Spring Commencement 2021 - Semester Highlights

Published: May 17, 2021
By: UW-Parkside Communications


1. KCACTF National and Regional Awards- UWP Theatre Arts

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival awarded UW-Parkside faculty and staff from the Theatre Department three national awards for their production of Stupid F##king Bird, by Aaron Posner. Jake Bray won for lighting design; Jody Sekas was selected for set design; Kevin Gray was honored for sound design; and the play was directed by Professor Fabrice Conte-Williamson.  At KCACTF Regional 3 competition in January, theatre student Jessica Baker snagged the top prize—for the second time in three years—for her lighting design of Romeo and Juliet—directed by Professor Brian Gill. Theatre student Jack Purves took first prize for his sound design of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)—directed by UW-Parkside alumnus Dylan Roberts.  Both Baker and Purves are competing this May at the virtual KCACTF National Festival. Including this winter’s award, UW-Parkside has won the Regional 3 lighting competition for five consecutive years.

2. Morris D. Hayes Award – Dr. James Kinchen

Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, Dr. James Kinchen, received the prestigious Morris D. Hayes Award from the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association (WCDA) for his exceptional contribution to choral art. The WCDA board celebrated the honor with Dr. Kinchen on January 16.

3. Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship - Dana Oswald 

Associate English Professor Dana Oswald is the 2021 Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship recipient. The Wheeler Fellowship has been offered to women at the associate professor level in Medieval Studies to ensure career advancement by affording them time to complete scholarly work since 2011. Professor Oswald has published articles on monstrosity, gender, and sexuality in Old and Middle English literature, and on best teaching practices in the university literature and writing classrooms.

4. Newman Civic Fellow - Alisson Anguiano Salas 

Junior Alisson Anguiano Salas has been named one of the 2021-2022 Newman Civic fellows. Salas joins 289 other students from 39 states, Washington D.C., and Mexico selected for the fellowships by Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.

5. Regent Scholar Award – Dr. Francis “Frannie” Mann

Dr. Francis “Frannie” Mann was recognized by the UW System as a 2021 Regent Scholar award recipient for her distinction in research, innovation and entrepreneurship. In accepting her award, Dr. Mann talked about her motivations for her work stating, “My major focus is always first and foremost to provide students with real, meaningful research experiences in the lab.”

6. Founding Director of CRISC – George Vukotich

George Vukotich was hired as the Founding Director of the Center for Research in Innovations and Smart Cities. Dr. Vukotich and his team are building the strategic plan for the center – which includes the cities of Kenosha and Racine as partners in the initial phase of the center's efforts – with a future eye toward the global community.

7. Howard Brown Visiting Artist in Residence – David Mason

In March, UW-Parkside virtually welcomed David Mason as the Howard Brown Visiting Artists-in-Residence. Mr. Mason is a Kenosha native and principal violinist with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a former student of Parkside’s Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Alvaro Garcia.

8. National Shore Sales Challenge – Chandler Spiewak

Chandler Spiewak, a senior majoring in business, is the 2021 National Shore Sales Challenge Champion. Spiewak competed against 87 other students from universities around the world, including Kansas, Penn State, Temple, Florida State, University of Central Florida, and the University of Texas at Dallas. He was voted the best student at the competition by industry judges and received a prize of $1,500.



1. Third Annual Parkside Day   

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside and UW-Parkside Foundation hosted Parkside Day 2021 presented by HARIBO on Thursday, April 15th, to raise funds for student scholarships and other projects and to engage the community in showing their Parkside pride. Based on preliminary totals, 608 donors made gifts for Parkside Day, raising $218,867. In particular, UW-Parkside alumni responded to the call to give, with alumni donors from every graduating class in university’s history 1970-2020.

2. Parkside Sport Management Conference  

The Health, Exercise Science and Sport Management Department hosted the Parkside Sport Management Conference on April 9. This virtual conference was free and open to the public with exciting keynote speeches from UCLA Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond and business owner, consultant, facilitator, national speaker and published author Jim Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

3. Center for Ethnic Studies Mini-Conference

On April 7, the Center for Ethnic Studies hosted virtual mini-conference titled, “The Health Impacts of COVID-19 on Communities of Color.” This conference featured two panel discussions with local leaders in healthcare and community-based organizations and a keynote presentation by Dr. Ryan Spellecy of the Medical College of Wisconsin, entitled “Repairing the Breach between Biomedical Research and the African-American Community in Milwaukee.”

4. Being and Becoming Scientists  

The Library, as a part of Kenosha Public Library Big Read, hosted an event titled, “Being and Becoming Scientists: UW-Parkside Female Faculty in STEM fields discuss Lab Girl.” During this event, 8 faculty members composed of UW-Parkside Biology, Chemistry, Biogeography, and Environmental Science professors lead a discussion of Lab Girl, focused on their experience as students in STEM fields and their current professional careers and scholarship. Four of the professors were featured, while the other four attended. Other participants include two further faculty members, an alum and two library staff helped lead the outdoor campus tour.

5. Women’s History Month/Women Chancellors’ highlight

The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion presented the Women’s History Month Speaker Series throughout the month of March entitled Refusing to be Silenced, which hosted dynamic women virtually joining UW-Parkside including Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams, Representative Ruth Buffalo, ND, and Executive VP and Chief People Officer of US cellular Corporation, Deirdre Drake. The University also celebrated the more than 22 of our 52-year history with women at the helm including Sheila Kaplan (1986-1993), Eleanor Smith (1994-1997) and current chancellor, Debbie Ford (2009-present).

6. Black History Month

As OMSA celebrated Black culture, engaged in critical conversations, and honored the legacies that prevail today throughout the month, specific events included a social media campaign, Black History Before Slavery and a Black History Month Book Collection in the UW-Parkside Library. A panel of local community members speaking on Racism in Kenosha: Perspectives from Black Leaders highlighted the celebrations and the month concluded with the 22nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

7. NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar  

In February, four representatives of Parkside Athletics participated in the virtual 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Emerging Leaders Seminar (ELS). The representatives included Ashley Beaton, Parkside's Athletics Academic Advisor served in a moderator role on an academic's panel, while Dylan Derousseau (Graduate Assistant – Athletic Communications), Amanda Johnson (Graduate Student – Track Athlete), and Turea Moore (Graduate Assistant – Events & Operations) were participants.



1. Campus Garden donated 669 pounds of fresh produce to RCFB

The Campus Garden, led by associate lecturer Dr. Julie Kinzelman donated 669 pounds of fresh produce from July to November to the Racine County Food Bank (RCFB). This donation is a 367-pound increase from 2019, with RCFB staff noting an increase in requests for fresh produce in 2020. With support from the UW-Parkside campus garden, the RCFB was able to provide 1 million pounds of food to its affiliate pantries, shelters and community meal programs, allowing emergency food to 25,602 households last year.

2. UW-Parkside teams up with Chitkara University 

UW-Parkside signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Chitkara University in Punjab, India, for Chitkara students to study abroad at UW-Parkside and complete their Master of Business Administration degree. The two universities have a collaborative history with each other, signing their first MOU in 2018 establishing the partnership, and sponsoring several faculty exchanges while co-hosting an annual international conference in India

3. Rick Kilps Center 

The new multipurpose indoor turf center in the Sports & Activity Center will be dedicated as the Rick Kilps Center, Director of Athletics Andrew Gavin announced on April 6. The facility name honors the legendary Rick Kilps, a 1975 graduate that served the University for more than 25 years in various roles, most notably as the head men's soccer coach.

4. Parkside Journal of Science  

Through independently conducted student research, the Parkside Journal of Science (PJS) student team reviewed current scientific articles, interviewed faculty members pertaining to their work, and addressed current issues in the scientific community. They published their findings in Volume II, Issue I of the PJS. The journal highlights the Future of Genetically Modified Mosquitos, The Interplay of Stress and Immunity and The Profound Symbiosis of Parasites among several other topics.

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