UW-Richland’s valedictorian population grows

6 last year, 7 this year

Last fall the University of Wisconsin-Richland set a new record high with six valedictorians choosing the Richland Center UW to begin their college studies. That record is exceeded this fall with seven valedictorians among UWRichland’s 455 students.

“We know UW-Richland is a smart choice,” said John Poole, UW-Richland assistant dean for Student Services. “We’re glad to see that smart students agree. Students can begin any UW major with substantially lower tuition than at four-year UW campuses. If they live at home, they can save even more. Our text rental program means additional savings. Students often find they save enough by attending UW-Richland for their freshman and sophomore years to cover the cost of their third year of college. Most important, at UW-Richland students get a high-quality UW education. They benefit from small classes during their important first years of college, from exceptional opportunities for leadership, to conduct research and work one-to-one with our talented and award-winning faculty,” Poole said.

Three of the valedictorians—Alyssa Allbaugh, Nick Manke and Kelli Michek--are continuing their UW-Richland studies.

Alyssa Allbaugh, an Eagle High School graduate from Richland Center, plans to transfer to UW-Madison after earning her UW-Richland associate degree. “I’m planning on going into biomedical research,” she said. Last year she earned Dean’s List honors and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappahonor society. Allbaugh enjoys playing basketball, travel, dance and being involved with theatre, including this fall’s UW-Richland Theatre production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. “I chose to come back to UW-Richland because it’s a great school with great professors. I really like the one-on-one attention from professors and how there are many opportunities for me to try new things in a stress-free environment. A lot of dedicated people work here. And it’s close to home.”

Nick Manke, a Hillsboro High School graduate from Hillsboro, claims his greatest accomplishment is “surviving college this long with my 4.0 still intact.” He’s working toward a degree in engineering—either structural or architectural. Away from the classroom, he enjoys designing and building custom furniture. “I'm not the typical valedictorian,” he said. “I have tattoos, go to concerts like Disturbed and Five Finger Death Punch, bartend, and I'd rather be working with my hands than hitting the books. I decided to stay at UW-Richland this year because it’s much more on the personal level. You're not just a number. It’s affordable, and has some excellent professors.”

Kelli Michek, Muscoda, said, “I graduated from Riverdale High School in 2009 not knowing what I wanted to study in college. I choose to attend UW-Richland because I could live at home, allowing me to save money, adjust to college life, and give me time to decide on a major. I decided to return to UW-Richland because of the wonderful experience I had my freshman year. The helpful professors, eager students, and abundant campus activities made every day something to look forward to. After deciding on a major of Wildlife Ecology, I was happy to hear that UW-Richland is the only UW two-year campus that offers all needed courses to keep me on track to transfer to UW-Stevens Point.”

Four valedictorians—Arica Burke, Kyle Biba, Priscilla Breininger, and Angeline Winchel--are beginning college on the Richland Center UW campus.

Arica Burke, an Ithaca High School graduate, plans a career in a medical field. Outside the classroom, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. A Brewers fan, she goes to several games a year.

Kyle Biba, a graduate of Weston High School from Loganville, plans a career in agriculture and a major in agribusiness. “I love hunting and being in the outdoors,” he said. “I really enjoy playing and coaching basketball. I coached two basketball teams over the summer and earned second team all-conference honors last year.” He’s president of his church youth group.

Priscilla Breininger, an Eagle High School graduate from Richland Center,” plans a career in the area of cultural anthropology. UW-Richland is a family tradition. “I’m the fifth child (of 13) to attend UW-Richland, “ she said. “I’ve been on five short-term mission trips to Panama where my group helped build community buildings--kitchens or schools--and also gave medical care to indigenous groups living in remote areas. My favorite pastimes include playing soccer and reading novels, though I also like hanging with friends and dancing, as well as watching UFC (Ultimate Fighting).”

Angeline Winchel, a Hillsboro High School graduate from LaFarge, is aiming for a career in a medical field. As a high school senior, she was president of her class and president of the FFA chapter. Last summer, on vacation in Virginia, she took the opportunity to go parasailing, a new experience for her. “I generally don’t have much free time because I work weekends,” she said. “However, when I do have free time, I enjoy catching up on sleeping and hanging out with friends.” She and her brother Jason are both UW-Richland freshmen and they are the first in their family to go to college.

These students, like most UW-Richland students, chose UW-Richland because it’s close to home, convenient, friends or family recommended it, and it’s an affordable choice. Poole said, “UW-Richland is the smart choice for all students seeking a university degree.”

For more information about UW-Richland visit the campus website at richland.uwc.edu.


Dorothy Thompson
(608) 647-6186, Extension 231