campus climate.

Blugolds Compete in First Assistive Tech Challenge

UW-Eau Claire Students Blake Bomann, Kyle Wertel, and Joshua Peterson joined 21 competing teams in the first-ever Assistive Tech Challenge. The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region and the Disability Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities, according to The Destination Medical Center. Bomann, Wertel, and Peterson had been working on developing a Bluetooth-based campus navigation system that could assist people with low vision when they were told about the Assistive Tech Challenge by a UWEC faculty member.

In order to enter the competition, their software had to be used and assessed. In cooperation with the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, Erica Nerbonne, a senior Spanish major at UW-Eau Claire, saw the developing system as an opportunity to aid her loss of vision. After successfully testing the system at UWEC, the students came together to apply and participate in the Assistive Tech Challenge. The Blugold team shared their software with a five-minute presentation and became one of six teams accepted into the non-corporate division. Positive feedback has encouraged the ongoing development of their project. The competition was a learning experience and raised awareness about students with vision disabilities.

UWEC's Larson Receives UW System Outstanding Women of Color Award

Jan Larson
Jan Larson

The 2018 Outstanding Women of Color in Education has been awarded by the UW System Jan Larson, professor and chair of UW-Eau Claire’s department of communication and journalism. The annual award is meant to recognize one woman on each UW System campus who exemplifies advancements towards inclusive environments for people of color. Jan Larson has worked at UW-Eau Claire for 27 years, performing numerous roles throughout campus and securing grants for underrepresented students in the UW System.

Forman Honored by UW System for LGBTQ Advocacy

Pamela Forman
Pamela Forman

The UW System’s 2018 Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People has been awarded to Pamela Forma, professor and chair of UW-Eau Claire’s department of sociology. Forman is the co-founder of the Eau Queer Film Festival; an affiliate faculty member in the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies program; and interim chair of UWEC’s department of philosophy and religious studies. Forman has tirelessly contributed to a transformation in the well-being of UW-Eau Claire LGBTQ students, leading the university to national recognition as the No. 1 college in Wisconsin for LGTBQ students.


UW-Stout Student Center Installs Tribal Flags

On Monday Oct. 8, UW-Stout hosted Indigenous People’s Day. Eleven Wisconsin sovereign tribal flags were installed in UW-Stout’s student center where various international flags are located. The event took place in conjunction with Indigenous People’s Day, a holiday meant to be an alternative to Columbus Day. The installation of tribal flags represented the integration of indigenous people into society. With 92 native students, 851 undergraduate minority, students and 166 graduate minority students at UW-Stout, the installation encouraged an environment of inclusivity and recognition among minority students, according to UW-Stout’s Multicultural Student Services office. Event sponsors and donations from multiple organizations aided the collection and display of the sovereign flags.

Developing Diversity is sponsored by:

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