Outstanding Alumni to be honored at Commencement

December 3, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will honor four recipients of the Outstanding Alumni Award during commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14. The award acknowledges individuals who have demonstrated career success. The Outstanding Alumni Award winners contribute to a body of knowledge that advances a profession through research or professional activities, have made a significant contribution to society in the form of philanthropic contributions or have demonstrated visionary thinking or actions.

This year’s award winners include Betsy Hanna, DeMisty Bellinger-Delfeld, Gina Blasen and Derek Dachelet. Hanna and Dachelet will be honored at the ceremony of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture at 9 a.m. in Williams Fieldhouse. Bellinger-Delfeld and Blasen will be honored at the ceremonies for the College of Liberal Arts and Education and College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science at 2 p.m. in Williams Fieldhouse.

Hanna received her bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in zoology from UW-Platteville in 1998. While at UW-Platteville, she was a four-year letter winner and a two-year captain of the UW-Platteville volleyball team. Her experiences in leadership positions at UW-Platteville have helped her achieve her goals. She accredits Anne Snyder and Dr. Jerry Strohm from the biology department as two professors who had significant influence on her education while at UW-Platteville, as well as her volleyball coach Deb Schulman. She was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medallion Leadership Award, as well as twice receiving the Pat Doyle Female Scholar-Athlete Award. She is also an Alumni Association honorary life member.

After graduation from UW-Platteville, she attended the University of Iowa dental school and earned her dental degree. Following dental school, she was commissioned into the United States Navy as a lieutenant. While in the Navy, she received a Navy Achievement Medal as a division officer while stationed in Japan.

Hanna currently works for Village Family Dental in Prairie du Sac and Black Earth, Wis. She provides access to care for low-income families as well as children’s dental needs. In the past two years, she has donated more than $20,000 in dental services to low income children. In 2013, Madison Magazine voted her as one of Madison area’s top dentists. She and her husband have three children.

Bellinger-Delfeld received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a professional writing emphasis from UW-Platteville in 2000. She received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Southampton College in 2006, and a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2012.

She currently teaches creative writing at Fitchburg State University, but also taught at UW-Platteville for two years. Prior to that, she served as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her specializations include fiction, poetry and journalism as well as gender studies.

She has been published in multiple journals and literary magazines in fiction, poetry, pedagogy and journalism. Her work has received several awards including the Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Award in Short Fiction, Louise Van Sickle Fellowship in Creative Writing and Long Island University Merit Fellowship in Writing, among others. She is also a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Modern Language Association and Midwest Modern Language Association.

Dachelet graduated in 1999 from UW-Platteville with a business administration degree. He went on to receive a Master of Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Boulder, Colo., and is currently working on his Doctor of Education at Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

While at UW-Platteville, he served as student body president, a public relations assistant, a residence hall assistant and the founding father of the UW-Platteville chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He is a current alumni volunteer engaged in facilitating the Balanced Man Scholarship with the fraternity, which has given out more than $40,000 in scholarships since its inception in 1997. Dachelet has been active in mentoring undergraduates as a chapter counselor and by organizing membership development programming through the fraternity’s Balanced Man Program.

He currently works as the dean of industry, trades and agriculture for Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, having previously served as the director of external relations and a resource development officer. His current responsibilities include overseeing an academic division that includes 17 associate degree and technical degree programs, as well as securing and managing approximately $3.5 million in federal, state and nonprofit grants. He also does adjunct teaching for UW-Platteville in the distance education Master of Science in organizational change leadership program and within the adult education master’s program.

He is a UW-Platteville Alumni Association honorary life member, and recipient of the UW-Platteville Foundation Excellence in Leadership Award as well as the Dean Linden Pioneer Achievement Award. He also received the Outstanding Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni Award in 2007 and 2011.

Blasen received a degree in civil engineering in 1999 and a master’s degree in project management in 2008 from UW-Platteville. She currently works for John Deere as a supervisor of facility engineering. She has worked for the past seven years at the John Deere Dubuque, Iowa plant. She is actively involved in her community, including programs such as Junior Achievement, Adopt-a-Highway, the Boys and Girls Club, the Dubuque Arboretum Cleanup, and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program.

She is the 2010 recipient of the John Deere Collaboration Award for electric drives lab construction and the 2009 John Deere Dubuque Works Community Service Award. In 2007, Blasen was named Young Professional of the Year, and in 2002 and 2005, she was awarded the Woman in Construction Award from the National Association of Women in Construction.

Since graduation, she has worked actively with UW-Platteville as a Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science alumna, as well as being the 2011 guest speaker at the American Society for Civil Engineers Banquet. She also represents John Deere annually at the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Banquet.

Blasen attributes her success to the fundamental engineering skills that she learned at UW-Platteville, which provided her the opportunity to work at both a small family owned construction company and move on to a Fortune 100 company. Faculty members Dr. Tom Nelson and Tammy Salmon-Stephens had a significant influence on her education while at UW-Platteville.  

Written by: Angela O’Brien, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, obrienan@uwplatt.edu

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