Volume 14, Number 4

Featured Stories

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Alumni Accomplishments 

Amanda Heideman (‘20, PhD Anthropology) was hired as a Research Director for CivicPulse, a research organization that provides data-driven insights about local government. The company covers topics ranging from threats and harassment of local government officials to diversity in local representation to differences in the urban/rural divide. 

Joe Blaszcynski (‘23, MA Anthropology) was appointed the Wisconsin Data Director at the Repulican National Committee. This is an important role with the RNC, as the presidential election approaches and Wisconsin is once again poised as a swing state. 

Bryce Stevenson (‘15, BA English) was named one of Wisconsin’s “32 Most Influential Native American Leaders for 2024” by Madison 365. Stevenson is a chef and the owner of Miijim, a restaurant in LaPointe, Wisconsin, which serves indigenous cuisine using traditional ingredients like bison, venison, wild rice, and mushrooms. 

Jacqueline Schram (‘92, BA; ‘95, MS Anthropology) was named was named one of Wisconsin’s “32 Most Influential Native American Leaders for 2024” by Madison 365. Schram is the director of public affairs and special assistant for Native American affairs at Marquette University and also works in the university’s Indigeneity Lab.  

Beckett Callan (‘24, BA Journalism, Advertising & Media Studies) has joined the Waukesha Freeman as a sports reporter, where he will cover local high school and college sports. Though Callan has freelanced in sports reporting, this is his first full-time reporting job. 

Robert Hanson (‘10, BA Geography) is the new community development director of the village of Plesant Prairie, Wisconsin. He was hired in February and will be responsible for shepherding new projects to enhance the village’s profile. Hanson was most recently the economic development coordinator for the city of Minnetonka, Minnesota. 

Soren Gajewski (‘98, BA Psychology) was hired as the Racine Unified School District’s new superintendent. The district announced it had begun contract negotiations with Gajewski, who has worked within the district for the last 17 years. He is currently the interim superintendent, after having served as a teacher, principal, and deputy chief of schools. 

Laurels & Accolades 

Anne Basting (English) was honored with a 2024 Fellows Award by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. The award, given to just 16 Wisconsinites each year, is granted to individuals highly accomplished in their fields who have demonstrated life-long commitment to intellectual discourse and public service. Basting was chosen for her dedication in introducing creative pursuits to benefit the aging and elderly. Basting will be recognized at a ceremony in September. 

In the Media and Around the Community 

Republican candidate for senate Eric Hovde may have a “visibility” problem, Kathleen Dolan (Political Science) told the Daily Beast in an article about the Wisconsin Senate race. She also spoke to Vox about the gender divide – or lack thereof – in voting trends. 

Retired ambassador Luis Arreaga (‘81, PhD Economics) met with politics and government students at Illinois State University in February. Arreaga has served as the ambassador to Iceland (2010-13) and Guatemala (2017-20) and in other government positions throughout his long career. 

This year is a Leap Year. Jean Creighton (Planetarium) explained to WUWM Radio why every four years, the month of February has 29 days. She also described what makes the “devil comet” so special to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ahead of the comet’s appearance in the night sky during March and April. Creighton also spoke to WISN 12 News about the magic of the upcoming solar eclipse in April. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlighted the Manfred Olson Planetarium’s planned festivities for the April 8 solar eclipse that will pass over the United States. 

Younger workers are becoming more attracted to the idea of unions and worker protections, John Heywood (Economics) told TMJ4 News

Kundan Kishor (Economics) examined Wisconsin Republican candidate for Senate Eric Hovde’s claims about the economy in an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

The Milwaukee Record invited its readers to get to know UWM alumna and the head brewer of Third Space Brewing Co., Samantha Danen (‘13, BA Art History).  

Spring arrived early in Wisconsin this year, thanks to warmer-than-average temperatures that spurred the formation of buds on trees and shrubs. Mark Schwartz (Geography) explained what that might mean for the state and its plants on CBS 58 News. The Washington Post also drew on his research in an article comparing the start of spring between the 1980s and today. 

Christopher Gartman (‘06, BA English and Urban Planning) was profiled for his work as both a lawyer and brewer in Crain’s Grand Rapids Business. 

Professor Rachel Buff (History) will be a presenter at the First United Methodist Church of Whitewater’s “Draw the Circle Wide” lecture series in April.  

Jarrod Showalter (‘23, MA History) was profiled in The Chippewa Herald for his job as the Chippewa Area History Center educator. 

People in Print 

Chudamani Poudyal, Qian Zhao, and Vytaras Brazauskas (Mathematical Sciences). 2024. Method of winsorized moments for robust fitting of truncated and censored lognormal distributions. North American Actuarial Journal, 28(1).  

Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece (Film Studies). 2024. Movies Under the Influence. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.  

Xin Huang (Women’s & Gender Studies). 2024. Funü: The Onion Peeling Stories. In Routledge Handbook of Chinese Gender & Sexuality (eds. Jamie J. Zhao and Hongwei Bao). New York: Routledge (243-259). 

PhD student Jessica Drake-Thomas (English). 2024. Hollow Girls. Forest Hill, Maryland: Cemetery Dance Publications. 

PhD student Zachariah Anderson (English). 2024. Review of “True’ Crime and the Appropriation of State-Recorded Surveillance Images in American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020).” Jump Cut, 62.