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Amos Mikkleson vert

Amos Mikkelson

Current City: Neenah, Wis.

Major: Firefighting and Emergency Response Management

Expected Graduation: May 2015

For Amos Mikkelson, a UW Oshkosh Fire and Emergency Response Management student, earning his Bachelor’s degree is a family affair. 
In addition to being a full-time student and working 56-hour weeks for Neenah-Menasha Fire-Rescue, Mikkelson and his wife Charity are parents and foster parents to six children. 

“My wife calls me crazy,” Mikkelson said. But he also calls her his biggest cheerleader. “She’s really supportive of my decision to go back to school.”

Mikkelson uses the word “we” a lot as he speaks about his experience going back to school at UW Oshkosh. “You do hear the word ‘we’ out of my mouth a lot,” he explains, “We as a family have to work together. It’s a family thing.”

Read more of Amos' story...


Ed Hall smallEdward Hall
Current City: Kimberly, Wis.
Age: 36
Major: Education- Broadfield Social Science

Expected graduation: December 2013

Ed Hall had a difficult time translating his military experience to the civilian workforce. When he chose to earn his bachelor's degree, he connected with various student support offices to make sure he used all of the resources available to him. 

With guidance from the LLCE adult student resources office and the UW Oshkosh Veteran's Resource Center, Hall gathered the financial and academic tools he needed to be successful. 

With a new dedication to his education and career, Hall began his journey in broad-field social sciences and expects to graduate in December 2013 as an education major. 

Read more of Edwards' story >> 


Esther DimaggioEsther Dimaggio
Originally from Peru
Current City: Winneconne, Wis.
Substitute teacher at Head Start in Menasha, Wis.
Applying for professional counseling graduate program


Esther Dimaggio, is a self-described lifelong learner. Dimaggio grew up in Peru, before moving to California and working at an army base where she met her husband Benjamin. Together they have travelled throughout the U.S. for Benjamin’s job, and continuing her education has always been a priority.

With an undergraduate degree in socio-psychology already under her belt, Dimaggio is taking classes at UW Oshkosh and has set her sights on applying for the graduate program in professional counseling.

“I have been taking classes since my kids were very little, and they are all very proud,” Dimaggio said. “I have always told my kids how important their education is."


Sherri MahmoudSherri Mahmoud, 52
Started at UW Oshkosh: Summer 2012
Hometown: Oshkosh, Wis.
Major: Human Services Leadership

In January 2012 Sherri Mahmoud, 52, lost her job working in supply chain logistics, which she said gave her an opportunity to go back to college for a bachelor’s degree.

Determined to go to college, Mahmoud drove to campus one day, walked in to Dempsey Hall and asked for information on coming to UW Oshkosh. That same day she left with all the information she needed to start classes during the summer of 2012.

“I chose UWO because I really like the school, I love the campus and I just felt like it was the right place for me,” Mahmoud said.

Read more of Sherri's story...


Elaine Thompson_VerticalElaine Thompson, 58
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.
Current city: Berlin, Wis.
Graduated: May 2012
Bachelor of Liberal Studies- Organizational Administration
Paralegal at Menasha Corporation

Elaine Thompson had been taking classes online at another college. But when life’s circumstances changed and she had to take a break from school, she took the opportunity to find a more individual and local program for her online education.

“I wanted to do something more local," Thompson said, "so that’s when I turned to UW Oshkosh.”

Read more about Elaine...


Gordana OehmenGordana Oehmen
Bachelor of Liberal Studies
Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia


When Gordana Oehmen fled her hometown of Belgrade, Serbia in July 1999 during the Kosovo war, she and her family were armed with only a few necessities.

Along with her daughter, son-in-law and newborn grandson, Gordana escaped north, to neighboring Hungary, for five months while they waited for their clearance to come to the United States.

“I told my daughter and son-in-law, ‘Let’s see what God gives us’, and we were assigned to Oshkosh, Wis.,” Gordana said. “I thought, ‘Oshkosh. Where’s Oshkosh?’ I saw that there was a lake and a river, so I thought it must be pretty.”

When Gordana and her family arrived to Wisconsin, a Catholic church helped them adjust to life in the United States by providing them with food and a place to stay.

“We stayed with a family in Oshkosh for one month, and then we found our own apartment. My son-in-law and I went to a staffing agency to find jobs,” Gordana said.

“Even though I had gone to college and had a good job in Serbia, I had to forget who I used to be. I had to start from scratch, and I knew I needed to go to college.”

Read more about Gordana...


Lisa BaltesLisa Baltes small, rotated
Bachelor of Liberal Studies

Hometown: Omro, Wis.

When Lisa Baltes was considering her return to college, she said she felt as though she was standing on the edge of a cliff wondering thinking about taking a big jump. She knew there would be challenges, and she knew there would be rewards.
One leap of faith and two semesters later, Baltes is on her way toward earning her Bachelor of Liberal Studies at UW Oshkosh. Read more about Lisa...


Rhonda Lindstrom, 41
Spanish and Business Administration, 1993
Accelerated Nursing Program Candidate

Hometown: Aurora, Wis.

Rhonda Lindstrom has always been passionate about helping others. She has traveled around the globe — from Mexico, to India, to Africa — following her calling to assist those who are less fortunate.

When the 2010 earthquake hit just west of Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, Rhonda Lindstrom wanted to serve. But despite her six years of experience as a full-time humanitarian, she was denied access to Haiti because only doctors and nurses were allowed.That’s when Lindstrom decided to return to UW Oshkosh and earn a degree in nursing. Read more about Rhonda...


Eric Balkman, 32Eric Balkman
Graduated: December 2011
Majors: Radio/TV/Film and Journalism

Hometown: Appleton, Wis.

Two things have always been true for Eric Balkman — he is passionate about sports, and he enjoys doing research on his favorite teams. With a stroke of luck and a lot of determination, Balkman has focused these activities into his academics at UW Oshkosh.Read more about Eric...


John HrenJohn Hren, 48
Graduated: May 2011
Major: Computer Science


Hometown: Appleton, Wis.


When John Hren was laid off in 2008 and still found himself unemployed in 2009, he decided he needed to make a change. After two years and a lot of hard work, Hren graduated with not one, but two job offers. He now puts his education to work at UW Oshkosh, where he works in Administrative Computing.
Hren credits his success during school and after graduation to the support and encouragement he received from his wife and the student support offices on campus. Read more about John...



Tim Thiede_Thumb
Tim Thiede, 47
Radio/TV/Film major, Journalism minor
Hometown: Richland Center, Wis.

Six years ago nontraditional student Tim Thiede was coming home at night feeling unsatisfied with his factory job. He felt he had more potential, and he knew that there were bigger and better opportunities waiting for him. That’s when his urge to attend school, combined with rumor that his employer might build another plant, pushed Thiede to go back to college.

After graduating high school in 1983, Thiede worked a variety of jobs. He started at a Country Kitchen as a cook, moved on to bartending and ended up working in a factory. Read more about Tim...


Silvia Campazzo_thumb
Silvia Campazzo
Received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish 
and International Studies in 2007
Education Leadership master's student

Spanish translator, substitute teacher

Silvia Campazzo calls herself an eternal student.  She said the decision to come back to school was easy for her to make. However, she had to overcome a few obstacles to get there. 

Before moving to the United States in 1990, Silvia lived and attended medical school in Argentina. When she moved, she had to set her education goals aside. Read more about Silvia...


Christine Martin-Schraa
Christine Martin-Schaa

Bachelor's of Liberal Studies

When Christine Martin-Schraa decided to return to school after 20 years, she had a lot to think about. She was afraid that it would be too difficult to make the return, she was nervous about fitting in and was worried she didn’t have the skills to succeed.

"I knew it was going to be a significant commitment, and I wondered if I could do it. I just decided it was important to me," she said. "It was the one thing that I really never finished."

Read more about Christine...

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Student in the Spotlight
Esther Dimaggio
Esther Dimaggio
Originally from Peru
Substitute Teacher

“Age doesn’t matter — every individual has great potential to become anything they choose to be.”

Read more student profiles...