2010s Class Notes Fall 2016 Learning Connections



Chelsea McNerney
BSE 2010 – Elementary Education
Chelsea found a niche in marketing and is now a senior mobile marketing specialist for The Bon-Ton Stores (think Boston Store & Younkers) in Milwaukee Chelsea reports that she loves the digital space, the path it took to get here!

Kelsey Engbretson Wagner
BSE 2010 – Special Education
After spending six years teaching in a high school cross-categorical special education classroom, Kelsey recently made a career change to work in higher education, and now works as a student success coach at Southwest Technical College in Fennimore, Wis. Kelsey is excited about how her experience in K-12 education will impact her work at the post-secondary level.

Lisa Hennessey
BSE 2011 – Secondary Education/Math
Lisa is currently in her sixth year teaching geometry and algebra 2 at Sun Prairie High School. She also has been the dance coach at Sun Prairie as well. This year she took the leadership role of teaching, learning and equity council (department chair), and will graduate this spring from UW-Madison with her master's in educational leadership, certified to be a principal, director of instruction, and director of pupil services. She purchased a house in Madison last summer (2015) and is enjoying much time at Badger football and basketball events.

Mark Clement Mleziva
BSE 2011 – Secondary Education/Political Science
Mark is entering his last year of theology studies in Rome before his ordination to the priesthood in the Catholic Church on July 1, 2017. This past September Mark was ordained a deacon at St. Peter's Basilica.

Cam Stanley
BSE 2011 – Secondary Education/English
Cam started a new job at Cadott (Wis.) High School this fall after successfully completing Peace Corps service from 2012-14 in Malawi, Africa. Cam and a current Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi have coordinated a pen pal program where students in Malawi will be sending letters back and forth with American students at Cadott.

Leonard Taylor
MS 2011 – Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
Leonard recently completed a Ph.D. in organizational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Minnesota, and started a tenure-track assistant professor position in the College of Education at Mississippi State University. Leonard will also be co-hosting a TV show on the History channel set to air this fall.

Teddy Bruce
BSE 2012 – Secondary Education/History, Secondary Education/Social Studies
After serving in the Peace Corps teaching in a small West African village, Teddy Bruce now works as a management & program analyst at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. In his free time, Teddy enjoys volunteering, live music, botany, carpentry, and cooking. He can be found at local watering holes watching the Badgers and the Packers.

Michael Fehling
BS 2012 – Secondary Science Education
Michael teaches physics and coaches the ultimate Frisbee team at Madison East High School.

John W Johnson
MS 1994 – Special Education
MS 1998 – Educational Administration
Ph.D. 2012 – Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

John has been named director for literacy and mathematics at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He previously served the DPI as Communications Director for over a decade. John teaches an educational leadership graduate course at Edgewood College, and was an assistant professor, assistant principal, learning coordinator, and teacher in Wisconsin and New York.

Mark Paige
MS 2006 – Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
Ph.D. 2011 – Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

Mark is currently assistant professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and recently published a book on the use of value added models in teacher evaluation titled: “Building a Better Teacher: Understanding Value Added Models in the Law of Teacher Evaluation.” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016)

Lauren Gatti
Ph.D. 2012 – Curriculum & Instruction
Lauren’s monograph, “Toward a Framework of Resources for Learning to Teach: Rethinking U.S. Teacher Preparation,” was just published by Palgrave Macmillan. In addition, a research project on teacher preparation in Chicago -- conducted in collaboration with UW-Madison graduate Hilary Conklin -- was recently awarded a $50,000 Spencer Foundation small grant.

Erich Pitcher
MS 2012 – Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
Erich completed his Ph.D. at Michigan State University in higher, adult, and lifelong education in May 2016. Erich's dissertation examined how organizations shaped the experiences of 39 transgender academics. He also began serving as the associate director of research and communication for diversity & cultural engagement at Oregon State University.

Daihui Wang
MS 2012 – Rehabilitation Psychology
Daihui is working in Wicab, Inc., a medical device company in Middleton, Wisconsin. The company develops assistive technology for profoundly blind people. As a research specialist, Daihui is responsible for training assistive devices, counseling clients with rehabilitation plans, and monitoring clients' progress. In addition, as the operation director of China, Daihui oversees the budget, sales, and government relationships of the Chinese subsidiary. Daihui’s main research interests include assistive technology development, mobility training for blind people, independent living counseling, etc.

Caleb Mabis
BS 2013 – Kinesiology
Caleb graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health Physician Assistant Program in May, 2016. He recently accepted a physician assistant position working in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine with Beaver Dam Community Hospital.

David Olson
BM 2013 – Music Education
David is teaching choir and general music full-time at Big Foot Union High School. In addition to singing in a friend's church choir in Delavan, he is a member of Chant Claire, a semi-pro community choir based out of Milwaukee.

Suzanne Porath
Ph.D. 2013 – Curriculum & Instruction
Suzanne is an assistant professor of literacy with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Kansas State University. Recent publications include: Porath, S. (2016). Conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political dilemmas of implementing a constructivist workshop approach to literacy. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 22(7), 879-891. Presentation: Porath, S. (2016, April). I want to appear like a virtuous teacher: Carnivaleques reflection as examination of practice. Suzanne also had a paper presentation at American Educational Research Association (AERA). Washington, D.C.

Shannon McNierney Skoff
BSE 2013 – Secondary Education/Science
When Shannon decided to enroll in the School of Education, she notes that she had to decide between elementary students and science education. Shannon decided on secondary science, but her passion for working with younger children never left her mind. Shannon moved to California and was thrilled to teach physical science, biology, and chemistry for two years at a charter school focused on supporting first generation students to and through college. This year, Shannon had the opportunity to work with younger students and has been thrilled to work with fourth through sixth graders as a science specialist in a public school district.

Ruby Braxton
MS 2014 – Communicative Sciences and Disorders
Ruby is working in Maryland as a speech language pathologist at a residential school with students who have complex communication and behavior needs with a focus on augmentative and alternative communication.

Allisen Johnsen
BSE 2014 – Secondary Education/Math
This fall, Allisen started teaching at a public high school in the Bronx, N.Y. Allisen teaches ninth grade algebra at Bronx Early College Academy, where Allisen spends much of the year getting students ready to sit for and score well on the Common Core Algebra Regents. It's a high stakes test that determines if students are ready to move onto geometry, so it's very critical that the students show off their math skills. Allisen is also enrolled in graduate school at Relay Graduate School of Education in downtown Manhattan to earn a master’s in the art of teaching. Allisen will be defending her thesis of showing student academic growth and mastery of the standards in June. She adds: GO BADGERS!

Rachel Rubenstein
BS 2014 – Rehabilitation Psychology
Rachel is teaching third grade math/science in St. Louis, M. Rachel is entering her third year; she finished her Teach for America commitment in May 2016 and decided to continue teaching at her placement school. Follow their adventures: @_msrubenstein

Abigail Atkins
BSE 2015 – Elementary Education
Abigail has been teaching as a first grade teacher at Renaissance Elementary School in Racine, Wis. As a Title I school, her classroom is bright with children from all different kinds of homes each writing their own beautifully diverse story. Abigail reports that she is blessed to have the opportunity to teach social justice as well as incorporate mindfulness into the curriculum! Each one of Abigail’s students has so many wonderful "grows and glows" (places they can make better and skills or accomplishments they have already achieved). Abigail is learning every day from students as they all learn from one another! Abigail also became recently engaged to a United States Navy sailor who is deployed overseas and thought of a cute and fun way to incorporate geography into their morning message. Abigail has a map where her students have arrows on all of the different places Abigail’s fiance has traveled too. The students are learning about the culture from countries all around the world in a way that is personal and exciting!

Daniela Busciglio
Ph.D. 2015 – Curriculum & Instruction
Daniela joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma in 2015 as assistant professor of Italian and second language acquisition and Italian Language Program Coordinator, just after successfully defending her Ph.D. at UW-Madison. She currently serves as head and faculty advisor of the Italian section in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at OU. She also serves as the World Language Education liaison to the OU College of Education and to the Oklahoma State Department of Education and organizes MLLL's annual graduate teaching assistant orientation and training. She teaches courses in all levels of Italian language, literature, and cinema, as well as principles and techniques of teaching a foreign language, and second language acquisition theory at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Additionally, she also serves on the planning team and executive committee for OU in Arezzo, the Vasari Institute in various capacities for curriculum writing, strategic planning, outreach, and student services. In her first year at OU faculty, she won over $54,000 in grant awards and fellowships.

John Humphries
Teaching Certification 2015 – Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
John, driven by the belief that Wisconsin can do better, and after meeting with hundreds of educators, legislators, and community leaders around the state this year, has answered the call to run for State Superintendent. John has gathered a broad, bipartisan campaign committee and has begun raising funds. To learn more, visit John’s website at www.humphriesforschools.org


Dr. Saili S. Kulkarni

MS 2010 – Special Education
Ph.D. 2015 – Special Education

Saili is now an assistant professor at California State University Dominguez Hills, and her colleagues have received an external grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to support the preparation of early childhood special education teachers in Southern California. The grant includes family centered practices, inclusive and culturally relevant instruction, and hybrid/tech based coursework.

Tessa Mertins
BS 2015 – Kinesiology
Tessa was recently accepted to UW-Milwaukee's DPT program. Tessa will start the Physical Therapy program May 2017. Tessa reports that she is beyond excited to start an educational career as a PT.

Ian Padron
BS 2015 – Kinesiology
Ian is the owner of Padrón Performance, an online personal training and health coaching business based out of Seattle. He chose to pursue his passion for health and fitness by foregoing medical school and opening his own business following graduation. Although not a popular choice with his parents at the time, things have worked out better than he could have ever hoped. You can find his blog posts and articles about training, nutrition, and living a fulfilling life all over the internet on sites such as the Personal Trainer Development Center. He plans on relocating to Montana in the fall of 2017 where he will work remotely and be able to hunt and fish year round. You can view his site at www.padronperformance.com

Joseph Harris
BS 2016 – Kinesiology
Joseph is starting the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Minnesota this summer.

Maggie Orlowski
BSE 2016 – Special Education
Maggie is currently a ninth grade English language arts special education teacher at Rauner College Prep in Chicago.

Dan Steward
Ph.D. 2016 – Curriculum & Instruction
Dan is teaching instrumental music in the Westfield Area School District.

Patricia Venegas Ph.D.
2000 MS – Educational Administration
2016 Ph.D. – Curriculum & Instruction

Patricia was the first exchange student from the Catholic university of Chile into UW- Madison in 1994. In 1999, Patricia came back to UW-Madison and obtained a Master’s degree In Educational Leadership and Policy. After teaching as an elementary school teacher in the areas of English as a Second Language (ESL), bilingual education and reading, Patricia came back to obtain a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in bilingual education and teacher education. Patricia recently obtained the Inclusive Excellence Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she is using her expertise and knowledge in ESL, bilingual education and cultural competency to teach and participate in university wide working groups such as the Campus Culture Work Group. This group is a leadership group aimed at facilitating cultural competency and understanding among students, faculty and staff. Patricia also participates in the broader Madison Latino community empowering the biliteracy development and the training of bi/multilingual teachers, as Patricia believes it is crucial for teacher educators to better prepare and support all teachers in addressing language and identity issues related to linguistically and culturally diverse communities. Through this preparation, elementary school teachers can create more equitable learning environments, recognize the intellectual linguistic resources of students and see themselves as able and active citizens in a pluralistic society.

© 2017 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System • Please contact the School of Education External Relations Office with questions, issues or comments about this site.