By Noell Dickmann
Student Multimedia Reporter
Leaving Dinosaur Prints
Like any budding artist, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh senior Ryan Steiskal had always hoped his artwork would someday gain widespread attention, but he never expected it would happen within the course of his college career.
A fortuitous encounter with a professor resulted in Steiskal’s artwork being featured on the Discovery Channel website, MSNBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
While on campus over summer, Steiskal ran into art professor Gail Panske and showed her some of the pieces he’d been working on. Little did he know, Panske knew another professor who was looking for an art student to create dinosaur illustrations for a paleontological study on dinosaur behavior.
Panske recommended Steiskal to Dr. Joseph Peterson, assistant professor in the geology department. Peterson could have gone to a professional dinosaur artist, or paleo-artist, but he wanted this art project to be a learning experience, not just another gig for the illustrator. “I wanted someone who would learn from the science, and then put those facts into their work,” Peterson said.
When creating dinosaur illustrations, or paleo-art, paleo-artists rely on what is known to science to frame their reconstructions, and then they add their own touches to bring the animals to life, Peterson said. But he felt for this particular dinosaur, the pachycephalosaurus, which had only been known to science through fossils, the artist should be someone who didn’t have any previous experience.
Steiskal started the project not with pen and paper, but with a camera. He studied fossils and casts and took many pictures of them, then used his imagination to fill in the blanks, he said. “It feels like you’re almost working for a CSI,” Steiskal said.
| Two pachycephalosaurs hitting heads, created by Ryan Steiskal.
The first illustration of two pachycephalosaurs crashing into each others’ heads was finished over the span of a few days. Peterson was blown away at how well the artwork demonstrated the results of his study.
When he got the image, Peterson immediately contacted his co-author, student Collin Dischler, who is a senior studying geology at UW Oshkosh, and said, “Ryan did it.THIS is how pachycephalosaurs used their heads!”
As a professional in the paleontology field, Peterson has high hopes for Steiskal’s work. “My hope is that this will give Ryan and his talents the attention they deserve, and that the work he is producing for us will be the image scientists see when they think of dinosaurs such as pachycephalosaurs,” Peterson said.
The illustration was shown at the UW Oshkosh Dean’s Symposium in September, where Peterson was a featured speaker, and showcased in Raleigh, N.C., where Peterson’s study was featured Oct. 17 at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP).
Next it will be submitted for peer-review and publication to the scientific journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica and last - but certainly not least - the Discovery Channel, which features a story and the artwork on its news website, Discovery News.
Peterson said The Discovery News article has been picked up by a variety of other news outlets worldwide, including MSNBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Steiskal's artwork is featured in all versions of the article.
Peterson’s research has also been featured in Nature News, Scientific American and others.
Jennifer Viegas, the reporter for Discovery News who wrote the article featuring Steiskal’s artwork, was impressed with the drawings . “The image has a unique 3D quality to it, given the angles of the dinosaurs' bodies,” Viegas said. “That makes it even more compelling.”
Steiskal had no idea his drawings would garner such attention and is gratified to have had the opportunity to showcase his skills. “I feel like I’m transitioning from the art student to a professional,” Steiskal said.
|Two pachycephalosaurs hitting hips, created by Ryan Steiskal|
To access the article on Discovery News, please click this link:
To access the article on MSNBC, please click this link:
To access the article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s website, please click this link:
|In this audio podcast, student multimedia reporter Noell Dickmann sits down with Ryan Steiskal to discuss what it’s like to be in the shoes of a paleo-artist.
The Sound of Jazz
By Brad Beck
Student Multimedia Reporter
|Dr. Marty Robinson on trumpet with The Marty Robinson Quartet.
Every once in a while Marty Robinson is struck by a piece of music. The music may come from a snippet from a radio commercial or a theme song to a TV show. Then Robinson remembers why the tune gives him pause - he had composed it.
Robinson is an associate professor of trumpet and jazz at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. In addition to teaching applied trumpet students, Robinson directs the jazz ensembles and teaches “The Evolutions of Jazz,” a jazz history class offered through the Music Department. Robinson holds degrees from Lawrence University (B.M. in trumpet performance), the Eastman School of Music (M.M. in jazz studies), and Florida State University (D.M. in composition). Prior to coming to UW Oshkosh in 2004, Dr. Robinson served for 10 years as an associate professor of trumpet and jazz studies at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where he was recognized as “Teacher of the Year” in 2001.
He is the composer and trumpeter on numerous recordings that have been aired in recent years on national television and radio, including music for HBO’s The Sopranos, ABC’s 20/20, Fox’s NFL Films, PBS’s National Geographic, and CBS’s U.S. Open Tennis Coverage, as well as national campaigns for NBC’s ER, Hershey’s Chocolate, ADT Security, Gillette, and Burger King.
Audio Only Podcasts
The following podcast interviews were conducted and produced by student multimedia reporter Brad Beck.
Dr. Robinson speaks about why he enjoys teaching The Evolution of Jazz and the connections students make to history and culture during the class. The Evolution of Jazz will be offered in the Fall of 2012 as a part of the Music Department.
Dr. Robinson touches on his career as a commercial composer for various corporations as well as the major television networks.
Dr. Robinson talks about the afternoon he shared with jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie.
|Dr. Marty Robinson on trumpet at the Fox Jazz Festival with The Marty Robinson Quartet.|
The following audio excerpts are taken from UW Oshkosh Jazz Ensemble with permission from Marty Robinson.
"Beijo Innoncente" (featuring Marty Robinson on trumpet)
"Prelude to a Kiss" by Duke Ellington
"The Dance Denial"
By Brad Beck
Student Multimedia Reporter
|Update Below: Michael David's crossword was published in the April 23 edition of the New York Times.
As a child, Michael David loved unraveling word problems. Recently, what began as a childhood hobby has turned into an outright fixation of crossword puzzles.
Not just working crossword puzzles, but creating them. David, 31, a math education graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will soon see not one, but two of his crossword creations in the hallowed halls of crossword aficionados: The New York Times.
The New York Times crossword puzzles, which appear daily in the newspaper, are regarded among the most prestigious crosswords in America. Monday puzzles are usually the easiest; Sundays are the most difficult.
Celebrities like former President Clinton, TV host Jon Stewart, and ex-New York Yankee Mike Mussina are avid fans of the Times crossword puzzles.
David credits his math background for his success and interest in crossword puzzles. He graduated from Ripon College with a bachelor’s degree in math and French and now teaches math at Portage High School in Portage, Wis.
“Many of the top solvers are people who work in math or music or any kind of profession where there are patterns involved,” said David, who was inspired to construct his own puzzle after watching Wordplay, a 2006 documentary that focuses on the world of crossword puzzles.
Once David has workable idea and theme, he uses a computer program called Crossword Compiler to design a grid for the crossword puzzle. Once the grid is created, he can then place the letters in the squares.
For David, one puzzle could take up to 10 hours to construct, over the span of a few days.
Crossword creators, David said, always attempt to keep their puzzles current to make them more attractive to readers and puzzle solvers. They include quotes from The Simpsons and everyday language as well. “I always have theme ideas circling around in my head,” he said.
On March 16th, Michael David plans to attend the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Brooklyn, New York. The tournament, which is directed by Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword editor, is the oldest and largest crossword competition in the country, attended by the best “word players” in the nation.
David downplayed his chances at the big crossword competition. “I’m just doing it for a kick this year,” he said.
In this audio-only podcast, student multimedia reporter Brad Beck
sits down with Michael David to discuss his venture into the world
of crossword puzzles.
Time for Change: The time tracker for diabetics is invented by Mary Anne DeZur, Office Manager of Facilities Management at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. (photo by Shawn McAfee of UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies.)
by Noell Dickmann
Student multimedia reporter
When Mary Anne Dezur’s son Lou was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, she had little knowledge about the lifelong chronic disease that affects children and young adults. To regulate his sugar levels, Lou, then 14, had to be given insulin shots three times a day, every day. Like any good parent, DeZur, who is the Office Manager of Facilities Management at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, worried about her son's health.
In 2008 Lou started using an insulin pump, which works by delivering insulin to the body through a small tube that feeds into a needle placed under the skin. The insulin pump requires Lou to change where the needle is placed in his body every three days to prevent infection and calluses. With Lou living the busy life of a teenager, the family struggled to remember when to change the site. As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of all invention,” and their frustration led the mother-son duo to invent a timer to keep track of the days when the infusion site needs to be changed. The device, as named by Lou, is called Time For Change.
DeZur felt that Time for Change could help other families with diabetics and others who need to take medication on a schedule. She entered the invention in Walmart’s “Get On The Shelf” contest in hopes of getting it to market. The contest consists of voting for a product over a series of rounds. The winner will have their product sold in Walmart stores all over the country, and the runners-up will sell their products on the Walmart website. Time For Change is competing against 4,000 contestants.
The first round of voting is from March 7-April 3, 2012. Ten winners of the round will then proceed to the final round of voting from April 11-24, 2012.
“This is so incredibly important to me, not only to make my son’s life a little easier, but also to bring this invention to other diabetics,” says DeZur, who added that if Time For Change goes to market, she and Lou, who is now 21, will donate a portion of the sales to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
To support Time For Change, please visit http://www.getontheshelf.com/product/3623/TIME-FOR-CHANGE or to access the Facebook fan page, visit www.facebook.com/JustLikeLou.
|In this audio-only podcast, student multimedia reporter Noell Dickmann talks with Mary Anne DeZur about the story behind Time For Change and its potential to impact the diabetes community.|
| Sonja (right) and Eve (left) Funnell with their illustrations for the book series "The Adventures of Henry."
By Noell Dickmann
Student Multimedia reporter
Not many people can say they have published a book by the age of 21. Sonja Funnell, however, can say she has three under her belt. The UW Oshkosh senior works as an illustrator for a series of children’s books called "The Adventures of Henry." She’s already done three of the seven books in the series. Her sister, Eve Funnell, is also working on the series. The UW Oshkosh sophomore has already completed one book and is currently working on a second.
The books are based on bedtime stories created by Henry Anderson, son of UW Oshkosh alumni Darrin Anderson (MBA 2010). Henry passed away in 2009 at age 3 of a disease called Bruton’s X-linked Agammaglobulinemia (XLA). The Andersons created the series to honor their late son. When they needed an illustrator for the books, they went back to their alma mater and discovered the talents of Sonja and Eve.
The situation works out well on both ends. Both Sonja and Eve are in artistic majors, and Darrin Anderson is thrilled to have found them. He says, “Both Eve and Sonja have done a remarkable job at taking my son's stories and creating an illustrated visual adventure series. I have found working with them to be the best thing I have done.”
The Adventures of Henry series can be found at House of Heroes, Paper Tiger, Klassy Kids, and Turn Key Auto (all located in Oshkosh) as well as the series website: www.adventuresofhenry.com
In this audio-only podcast, student multimedia reporter Noell Dickmann sits with Sonja
and Eve Funnell to discuss how their foray into the publishing world. Original music by Noell Dickmann.
"The Pentagon and Architecture of George Edwin Bergstrom"
By Brad Beck
Multimedia News Intern
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students Kyle Moerchen and Peter Herr in conjunction with the Neenah Historical Society contributed to a public exhibit about one of the Fox Valley’s most successful figures. The exhibit showcased the career of renowned architect George Edwin Bergstrom of Neenah, who designed the Pentagon, headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense.
The opportunity came to Herr, an art education and graphic communication major, through UW Oshkosh art instructor Shawn McAfee’s digital art class. McAfee recommended him for this project. “The way it looked was all me,” Herr says. “The type choice, the layout, the concepts, everything was on my shoulders.”
Moerchen, a history major, contributed a large portion of research that focused on the personal and architectural life of Bergstrom. Dr. Stephen Kercher, Associate Professor of History, recommended Moerchen for this project. “It was a really good introduction to public history,” says Moerchen. “Learning how to write a public history piece is pretty important. I felt like a contributed a lot to the project.”
The exhibit “The Pentagon and Architecture of George Edwin Bergstrom” at the Neenah Historical Society ran from Sept. 11 to Oct. 2, 2011.
In these audio-only podcasts Kyle Moerchen (right) and Peter Herr talk about their experience in contributing to the Neenah Historical Society exhibit "The Pentagon and Architecture of George Edwin Bergstrom." Both podcasts were reported and produced by student multimedia reporter Brad Beck.
Kyle Moerchen: On Researching Man Who Designed the Pentagon
Peter Herr: On the Design and Influence
From Campus to Prison:
Teaching the Inside-Out Course at Taycheedah Correctional Institution
In spring of 2012, Dr. Carmen Heider will once again hold court behind the barbed wires at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fond du Lac, Wis. Heider, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, led the first Inside-Out program in the state three years ago.
(Read about that first Inside-Out experience.)
In the Oct. 9, 2011, Dean's Symposium, Heider presented “From Campus to Prison: Teaching the Inside-Out Course at Taycheedah Correctional Institution.”
Here is a description of her presentation:
What is it like to teach behind prison walls? This talk focuses on the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, which was first taught at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fall 2009 and is scheduled again in Spring 2012. The class brings together 10 “outside” university students and 10 “inside” incarcerated students who learn together as peers in a semester-long course that explores issues related to gender, language, and incarceration. The Inside-Out course is part of a national program that provides outside students with the opportunity to question their assumptions about women in prison, and invites inside students to situate their life experiences within a larger, theoretical framework. As a whole, the course is designed to dismantle “us versus them” thinking and serve as an impetus for social change.
The following is Dr. Carmen Heider's audio-only presentation. John Koker, dean of the College of Letters and Science, gives the introduction.
Understanding Group Identity and War Attitudes Among Service-Connected Civilians
Dr. James Krueger from the Department of Political Science shares his research at the first Fall 2011 Dean's Symposium at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. His presentation examines attitudinal differences among civilians with and without a familial connection to the U.S. military. Differential support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are used as evidence of an evolving group identity for these military families which is distinct from purely civilian families. Dr. Krueger also discusses the implications of this new identity for public opinion on other military as well as explicitly non-military issues.
Here is a copy of his slide presentation in PDF format.
The following is Dr. Krueger's (audio-only) presentation.
Photo credit: Shawn McAfee of the University's Learning Technologies.
Music man: UW Oshkosh art instructor Kevin Rau as the lead singer and guitarist of the Kevin Fayte Rock 'n' Roll Trio. Photo courtesy of Kevin Rau.
by Noell Dickmann
student multimedia reporter
The Artist Cuts Loose
To his art students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Kevin Rau may look like the mild-mannered graphic design instructor, but under that academic veneer beats the heart of a rock ‘n’ rolling musician.
Guitar in hand, Rau turns into Kevin Fayte, the lead singer and guitarist of the Kevin Fayte Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio, a rockabilly band that performs regularly in Wisconsin. Their next gig will be at the Paper City Pub in Neenah on Dec. 3. The band’s first self-produced album “Friday Night at Joe’s Garage” was released in spring 2011 and has already gained fans stateside and overseas.
Friday Night at Joe's Garage: the first self-produced album by the Kevin Fayte Rock 'n' Roll Trio. Album cover designed by Kevin Rau
Rau earned his Bachelor of Science in Art and Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He has been in the graphic design industry since 1979 and has been an adjunct instructor for the University since 2004. His design work has appeared in the New York Times, and his clients include Sony and Make-A-Wish Foundation. He also served as principal designer for the book Unimark International: The Design of Business and the Business of Design (Lars Müller Publishers, 2009).
As an established graphic designer Rau also expresses himself through another creative outlet - music, especially rockabilly music.
“Rockabilly is a hybrid of country western and rhythm and blues,” says Rau, whose love for music began at age 8 when he first heard Elvis. “I like to describe it as bluegrass music with an attitude,” he says.
Since then, Rau has managed keep music an integral part of his life. “It’s good to let people know that there’s more than one dimension to the personality, and that it’s okay to be a good professional and go out and have some fun too.”
Rockin' the HouseIn the photo to the right, a young Kevin Rau is fronting the band Kevin Fayte & Rocket 8, an earlier band of his that produced an LP in 1986. Photo by Charles Behnke.
To hear a couple tracks from the current CD, please visit the Kevin Fayte MySpace page.
In this audio-only podcast, Rau sits with student reporter Noell Dickmann to discuss his love of design and music and how he was able to balance the two passions.
|Mountain Musicians from l-r: Dr. Eli Kalman, and his students Tanya Paulson, Luke Swanger, Rebecca Ottman at the Rocky Ridge Music Camp. Photo courtesy of Dr. Kalman.
By Bradley Beck
Multimedia News Intern
For five weeks at 9,300 feet above sea level, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Professor Dr. Eli Kalman blended his passion of teaching and music with the rustic life at Rocky Ridge Music Camp. Under guidance of a world-class faculty of musicians, students from all over the country created and performed music at the oldest music camp in the United States, which is situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. This summer, Kalman shared the Rocky Ridge experience with three students from UW Oshkosh: Rebecca Ottman, Tanya Paulson and Luke Swanger, who was named a co-winner of the annual Young Artist Seminar Concerto Competition. Kalman, a distinguished pianist and professor of music, has performed professionally in many venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in January 2011. Hailing from Israel, he was the recipient of the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship for Excellence at UW-Madison. Dr. Kalman earned the Diploma in Piano Performance at the Academy of Music “G. Dima” in Cluj, Romania, the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Rocky Mountain Way
In email interviews, we asked Kalman and his students about their experience at the Rocky Ridge Music Camp.
1. How did you get involved with Rocky Ridge Music Camp?
Kalman: Working towards my doctorate at UW Madison in the summer of 2005, I got invited to be the collaborative pianist at Rocky Ridge Music Camp – a position I have filled with much easiness in the early fifteen years of my musical life elsewhere. I had similar positions in Romania and Israel and loved the sharing and the coaching I was able to do give to performing students. That specific learning phase is extremely important – it is the phase in which I could make such a difference as an older musical partner. Also the interaction was supposed to happen in a beautiful mountain setting at 9,000 feet altitude. The mix of mountains and culture is second to none for the simplicity of life in a rustic cabin and the sophistication of such classical training.
|The following video was shot by Dr. Kalman using his iPhone. The video is of Luke Swanger playing the Rondo from Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Rocky Ridge Music Camp.
2. What do you do at Rocky Ridge Music Camp?
Kalman: My first responsibility is to be the pianist of most of the students as their dedicated partner for performance. I am their musical coach and “older” pianist partner supposed to create an easy professional setting in which their performance would be greatly supported if not enhanced by my years of experience in the field. It includes performance in public concerts, master classes, coaching and a lot of rehearsals in individual lesson format. My other responsibility is to be on the piano faculty, teaching students brought from UW Oshkosh or other places to this music camp. It is actually a continuation of my work from UWO with same challenges and gratifications. I was delighted this year to have three of my own students joining the camp as participants and representing UWO the way they did. All three of them made me very proud of what we do here at our school and of our level of preparation and professionalism. All three have beautifully performed in the RRMC Concerto Competition and I couldn’t be more satisfied in regard to their performance.
3. What types of student applicants are chosen to participate?
Kalman:This is a difficult question to answer. Of course musically, you want the best possible music students but given the intense community life for the 5 weeks you are also counting on certain human qualities, which can make their adaptation easy.
Compatibility and strong communication skills are very important although at times you see students acquiring those qualities out of necessity. Love of natural settings and hiking are important although we have seen many students and faculty lacking those tendencies and still doing very well. It is a mix of qualities we have learned to recognize for strength and weaknesses.
RRMC is a very rich experience with multiple ramifications of other-than-music ones. It is so much more that music only that it is tough to reduce it to a few sentences.
Making music: Dr. Eli Kalman, a professor of music at UW Oshkosh, on piano, recorded "The Jewish Soul" with Israeli cellest Amit Peled. The CD was released on Centaur Records in 2009.
Kalman: The Music Camp offers a number of professional advantages, which are essential to the participants.
First, RRMC enables the students to continue their work in the summer and to reach a different level of preparation just by meeting peers in the field from so many different schools.
Second, they have two piano lessons a week and multiple chamber coaching with different teachers and they are expected to rehearse on a daily basis when there is no assisted lesson.
Third, they have a variety of evening lectures and mainly informal but direct interaction with many faculty. Their 5-week life is basically organized as music around-the-clock.
Lastly, student exposure to other music faculty and students create a musical network in which they all learn a lot about the very nature of the music business. In addition, there is also a social aspect, which is typical to all summer camps, and fun is everywhere one is capable of recognizing it.
5. How has that experience benefited them musically/personally?
Kalman: My students Rebecca Ottman, Tanya Paulson and Luke Swanger greatly benefited of all-the above listed learning opportunities and to my assessment they have gained strength in all areas they needed and more. Their performance skills got stronger and more secure and although sometimes the learning starts in an uneasy way – they have made a journey which I believe that was useful in an immediate way. They had to earn their placement in the micro-society of RRMC 2011 session and prove themselves as worthy of respect for all professional and human qualities. Quite a challenge at times but what a thrill when you realize you did so well in multiple areas. They all did!
6. What do students take away from the music camp?
Kalman: A combination of things from the higher intensity of instruction all the way to the plusses and minuses of mountain life. Social bonding with other musicians and in-depth exposure to a musician’s style of life . For most students it helps in the decision making of staying or leaving the path. Some risk taking in actually bringing them to the camp, but so far it worked miracles for my students. Luke Swanger played with the orchestra as a winner in the competition and my other two students were – in my opinion – the closest to him. But that is a personal opinion, of course.
7. How is instruction at camp different from what takes place with music teachers/professors during the school year?
Kalman: There is no way to focus so much on piano performance during the school year although that would be the right thing to do. So many other courses and real life are taking us away from the piano. At the camp the illusion is that there is nothing else outside of your main goal.
No distractions…nothing else but your music. It is so amazing to discover how much one can improve when there is no distraction of any kind around. When you see that the other sixty students are also pushing hard for the same goal – you end up working twice as much.
8. What makes Rocky Ridge Music Camp such a special place?
Kalman: The gorgeous natural setting and the isolation from all possible distraction. Great people all loving music and fantastic mountaineer attitude. It's easy-going at surface but really serious about music.
The Music Camp Experience
Rebecca Ottman: Early start to the day followed by four hours of chamber practice --I was personally involved in two chamber groups. Each chamber group was assigned a 'new' piece of music to start from 'scratch' to later perform for the public at the end of the six week seminar. After lunch we had a couple hours to either continue with chamber practice or work on solo material. Evenings were generally reserved for orchestra rehearsal, theory and/or guest lectures and more solo practice time. Every Monday was a 'free' day in which we traveled as a group to nearby cities (Boulder, Denver), chance a hike in the Rockies, or just relax at the nearest lake.
Tanya Paulson: Although most of our time at camp is spent making, listening to, and learning about music, we manage to find time for other kinds of fun, as well. One of my favorite aspects of Rocky Ridge is the mountains, which I try to take full advantage of by going on lots of hikes. My biggest triumph so far is summitting Longs Peak, the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park at 14,259 ft.
Another important part of my time at Rocky Ridge was my work-study commitment. This covered part of my tuition in exchange for a few hours of work every day. My duties included setting up, serving and doing breakfast dishes with two other students. This was often one of the most fun parts of the day, and resulted in two great friendships.
How has the music camp benefited you musically/personally?
Luke Swagger: Personally, I feel Rocky Ridge has helped me tremendously. The confidence one gains from each performance is amazing and I feel Rocky Ridge has had a large impact in my development as a performer.
It has had a very big impact with my musical career. I met Dr. Gallo at Rocky Ridge the year prior and he invited me to Georgia State for an audition. I now have a teaching assistant-ship and will be starting my graduate degree with him this fall.
Tanya Paulson: This was my third summer attending Rocky Ridge. Every year, at the end of the session, I feel stronger and more confident than when I arrived. Being immersed in a community of passionate and supportive musicians provides tremendous inspiration and drive to achieve one's goals. Going into this semester I am already planning and looking forward to the repertoire I will play next summer.
What are you taking away from this experience?
Luke Swanger: Rocky Ridge has helped me gain confidence. I have met and hopefully developed lasting connections with many talented individuals. Because of this I feel Rocky Ridge will continue to impact me in the years to come.”
Rebecca Ottman: A lot of stress accompanies performance, especially when you only have a few weeks to learn a lot of new material; however, I outperformed my expectations. I have more confidence in myself as a musician. I was exposed to many different types of musicians and music, I left a more educated and aware musician.
Tanya Paulson: Perhaps even more valuable than the musical experience I gain each summer are the life experiences. Music camp is a crash course in communication, dealing with other people, making friends, and countless other skills. Most importantly, Rocky Ridge brings together a small number of people who are all bonded by a love of music. This leads to some incredibly special relationships which are hard to find anywhere else. I have gained friendships which I will treasure for the rest of my life.
by Grace Lim
On a gorgeous sunny day, thousands poured into the Leach Amphitheater to listen to music that lifted the American spirit. The Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, led by the newly tapped music director and conductor Andre Gaskins, played numerous songs including the hauntingly poignant Adagio for Strings and the rousing God Bless America. During the second half of the concert, the orchestra played with the popular Vic Ferrari Band.
At the concert, Gaskins acknowledged the pain and sorrow that came from that fateful day in September 2001. However, he urged the audience to also remember that despite the horrors of that time, the American spirit remains true and strong. He promised the throngs that he'd lift their hearts with music.
Gaskins kept his word.
John Koker, dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, joined the orchestra for Liberty for All, an orchestral piece with narration that uses quotes from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. The composition is by James A. Beckel, principal trombonist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The combination of Koker's passionate readings and the soaring music swept the audience members into a patriotic frenzy. By the end of the song, the crowd, many of whom with tears streaming down their cheeks, sprang to their feet and cheered.
|Highlights from Liberty for All
The Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Andre Gaskins, performed Liberty for All, a composition by James A. Beckel. The narration is by John Koker, dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
The highlights clip was edited by Andre Gaskins, with permission from composer James A. Beckel. The audio recording is courtesy of Aaron Zinsmeister of Nitecrawler Recording Studio email@example.com.
Scenes from the 9/11 Remembrance Concert
Conductor Andre Gaskins and the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra a few hours before the concert began at the Leach Amphitheater.
John Koker, dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, narrates portions of Liberty for All.
The Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra rehearsing under the direction of conductor Andre Gaskins at the Leach Amphitheater.
Thousands at the 9/11 Remembrance Concert at the Leach gave the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra a standing ovation.
Photos by Angela Piechocki and Grace Lim. Photo composite by Shawn McAfee of UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies.
Dr. Heike C. Alberts, Department of Geography and Urban Planning
Dr. Monika Hohbein-Deegen, Department of Foreign Languages
Dr. Michelle Mouton, Department of History
Dr. Tracy Slagter, Department of Political Science
Monday, November 9, 2009, is the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that changed history. Many of our students were not even born when the Wall fell, and yet they have grown up in a world that was shaped by the political, social, geographic, and cultural significance of that event. To commemorate this important day in history, several members of the UW Oshkosh faculty have organized a series of presentations and exhibitions to explore the impact of the Wall and new world order that was ushered in when it fell. The day's events combines background information about the Berlin Wall and the global implications of its fall in 1989 with first hand accounts of people who lived in Germany during this time. The day will end with the screening of a compelling German movie about dangerous attempts to escape from East to West Berlin.
The following videos are also available for download to your iPod through UW Oshkosh iTunesU (requires iTunes).
Several UW Oshkosh students participated in the European Odyssey, which included a trip to the Berlin Wall. Here is what they have to say about their experience.
Nov. 9, 2009, Berlin Wall and Beyond Talks
Life on Both Sides of the Wall (Berlin 1945-1989)
The Fall of the Berlin Wall Worldwide Implications
The Dean's Symposium:
Children of the Great Divide - Cold War Policy in Berlin, 1945 to 1955
Photo by student news intern Katie Holliday
Dr. Andy Robson
By Courtney Rinka
COLS Special Reports Student Reporter
UW Oshkosh Celebrates 10th Anniversary
of Earth Charter Community Summit
This year marks the 10th anniversary of UW Oshkosh’s first Earth Charter Community Summit, an event focused on inspiring others to embrace Earth Charter’s principles for a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society.
The weeklong summit events each year include a discussion and celebration of the Earth Charter’s four principles - respect and care for the community of life; ecological integrity; social and economic justice; nonviolence, democracy, and peace. This year’s summit occurred the week of October 17-23 and included more than 14 events.
UW Oshkosh endorses Earth Charter
UW Oshkosh’s endorsement of the Earth Charter document started in 2001 with a mysterious phone call to Dr. Andy Robson, a professor of English at the University. The woman, who didn’t identify herself, had told Robson to contact Jan Roberts, founder of Earth Charter Community Summits.
“To this day I’ve never known who this person was,” Robson said. “She said you need to contact Jan Roberts, and so I did.”
Conversations with Jan Roberts encouraged Robson to organize one of 12 original Earth Charter Community Summits in 2001 held nationwide. “[Organizing an Earth Charter Community Summit] seemed a natural fit,” Robson said. “Any university should provide fertile ground for the discussion of issues such as those listed in the charter.”
Robson invited Chancellor Richard H. Wells and faculty to attend the first summit in fall 2001 in hopes to securing their support for the Earth Charter. “I wanted to get university endorsement of the principles,” Robson said. “The Chancellor suggested going to each committees that were part of shared governance on campus.”
By May of 2002, UW Oshkosh endorsed the Earth Charter in all areas of Shared Governance; Faculty Senate; Senate of Academic Staff; Classified Staff Advisory Council; Assembly and Senate of the Oshkosh Student Association.
UW Oshkosh became one of eight institutions in the Unites States, and the only institution of higher education in Wisconsin to fully endorse the Earth Charter.
About Dr. Lori Carrell
Dr. Lori Carrell’s commitment to inspire positive transformation has fueled more than twenty-five years of teaching, speaking and communication consulting. Her listeners have included business professionals, students in kindergarten through college, prisoners, educators, military personnel, preachers, parishioners, Eskimos and now, colleagues in the UW Oshkosh teaching community.
Her formal education in Speech Communication (Ph.D., University of Denver), Counseling Psychology (M.A., University of Alaska-Anchorage), and Communication Education, Theatre, and Psychology (B.A., Anderson University) is balanced by diverse life experiences. That rich foundation of living includes culture shock as a teacher in an Eskimo village, performances on camera and on stage, research of public speaking in churches across the country, and the daily intensity of parenthood.
She is the author of The Great American Sermon Survey (2000) and numerous communication education research articles.
As a former Endowment for Excellence Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Dr. Carrell currently teaches in the Department of Communication and also serves as Director of the Center for Scholarly Teaching.
In an interview with Grace Lim (audio only), Dr. Carrell discusses the power of transformative teaching and how her own lights-on teaching moment challenged her to do better for herself and her students.
Audio Podcast:The following podcast is also available for download to your iPod through UW Oshkosh iTunesU
About Dr. Teri Shors
Dr. Teri Shors is an associate professor with the Department of Biology and Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Prior to her arrival at UW Oshkosh in 1997, she served two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, under the direction of Dr. Bernard Moss, Chief of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. Her research training/specialy has been in the field of poxviruses. She is a leading virologist and the author of Understanding Viruses, a comprehensive introduction to human viral diseases.
In an interview with Grace Lim (audio only), Dr. Shors talks about her fascination with viruses and why pigs are getting a bad rap.
The following podcast is also available for download to your iPod through UW Oshkosh iTunesU (requires iTunes).
Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know About the H1N1 swine flu virus
- This is not 1918. We know the influenza virus causes the swine flu.
- We have a better understanding and the technology to identify and prevent influenza infections than we did in 1918.
- This is not doomsday!
- UW-Oshkosh Influenza Study
- The reason being is because this H1N1 pandemic strain did not come from or evolve only within a pig. You can’t get infected by eating pork or contact with pigs. This particular strain of H1N1 didn’t just come from pigs. Wild birds and humans also played a role in its creation. This H1N1 virus is a mutt of a virus which contains genetic material from influenza viruses that have infected pigs, birds and humans.
- The virus is easily transmissible among humans.
- Follow the British commercial: Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.
- Vaccines protect you against the viral infection!
- Vaccines take at least two weeks to boost the immune system.
- Associated Press video on President Obama and the swine flu vaccine
- Teri Shors Faculty Web page
- Understanding Viruses
Teri Shors, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- Virus Estudio molecular con orientacion clinica
Teri Shors, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- Flu Planning in Oshkosh
Bio 315/515 Class Assignment, directed by Dr. Teri Shors
- Merck·AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program at UW Oshkosh
- 1918 Influenza: A Winnebago County, Wisconsin
Perspective by Teri Shors, PhD in Clinical Medical & Research Journal
As curator of the Neil A. Harriman Herbarium at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Dr. Thomas G. Lammers keeps current by reading an array of botany journals.
Usually he makes note of anything that might enhance the herbarium's collection of over 115,000 prepared plant specimens from around the world. And as a recognized expert in the flowering plant family Campanulaceae, Lammers is attuned to articles about bellflowers.
However, one recent article in the Harvard Papers in Botany caught his eye. The article was a new plant species that had nothing to do with his field of expertise.
What he saw was an article about a new plant species -- the Ardisia lammersiana -- from Indonesian Papua discovered by Dr. Wayne Takeuchi, a botanist Lammers had known when he was conducting field study in Hawaii in 1983.
Unbeknownst to Lammers, his former associate in Hawaiian botany had named the new plant after him.
Lammers, an associate professor in the Department of Biology and Microbiology, is the author of World Checklist and Bibliography of Campanulaceae, the first book to be published since 1839 that provides an encyclopedic bibliography of this plant family.
In an interview with COLS Special Reports producer Grace Lim, Lammers talks about having a plant named after him and why he's fascinated with dead plants.
|The video is also available for download to your iPod through UW Oshkosh iTunesU (requires iTunes).
Faculty Notes are short news and feature items relating to the faculty members in the College of Letters and Science.
Photo/Shawn McAfee of UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies
By Grace Lim
COLS Special Reports
As the first UW Oshkosh student to be named to the National Debate Scholars Team in 2010, communications major Bridget Isnardi is on track to two-peat this prestigious academic feat.
Isnardi was selected to the Magna Cum Laude National Debate Scholars Team by the Cross-Examination Debate Association, which honors students who maintain strong academic records in addition to their competitive accomplishments. To be eligible for any level of national scholar recognition, a student must have attained at least junior standing, competed in at least 18 rounds on the current topic, and meet the minimum grade point average for that specific award. For Isnardi, she had to maintain a 3.5 GPA to be considered for the Magna Cum Laude team.
UW Oshkosh Debate Team coach Douglas Roubidoux says the honor is equivalent to being selected to the NCAA’s Academic All-American Award. “It is important to note that there are no divisions in debate,” says Roubidoux, who has coached the team since 1997. “Our students compete against Ivy League Universities and Division I Universities.”
|In this video podcast, Bridget Isnardi, a member of the National Debate Scholars Team, shares her thoughts about winning arguments in competition and at family dinners. This podcast is produced by COLS Special Reports editor Grace Lim.
This season Isnardi, 20, is one of eight full-time members on the team that has gone head-to-head and won against larger universities such as University of Miami (Florida), Florida University, West Georgia University, George Washington University and California State University Fullerton.
At the Georgia State University in September where 160 debate teams from 60 colleges, the UW Oshkosh debate members had a combined record of 8-5. The team of Isnardi and Nic Irick went 5-1 and finished in fifth place in their division.
Isnardi says there is no secret to her success. “I guess if I had one it would be time management. It's just important to prioritize - it's important to be realistic with yourself and the goals one sets for themselves,” she says.
For Isnardi, school work always come first. “I've just learned to be efficient in doing homework so I can spend the rest of my time working on debate and doing other things I enjoy.”
However, there is some sacrifice, she says, jokingly. “I have had to give up my afternoon naps - I'm a sucker for cat naps so I've been struggling with that.”
For more information about the UW Oshkosh debate team, please visit
For the Love of Math
by Tom Hanaway
Student News Intern
Drs. Jae Lee and Ju Youn Bae and their sons, Alex, left, and Eric. Photo/Shawn McAfee of UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies
A husband-and-wife teaching duo is demystifying the world of mathematics for local students.
Jae Lee and Ju Youn Bae, lecturers from the UW Oshkosh Department of Mathematics, have dedicated their Saturday mornings to teaching math at their church, the Appleton Korean Presbyterian Church at 1100 London St. in Menasha, Wis.
Bae realized there was a need for such service when parents who were looking for a private tutor for their children approached her. “I thought, ‘What about other parents, the parents who can’t afford a private tutor?’” she said. “What about their kids?”
That is when Lee and Bae decided to provide free tutoring for local students of all ages. They started this tutoring service in February. The couple now helps students with their homework on Saturdays from 9-noon at their church. They help students from kindergarten to seniors in high school.
These students seeking their help come from a diverse background, Bae said. “Students who come to our tutor service are international,” she said. “Most of them are born in America, but their parents are from Ecuador, Mexico, Columbia, America and South Korea.”
Lee said he wants to inspire students to enjoy math, just like he did when he was younger. “In high school, I loved math,” Lee said. “I would study it by myself, on vacation. But not everyone likes math.”
Lee hopes that these tutoring sessions would help change some students’ perceptions about math. “Having fun with math and taking an exam is different,” he said, adding that students need only a helping hand to appreciate all aspects of mathematics.
Lee said that he encourages all students who are struggling with math, or just want to polish their mathematics skills, to join their tutoring session.
“Bring your textbook, bring your homework, bring your questions,” he said. “We will work through this together.”
Who: Dr. Jae Lee and Dr. Ju Youn Bae
What: Free Math Tutoring for K-12 students
Where: Appleton Korean Presbyterian Church at 1100 London St. in Menasha, Wis.
When: Saturdays from 9 to noon until Dec. 4. No tutoring service on Nov. 27.
The free tutoring service will resume in February 2011.
(photo illustration by student photographer Amber Patrick)
A Man of Letters and Science
Growing up in Kenosha, Wis., John Koker had no idea what he wanted to do when he grew up, but he did know one thing: he didn't want to teach.
But the son of an auto factory worker and a jail cook soon discovered that life doesn't always turn out as planned. To support his graduate studies, Koker worked as a teaching assistant and was thrust onto the teaching stage.
"I taught my first math class when I was about 22 years old at Purdue University, and I was hooked," said Koker, who earned his bachelor's degree in math from St. Norbert College, his master's degree from Purdue and his doctorate's degree from UW-Milwaukee.
"I thought, 'This is really what I want to do.'"
Koker is entering his 26th year of teaching at the college level. Since 2007, he has been dean of the College of Letters and Science (COLS) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He joined the teaching staff at UW Oshkosh in 1991 and became chair of the Department of Mathematics in 2000, a post he held until he was tapped to be the interim COLS dean in early 2007.
He has won two of the highest awards bestowed on faculty at UW Oshkosh, the 2002 Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2004 John McNaughton Rosebush Professorship for Excellence in Teaching. In 2006, he received the Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award, the highest recognition for teaching in the UW System.
In addition to teaching and his duties as dean, Koker finds time to sustain a life-long passion for acting. He auditions and often lands roles in student-produced plays and films. Most recently, Koker slipped on a pair of blue suede shoes and sported a pompadour that would make any Elvis impersonator proud. He played the King of Rock 'n' in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a play written by Steve Martin.
In an interview with COLS Special Reports producer Grace Lim, Koker talks about his love for math, the arts and teaching.
The Love of Math
In this video, Dean John Koker talks about how odd numbers led him down the problem-solving path and how his misbehavior in grade school led to more math problems.
Math and Roofing
In this video, Dean John Koker reveals his secret on how he deals with strangers who routinely tell him how much they hate math.
More than Adding and Subtracting
In this video, Dean John Koker answers the age-old question, "Why do I need to know more math? I already know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide."
All the World's a Stage
In this video, Dean John Koker shares his love of acting and how being the dean holds no sway with picky directors. (Theater photos courtesy of UW Oshkosh Theatre technical director Mick Alderson.)
Teaching and Life
In this video, Dean John Koker recounts his early teaching days and his hopes for his students after they leave UW Oshkosh. (Classroom photos by student photographer Amber Patrick.)
Photo illustration by Shawn McAfee/Learning Technologies
From Grace Lim:
As the editor/producer of COLS Special Reports, I get to tell cool interesting stories about the people who make up the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The following Faculty and Staff Notes story is one that I am personally happy to highlight because it is about one of my best friends, Dr. Jennifer Szydlik, a professor of mathematics.
Each year, the UW Board of Regents recognizes two faculty and academic staff members from the 26 UW System institutions. This year, they tapped Dr. Szydlik as a 2010 Regents Teaching Excellence Award winner.
Along with this honor is $5,000 and 5 minutes to address the regents at their August meeting in Madison. You must watch how Dr. Szydlik used her 5 minutes at the mic. I will only say this: this woman is like a verbal ninja.
Not the Usual Acceptance Speech
Jennifer Szydlik, a professor of mathematics at UW Oshkosh, addressed the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System at its August meeting in Madison, where she was awarded a 2010 Regents Teaching Excellence Award. Regent Jeffrey Bartell gave the introduction and a glimpse into her storied teaching career. Dr. Szydlik's speech starts at 3:55.
|Watch her Board of Regents speech first, then listen to the my sit-down interview with her. In this audio-only podcast, Dr. Szydlik, whom I really know as Jen, will share her thoughts about what makes a good teacher, why she hasn’t balanced her checkbook since 1987 and what she is going to do with her $5,000 prize.
(Please pardon the paroxysm of laughter in the podcast.)
These podcasts are also available for download to your iPod through UW Oshkosh iTunesU (requires iTunes).