A degree will likely have several positive impacts on your life. Studies show that with more education, your wages, your health—even the likelihood that you’ll vote—all go up. But, as a professional adult, the major motivation behind continuing your education is probably this: to increase your employment opportunities.
That’s why we’re gathering examples of University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management students and graduates who say their degrees helped them achieve their dream careers working for health-conscious companies. As we talk with more graduates, we’ll keep adding to the list.
Shawn Monson, BS 2016 grad, UW-Stevens Point
Job title: Wellness education specialist
About his company: UW Health is a large academic medical center and health system located in Madison, Wis.
How his degree improved his career: “The Health and Wellness Management degree, courses, and capstone all helped my career move forward. One of the courses required me to interview a professional working in the wellness industry. I contacted UW Health to see if I could meet with their wellness manager. After the interview, I was offered an internship with the Wellness Options at Work department, which became my capstone course. It was extremely beneficial to my understanding of pitching the creation of a wellness department or a workplace wellness program. My degree has put me in a position to do what I love and help people live happier and healthier lives, while being well-compensated for it.”
What he loves about his job: “I really love all aspects of my current job. If forced to choose, I would say my favorite aspect is when I see people that have attended my presentations or participated in my programs, and they’re genuinely happy to see me. They often go out of their way to say hi and ask what’s new with wellness.”
Terrae Weatherman, BS student, UW-La Crosse
Job title: Senior marketing specialist
About her company: United Healthcare is a large healthcare company based in Minnetonka, Minn.
How her degree improved her career: Terrae says being a student in the UW Health and Wellness Management bachelor’s program has improved her marketing career in so many ways she didn’t expect. That includes helping her better understand what messages motivate healthy behavior and giving her the skills she needs to transition to a management role.
What she loves about her job: Terrae enjoys working in the healthcare industry because she can help others lead healthy lives. “There’s space in everyone’s life for wellness, no matter your lifestyle or limitations. You just have to find the right wellness ‘fit’ for you. I want to help people do that.”
Dean Health Plan
Danielle Waldhart, MS student, UW-Green Bay
Job title: Employee wellness specialist
About her company: Dean Health Plan, based in Madison, Wis., is the insurance arm of one of the largest healthcare systems in the country.
How her degree improved her career: “Many of the degrees I researched were niche, with a narrow focus in population or community health. Working with employees, one needs a wide range of skills. In one week, I can meet with sales, marketing, human resources, IT, and the medical or clinical staff. So, I must be able to communicate effectively. Having a strong foundation in project management, research, policy, and management, helps my communication with the teams and makes the programs I develop more effective.”
What she loves about her job: Danielle is passionate about her role at Dean. One day she’s writing a promotion for the national American Heart Association Wear Red Day. The next, she’s creating a program leading into Earth Day, to raise awareness of proper medication disposal. “I feel I’m blessed. I like what I do.”
Mercy Hospital Wellness Center
Emma Skelton, 2015 BS grad, UW-Superior
Job title: Wellness center manager
About her company: The Mercy Hospital Wellness Center is a full-service health and fitness facility inside Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
How her degree improved her career: “There wasn’t a single part of the UW Health and Wellness Management program I didn’t like. Having the capstone experience in my pocket made me feel more confident. It set me apart from the crowd when applying for jobs.”
Private Health & Wellness Consulting Business
Jill Tiffany, BS student, UW-River Falls
Job title: Health and wellness consultant and coach
About her company: Jill runs a private practice in Baldwin, Wis. and serves as a consultant for athletic teams and corporations that wish to implement wellness plans.
How her degree improved her career: “The Health and Wellness Management program has been a wonderful asset. Though I’ve been in health education for over 25 years, I have gained new tools that have strengthened my skills and private practice.”
What she loves about her job: “One of the things I love most about what I do is the opportunities I have to speak to large groups of people and make a difference in their health and well-being. From the corporate side of my job, I have the privilege to not only be part of employees’ improved health but also see their business flourish as a result.”
Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin
Laura Kuglitsch, MS student, UW-Parkside
Job title: Senior health coach
About her company: Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin is a healthcare system that operates in Milwaukee, Wis.
How her degree improved her career: Laura is currently earning her master’s degree to prepare herself for management. “I’m excited about the career opportunities my master’s degree will provide me, and I am hoping this will lead me to a leadership role. I’ve already learned so much about strategic initiatives, goal setting, program development, and other things from my courses.”
What she loves about her job: “One of the nice things about my job is I get to wear a lot of hats.” At the hospital, she coordinates onsite fitness classes, co-chairs the staff wellness committee, and assists with planning and developing wellness challenges.
Jessica Waytashek, 2015 BS grad, UW-Superior
Job title: Health coach
About her company: Based in San Francisco, Omada Health is a digital therapeutics company that provides dedicated, full-time health coaches to corporate partners.
How her degree improved her career: “I was able to find a job before I graduated, because health and wellness is a huge priority for employers.”
What she loves about her job: “I find my career very fulfilling. I get to watch people change their lives, hear their success stories, and help them overcome challenges that others haven’t supported them with. Also, I am very fortunate to be able to work from home and be fully engaged in my children’s lives.”
Aurora Health Care
Sarah Kaehny, 2017 BS grad, UW-La Crosse
Job title: Health education instructor
About her company: Aurora Health Care is large healthcare system headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis.
How her degree improved her career: Recently, Sarah landed her dream job: a health education instructor at Aurora Health Care. At her last job, Sarah’s bachelor’s degree helped her get promoted from health coach to wellness program manager, saying, “I was always able to apply my course projects the very next day at work! Eventually, I proposed a new job description, playing more of a liaison role. Now, I’m a wellness program manager. I evaluate programs, tweak existing programs to make them more effective, and create new ones. I still do health coaching, but in addition, I have a lot of autonomy to develop strategy and design my own materials, incentives, and lesson plans.”
Anew Wellness, LLC
Kris Greener, 2016 BS grad, UW-River Falls
Job title: Functional medicine certified health coach
About her company: In 2017, Kris founded Anew Wellness in Chippewa Falls, Wis. The company partners with organizations to offer workplace wellness programs, health coaching, and health education courses.
How her degree improved her career: “I felt that I was at a standstill in my career and wanted to grow. I needed a degree program that would expand my knowledge, allow me to pursue a different career, and complement my past experience as a physical therapist assistant.” Her goal was to be a health and wellness professional who promotes individual and community well-being and to start her own business—and she achieved exactly that!
Department of Military Affairs
Robert Norby, BS graduate, UW-Superior
Job title: Security sergeant
About his company: Located in Madison, Wis., the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs provides military and emergency management capability for the citizens of the state and nation.
How his degree improved his career: “Being a soldier, health and fitness is a priority, which is what motivated me to pursue health and wellness.” Robert completed his capstone project with the wellness department at UW Health’s The American Center. There he learned from and worked alongside, some of the best wellness professionals in the field.
What he loves about his job: “My favorite aspect of my current job would be that I’m in a leadership role, so I train and mentor new officers. I take pride in helping as well as educating people, whether it’s work or health related.”
Jennifer DiBiasi, MS student, UW-Parkside
Job title: Account executive
About her company: Nurse-owned and operated, Healics in Milwaukee, Wis. offers professional health coaching, biometric screenings, and face-to-face, customized services to companies and their employees.
How her degree improved her career: “What I have learned so far in the Health and Wellness Management graduate program has allowed me to regain confidence and apply for jobs I may not have previously felt qualified for. In my current role, I assist with the implementation and management of my clients’ health assessment and biometric screening processes. Using the class learning resources and text, I am able to understand a more comprehensive view of how decisions in wellness are made and bring new, fresh ideas to the table.”
What she loves about her job: “I enjoy the diversity and autonomy of my current client-facing role. Many of the individuals I advise have heavy human resource backgrounds, and I enjoy bringing a wellness perspective to the conversation. There is often a heavy focus on how to save money versus how to save employees and their health. Using what I have learned in the Health and Wellness Management program regarding trends and programming combined with my past employee-facing roles, I provide insight as to how to foster a more supportive atmosphere for successful wellness programming and a healthier workforce.”
Danielle LePage, 2017 BS grad, UW-Superior
Job title: Customer engagement specialist
About her company: Located in Bloomington, Minn., HealthPartners works closely with companies to provide them with employee health and wellness programs.
How her degree improved her career: “I was contacted by a hiring agency which was looking for people to work in the health promotion department. My degree was a plus since I am interested in health promotion, and I work closely with health coaches, which is something I am looking into for my next step in my career. There are so many job opportunities here at HealthPartners.”
What she loves about her job: “I like this job because it is the perfect stepping stone to get to the next step in my career path. I have met a lot of new contacts to network with, and they can help me get where I want to be.”
BRIDGE for Community Life
Kyle Narges, 2017 BS grad, UW-River Falls
Job title: Program assistant
About his company: BRIDGE is a non-profit organization in Hudson, Wis. that provides community-based life skills training, employment services, and social and recreational programs for youth and adults with disabilities.
How his degree improved his career: Kyle completed his capstone project at BRIDGE and, afterwards, received a job offer as program assistant. In the Health and Wellness Management program, he also gained important skills in wellness programming. “I got the chance to learn a lot of skills that are going to help me in the future. I learned what makes a great wellness program and also learned how to start one from the ground up. Going into this program, I felt like I had a good understanding of what a wellness program was and how I could work in my own ideas. What I didn’t know is everything that happens behind the scenes.”
What he loves about his job: “I love that I get a chance to make an impact on people’s lives every day. I am doing something I am passionate about and, most importantly, something I enjoy doing.”
This is a mere sample of our students and their successes after graduation. More stories to come!
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If you have questions about the bachelor’s or master’s degree program, such as how to apply or which courses you’ll take, our advisers would be happy to answer them.