News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: June 5, 2023

Biese selected for national award

Fennimore -

Sara Biese, Cancer Information Management (CIM) program director and Health Information Technology (HIT) instructor at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, received a national award recently. During the annual conference of the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA), Biese was presented with the Educational Achievement Award. The conference was held May 8-10 in San Diego, California.

A native of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, Biese, earned an associate degree in HIT from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in 1997. After working as a home health care medical records clerk for just over a year, Biese took a position as a cancer registrar. 

Biese began her tenure with Southwest Tech in 2014 as an adjunct instructor and she helped develop the CIM program curriculum.

Cancer registrars are data information specialists who collect and report cancer statistics. “We capture the complete history, diagnosis, treatment, and health status of every cancer patient in the United States,” said Biese. “The data collected by cancer registrars provide essential information to researchers, healthcare providers, and public health officials to monitor and advance cancer treatments, conduct research, and improve cancer prevention and screening programs.”

Nancy Sonnleitner, a longtime colleague of Biese, nominated her for the award. They have known each other for more than 20 years. “Sara inspires those around her to feel the same degree of excitement throughout her daily work ethic,” stated Sonnleitner in her nomination letter. “Sara’s leadership position, dedication to her work and the Cancer Information Program portrays a pivotal role in supporting the National Cancer Registrars Association 2019-2023 Strategic Management Plan; embracing their mission of empowering and advancing registry professionals through innovation in education, advocacy, credentialing and strategic partnerships.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have Sara teaching at Southwest Tech,” stated Dr. Jason Wood, Southwest Tech president, in the nomination letter. “She is an expert in her field and goes above and beyond to help students learn. Sara is perpetually positive, responsive, and innovative. I am also grateful for Sara’s willingness to serve on other committees to benefit the college, as a whole.”

The Educational Achievement Award honors outstanding NCRA members or a group of members who have made significant contributions to cancer registry education at the national level. Candidates must be an active NCRA member with the CTR credential, and they must have made outstanding contributions to cancer registry education.

Biese was “very humbled,” when she was informed that she had earned the award. “Nancy has always been very appreciative of what I’ve done for our profession,” she said. “I love what I do. I don’t do it for recognition.”

Throughout the years, Biese has enjoyed watching the career growth of her graduates. “I love hearing from them,” she said. “I love it when they still contact me to ask questions. One student who received a promotion let me know. And, at the NCRA conference, one of my graduates actually presented, so that was very rewarding.”

| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, a finalist for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online, HyFlex and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |

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