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Meet the Recent-Grad Council

What is the Recent-Grad Council?

The Recent-Grad Council is a group of 11 UW alumni who are all within 10 years of graduation and serve as peer advocates for recent graduates around the world. They work with the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) to provide engaging, meaningful programs and resources for their fellow Badgers.

Join Us!

Become a peer voice for recent UW graduates. You’ll help WAA plan events and develop new programs to benefit students and recent grads. In return, you’ll build your personal and professional network of Badgers — and get a complimentary two-year WAA membership with all its perks! Applications for the next two-year council term are currently closed, but let us know if you’re interested and we’ll reach out when they open!

Questions? Email

Y’Noka Bass ’18
Pronouns: She/Her
Hometown: Lancaster, CA
Majors at the UW: English, Legal Studies
Activities at the UW: Badger Volunteers, Center for Cultural Enrichment, Associated Students of Madison
Current Job/Industry: Attorney

“I joined the Recent-Grad Council as a way to connect back with the university in a new light. It was really a chance to grow on my undergraduate experience by connecting with alumni who I hadn’t had the chance to meet while in undergrad. It’s also a great way to engage with other attorneys who graduated from the UW, whether that be for undergrad or law school.”

Alyssa Birkeland ’20
Hometown: West Bend, WI 
Majors at the UW: Political Science, Management and Human Resources
Activities at the UW: Senior Class Vice President, College Republicans, Wisconsin Admission Volunteers, Madison Swing
Current Job/Industry: Political Campaigns

“I love being a part of the Recent-Grad Council as a way to stay connected to the UW and give back. It’s been both fun and rewarding to contribute to this brand-new group and give other young alumni more outlets to stay involved. Being a Badger makes us all part of a great community, and I’m proud to help make it stronger!”

Sabrina Abuzahra ’18
Pronouns: She/Her
Hometown: Oak Creek, WI
Major at the UW: Journalism 
Activities at the UW: Homecoming Committee, Public Relations Student Society of America, Curb Magazine
Current Job/Industry: Account Manager at Google 

“I’ve always been passionate about engaging with the university, fellow alumni, and current students — there’s a certain energy about the campus and fellow Badgers that always has me coming back. I was excited to join RGC to continue fostering that energy and engagement while also bettering the environment for recent grads. Since joining, I’ve grown closer to the university and my fellow recent grads. My experience has made me feel even more proud to be a Badger, and I’ve continued to feel an elevated level of support from [the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association.]”

Steven Norton ’20
Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: Mount Prospect, IL
Major at the UW: Chemical Engineering 
Activities at the UW: Homecoming Committee, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Intramural Sports 
Current Job/Industry: Process Development Engineer at SC Johnson, MBA Student at Marquette University

“I decided to join the RGC to stay connected with other Badger alumni and give back to the university that offered me so much when I was a student. I was able to meet new people that I didn’t have the chance to meet in school and also continue to work with old friends! I think the RGC is an amazing networking opportunity because it puts you in a space to network with other young leaders that you otherwise wouldn’t have ever crossed paths with. I’ve learned a little about what it takes to plan and execute a school-wide event for hundreds of people. I also look forward to taking what we learned from [Recent-Grad Weekend] and applying it next year to make it even better.”

Jack McGovern ’17
Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Majors at the UW: Economics and Russian Language 
Activities at the UW: Economics Student Association, Big Ten Leadership Group, Sigma Phi
Current Job/Industry: Project Manager in Expense Software

“Being a part of the RGC was a great decision. I loved getting to collaborate with the other members to plan the first Recent-Grad Weekend this past year and create a unique experience for other recent graduates. The group of council members is INCREDIBLE!”

Jelani Rivera ’17
Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: Bronx, NY 
Major at the UW: Rehabilitation Psychology
Activities at the UW: Black History Month and Latinx Heritage Month Planning Committee, Bias Response Team, Diversity Squad 
Current Job/Industry: Higher Education 

“I decided to join RGC to stay connected to the university and create new experiences for younger alumni. I am committed to developing spaces that are inclusive of different identities and foster a sense of belonging. RGC is a great opportunity to develop my skills in program development and inclusion initiatives. I have gained a stronger connection to the UW through this experience and feel like I have a direct hand in creating community on campus and beyond.”

Katie Steib ’20
Pronouns: She/Her
Hometown: New Berlin, WI
Majors at the UW: Retail and Consumer Behavior with Certificates in Business, Entrepreneurship and Digital Studies
Activities at the UW: Wisconsin Homecoming Committee, Student Retail Association
Current Job/Industry: Business Development at Toolio, a Software Startup

“I decided to join the RGC because I felt it was an awesome community to celebrate memories of the UW while also being forward-looking and creating new opportunities for grads to make memories in Madison. I knew that the RGC would be led by advisers and filled with members who have an undying love for the UW. From the experience, I’ve gained new friends, closer ties with my advisers, and the unique experience of enjoying Madison (both on campus and off) as a non-student. My time at the UW was incredible, and being able to enjoy the place we all love so much in our new phases of life was so fun and rewarding. As for career goals, I loved that the RGC brought together alumni working in different sectors, although I definitely think there’s opportunity to broaden that in the future! It was great to have a productive hobby that was separate from my day job, and [it was great to work] hard to plan an event I was very passionate about.”

Adam Tschida ’20
Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Major at the UW: Mechanical Engineering
Activities at the UW: Homecoming
Current Job/Industry: Design Engineer, New Product Development 

“I joined the Recent-Grad Council primarily to foster and strengthen connections between our beautiful campus and our fantastic young alumni. I remember back when I was applying to colleges junior year of high school. One of the most exciting things about UW–Madison was the pride of current students [and] alumni. I knew going to school at UW–Madison was not just going to be four years. I was joining a community that would transcend and continue to support me throughout my career. The most impactful thing about being on the council is that I get to see and be a part of Badger pride on the alumni level. I get to be a part of fostering this pride as well as making new connections with other alumni, all while enjoying our beautiful campus environment.”

Yuka Shiotani ’17
Pronouns: She/Her
Hometown: Franklin, WI
Majors at the UW: Russian, History, International Studies 
Activities at the UW: Pre-Law Society, Russian Flagship Program 
Current Job/Industry: Lawyer 

“I learned how to collaborate with a team that is spread out across the United States to create a successful large event. I am so happy to stay connected to UW–Madison through this opportunity and meet fellow alumni.”