December 18, 2020

Graduates share their experiences and future plans

Graduates share their experiences and future plans

Nearly 800 students have earned their degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Superior between Fall 2019-Fall 2020. These students have pressed forward through a year unlike any other to achieve their goals. They come from near and far, with varied backgrounds and personal experiences, but they share one thing in common, grit and determination to reach their dreams. They have left no doubt that they are prepared to leave a lasting, positive impact on the world. Here are just a few examples of UW-Superior’s outstanding 2019-2020 graduates.


Gamze Keskin Pultz
Master of Science in Education – Special Education

Gamze Keskin Pultz

Please share a little about your background and what led you to UW-Superior.

I am native of Turkey, and I earned my bachelor’s in science & math education from Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara. I was also a recipient of an Emerging Leaders Scholarship from the United States Department of State. I left the corporate world to return to teaching and have been a science and math teacher at Istanbul International Community School since 2016. I joined King’s Academy in Jordan in 2019 as a faculty member teaching middle school science in the Department of Physical and Life Sciences.

I wanted to obtain a Master of Science in Education – Special Education because in my school environment, I realized that students with learning difficulties struggle the most in math and science. I wanted to blend my content knowledge with special education methods in order to support students more effectively.

How has your experience at UW-Superior shaped your career or future?

As an international teacher, having a degree from the U.S. is very important for me to find international teaching jobs. Since my bachelor's degree was from Turkey, even though I speak English very well, not many schools interviewed me since I don't have a degree from an English-speaking country. After I received my degree from UW-Superior, my husband and I started to apply for international jobs in many different countries and suddenly many schools wanted to have an interview with me. This makes me feel so proud of myself and thankful for my UWS experience.

Please share a memory or highlight from your time at UW-Superior.

I have learned a lot from all my professors, and I thank them all very much. I would like to give special thanks to Dr. Jessica Cook and Dr. Tanya Skalecki. I have taken four courses from Dr. Cook and I was always the only student outside of the U.S. She was very understanding and answered all my questions and provided great feedback which allowed me to advance my studies. She made a personal connection with me even though we have never met each other in person. I am very thankful for her support.

I would also like to thank Dr. Skalecki. I took my last course on special education law from her. I am a bilingual teacher and I started to learn English at the age of 13. Even though my academic English is better than my academic Turkish, it is still difficult for me to read and understand law-related topics in English or even in Turkish. However, Dr. Skalecki provided me with very clear directions and patiently replied to all my questions and I managed to pass her course with a very high grade. Thank you Dr. Skalecki for allowing me to go beyond my limits and helping me overcome the challenges.

What are your future plans?

I am 37 years old, but I am a new teacher with only fiv- years of experience. My UWS education has broadened my vision. I would like to continue to be an international teacher in different parts of the world.



Nathaniel Ballard
Elementary Education Major

Nathaniel Ballard

Please share a little about your background and what led you to UW-Superior

I was born in Duluth into a family of seven kids. I was homeschooled until my junior year of high school when I pursued PSEO at Lake Superior College and graduated with my associates of arts degree along with my high school diploma. My grandma was a teacher and she sparked my passion for education. I have several little nieces and nephews, so I knew I loved working with kids. However, I did not know that teaching was what I wanted to do yet until I took an Intro to Education class at LSC and loved it. That experience led me to go into education. During one class session at LSC, Taylor Walkky-Byington, (my future advisor at UWS) came and spoke. What I was looking for in a college fit perfectly with what she was saying about UW-Superior. I wanted small class sizes, more teacher/student interactions, somewhere close to home, but also a university that felt like I could go on my own adventure. The University of Wisconsin-Superior fit all of these.

How has your experience at UW-Superior shaped your career or future?

My experiences at UWS have shaped my future in many ways. I have developed skills both in life, and in my career as an educator. I learned what it means to be successful and how to be the best teacher I can. The people, the opportunities, and the community culture have supported, grown, and inspired me to experience the fullness that life has to offer and to press hard towards my goals.

Please share a memory or highlight from your time at UW-Superior.

I will always appreciate and remember the time I spent in the Education Department lounge, working on homework and building friendships with the community I found there. This, along with working with kids at the Little Yellowjacket Summer Camp and as a building manager at the Marcovich Wellness Center, are some of my favorite memories at UWS.

What are your future plans?

I hope to get a job as an elementary teacher in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area. After I’ve worked as a teacher for many years, I hope to get back to a university as an education professor and work my way up to become an education department chair. I want to work with education majors so I can help develop future teachers who will continue to inspire future generations.



Tessa Ramsey
Transportation and Logistics Management Major

Tessa Ramsey

Please share a little about your background and what led you to UW-Superior.

In 2003, at the age of 21, I went through the Schneider National Inc., truck training program in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and learned to drive a semi. I became an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver. In 2005, I went to drive for Halvor Lines and drove as a team OTR driver for 11 years. In 2014 I retired from OTR trucking when I was eight months pregnant with my first child, but I continued to drive school buses and dump trucks locally. In the middle of trying different local driving careers, I remembered hearing about the Transportation and Logistics Management program at UW-Superior while I was working at Halvor Lines. I decided that I would like to work in the transportation industry in a different capacity, so I enrolled in the program in January 2018. I continued to drive and work full time while I worked toward my degree.  I took classes straight through so I could finish. My husband and I now have two five and six-year-old little girls, and I have finally made it to graduation.

How has your experience at UW-Superior shaped your career or future?

I have learned so much about the different opportunities in the transportation sector and I was able to relate a lot of it to my life experience. It was exciting to intertwine my personal experience as an OTR driver with everything I learned throughout the program.

Please share a memory or highlight from your time at UW-Superior.

I cannot pick just one experience. Everyone involved in the program is fantastic. The guest speakers were also amazing.

What are your future plans?

Right now, I plan to continue in my role as delivery manager for Como Oil and Propane. 



Johnathan Erickson
Music Major – Percussion Performance and Instrumental/General Music Education

Johnathan Erickson

Please share a little about your background and what led you to UW-Superior.

I was first introduced to UW-Superior as a child. My grandmother, Barb Erickson, worked at the university as registrar for many years and I would often visit her office and go to Yellowjackets hockey games with her and my grandfather. Both of my grandparents are alumni of the university (they are two of the original 100 Outstanding Alumni), and they  met and got engaged on campus during their time as students. This is where my connection to the university began. 

How has your experience at UW-Superior shaped your career or future?

While my high school band director surely contributed to the foundations of my musical passion and my philosophy of music education, it is the contributions of Dr. Brett Jones and Dr. Pamela Bustos that have made me the educator that I am today. Their guidance, their examples, and the experiences and opportunities they have provided have more than prepared me to step into my own classroom. Never have I met more caring and generous teachers, and I hope that I can do for my students what they have done for me. 

I've also had the great fortune of being a part of the UWS Music Department family. As the department is so close-knit, I've had the chance to work with each of the world-class music faculty, develop close friendships with my peers, and try my hand at musical activities I might not have otherwise attempted such as opera workshop or learning the organ. This has allowed me to create a more unique musical voice and a wider range of experience to share with my students.

Please share a memory or highlight from your time at UW-Superior.

I have so many cherished memories from my time at UWS, but I think my favorite must be my study- away experiences. In 2018, I got to spend three weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland, and in 2019 the Symphonic Band toured Latvia and Estonia. These experiences brought me closer together with peers and faculty and exposed me to the universal power music can have across cultures and borders. Making music with and for people I've never met before was such a powerful experience.

What are your future plans?

As soon as my student teaching placement is over in January I will be moving to Mercer, Wisconsin, to teach music for the Mercer School District. I will be teaching grades Pre-K through 12 and couldn't be more excited. So far, the district and the community have been very welcoming. I can't wait to start building the school's music program and create an environment that allows students to explore their musical interests and grow their own lasting relationships with music.



Hanna Wagner
Elementary Education Major 

Hanna Wagner

Please share a little about your background and what led you to UW-Superior.

I grew up in Southern California and moved here five years ago with my husband and our eight-day old son. My husband and I decided to move so that we could raise our family in a small town. After our second child was born, I applied to UW-Superior.  I chose this school not only because they have a great education program, but because the only program worked for me and my family. I wanted to be able to spend my days at home with my son and daughter while taking courses.  With the UWS program, I was able to take great courses from my home and continue to be a full-time mom.

How has your experience at UW-Superior shaped your career or future?

My time at UW-Superior has given me the tools I need to be a great teacher.  The online courses were active, hands-on and coordinated with different school sites.  When I began taking online courses, I never thought that I would be teaching through a pandemic. In March, I accepted a position as a long-term substitute teacher for middle school math and science -- a position  that I came upon while looking for field experience for UWS. I spent three days getting to know my students and my school before we were closed by the state, and I immediately and unexpectedly had to develop an online platform for my students. Having spent the previous two years as an online student, I had firsthand experience navigating an online classroom and I could empathize with how overwhelmed the students and their parents were feeling. It was my experience at UWS and being a mother that gave me the confidence to put together a plan that was collaborative, hands-on, and that worked for families who were trying to find a balance in new endeavors. It has been a great learning experience.

Please share a memory or highlight from your time at UW-Superior.

My student teaching experience was amazing!  I could not have asked for a more supportive UWS supervisor or such an amazing, focused cooperating teacher. The entire experience was unique because of the pandemic. Peshtigo Elementary School District changed focus and we worked with a small class in a face-to-face environment. The reduction in class size gave teachers a wonderful opportunity to focus on students’ social-emotional learning and help them recover from the sudden school closings the previous spring. Even through the pandemic, we were able to have a wonderful class of students all semester.

What are your future plans?

I would love to be a middle school science teacher in a public school. I believe in public education and its mission to educate and prepare children to be productive members of society.  



Nicholas Moore
Transportation and Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Major

Nicholas Moore

Please share a little about your background and what led you to UW-Superior.

When I was looking for colleges, UW-Superior caught my eye when a friend who was on the golf team told me that they had some spots available on the team. I looked into UW-Superior and I found myself fascinated with the transportation and logistics management and supply chain management program. My decision from there was an easy one as UWS checked all the boxes for me. I was far enough from home, but not too far. I could play golf at the NCAA level. I found a major that I was interested in, and I could also continue to play club hockey. From then on, UWS has been my home and I have never looked back.

How has your experience at UW-Superior shaped your career or future?

My experience at UW-Superior has been instrumental in shaping my career and future. Since declaring my major, I have had the unique opportunity of experiencing my future industry firsthand via experienced professors and hands-on field trips, while at the same time gaining valuable knowledge that has already given me a head start on my career and will continue to benefit me as I progress in my career.  

Please share a memory or highlight from your time at UW-Superior.

My favorite memory from my time at UW-Superior has to be the IANA Intermodal Expo I attended in Long Beach, California. I made some incredible memories on that trip and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun and inspiring trips I have ever taken. I must thank the university for giving me that incredible opportunity because it is one that I will never forget. Additionally, the golf team spring break trips were always a highlight and I am so thankful I was able to enjoy them with my teammates.

What are your future plans?

In January, I will begin working for Blue Line Logistics in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, a third-party logistics provider where I interned last summer. This opportunity is very exciting to me because I will be working in the industry that I have been studying for so long, and it is adjacent to my hometown. I cannot wait to start my career and see where my degree takes me.



Ashley Lord
Psychology Major

Ashley Lord

Please share a little about your background and what led you to UW-Superior.

I came to UW-Superior as a transfer student from UW-La Crosse in 2017. I sought out UW-Superior for its small class sizes, home-like campus, and for the ability to create close relationships with staff and instructors. I was also drawn to the location of Superior. This city has become my home and I thank UWS for bringing me here.

How has your experience at UW-Superior shaped your career or future?

UW-Superior has given me numerous opportunities for growth in my career field. I benefitted from a variety of class options that I was able to take through my major and minors and Academic Service-Learning experiences in the community. Through my time at UWS, I was able to realize my passion for youth and mental health awareness. I am grateful to the faculty and professors for setting me up for success in my field and helping me along the way.

Please share a memory or highlight from your time at UW-Superior.

A highlight from my three years at UWS would be the lifelong friendships that I've found. Without UWS, I would have never met the amazing people I have in my life. I'm grateful for the small campus and small class sizes that allowed me to form close relationships with my classmates and professors.

What are your future plans?

I've been fortunate enough to acquire a position as a Behavioral Health Technician in the Child/Adolescent unit at Essentia Health Miller Dwan. I'm looking forward to putting my degree to work and utilizing the skills that UW-Superior has given me. Most importantly, I'm very excited to be working in a field I'm passionate about.

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