Name: Ben Lepak
Age: 29 Major: Human Resource Management
Hometown: Custer, Wis.
1. Why did you choose UW Oshkosh?
Well I had always wanted to attend UWO from the time I got out of high school but wasn't able to do so due to the financial considerations. When I was ready to attend college Oshkosh was still my first choice. Oshkosh has a strong reputation for its' business program, a reputation that has only become more formidable during my time here. Besides the reputation I thought the Fox Valley Area would be ripe for job opportunities upon graduation. Finally, being about an hour away from both Lambeau Field and Miller Park was also a strong consideration because I love Wisconsin sports!
2. What will you take away from your time here, other than a degree?
The people. Getting to know people throughout my studies is something I will always cherish. I made great friends in class, through my involvement in the Society for Human Resource Management and in the jobs I have held. I look forward to keeping in touch with my fellow graduates as we progress into our careers. I have established a great number of colleagues who will always be a resource to call upon as we move into our professional lives. Besides the people I feel the education I recieved at UWO is top notch. Not just the business classes but classes that spanned American Music, Psychology, Astronomy and Philosophy laid the foundation for me to be well-rounded. I look forward to studying some of these topics on my own when I finally have free time again.
3. Tell us about your favorite class or your favorite professor at UW Oshkosh.
Impossible! My professors in the College of Business have all been outstanding specifically in Human Resources. Three professors stand out in my mind: Sarah DeArmond, Dale Feinauer and Barb Rau. Sarah and Barb were both instrumental in my personal development and wrote Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School. Sarah's work with our Student SHRM Chapter goes above and beyond what most faculty would invest. Barb has a wealth of experience in HR and is so personable that she makes each student feel like family. Dale is by far the most dynamic professor in the College of Business. His lectures exemplify what everyone loves about Dale: cunning wit, knowledge beyond compare and the ability to capture everyone's attention.
4. What advice would you give incoming freshmen about making the most of their time here at UW Oshkosh?
My advice would be two-fold. First, get involved anyway you can on campus. Take advantage of all the different resources. Whether it's attending guest speakers, club meetings, taking a leadership position or volunteering you're going to remember what you did outside of the classroom most. Along those lines make use of Career Fair and Networking events. You never know when you could meet the person who is going to offer you a job after graduation. Get to know your professors by stopping by their office hours. Professors are great for recommendations, advice and career guidance. Most of them are totally approachable, something I was afraid to do until my second or third year.
My second point of emphasis goes along with the first: study abroad. My biggest regret was not taking a study abroad trip while at UWO. On two separate occasions I ventured down the road to doing a study abroad tour but ended up backing out due to personal matters. I still hope to pursue study in a foreign country at Grad School but wish I would have done it here. Oshkosh has so many wonderful study abroad programs, and although costly, I have never heard anyone say they were not worth every penny and more. Any time you can travel, especially to another culture when you are young, is a life-changing experience. Study abroad and gain some new perspective!
(Photo by Shawn McAfee of Learning Technologies at UW Oshkosh.)