By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
GREEN BAY ‑ Alumni of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) gathered at the Lambeau Field Johnsonville Tailgate Village last Friday night for an evening of recognition and networking, with the main event being the awarding of the college’s three alumni awards.
“We love this event to have alumni come together and celebrate the successes of what amazing things our alumni are doing,” Natalie Winzenried, alumni and donor coordinator for NWTC, said. “We want the community to see the difference and impact they are having and it gives alumni a really good way to reconnect and network.”
Three awards were handed out at the event — the Distinguished Alumni Award, Soaring Recent Alumni Award and Soar Higher Partner Award.
Nominations for these awards are accepted year-round and can be submitted at nwtc.edu/about-nwtc/be-an-active-alumni/alumni-awards-nomination-form.
Distinguished Alumni Award
“The Distinguished Alumni award showcases alums who have achieved outstanding achievements and are committed to the college’s values.”
This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient is Savanah Saldaña-Shumaker.
After graduating from NWTC in 2011, Saldaña-Shumaker added a couple more degrees and a MBA certificate to her resume and currently works as an analytical chemist specializing in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy at the National Institutes of Health in addition to working on her two startup businesses — SCS Laboratory Solutions, Inc. and Nazte Beauty, LLC.
Starting her post-high school education at NWTC, Saldaña-Shumaker said, provided her a good foundation of technical and professional skills that she still uses today.
“That really practical, hands-on education… That sort of task-oriented work, it really helped me in research to be able to set specific goals and specific milestones that I need to follow,” she said. “But then also, [NWTC] was my introduction to professionalism. I still use the same resume template that I made in one of my classes. That’s where I learned how to interview for a job and common courtesy in the workplace — how to be professional, but still personable. Those are things that I’ve carried with me.”
Soaring Recent Alumni Award
“The Soaring Recent Alumni Award is fairly new — this is our third year doing it,” she said. “It’s a grad within the last 10 years, so it’s someone that is soaring both personally and professionally already from graduating within the last 10 years.”
This year’s Soaring Recent Alumni Award recipient is Jared Maurina.
Maurina graduated from NWTC in 2020 and now works as a senior infrastructure analyst at AriensCo. while he pursues a bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee.
Maurina had a somewhat nontraditional path through higher education, starting to earn credits while he was still in high school and holding apprenticeships throughout that time as well.
He said being able to attend NWTC meant that he was able to get the education he wanted without having to interrupt his career plans.
“A four-year degree at the end of high school, to me, would have meant restarting my career all over in four years and that just wasn’t in the cards,” he said. “It would have been a step back. It would have hindered me more than it would have helped me… I know many people who have gone to NWTC and have very prosperous careers, so it means a lot… It just goes to show all of the hard work that NWTC has done to make their curriculum top tier, their amazing staff, their amazing facilities and equipment to just make the best employees that they can.”
Soar Higher Partner Award
“The Soar Higher Partner Award is to showcase employers that we have a great partnership with to showcase or promote NWTC and support our students.”
This year’s Soar Higher Partner Award was given to Bellin Health.
Nearly 2,000 NWTC students and graduates are working at Bellin Health, and the organization has also donated medical equipment for student training and more than $225,000 to support student scholarships at NWTC.
Bellin Vice President of Business and Community Health Randy Van Straten said the partnership between Bellin and NWTC is multifaceted.
“There’s different elements to the relationship,” he said. “One of the relationships that I work closely with is that we are the provider of health services to the on-site campus care facility that NWTC has, and we’ve been doing that upwards of eight-plus years… We also help them in the fitness center to manage and educate individuals in the fitness center from a health and well-being perspective… Being a healthcare provider, we’re partnered with [NWTC] in their education because many of their individuals — nursing students, for example — need a place to get job experience, so we are partnered with them to help on-board students within the healthcare system… By providing those experiences, they may choose to come work with us as a team member.”
Van Straten said that while Bellin is honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the partnership award, the relationship is truly beneficial in both directions.
“These partnerships help us get better,” he said. “We’re so honored to have that recognition of the partnership because it truly is a partnership and partnerships go both ways.”