Author Archive for Tim Holdsworth

The best feeling in the world

Becky MonroeBecky Monroe is a non-traditional student and senior Human Services Leadership major graduating this spring. She is a married mom of three children; juggling four classes, family life, and a twenty-hour-per-week internship in higher education promotion and encouragement. 

I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by. The semester is almost half over. Between my internship, classes, and my family life, it seems like I have no time left for anything else. I don’t recall every being so busy and enjoying it so much.

I have been interning at TRiO at UW-Fox Valley for more than a month. The staff has really gone out of their way to answer my questions and make me feel like part of the team. The staff consists of four people- Tammie, the director; Carol, the program assistant; and Linda and Amy, the program coordinators. Amy has only been working there for two months. It’s nice to have someone else who is new to the team. I never feel awkward asking her questions that may be seem kind of stupid.

I intern Monday through Friday. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays I’m at UW-Fox; Wednesdays I’m at Kaukauna High School with Amy; Thursdays I’m at Menasha High School with Linda.

When I’m in the schools with the coordinators we do workshops with the TRiO students, a different grade each week. We also spend time one-on-one with the kids, touching base with them, answering questions and helping to fill out college applications and FAFSA forms. It’s amazing to see how dedicated the coordinators are and how giving of their time.

When I’m at UW-Fox on Mondays and Fridays I’m working independently on several different projects. I’m compiling an updated contact list of all the colleges in Wisconsin that have Student Support Services (SSS) programs. I’m also putting together a list of all precollege summer programs offered in Wisconsin that meet certain criteria. They have to offer some kind of financial aid or accept DPI scholarships and are either residential programs or close enough to the area that would make them easy to commute to/from. I never knew that Wisconsin had so many programs to offer. We will hold a precollege program night at Menasha and at Kaukauna to give the list to the TRiO students and parents, and I need to have it ready and brochures about the specific programs to hand out. I’m excited to give this information to the kids so they can have the opportunity to live on a college campus for a few days and have an amazing learning experience.

Another program I’m working on is weekly listening calls with different presenters through the Department of Education’s College Affinity Access program. I listen to the presenters and follow along with their PowerPoint presentations. They are about an hour long and cover a wide variety of educational topics. I then take that information and present it to the staff at our Tuesday meetings. After my last presentation, Tammie asked me to make a three ring binder and put a summary of each topic along with a copy of the PowerPoint in it so they can have access to the information for future reference. It made me glad to know they found the information I gave them worthwhile.

I’ve also been on a couple field trips, with several more coming up — but those are stories for another day. I have been so busy trying to balance my internship with school and my family. Sometimes it feels like I barely have time to eat or sleep. But honestly, I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

At the end of the day, I feel like I have done something worthwhile- like I’ve accomplished something and made a difference — and that is the best feeling in the world.

Meet Becky Monroe

Becky MonroeHi, I am Becky Monroe, a non-traditional student and senior Human Services Leadership major graduating this spring. I am a married mom of three children; juggling four classes, family life, and a twenty-hour-per-week internship in higher education promotion and encouragement.

I started my 280-hour Advanced Internship at TRiO UW-Fox Valley on Thursday. I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. I pretty much begged the agency director to let me do my internship here, and I when my internship is over, I want her to feel like she made the right choice in agreeing.

TRiO Educational Talent Search is based at the UW-Fox Valley campus and serves the Menasha and Kaukauna school districts. It is a pre-college program designed to encourage students in grades 6-12 to complete high school and pursue a college education. They provide academic counseling, information about college admission requirements, scholarship and financial aid information, as well as take participants on college tours and field trips to explore career paths. This program receives federal funding from the Department of Education through Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Two-thirds of program participants must be low income or be potential first generation college students. One-third of the participants have no income or guideline restrictions but must show a need for the program.

I am very excited I’ve been granted the opportunity to do my internship at TRiO ETS. I have twin daughters that are in their second semester at UW-Madison. Helping them decide which college to attend was tough. There are so many different colleges in Wisconsin alone, it was almost overwhelming. One day, as I sat in one of my Human Services Leadership classes, I realized that there are kids out there who don’t have a parent to help them out with college decisions. And sometimes kids have parents that never attended college so they are unsure of how to help their child. Even more sadly, sometimes kids are brought up never thinking college is an option for them. That idea bothered me on such a deep level that I knew I wanted to be involved with a program designed to change that.

This past year, helping my daughters complete the financial aid and registration process was a nightmare. I was on the phone with UW-Madison a lot. Paperwork had been filed incorrectly, verification items went missing, it was horrible. The whole time I was working with my daughters to get everything squared away, I knew that if I hadn’t been on their side, actively advocating for them, they would have given up. That experience only deepened my desire to work with a program that could give kids an honest shot at a college education.

I’m nervous about beginning my internship. I’m afraid I will be in the way and be more of a hindrance than a help. I’m worried that I won’t be able to juggle the internship along with my studies and still have time for my family. But I’m also so excited. I get the opportunity to help change lives. I’m being given the chance, even if it’s only for a couple months, to help kids attend college.

Constantly learning, finding purpose

Stacy Schreiber is a non-traditional student from Oshkosh who returned to school last year, after eight years off. The Human Services Leadership major is taking classes while also working more than 30 hours a week as an ER Tech in Appleton.  With huge supporters in her husband, parents and in-laws, she returned to school with a desire to do more to help people beyond health care and to show her child that school was important, no matter what your age, and it is important to do something for yourself.

I’ve been interning at FTP for about 8 weeks now, and I am still feeling very fortunate to be able to work with this awesome program and group of people.  There isn’t a time I don’t feel like I’m learning something-whether it be about the families we’re working with, about certain real-life situations, or about myself.  I have used my knowledge to really think about things, and to put things into perspective.  I’ve learned that people will not change if they don’t want to, and that even if I don’t have all the answers, that’s okay, I don’t have to.

I think my communication skills have improved, because I’ve learned I don’t necessarily have to say a lot, but really listen to somebody, and reflect on that.  My process skills have improved as well, in the ways I ask people questions or just present myself. I have had the chance to meet and directly work with two families so far, and have found that every family, no matter their circumstance or story, is incredibly unique and has their own story to tell.

I have only been in this role for 8 weeks, but I truly feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be, after being undecided for so long, I think I found what I should be doing.  I am so lucky to be spending the next 9 months with FTP (as I’m combining my internships, and working through next summer), I can only hope to be part of a team like this one day.

Learning about other people’s real-life issues and problems

Stacy Schreiber is a non-traditional student from Oshkosh who returned to school last year, after eight years off. The Human Services Leadership major is taking classes while also working more than 30 hours a week as an ER Tech in Appleton.  With huge supporters in her husband, parents and in-laws, she returned to school with a desire to do more to help people beyond health care and to show her child that school was important, no matter what your age, and it is important to do something for yourself.

I’ve been interning for about three weeks now, and things have been great.  Just getting this experience is an amazing opportunity.  I currently am working with two families, and we will probably be getting another one soon.  Learning about other people’s real-life issues and problems is probably preparing me the most for my future.  No amount of books or teaching can prepare you for seeing real people, in their element, their own homes, behaving how they do.  I’m learning that communication is so important in family and there has to be mutual respect between children and adults for success.

I know with time, I will develop more skills to feel more like part of the team, as right now I’m doing a lot of observing.  I am free to say anything in our meetings, ask any questions I want and participate how I feel comfortable.  In the future, I will be expected to do more, but it’s okay for now to observe more.  The challenges I see so far are just lack of knowledge in this type of setting.  Again, I know it will get easier, but I sometimes feel I don’t know the right things to say.  I am working with very supportive people who are completely kind, helpful and great resources!

To see them for who they are…

Stacy Schreiber is a non-traditional student from Oshkosh who returned to school last year, after eight years off. The Human Services Leadership major is taking classes while also working more than 30 hours a week as an ER Tech in Appleton.  With huge supporters in her husband, parents and in-laws, she returned to school with a desire to do more to help people beyond health care and to show her child that school was important, no matter what your age, and it is important to do something for yourself.

I am interning at Family Training Program (FTP) in Neenah.  From what I have learned so far, this program sees families who are in need of support in Winnebago County.

The employees pair up and go into people’s homes, and help them with any kind of resources they need, like help with school (returning/continuing), employment, child care services…basically any needs they have.  I am really excited to learn more, because I don’t quite know everything they help with yet.

I am very fortunate that professor Larie was the one to seek me out for this internship and, at the request of FTP, I am combining my two internships, and will be interning there straight through next summer.  I’ll be done with classes in May and done with my internship in the summer.

I am looking  to better myself in a way where I can look at the big picture for people I am helping.  To see them for who they are as people, not what they have, to do my best to help them in any way I can, in part by making a relationship with a family.

To help people become what they strive for, and to help families become closer in any way I can.  I strive myself to be professional at all times, knowing that families I will see may be similar to me/mine, and some may be complete opposite, but to treat everyone equally.

I want to help people, and I feel this is the perfect opportunity for me to make a difference, even if it’s for one person.

Able to help others in more ways than she had imagined

Cassandra JohnsonCassandra Johnson is a junior Human Services Leadership (HSL) major, with a Psychology minor,  from Fond du Lac, Wis.,  who is enrolled through the Human Services Collaborative Degree Program (though she is taking her electives on the UW Oshkosh campus). She choose HSL because she has always wanted to help others, and with the degree she will be able to help others in more ways than she had imagined.

I am interning at Solutions Center Shelter and Support Services, a non-profit organization. They provide the only homeless and domestic violence shelters in Fond du Lac County. They have the Men’s Shelter, Women’s Shelter and most recently the Family Shelter. They also have their office where there is a therapist, child/teen advocate, and the housing advocate. The housing advocate helps those who have a pending eviction notice or a electric disconnection notice. There are guidelines and stipulations on who and when they can assist though.

I will be interning with Michelle, the Child & Teen Advocate. She meets with the children in shelter at least on a weekly basis, goes to various schools in the Fond du Lac School District and has groups on having healthy relationships. She also serves as one of the legal advocates on staff.

I want to work in the behavioral health field, primarily with children. I hope to learn various coping techniques from Michelle and different ways to approach a difficult topic with children. I am also hoping to learn how to help children and their parents have better communication and an overall better relationship.

I have volunteered over the summer at Solutions Center and worked with Michelle multiple times, so I feel that has helped prepare me on what environment I will enter, though the clients change often. It isn’t known whether or not I am able to work at the schools with Michelle, but we are hoping to hear soon on whether or not the district will allow it.

I am very excited about this opportunity I have been given and ready for this experience to begin.

Starting online student teaching

uwosh picMike Wilbert, a non-traditional student from Black Creek, Wisc. is a Special Education major. He is completing a nine-week placement with the Wisconsin Virtual Academy, based in McFarland, Wisc.

I chose special education as my major because I wanted to teach a population of students who sometimes aren’t given opportunities to succeed.  Also, special education students have an honesty and realness about them that is difficult to find in a regular education setting.

As a non-traditional student it is difficult to find time to be involved on campus, most of my time is spent with my wife and our new baby girl.  I am excited to be in the last leg of my college journey. My wife is definitely ready for me to finish student teaching and get into the field.

My first student teaching placement is with the Wisconsin Virtual Academy.  This placement is almost 100% online. While most of the instruction is done via online classrooms, there will be times I will have to travel.  Times of travel will be for WKCE Testing as well as formal testing for placement into special education.  I am really excited to use some web 2.0 tools to create novel and engaging lessons.

I think this is not only a great platform for students who do not do well in the tradition brick and mortar setting, but also for students within a traditional school who may need something different to succeed. I look forward to learning the curriculum and thinking of ways to incorporate this media into my future classroom.  I am not particularly tech savvy and teaching in an online format will give me the ability to dive in, try new tools and techniques and be better for it.

In helping others, we help ourselves.

JacquelineJackie Paplham, from Kewaunee, Wisc., is in her fifth year at UW Oshkosh and will be graduating this May. She is majoring in Human Services with minors  in Psychology, Women Studies and Social Justice with an emphasis in Prejudice and Discrimination. Follow along as she shares her internship experiences during her final semester at UW Oshkosh.

The Human Services Leadership program has provided significant contributions to my personal and professional growth and identity.  My advanced internship’s at CHAPS Academy and Dispute Solutions provided exceptional learning environments and experiences.  These placements allowed my skills to be demonstrated, hone and created while crafting sentimental memories that have redirected my future.

CHAPS and Dispute Solutions fostered an environment where human behavior and interaction could be observed and understood through a cognitive, humanistic, behavioral, legal and ethical multicultural and environmental perspective.  I observed how staff interacted with clients and community members, and how clients and community members interacted with staff.  This allowed me to critically think about the approaches taken and evaluate strengths and weaknesses.  Through these placements I learned the power of stories.  Stories can hinder and or liberate people.  Reflecting upon client’s stories has placed my own life into perspective.  Observing what staff does on a daily basis taught me the importance of balance and boundaries.  Creating a healthy balance between work and life is crucial to maintain optimal performance in each.  On the other hand, constructing healthy boundaries with clients is a skill I was challenged to refine.

CHAPS and Dispute Solutions serve those who are going through crisis situations in their lives.  I was challenged to create healthy boundaries with those clients.  I developed rapport and then created avenues for self-empowerment with the clients.  For example, I implemented and presented an empowering presentation to the Hope Lives program.  I honed my responsive listening and problem solving skills at both placements.  I designed and executed a fundraising event that generated $400 in profit for CHAPS.  I was able to demonstrate diverse communication skills using the creative arts.  For example, communication was created through the use of songs, dance, cooking, animals and outdoor activities.  Most importantly I learned to understand the power of silence.  Generating a unique lesson, I used silence as responses.  I practiced intervention strategies and crisis management skills in high pressure situations.  I combined patience, determination and persistence to troubleshot issues.

My professional experiences affect my personal growth and my personal growth affects my professional experiences.  Appreciating the diversity of individuals is extremely valuable.  I believe individuals communicating their stories create appreciation.  One realizes we are more alike than different.  It is in helping others, we help ourselves.

I made significant contributions to my placements just as they made significant contributions to my growth and identityMy conversations about my future have changed significantly.  The skills developed and honed in my advanced internships identified the future I want for myself in the Human Services profession.  I discovered how much I value my role in leadership positions and relationships with clients.  I thrive off the challenge to demonstrate multilevel resourcefulness and advocacy.  These factors I discovered through CHAPS and Dispute Solutions will be the direction I take in my future.  After graduation I will be moving to Thailand to teach English!  Once I return, I will pursue a job in the human services profession and continue my education in graduate school.

I absolutely loved my internship

Alli ThompsonAlli Thompson, from Wisconsin Rapids is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh majoring in Human Services, with a minor in History.  At the UW Oshkosh she juggles four classes while serving as president of the Human Service Organization along with being a member of  National Society of Leadership and Success and Golden Key International Honor Society. Follow her as she blogs about her final semester at UWO and her internship experience at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.

WOW! I cannot believe how fast this semester as flown by.  It is hard to believe that I will be graduating in less than 10 days. I absolutely loved my internship and the staff members I had the privilege of working with during my 280-hour internship at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.

This last month was a crazy one.  As you all know I was in charge of planning the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.  This was a ton of work, but an awesome experience too.  I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of putting on a large scale event.  As I said in my earlier blog I had to go around the Oshkosh and ask for donations, not in money but in gift cards or other items.  This was stressful, because when you follow up with many of the places they say they will get back to you but often times don’t.  I felt like a pest, but I guess if that is what it takes to start a fire under someone to go then by all means I was going to do it.  I also made a bingo game for the volunteers to play at the recognition.  It consisted of me making up 36 questions, finding pictures as the answers of the questions, cutting them all out, pasting them together.  This project was very time consuming.  However, during the process I learned a lot about the institutions past.  Linda and myself also went shopping to find prizes for the volunteers.  This was tricky because we wanted to stay with our recipe theme, but also provide gifts that would be useful.  In other words, it sounds pretty easy but it wasn’t, ha.  I also worked on another project.  WMHI had a recipe book of their favorite recipes for 1873 to 1983. My job was to retype the recipes onto recipe cars.  I then had to pick three out of the group bunch them together and place them in the recipe card holder (which was another crafty project I did).

When the event got closer I was started to get nervous.  I kept thinking to myself what if they don’t like the prizes? What if they hate the theme? What if they don’t enjoy themselves? The day of setting up it all came together and I think it was the perfect set up.  I was SO ecstatic on how things looked together.   Everyone loved the theme and thought everything was well done.  We even got compliments like this is the best Volunteer Recognition in years.  Overall, I was happy that all my hard work had paid off.  It was stressful at times, but also a ton of fun.  It is nice to see how an event works from start to finish.

The 140th Birthday Celebration went well.  However, there were a few kinks.  But my favorite part of that week was talking about the posters we had put together with some of the female patients in Petersik.  It was nice to interact with the patients again and answer their questions about how the institute was once run.  The open house for the museum was decent.  We expected more people due to the fact the museum was open for longer hours, but that did not happen as planned.  However, I enjoyed myself leading mini tours and answering questions that the guest had.  So, if you are every looking for something do to please stop by WMHI Museum 1-3:30 p.m. Thursdays from February to October.  Don’t be a stranger — there is tons to learn and look at!

My last day was Monday; I technically finished the week of the recognition event, but enjoyed myself so I continued to volunteer.  I was super sad to leave WMHI.  Over my time there I have learned to much about the institute, myself, and others that it was as if I was closing a chapter in book.  I know for a fact that I will be in contact with Linda and few of the other staff I got to know really well during my time.  In the end if you are looking for a place to challenge yourself, to experience new things WMHI is the place to do it.  I honestly loved my experience, if I didn’t I wouldn’t have had tears in my eyes as I drove away.

Lastly, make sure you pick something that scares you,  you will learn so much more about yourself if step out of your comfort zone!

Coming To an End…

Loryn CornetteSenior Human Service Leadership major, Loryn Cornette, of Greenleaf, blogs about her final semester at UW Oshkosh. Loryn juggles being a full time student, holding the Treasurer position of the Human Services Organization on campus, having an on campus job in the Undergraduate Academic Resource Center as a Peer Advising Liaison, and working 21 hours a week at her advanced internship placement at UW-Fox Valley’s Student Services Office.  Follow Loryn’s blog posts as she writes about her final experiences on campus before commencement in May.

As the semester nears towards the end, so does my 280 hour Advanced Internship placement at the University of Wisconsin Fox Valley working with the TRiO – Educational Talent Search program within the Student Affairs Office.  I have truly gained an enormous amount of information regarding the grant TRiO program, the students the program serves, and various universities and colleges around the state regarding admission processes and campus life.

My main project within the TRiO program was working with TRiO alumni students at UW Fox Valley.  I had a core group of 24 alumni students that I was able to meet with regularly throughout the semester. The improvements and results from these students are outstanding and I am very impressed with the progress.  It has been a great experience working with students at UW Fox Valley and being able to act as a support system for the students.

Another project included coordinating a Pre College Summer Program booklet for the Kaukauna and Menasha school coordinators to hand out to students. I compiled a booklet of Wisconsin universities and colleges around the state that conducted summer pre college programs for middle and high school students. The school coordinators held a Pre College Parent Night for parents of both districts to attend to learn more about the programs and to get more information.

Between working with students and completing projects at UW-Fox Valley, I also chaperoned many different field trips throughout the semester.  Field trips to UW-Whitewater, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Discovery World, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, UW-Fox Valley, and UW Oshkosh kept me busy throughout my internship hours as well. It was interesting to learn about different universities and colleges around the state and what they have to offer to students.

I also had the opportunity to take part in the Regional Placement Testing as an Administrator for two Saturday’s in April. I administered a room of 70 students, which was the largest testing room for both days. This was a great experience because I was able to get comfortable speaking to a large audience and monitoring a large group of people. This opportunity has only helped prepare me for next fall as I help assist with a 1 credit business course with Career Services to a lecture pit of 120 students.

Odds-and-ends projects and events have filled various hours throughout my time at UW Fox Valley. I was fortunate enough to attend two conferences held at UW Fox regarding higher education, along with various speakers and authors that visited the campus.  There was never a time within my 280 hours that I felt bored or had nothing to do. My 280 hour Advanced Internship Placement was one of the best opportunities I had had thus far in my education career.

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