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Attending UW-Superior is a family tradition for 2006 alumna Caitlyn Anderson's family. Her parents, Catherine (O'Brien) Anderson, class of 1977, and Rodney Anderson, class of 1976, met when they attended UW-Superior. Her older sister Rebecca (Anderson) Andersen graduated in 2002, and her younger sister Alyssa (Anderson) Basthemer is class of 2009. Numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins are also alumni.
Caitlyn and her mother chose to give back to their alma mater by purchasing Calcium through the Periodic Table campaign. Caitlyn, who works for 3M as a Sr. Environmental Engineer, had this to say about their gift, "To give back to the college was really important. I also thought it would be a great legacy for us to share and pass on to future generations. As an employee of 3M, I am keenly aware of the need for future development of STEM students. Buying an element seemed like a memorable way to contribute to the past and future."
Catherine agreed, "As each of my daughters and I spent many hours in the science department in our undergrad programs, purchasing an element would be a lasting footprint we could leave in the new science building while also encouraging others to pursue science. Purchasing Calcium, Ca, to honor our initials seemed to be a fun way to do that."
Both women have many fond memories of their time at UW-Superior. Catherine remembers when she was chosen to represent the Chemistry Department as a candidate for homecoming queen. There were many events like a skit night, a parade, and a "meet the candidates" night, along with half time festivities during the football game. For Caitlyn, it's the lifelong friendships she made and the time she spent growing the UW-Superior women's golf team.
As an environmental engineer for 3M, Caitlyn works closely with their manufacturing facilities located throughout the U.S. to determine compliance with Federal and State EPA regulations as well as to update and/or apply for new environmental permitting. With this position, she has assisted with various EHS training and communication needs for audiences ranging from Vice Presidents to machine operators. She says her Broadfield Science-Secondary Education degree from UW-Superior taught her both the technical skills needed for her position and how to be an effective communicator and trainer.
Catherine retired this spring after 33 years of teaching physics, chemistry, physical science, and computer science. The last 24 years she was science department chair and an 8th grade physical science teacher at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire, WI. She was the first science teacher to receive National Board Teaching Certification and Master Educator status in the state of Wisconsin. She was a Herb Kohl Fellowship awardee, a Fulbright Memorial Teacher, Wisconsin Middle School Teacher of the Year, along with achieving numerous other awards. Attending UW-Superior prepared her to meet the rigor required to teach in a field initially dominated by male teachers. She feels her beginning preparation proved to be a wonderful foundation to keep her at the top of her field.
As the youngest alum to donate to the Periodic Table campaign, Caitlyn wanted to give back to the community and her alma mater - to honor the journey that made her what she is today. "Whether you sponsor something fun, like an element, or contribute to a scholarship, you give back a little piece that someone gave when you went through your program. I feel very blessed about my UW-Superior experience. I made lifelong friendships and could experience the beauty of the northland while studying. Even if you can't donate a lot, every little bit can help someone to build a great future."
She is also thankful for her employer's support. "I would like to thank 3M for being a donor match company. I would encourage others to check out their employer to see if they will match donations. It is a great way to bring awareness of your company to your donation."
Donations to the Periodic Table support UW-Superior chemistry and physics students through scholarships and equipment purchases. View a list of available elements and particles online, or call Dr. Michael Waxman at 715-394-8261 for more information.
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