Monthly Archive for January, 2013

Finding the right fit

Rebecca JenkinsonRebecca Jenkinson, 31, is a Bachelor’s of Applied Studies in Leadership and Organizational Studies student from Berlin, Wis. Jenkinson was inspired to go back to college in 2011 by her desire to work in human resources, and she said she also hopes to be a role model for her four children.

It was the fall of 2011. I was searching for something, but I didn’t know what it was. I was a stay-at-home-mom of four kids in a blended family, and at that time the kids were one and half, three, 10 and 12 years old. I wondered what I would do once the kids were in school full-time, so I searched the regular job websites. Soon I began to realize all of my “dream” human resource jobs required a bachelor’s degree.

I had my associate degree from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis. in human resources management. Part of the associate degree was completed online, and the other part was through an accelerated program that I attended night classes for. I knew I could transfer my credits from the associate degree to go back to school for my bachelor’s, and my hope was to find something convenient to fit with our busy lifestyle.

Searching for the right school happened immediately, and all the typical online schools were researched. I had lots of conversations with sales people with the title of an “adviser” who made me believe they cared about my well-being. Then, it dawned on me that I lived so close to UWO, why wouldn’t I consider them? I called and had a great conversation with an adviser who wasn’t trying to sell me on their school, she was honest and informative.

My credits were transferred over and I began school in January 2012 for Leadership and Organizational Studies through the Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement at UWO. It didn’t take long to feel like I had a plan for the future, and I was doing something great for myself and was a positive influence on the family. Not only do I want to help support our family financially, but I want to be proud of myself and be a great role model for our children.

Path to Success – The Journey of Nontraditional Student

Gordana OehmenGordana Oehmen is a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies Leadership Development student from Oshkosh, Wis. Oehmen is originally from Belgrade, Serbia, and came to the United States in 1999. Oehmen also earned three credit for her prior learning in project planning, and six credits in foreign language.

Hello there. My name is Gordana Oehmen and I am a new LLCE blogger.

When we returned to the college, we knew that being a nontraditional student would not be easy. Juggling between family, work and school requires exceptional dedication and persistence. I believe the LLCE blog is great opportunity for nontraditional students to share their experiences with other nontrads.

I was born in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia in the mid-50s. Life was good until the early 1990s when dramatic and violent changes took place. Nationalism replaced communism. Religion played its role in those conflicts, too. As an employee of the American embassy in Belgrade I was witnessing the disappearance of my country—and sometimes, due to the nature of my job, I contributed to it.

My journey began fifteen years ago when my family and I fled our hometown of Belgrade during the Kosovo war. We arrived in Oshkosh on Nov. 17, 1999. My family and I were sponsored by a Catholic church in Oshkosh. Members of the church were very helpful, and therefore we were able to resettle quickly.

I did not know much about the difficulties and struggles that the first generation of immigrants goes through when they arrive in the U.S. I learned very quickly that I have to forget where I came from, what I did there, and start the life from the scratch. Even though I had gone to college and had a good job in Serbia, I knew I needed to go to the college. In order for me to get better paid job and advance in my career field I needed an American education.

While struggling to adjust to a new environment and new way of life, I took a high school equivalency test and passed eight exams that I needed to start college as a foreign citizen in the United states. I earned my associate degree from UW Oshkosh in May 2006, and I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Liberal Studies Leadership Development online degree program. I plan to graduate in May of this year.

I remember sometimes thinking that this journey will never end—late nights spent studying or writing papers; weekend afternoons spent balancing between my family and my assigned readings; it felt like wire walking across the Niagara Falls. I am sure that most of you felt the same way at times.

I am firm believer that continuing education is a key to personal growth and career success. I think if we want to get ahead in our lives, we need to pay the price with hard work, dedication and persistence.

Youth programs at UW Oshkosh

Check out a list of our current youth offerings:

ACT Prep Course

Saturday mornings, Feb. 16–March 23, 2013

A strong performance on the ACT can make the difference in your ability to be admitted to your top college choices. Give yourself the edge you need by taking the UW Oshkosh ACT Test Prep course.

Find out more and register now…

Wisconsin Youth Leadership Academy

Summer 2013

Join us for a year-long leadership experience for high school students. Start with a six day leadership summer camp and learn what it takes to become a great leader.

Find out more…

Fire Science Camps

Summer 2013

Through a combination of instruction and hands-on application, young men and women ages 15-20 will participate in a variety of activities that present a realistic view of fire service careers. Participants will be challenged with team building, leadership development and field activities.

Click here for more information on Fire Science Camps!

Best Laid Plans

Jason SchiltzJason Schiltz, 38, is a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies Organizational Administration student from Appleton, Wis. Schiltz was inspired to go back to college in 2009 by his wife, who also completed a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies in Organizational Administration from UW Oshkosh. Schiltz said he also hopes to motivate his three young children to continue their education.

Things do not always go as we plan. Things change. Life happens. One day we are at the top and the next at the bottom. One day we have the perfect plan, the next day we are back at the drawing board. We have to adapt to life, bend, go with the flow, and move out of the way of things, entirely.

Perhaps Robert Burns said it best in his 1785 poem, “To a Mouse,” on turning her up in her nest with the plough, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” Even the best plans change or fall apart.

It was 2009 when I began attending UW Oshkosh through the CNL program. I began working on my Organizational Administration degree as a half-time student.

My first class, Managing People in the Workplace, was a hybrid course, so I attended class at UW Fox Valley once a week. It was a fateful first class…I began attending school to ‘move up’ in the company which I had been loyal to for over ten years.

I left the aforementioned company about two years after returning to school. I received a rather lucrative offer from another firm, and I could not refuse the opportunity. The company hired me for my experience, expertise, and my continuing education, but things do not always go the way we plan, hope or think.

It was Friday morning (11:58 to be exact), and I was preparing to go to lunch when my phone rang. The call came from Human Resources. After three months and a brief discussion with HR, I found I was not a good fit for the company I left a 13-year career for.

I spent a few months looking for a new job…trying to avoid similar lines of work that led to my unemployment. With the help of a friend and mentor, I was able to narrow down what I enjoyed, and was truly passionate about in my previous careers: helping, training and teaching.

I then thought back to all the help and guidance I received from the LLCE adult student resources team, my academic adviser and career services, and decided, “This is what I want to do.”

I want to help people that find themselves in situations similar to mine. I want to help people find their passion, find what they want to do, and teach them how to do it. With the support of my wife (and financial aid), I decided to go back to school full-time on-campus, further accelerate my education and begin the pursuit of a career in adult education.  This was my plan…

Jason Schiltz


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