Archive for the 'Alumni' Category

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Career Path Series: Jessica King

Career Services presents Jessica King, a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna and current Wisconsin State Senator. Sen. King, a native of Fond du Lac, received her undergraduate degree from UWO with majors in International Studies, History, and Political Science.

King was very involved on campus as she was the president of five different organizations including Phi Mu Fraternity and the Oshkosh Student Association. Later, King went on to study law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she received her degree along with a Certificate in Global Legal Studies.

In 2004, King returned to Oshkosh as an associate attorney as well as an adjunct professor at UWO.  On April 10, King will again revisit her alma mater to share her life experiences that shaped her career. She will also discuss the importance of involvement and the strength to take career chances. Please join us in welcoming her back to campus with our Career Path Series on April 10 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in Sage Hall room 1214.

How Career Services can help YOU rock that job interview!

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

Do your palms sweat and your heart race when you think about that next job interview? Preparing for an interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. Fortunately, Career Services is here to help. Let’s begin with some basic interview tips given by New Grad Life blog. Once you’ve got these tips down, then you can put them into real-life use with our office-held mock interviews and even virtual interviewing! Career Services is here to help you, a UW Oshkosh student or alumni, rock that next job interview.

5 Crazy Job Interview Tips That Work From

While these may seem like strange, pre-interview routines, they actually do work and will help you to land the job of your dreams:

1.) Look at Facebook

This is actually two strategies in one. First of all, check your Facebook profile out and make sure that your own profile is set to private and there are no embarrassing photos of you tagged on the site. If there are, untag yourself from those photos and ask your friends if they would please refrain from tagging you. If possible, get the photos taken down. Double check as well that status updates you’ve posted aren’t embarrassing. If they are, delete them.

While this won’t completely remove the record of those photos, it does make it harder to find. That in turn means if you ace the interview, your interviewer is less likely to find embarrassing material online which will make them think twice about calling you back for a second interview.

The second half of this technique is to find out the name of the person who will be interviewing you and look up their Facebook profile. Get as much information as you can about the person since this will be helpful to you to throw into the conversation when you are meeting with them. Showing an interest in something the person is interested in is a sure way to get yourself remembered out of the hundreds of interviews the hiring manager has to conduct.

2.) Prepare a folder to fiddle with

Yeah, it sounds strange, but this is a great pre-interview technique that can come in handy. Often, you will be asked to wait for a few minutes before your interview. Most times, it’s just because the person interviewing you is busy or wants to make you feel as if you aren’t the most important person for them to meet. However, on occasion, this is actually a test. They will secretly observe you to see what you do when you are waiting to be interviewed. If you have a folder with your papers in it, you can spend the time appearing to organize yourself so you ace that test.

3.) Put water behind your ears and on your wrists

This is actually something to do just before the interview. Duck into the bathroom and dab a few drops of water behind the ears and on your wrists. These are areas where you have major arteries and some experts claim by putting water in those locations you can help to calm your nerves by cooling down quickly.

4.) Write a list

This one is actually not such a strange pre-interview routine, but it does work wonders. You’ll inevitably be asked to tell the interviewer about your proudest achievements, your best qualities and your worst qualities. Most people just wing it when they walk into the interview. However, since you know these things are likely to come up, pre-empt them by making yourself a list of things you can answer. Just make sure to pause for a moment when answering so it appears natural and not rehearsed. Speaking of that…

5. ) Rehearse in front of a mirror

While a common pre-interview routine is to rehearse by having a friend or family member go through a mock interview with you, a strange pre-interview technique which actually does work wonders is to rehearse on your own in front of a mirror. Your face will often speak louder than your words, so you want to take the time to make sure when you answer questions, you don’t telegraph you aren’t comfortable answering those questions. By rehearsing in front of a mirror, you can avoid that problem completely.

On-campus Mock Interviews

With mock interviews, students are able to meet with actual employers to conduct a fake interview. Although the position the student is applying for isn’t real, the practice and experience is. And who knows, if an employer really likes a mock candidate, that person may be called upon for a real interview! After the mock interview, employers give each student feedback such as what they did well and what can be improved.

Career Services offers general mock interviews and major-specific mock interviews. Employers are carefully picked to match the students’ potential pool of employers in real life. Ultimately, mock interviews are a win-win for students and employers. The students get the experience of interviewing while employers get to meet potential employees.

Students are encouraged to attend one of the Boost Your Interviewing Techniques workshops prior to participation in mock interviews. Also, professional dress is recommended and preferred, but appropriate dress is required. This basically means no t-shirts or ripped jeans. Treat your mock interview like you would a real interview. Students can register for mock interviews in Titan Jobs.

Perfect Interview™ Interview Coach

We are living in the future with such advanced technology that you can opt to practice your interviewing skills virtually in the comfort of your own home. You must be wondering “how?” With Perfect Interview™ Interview Coach, job seekers can practice and develop their interviewing skills. They see videos of tough questions from professional interviewers, which they must answer on the spot.  A webcam records their answers, so they can see exactly how they will look and sound when they go to their first interview.

Interview Coach is widely used by individual job seekers as well as the career centers of colleges, universities, and related organizations to help their students and clients prepare for job interviewing. As a UWO student or alumni, you have access to webcams and the Interview Coach software through Career Services! Webcams can be checked out at our front desk for one week and Perfect Interview can be accessed through Titan Jobs under the Additional Resources tab upon logging in.

Whether you need help brushing up on your interviewing skills or need help building those skills, Career Services is here to help you excel as a professional. Stop by our offices today for resume help or general career advising.

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Tables of Titans

Tables of Titans invites students to meet and have dinner with a variety of UW Oshkosh alums. This event provides a unique opportunity for students to network with alumni while exploring future career options in an intimate, friendly, and welcoming environment. The employer will cover lunch/dinner costs. Each event has a capacity of eight students each, so sign up quickly! Please be advised, that you are expected to attend if you RSVP. Your Titan Jobs account will be inactivated if you fail to do so. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with further details before the event.

When: March 8, 2012 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant
1501 Arboretum Drive, Oshkosh

Prudential companies have over $600 billion in total assets under management. This includes the Prudential Insurance Company of America, one of the largest insurance companies in the United States. They offer a variety of products and services including life insurance, mutual funds, annuities, pension and retirement related services and administration, asset management, securities brokerage, banking and trust services, real estate brokerage franchises and relocation services. They serve 15 million individual and institutional customers worldwide. They have approximately 39,000 employees.

Host: B.J. Helleson, Manager, Financial Services

I am currently a Manager and Financial Advisor with Prudential Financial in Wauwatosa, WI.  My responsibilites include growing the agency with quality advisors and providing the support and training that new advisors need when they first get into the financial services industry.  I started with Prudential right after I graduated in May of 2009.  I found that our training and development program and our compensation/benefits package is second to none, and can be a great opportunity for dynamic individuals to start off a great career.

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
When: March 13, 2012 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant
1501 Arboretum Drive, Oshkosh

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP is one of the oldest and largest certified public accounting and consulting firms in the U.S. As an independent member of Baker Tilly International, the world’s 8th largest network of accounting firms, we bring you access to market-specific knowledge in 120 countries. 

Baker Tilly originated in 1931 with a commitment to deliver innovative financial solutions and solid business strategies to our clients. We believe that an accounting firm should complement the business style it is serving. Our approach balances solid financial know-how with a talent for innovation and creativity. This “can do” philosophy has resulted in our position as one of the industry’s most progressive and respected accounting firms.

Our clients are both privately held and publicly traded companies, and occupy all stages of development—from start-ups and family-run businesses to international corporations. They choose Baker Tilly because of our depth of experience, comprehensive service offerings, and commitment to their success. Many of the businesses we serve are closely held entities. A large part of our practice consists of providing tax and consulting services such as estate planning, succession planning, and owner buy/sell consultation to closely held companies.
Baker Tilly is an independent member of Baker Tilly International, a global network of high quality, independent accounting and business services firms. All Baker Tilly members are committed to providing the best possible service to their clients, in their own marketplaces and across the world, wherever help is needed. All firms within the network adhere to the same high quality standards and share skills, resources, and expertise to create best practices.
Host: Christina Stelter, Senior HR Generalist and Campus Recruiter
I am currently a Senior Generalist and a Campus Recruiter with Baker Tilly in Appleton, WI.  My responsibilities for campus recruiting include building relationships with professors, students and career services. As for my HR responsibilities, I work with our leaders and staff with succession planning, individual development planning, on boarding and exit process, and employee relations.  When I graduated from UWO, I start with Target Corporation as an Executive Team Leader – Human Resources and then joined Baker Tilly in fall of 2007.  I found that culture and a company’s appreciation of its employees is a major key to retention and overall employee satisfaction. I have found that both companies that I have worked for hold these qualities.

When: April 4, 2012 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Where: Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant
1501 Arboretum Drive, Oshkosh

Cintas Corporation is one of America’s fastest growing and most respected service corporations. We are the largest company in our industry, and have an aggressive growth strategy focused on increasing our share of a $30+ billion market. We design, manufacture, and distribute products that are used by our customers for corporate identity and facility service programs throughout North America. Every day, more than 4 million people go to work in a Cintas uniform.
Host: Elaine Ruh, Human Resources Representative  & Health and Safety Coordinator
I am the Human Resources Representative for Cintas at the Greenville WI location and have been in  this role for the past 3 ½ years. Daily tasks and responsibilities that I oversee in the HR position are; recruiting, hiring,  benefits, payroll, training and development and fun team building activities.  As being the location’s Health and Safety coordinator, I manage all OSHA recordkeeping, implement new safety ideas, create awareness for a safe working environment and audit all training documents. Before starting at Cintas, I had two internships throughout my college career. I was the Sports Events Management Intern at Special Olympics in Appleton and an Office Manager/HR Generalist for a Regional Vice President for Primerica Financial Services.

Movers and Shakers: UWO alumnus creates his own clothing line

In 2011, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Jason Kobishop ’10 decided to branch out his creative skills by trying his hand at the fashion industry. A few months later, the graphic design major created Bound by Blood Clothing, an Appleton based company that sells unique clothing via its online store.

“I’ve always had a love for making t-shirts; there’s just something very unique about the medium,” Kobishop said. “With websites, your goal is to design something that will look the same on every computer. When you create a magazine ad, the printed version will look the same in every copy of the magazine. But with clothing there are so many variables that can change your final product. The body shape of the person wearing it, the style in which they wear it, and what items they choose to wear with it. Add to that the ability for the design to move and change with every bend, twist and stretch of the moving body and you end up with a truly unique design every time.”

This week, the company launched its very first product line with an opportunity for customers to pre-order items. The first batch included tank tops, T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts. Other items to be added are flat-brimmed hats and handcrafted items from the Bloodline sub-brand. Designs from Bloodline are original creations of Kobishop that will be offered in limited quantities.

Along with managing his own clothing company, Kobishop works as a graphic artist for Coalesce Marketing and Design
located in Appleton. He is also the drummer for local band 5MAN.

Movers and Shakers: Former SOL President on Inclusive Excellence and Career Services

By Emily Colon

Last semester, Luis Barrios served as the president of the Student Organization of Latinos. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in December 2011 as a supply chain and operations management major.

Barrios has been the president of SOL for two and half years, taking one year off. He first ran during his sophomore year, and then his junior year. He decided not to run his senior year, but came back in 2011 for his fifth year and decided to run again and won. His motivation to run for president was to include more diversity and involvement into the organization.

He worked closely with the English and Spanish departments as well as admissions. His biggest struggles were recruitment and retention, Barrios said. His favorite part of being president was his personal development and the connections he made.

Barrios said that inclusive excellence is “a hard one” to define. When he thinks of inclusive excellence, he thinks of diversity. Barrios believes SOL represents inclusive excellence.

When asked about his experiences as a diverse student on campus, he said that in the end he “learned how to manage.” Barrios said he was culture shocked when he first arrived at University. He overcame this struggle by joining organizations such as SOL, Omega Delta Phi, and accounting club and by making new friends

As a student in the College of Business, Barrios was required to use the resources offered by Career Services, but he used it for personal reasons as well. Barrios said he drafted his first resume with the help of Career Services. Career Services has been beneficial to him and he will continue to use Career Services in the future, Barrios said.

Barrios especially enjoyed the photo shoot he helped out with for Career Services. He said he would highly recommend Career Services to friends. Barrios believes that some of the information he acquired from Career Services will help him in his future.

While in school, Barrios interned at Miles Kimball. Through his internship, he received a job offer for a management position in Madison, his hometown.

Barrios said that he has used social media, such as LinkedIn, in his job search. A valuable tip Barrios learned in college that will stick with him for the rest of his life is “not to put the napkin on the chair when you get up,” he said.

Movers and Shakers: Meet UWO Alumni Relations Director Christine Gantner

Perched above the first floor of Pollock Alumni House, a Spanish-styled home built in the 1920s, sits Christine Gantner’s office. At the top of an ornate yet charming staircase, her cove-like office is a converted reading room, drenched with light pouring in from the towering bay windows, a sun-seeker’s paradise. Running behind schedule after dropping her kids off at school for a late-start day, Gantner sheds her black trench coat and workbags like a labradoodle shaking off water droplets. After settling into her work nook in a corner of her roomy, antiquated office, Gantner looks up with an effervescent smile. Thoughts of errands left undone that once invaded her head seemed to retreat to the back of her mind as she melted into her comforting executive, leather chair.

Gantner has always been a busybody since she took on the role of alumni relations director at UW Oshkosh in 1998. Gantner is responsible for helping UW Oshkosh alumni stay connected to their alma mater now and for the rest of their lives. Through communication efforts, events and collaboration with other campus departments, Gantner sets out every morning, always stylishly dressed with her trendy yet manageable Tinkerbelle haircut, to work on one mission: connect with UW Oshkosh alumni, all 80,000 of them.

Growing up in Fond du Lac, Gantner made her way to Milwaukee where she attended UW Milwaukee in pursuit of a journalism/mass communications degree. Although she is now part of the UW Oshkosh family, the university wasn’t at the top of her list of colleges to attend when she was making the decision because it was “too close to home,” she said. However, throughout high school and later years, she became involved in numerous UW Oshkosh events and spent a lot of time on campus visiting with friends.

“I have visited UW Oshkosh several times and was fond of the institution, so I felt very familiar with UW Oshkosh as a campus,” Gantner said.

As a student at UW Milwaukee in the late 1980s, Gantner worked in the alumni relations office as a student employee. She was exposed to opportunities that allowed her to help plan events, work with alumni and write for their alumni publication.

“My experience there really honed my skills,” Gantner said.

Not only did her work in alumni relations help her perfect her skills as a journalist, but it also was there that she discovered her love of working with people.

In addition, she realized that her work in alumni relations utilized both of her skill sets, “the writing side and the people side,” she said.

“I was a mass communications major with a public relations emphasis,” Gantner explained. “I thought I wanted to be a journalist because writing was always a strength of mine, but instead of writing in a traditional newsroom, I felt that some of my skill sets really were building relationships, interacting with people and public speaking.”

Opportunity Knocks

In a sort of alignment of the universe, UW Milwaukee’s alumni relations office had an opening for a special events coordinator at the same time that Gantner was ready to graduate. Gantner figured that she had essentially been filling that role as a student worker, so she “threw her hat in the ring” and in the end got the job.

“I was really fortunate that I got that job right out of college doing something that I really really love,” Gantner said. “I can’t say enough about the power of networking and keeping your mind open to new opportunities.”

After a couple of years, she was promoted to assistant alumni director at UW Milwaukee, and for a stint, Gantner served as interim alumni director.

“My career in alumni relations just blossomed from there,” she said.

Although Gantner has been working in the UW schools system since graduation, she said she never envisioned herself working for her alma mater.

“I thought I was going to be a journalist or something and I kind of had tunnel vision,” Gantner said. “I had some internships where I did corporate communications, so I really was focused on more traditional paths you can take with a journalism/mass communications degree, but I had a professor tell me ‘don’t use tunnel vision when you’re searching for jobs.’”

Before accepting a full-time position at UW Milwaukee, Gantner was an intern at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield at its Waukesha corporate headquarters. She wrote for its internal employee newsletter, which reaches thousands of people worldwide. She also pursued an internship in her hometown for the Fond du Lac Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

“As part of that internship, I was able to hone my skills in event planning and public relations,” Gantner said.

She got the chance to team up with several community volunteers and plan major events for the city of Fond du Lac.

“That was a wonderful opportunity because it helped me make a lot of connections with business professionals who volunteered,” Gantner said.

From 1992 through to the end of 1997, Gantner worked at UW Milwaukee in alumni relations, both as the special events coordinator and then assistant alumni director. And then Gantner heard of an open position through a friend at UW Oshkosh as the director of alumni relations. She thought it would be a good fit, Gantner said.

“I interviewed and was fortunate enough to get the position in 1998 and it’s been great ever since,” she said.

When Gantner left UW Milwaukee, her title was assistant alumni director. Although she loved her job there and the people she worked with, Gantner “carped the diem” and took the position at UW Oshkosh. She yearned for the opportunity to be a full-time director of a successful program and for her career to flourish as well, Gantner said.

Hello UWO

Now Gantner, a bubbly and enthusiastic director, uses communication, event planning and interpersonal skills she learned from previous internships and job positions to succeed at her profession.

“We have 80,000 UW Oshkosh alumni worldwide and I think the most fundamental thing we do with all 80,000 of those people, or try to do, is communicate with them,” Gantner said. “We keep them informed and updated about what is going on at their university so they still feel a connection and involved.”

In efforts to connect to and engage with alumni, Gantner works diligently with communications manager Natalie Johnson through outlets such as Engage magazine and UW Oshkosh Today. Johnson, with both her computer monitor and laptop opened in front of her, frantically searches the database to remember when she began working at Pollock House. The year was 2003 when Johnson was working in university relations before it became integrated marketing communications, and Gantner was dabbling in alumni relations. The two collaborated on projects for events such as homecoming, and now Gantner serves as Johnson’s supervisor, but their relationship is far from that of a boss and employee.

“She gives direction but is very in to hearing my ideas and we work side-by-side to get the word out and promote all the good things that are going on at UW Oshkosh for alums,” Johnson said. “She’s one of the most enthusiastic and supportive supervisors that I have ever had. It’s a joy; we come to this house and we share a lot of really great ideas and it is fun work to be doing together.”

Another way that Gantner tries to reach out to alumni is by organizing special events. The alumni relations office hosts several events in various cities throughout Wisconsin and the U.S.  Those are called geographical alumni events. Upon graduation, many UW Oshkosh alumni have migrated to warmer regions of the country where separate alumni chapters are now thriving. Gantner has been able to visit chapters in the central Florida and Phoenix areas.

“Those alumni events allow us to take the university on the road and to our alums in the communities in which they live and work,” Gantner said. “We get to share updates about what is going on around the campus and help alumni be proud of what is still happening at their alma mater.”

Gantner said these events also provide alumni with the opportunity to meet one another, network and develop professionally. The alumni relations office, under the direction of Gantner, also hosts larger campus events in hopes of getting alumni to come back to Oshkosh. Homecoming and the Golden Titan Reunions, which ensues every spring, are two momentous events for the alumni relations office.

Gantner often teams up with university services associate Linda Cotton to effectively coordinate these events. Cotton has been working at Pollock Alumni House since Gantner graduated from college in 1991. Cotton’s duties include a lot of secretarial work and database upkeep as well. From behind her bulky, oak desk, she staffs the entrance of Pollock House. Religious calendars, scribbled notes and Jesus knickknacks are scattered about her desktop, personalizing her territory. Although things at the alumni relations office can get hectic during homecoming and the weeks before commencement, Cotton feels that the ladies at Pollock House make a great team.

“We all have our expertise, our strong suits, and we blend beautifully with what our responsibilities are,” Cotton said.

Having known Gantner the longest, Cotton’s relationship with her extends far beyond employee and boss. Cotton said Gantner is always very supportive and has always treated her employees with great appreciation.

“I’ve been very blessed to have wonderful alumni directors during my whole career here,” Cotton said. “She’s definitely one I’m thankful I can call my boss and my friend. That is how I introduce her, because she truly is a friend. It makes work a pleasure every day when you don’t have to live under a heavy thumb.”

Student workers at Pollock Alumni House also expressed their gratitude for an understanding and patient boss. Sheraden Bobot, the program and development intern for Pollock Alumni House, works closely with Gantner to market alumni relations services to incoming and current students.

“I really feel like what we do is we collaborate and we come together and have sort of a meeting of minds,” Bobot said, whipping a strand of her curly red hair out of her face. “I say what I feel about my experiences with students and she will take it and run with it. It’s a great feeling to have your superior take your ideas and make them happen. It makes you feel valued and appreciated and you feel like you’re in a self-fulfilled position.”

Another student worker at Pollock Alumni House, Stephanie Dercks, serves as a student assistant. She met Gantner a year and a half ago and immediately thought of Gantner as an outgoing, determined and personable boss, Dercks said.

“I think her openness is what sets Chris apart from others,” Dercks said. “She always carries herself with a sense of grace and pride. Her work ethic shows how strong and determined she really is.”

The two are currently working on a video where Gantner will give a tour of the historic Pollock Alumni House, from the ostentatious foyer and grand staircase to the musty and cozy bedrooms turned offices.

“There is never a time when Chris doesn’t have a million and one things to do, yet she manages to pull it off perfectly every time,” Dercks said with a glint of admiration in her eyes.

Bobot agreed and said Gantner is always going the extra mile to make alumni, students and faculty/staff on campus happy.

“If someone needs something from her on her end, she immediately responds and is more than accommodating,” Bobot said reassuringly.

Other ways that Gantner and her team try to reach soon-to-be alumni are through the Student Alumni Ambassadors program, in which Bobot serves as the adviser, and through the “almost alumni” lunches held every year near commencement.

“Chris is a very innovative director and is always thinking of new ways to engage alums and students in all ways they approach ‘alumni-hood,’” Cotton said. “It’s an exciting and non-stagnant thing to work with Chris.”

Not only does Gantner build and maintain relationships with alumni, students and employees, but her influence also spider webs out to different departments on the UW Oshkosh campus.

“She is a very work-driven woman and just a pleasure to work with all around in every capacity, with departments, alumni and student,” Bobot said.

Most recently, Gantner helped the journalism and radio-TV-film departments bring back several alums to speak to students over homecoming weekend.

The alumni relations office also joins forces with UW Oshkosh’s career services to provide alumni with career-related help and to identify alumni who are willing to come back to campus and participate in some of the career services programs like Dining with Professionals.

“All of the things we do are to engage our alums and let them know that they can continue to use the resources at the university long after graduation and actually throughout their lifetimes,” Gantner said.

Overall, Gantner’s work efforts and influence reach almost every corner of the UW Oshkosh community.

“She is very much in tune with the every aspect of the alumni office, alumni relations and reaching out to the alums,” Cotton said. “As the years go on, many of our alums, locally and non-locally, see what a wonderful alumni director she is. She’s definitely the right woman for the Job!”

Gantner said that her favorite part about her position is working with people.

“I have met so many alumni and friends of the university through this position and that to me is the most energizing part of my job, working with people and listening to their stories,” Gantner said. “They tell me how transformational UW Oshkosh has been for their lives and how their education here and the relationships they made impacted their lives in very significant ways. That is very rewarding.”

Johnson said that Gantner is always really receptive about incorporating new ideas and alumni tales into the alumni relations agenda.

“There are so many great stories out there and she is always on the lookout for chances to spread the word about what our alums are doing,” Johnson said.

Home Life

When Gantner is not a busybody at work, she’s a busybody at home. She lives in the Fond du Lac area with her husband, Tom Gantner, and their two children, Sam, 11, and Madeline, 8.

“I almost forgot to mention, we also have two dogs, two cats and a bunch of fish,” Gantner said with a chuckle.

She and her family love the outdoors, Gantner professed as her eyes drifted to the sunny autumn day outside.

“We live in the country, so we love going for bike rides and walks in the woods,” she added. “We love earth and nature.”

Gantner, when not acting in her official capacity as alumni relations director, is a member of the Lomira School District Parents and Teachers for Children, an organization that conducts fundraisers and social functions.

“I try to be active and involved as much as my schedule allows with my kids’ school,” she said.

Gantner also spends time volunteering at Hope Lutheran Church as a Sunday school teacher and with youth activities. On top of trying to make time for family and religious activities, Gantner serves as a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, an international professional development organization for people who work in alumni relations. She is a part of the CASE V district of the Midwest. Last year, she and her team won an award for best practices in alumni relations for an institution of 10,000 and more full-time-equivalent students. As part of her work with CASE, she and Johnson have been asked to present at its annual meeting in Chicago this December.

Despite the pressure of 80,000 alumni waiting to be reached, Gantner manages to maintain her confident composure by finding solace in spending time with her family and in enjoying what she does.

“The one thing that is kind of hard is juggling a somewhat demanding job, which requires long hours, weekends and nights, with the family stuff like band concerts and sports activities,” Gantner admitted. “I’ve been able to find an opportunity for balance. I love what I do here and have a passion for it, so it all flows pretty naturally.”

Alumni Career Services

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, UW Oshkosh Alumni Career Services can help you reach your career goals.

Frank Holmes, alumni career adviser, has helped hundreds of alumni with career guidance. An enthusiastic attitude and industry knowledge are his tools for success.

What can Alumni Career Services do for you? Click here to listen to Frank Holmes describe the services offered.
Services offered include:
  • Career advising
  • Job search preparation
  • Informational interviewing and job shadowing
  • Resume and cover letter advising
  • Graduate school information
  • Career assessment inventories, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory ($25 test material, $20 follow-up career counseling)
  • UW Oshkosh Career Services – helpful tools and links for your job search
  • Campus e-mail search – remember that current faculty and staff can help with your professional networking needs. E-mail a message today to get connected!
  • Titan Jobs Online Career Connection – $25 (one-time fee) This software allows you to: upload your resume for employers to view; view and apply for jobs online; view and apply for on-campus interviews; access EmployOn, the largest job database in the industry; The BIG Guide to Living and Learning Overseas, an  international professional development database; Folio 21 to help build a portfolio for your job search.
    • Fill out the Titan Jobs alumni account request form, and return it and a $25 dollar check made out to Career Services.
  • Get Hired! career planning book ($10)
  • LinkedIn group for UW Oshkosh alumni. Join today by clicking here or for more information.

For more information, please contact Frank Holmes via e-mail at or by calling (920) 424-2181.

UWO J-Alumni Panel Session: “How the J-Dept. help get me from here (Oshkosh) to there (where I am today)”

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

As part of the UWO Journalism Department Homecoming 2011 festivities, the Department hosted a panel session on Oct. 21 entitled “How the J-Department help get me from here (Oshkosh) to there (where I am today).”

The panel featured four J-Department alumni: Mike Fredrick ’97, Pat Stiegman ’88, Mary Callen ’95 and Laura Denissen ’99. Set in Sage Hall, the panel discussion covered topics such as internships, jobs, networking and ethics within the media industry.

Fredrick, creative director at Bader Rutter in Milwaukee, was awarded anOutstanding Young Alumni Award by UW Oshkosh’s Alumni Association. When Fredrick came to UWO, he knew that he wanted to go into advertising. He began his college career in the school of business, but figured out quickly that he wasn’t any good at accounting.

Fredrick said that while he was here at UWO, he enjoyed his classes with Dr. Tsao, a previous professor in the J-Department. Tsao’s teaching style took students away from the textbook and gave them real hands-on experiences in advertisement.

A member of ad club, Fredrick was one of the first five students to advanced to the NSAC national competition where they placed within the top 10. Four out of the five students who went to this competition later received Alumni Awards from UWO.

Fredrick gave some truly useful tips on how to find your dream job. As an advertisement professional, he encouraged students to build a strong portfolio with real-world work. Never having to resort to job postings to find employment, Fredrick told the audience of students, faculty and alumni to be persistent in whatever endeavors they may face. He said that you can’t wait around for opportunity to find you; you have to make it happen yourself.

Another panel member who received an alumni award was Stiegman. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given out by the Alumni Association.

Stiegman is the vice president and editor-in-chief of in Connecticut. He was born and raised in Madison and always thought he’d attend UW-Madison. However, he knew he wanted to go into journalism and at that time, UW Oshkosh was the only campus that offered that program. To Stiegman, pursuing a career in journalism was a no-brainer.

Stiegman said that the skills he learned while at UWO are still applicable today in his professional career. As a college student, he worked for the Oshkosh Northwestern, which wet his appetite for more reporting. Stiegman later went on to work for the State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal.

He encouraged students to pursue their dreams and to never give up. Stiegman said that he doesn’t believe in settling for a mediocre position, and he urged students to do the same.

“Find the rhythm of what you want to do,” Stiegman said.

He highly encouraged students to immerse themselves in internships, because it helps “turn theories into practice.” Through internships, you can learn invaluable experiences and build the fundamentals skills you need, Stiegman said.

When it comes to landing a job in the journalism field, Stiegman advised students to network aggressively, join clubs and work with professors because they may have contacts in the industry.

Stiegman also touched lightly on the issue of ethics in his career.

“It’s a constant struggle between being first and being right,” he said.

Sitting on the other side of the panel was Callen and Denissen. Callen is the communication director for Wisconsin’s Newspaper Association. As a student, she knew she wanted to be a newspaper reporter/editor, but her family discouraged her, saying that she would never find a decent job. Despite their warning, Callen pursued her dream career anyway.

She worked part-time at the Oshkosh Northwestern as a stringer for sports reporting. Callen then moved to the newsroom as an intern. During her senior year at UWO, Callen put her classes on hold to work at a small newspaper in Ripon. She also worked part-time at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County.

Callen also encouraged students to apply for internships because that’s where “you get the big audience,” she said. When it comes to getting a real job, she urged students to build a strong portfolio, practice interviewing, do their homework on potential employers and attend industry conferences.

Denissen, who is the marketing product manager at Harley Davidson, came to UWO wanting to major in journalism. She joined the ad club and the Advance-Titan. After graduating, Denissen got her first job in Chicago in advertising and public relations. She now works for Harley Davidson where her writing and social networking skills have benefited her greatly.

Denissen stressed the issue of networking when the panel discussion focused on internships and jobs. She encouraged students to network and find a mentor. Mentors will become you job references, Denissen said. She also urged students to not burn any bridges along their career path and to monitor their social media presence in an age of social networking revolution.

“It’s a small world,” Denissen said.

 Access UW Oshkosh Career Services Resources:

Watch: Importance of Networking

Watch: Internship Edge

Movers and Shakers: UWO alumna, Wanda Kern ’95 and ’00 MSE, takes fairy tale study trip to Europe

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Wanda Kern ’95 and ’00 MSE, loves sharing a great story with her Jefferson Elementary School students in Oshkosh.

Through a grant, she and her husband, Mike, traveled to Europe this past summer to research two of the greatest storytellers of all time, the Brothers Grimm.

As Jefferson Elementary was celebrating its 125th anniversary, Kern’s curiosity about the fairy tale pioneers grew when she began researching the school’s rich history. Jefferson’s first students were recent immigrants from Germany. Their parents worked at sawmills in the area during the day, and attended the school at night to learn English and basic skills to pass citizenship tests.

The school’s goal for this year was to improve written and oral communication skills among its students, so Kern blended the two ideas together into one “grand educational journey.”

“I wanted to learn more about the inspiration behind the numerous Grimm fairy tales, and I wanted to see and connect with the land and people who had first entered Jefferson Elementary School in the 1880s,” Kern said.

She was delighted when she found out that she and her co-teaching partner, Jodie Kadonsky, were named the 2011 Fund for Teachers fellows.

“The Fund for Teachers Fellowship enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the globe,” Kern said. “Their travels are meant to impact their practice, the academic lives of their students and their school communities.”

With funds secured for her learning quest, Kern and her husband jetted away in late July. Their adventure began in Luxembourg, Germany. They paid their respects to fallen soldiers at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, and then traveled to Hanau, the birthplace of the Grimm brothers.

They continued along the German Fairy Tale Road and visited Gelnhausen.

“Gelnhausen was a charming city filled with half-timber-styled houses,” Kern said.

Kern and Mike spent a night in the castle that inspired the Rapunzel story. The castle, located atop a huge hill, is known as Castle Trendelburg.

Traveling through many small villages and hamlets, the couple arrived in Bremen, where the famous Town Musicians of Bremen story was set. Kern described it as a gorgeous and bustling city. From Bremen, they traveled to Hamelin, where they found the Pied Piper directing tours through the city.

As the couple left Germany, they visited the site of the Battle of the Bulge and again paid their respects to the thousands of soldiers who gave their lives for freedom. The couple also visited a war cemetery in the Netherlands.

Making their way to Amsterdam, they visited an open air museum dedicated to Dutch history and explored the canals and lively streets of the city.

“We adored the city of Brussels, Belgium, and even spent six hours in Mets, France — just to be able to say we had been to France,” Kern said. “Our trip concluded back in Luxembourg for our return flight. It was an extremely busy 12-day journey filled with beauty, learning and discovery of ancient and historic buildings and land.”

From her journey, Kern learned about the historic cities. As she visited sites that had inspired stories told for more than 150 years, she gained a deeper sense of appreciation for recording family stories. Upon returning to the U.S., Kern decided to have her students and their parents record some of their family history in written form to be preserved and shared with future generations.

During her time in Europe, she studied culture, politics, geography and cuisine. Although not the original intention of the grant, Kern learned much about the great sacrifices of WWII soldiers.

She also learned how to rely on the kindness of strangers and to admit to not knowing or understanding everything.

“In reality, I was shown how connected the world is, and I was touched by how kind people are all around the world.”

With all of her new knowledge, Kern hopes to apply her research in her classroom.

“I will be connecting my travel and learning experiences to our writing and oral language lessons,” she said. “We will be reading and learning about some of the lesser-known Grimm fairy tales and connecting with written responses to them.”

Kern enjoys helping her students make individual gains both academically and socially.

This year marks Kern’s 16th year teaching at Jefferson Elementary. She loves hearing that her students enjoy school and thinks of them as her “second-grade family.”

In a fairy tale of her own, Kern and her husband live in Oshkosh with their children and pets. In November, the couple will celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary.

Kern was a freshman at UW Oshkosh when she met Mike. He had just graduated from UW Oshkosh with a double major and was working as a financial analyst at a local bank. Kern was working at the same bank as a teller. The two were hired within a week of each other, and the rest is history.

“We have been blessed with three children,” Kern said. “We also have a silly and wonderful cat that we rescued from the Oshkosh animal shelter and a naughty golden retriever.”

UWO students to discuss journey to China

Telling the stories that happen outside of the classroom is important to Grace Lim and her journalism students.

“I teach students who want to be journalists. For them to be journalists, they have to do journalism,” said Lim, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh journalism instructor and editor of Beyond Classroom Walls, an online publication that highlights the excellence in teaching and learning that occurs at the University.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12 two of Lim’s former students and multimedia interns – Tom Hanaway and Kristen Manders – will have the opportunity to share their story of a three-week journey to China through a presentation, The Midwest in The Far East. Hanaway and Manders were among more than 30 math education and business/economics students who made the educational trip to China last summer.

“This is, without a doubt, one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” said Hanaway in a Behind Classroom Walls video, which was created from atop the Great Wall of China.

The Midwest in the Far East will be held at Reeve Union Theatre at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 and is open to the public. Manders and Hanaway will answer questions following their presentation. (Read more by Amanda Wimmer)

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