Alums share their stories at annual colloquia
Jan. 8, 2021
Lakeland held its annual academic colloquium sessions on December 8-10. These virtual events were great opportunities for current LU students to network with successful Lakeland graduates, who shared their post-graduation stories and tips for success.
Science, Technology & Education Colloquium
Featured Alumni Panelists:
- Emily Desjardins, Registered Nurse: DesJardins attended Lakeland for two years before transferring as part of a partnership program to Columbia College of Nursing, where she graduated in 2017. The Munising, Mich., native was a member of the Lakeland women’s basketball team. After graduation, she moved to Marquette, Mich., where she currently works in an outpatient endoscopy center and infusion clinic. She is starting a master’s degree to become a family nurse practitioner.
- Megan Gomez ’16, Assistant District Attorney, La Crosse County: Gomez attended law school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison one year after graduating from Lakeland. At the La Crosse District Attorney’s Office, her caseload primarily consists of sexual assaults and domestic violence, but she is also the sole juvenile prosecutor.
- Megan Horzen ‘12, Seventh Grade English-Language Arts Teacher, Urban Middle School: The Sheboygan native has been teaching seventh grade English-language arts for eight years, seven of those at Random Lake Middle School. “Lakeland truly helped me become a more well-rounded person by offering classes that strengthened my critical thinking skills and made me comfortable speaking in front of people. The education program put me in real classrooms in the field of teaching and these experiences helped me grow my passion for teaching. Lakeland was the perfect fit for me and for my education.” At Lakeland, she was a member of Student WEA and the Lakeland Dance Team.
- Grace Jairo ‘11, Research Scientist, CDC Foundation: Jairo is a CDC Foundation research scientist, supporting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by eliminating industrially produced trans-fatty acids in the global diet. In this role, she provides technical assistance and consultation to laboratories in low- and middle-income countries that are setting up instrumentation to measure trans-fatty acids in human specimens. Born and raised in Rongo, Migori County, Kenya, she won a scholarship through the Zawadi Africa Education Fund to study at Lakeland, where she participated in the Lakeland Undergraduate Research Experience (LURE) Program, which inspired her to pursue graduate training in scientific research. Jairo earned a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Tulane University School of Medicine. Her passion for applying science to solving real-world problems led her to pursue a career in public health.
- Tristan Lubinski ‘06, Senior Translational Genomics Scientist, AstraZeneca: Dedicated to improving outcomes for cancer patients, Lubinski, who has been in his current role for five years, works as a bioinformatician and he studies cancer genomes utilizing skills learned from both undergrad degrees and refined in graduate school. His passion is using technology to improve the workflow pipelines related to sequencing and analysis. Lubinski has been a leader in scaling research computationally, leading to faster, more accurate, actionable data coming out of sequencing efforts. His work as the head of production informatics in the U.S., currently focused on automating and improving the work between the laboratory scientists and the project-lead scientists. He is a co-organizer of BCBB, the largest meetup group for bioinformaticians and computational biologists in the US. He earned a Ph.D. in Biology from Boston University.
- LU Moderator: Greg Smith, Professor of Biology
Humanities & Fine Arts Colloquium
Featured Alumni Panelists:
- Karina Aguirre Vazquez ‘19, Intake Coordinator, Certified Application Counselor, Lakeshore Community Health Care: Aguirre Vazquez can help patients connect to comprehensive and integrated health care all while it is affordable, and she can help enroll people in health coverage. “I always knew I wanted to help people. Through my community clinic, I can determine what kind of services we can provide to our patients. Lakeland opened doors for me. I was able to network and land my current job.”
- Gwen Seeboth ‘97, Owner, Seeboth Delicatessen: Seeboth has spent the majority of her career in the Hospitality Industry. She worked for 18 years as a meeting and event director in the corporate sector coordinating large scale meetings and events across the Unites States. In 2017, she partnered with her husband, Jim, an executive chef, to launch Seeboth Delicatessen, an award-winning, fast-casual restaurant located in Sheboygan Wis.
- Vanessa Vander Weele ‘15, Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator, Safe Harbor of Sheboygan County: VanderWeele has been serving non-profits in Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties since graduating from Lakeland. In her role at Safe Harbor, she specializes in connecting non-profit organizations with their communities. She previously served as the executive director of the Fond du Lac County Historical Society. She is always looking for new ways to share the stories of people and places around us.
- LU Moderator: Karl Kuhn, Dean of School of Humanities & Fine Arts
Business & Entrepreneurship Colloquium
Featured Alumni Panelists:
- Rylee Hernandez ‘13, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Williston State College: Hernandez is entering his fifth season as the Teton Head Men's Basketball Coach. Hernandez has been part of two regular season conference titles and national recognition in the polls. He works extensively with skill development, team defense, game and practice planning, scouting, recruiting, travel, film, academics and graduation. He spent three years as an assistant coach at Williston State before being named head coach. He played basketball at Lakeland and holds the highest career win percentage as a player and was named the T.W. Hornemann "Male Muskie of the Year" award recipient. He is a native of St. Paul, Minn.
- Brad Kopetsky ‘01, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Northern Trust Corporation: In his current role, Kopetsky is primarily responsible for the full spectrum of issuer-side securities law matters applicable to the organization as a publicly traded company. He is also responsible for top-of-the-house corporate governance matters, working closely with the organization’s board of directors and executive management team. Prior to joining Northern Trust, he was an associate at Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum and Nagelberg LLP in Chicago. Prior to earning his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School, he spent five years in various roles at Associated Banc-Corp in Green Bay.
- Dale Kooyenga ‘00, State Senator, CFO at Qualified Water Systems & Major in the US Army Reserves: After graduation, Kooyenga got his start working for KPMG LLP an international accounting firm as a CPA. He spent a decade at KPMG, rising to the position of senior manager, and he received his MBA from Marquette University. Halfway through his career he joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq in 2008. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service. He continues to serve in the U.S. Army and worked in a variety of assignments including Command of Wisconsin’s first US Army Counterintelligence unit. He is currently assigned to the 352 Civil Affairs Command at Fort Meade. In 2010, was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly and he served for eight years before being elected to the Wisconsin State Senate. In the private sector, Kooyenga has worked with a variety of start-up companies.
- Terri Yoho ‘84, former Executive Director, Kohler Foundation: From 1999-2017, Yoho served as the executive director of the Kohler Foundation, Inc., an organization that supports the arts, education and charitable initiatives. She managed the development and day-to-day administration of the foundation’s many programs including preservation, grants, Waelderhaus (a historic home in Kohler, Wis.), the Distinguished Guest Series and the Sheboygan County Scholarships program. In addition to managing the foundation, Yoho administrated the Kohler Trust for Arts and Education, which supports the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and a number of college scholarship endowments, as well as the Kohler Trust for Preservation. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation; Wisconsin Historical Society Board of Curators; Friends of the Wade House as treasurer; Wisconsin Concrete Park’s Friends of Fred Smith; and the Random Lake School Foundation. She received a Master of Science degree in Applied Economics from Marquette University.
- LU Moderator: Britanni Meinnert, Instructor of Hospitality Management