Reggie Parson

Reggie Parson began his pursuit of a master’s degree in public administration from the  University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in the fall of 2013; just one semester later, he was elected president of the Graduate Studies Association (GSA).

Parson is a highly involved student on campus–as can be seen by his frequency in attending on-campus events, his role on the recent chancellor search and screen committee and through his involvement with student government–allocating much of his time to different organizations and causes.

“I’m dedicated to what I do,” he said. “I want to give. That’s the biggest thing.”

His position at the GSA is a fairly new one. The student organization was created in the spring of 2013 to better represent the interests and issues regarding graduate students. As president, Parson wants to make sure that the voices of his fellow graduate students are heard and that they are adequately involved in decisions made around campus.

“Reggie is a champion for himself and his fellow graduate students,” Marci Hoffman, student services coordinator and analyst for the Graduate Studies office, said. “I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes the GSA this year.”

“I’m part of this campus and that’s what I want other students to feel like,” Parson said. “I want to bridge the gap between undergrad and graduate students”

Parson is currently in the process of obtaining his MPA, a program that he said is very practical and applicable to his future political aspirations.

“It gives you a solid foundation in terms of public budgeting and policy analysis,” he said. “It also gives you a perspective of how to lead other agencies because it’s so management focused.”

Parson was also selected as one of the two students to be on UW Oshkosh chancellor search and screen committee. The committee narrowed down the long list of potential candidates to five final contenders; Parson could be seen in the audience at every open forum, many times leading from the crowd by asking questions.

Parson said the opportunity included a lot of long days of intense discussions, but overall found the experience was a great opportunity for him.

“You would think, ‘how can 21 people get along and choose five people,’” he said. “We had our differences but eventually came to an agreement.”

As if all of that involvement doesn’t keep Parson busy enough, he also writes opinion articles for the campus newspaper, the Advance Titan, almost every week. Parson said student voting issues are his favorite thing to write about in his column. He’s been instrumental in helping to lead campus messaging to students on the topic.

“The state and local elections determine things like how much we pay for tuition and how are private lives are affected,” he said. “My goal is to educate [students] and let them know what’s going on.”

In his rare free time, Parson likes to hang out with his close friends in Milwaukee or just sit down and watch TV or read a book. He said he plans to watch at least one Titans football game this year but so far he has just been too busy, he said.

Parson is dedicated to what he does and said it wouldn’t have been possible without all the personal relationships he has developed on campus. He said was initially surprised at how much individual help and attention he could get from faculty at UW Oshkosh which is much bigger than his former school, Marion University.

Parson  said he’s alright with his large workload and numerous responsibilities.

“I’m okay with being a glutton for punishment,” he said. “My experiences in different things, coming from undergrad, coming from my personal life in Chicago can hopefully be a betterment to the entire UWO community.”

Written by Jake Batterman, Integrated Marketing and Communications STEP student.