Meet our students
John Gijsen, 48
Hometown: Danville, Ill.
Current City: Hortonville, Wis.
Position: Lean facilitator at ThedaCare
Graduated: December 2012
John Gijsen is no stranger to change. On top of moving more than 30 times throughout his life, his educational path has changed drastically.
He started going to college for photography in Illinois, then switched to aviation management through a school in Utah and became a commercial pilot.
He later moved to Scotland where he went into manufacturing, became a pilot again, and now Gijsen is at UW Oshkosh for his second bachelor’s degree, which he said helped him secure his job as a lean facilitator at ThedaCare.
Chris Friedrich, 30
Hometown: Oshkosh, Wis.
Current City: Hortonville, Wis.
Graduated: May 2012, Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies
Current position: Personal Banker Leadership Development Trainee at Baylake Bank
In 2010, Chris Friedrich was in his sixth year of college and he said he felt like he would never be able to graduate. That’s when Friedrich said fate led him to meet then UW Oshkosh online degree and certificate programs adviser Kelly Hudson.
Friedrich, then a personal banker at Associated Bank, met Hudson when she came to him to refinance the loan on her house. Friedrich later turned to Hudson for help in completing his bachelor's degree.
“I came into Kelly’s office, and we spent two and a half hours talking. Kelly laid out two different pathways to graduation,” Friedrich said. “I chose the liberal studies option.”
The online liberal studies degree through the Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement allows students to combine coursework in a number of disciplines to help them develop a broad base of skills necessary for becoming a leader in the workplace, which Friedrich said helped him get his current job at Baylake Bank.
Michael Harvey, 28
Michael Harvey's path to earning a bachelor's degree has been anything but traditional. After spending two years at UW-Fox Valley, he left school for Phoenix, Arizona. Two years later, he moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he was a medic in the National Guard. Now, Harvey is back in Wisconsin and attending school at UW Oshkosh. His major changed throughout the years from history to nursing to social work and finally to human services.
“My life and schooling has been a nonstop journey, and I think that’s for everybody,” Harvey said. “You just never really know until something clicks. Once you find that niche and know what works for you and drives you, everything will be clearer.”
Kodye Shier, 22
Standing beneath the airplanes as they came in for landing, the roar of the engine and the size of the airplane had 3-year-old Kodye Shier hooked. He said it was then he knew he wanted to fly.
Read about John Leski, a training and development specialist and a Bachelor of Applied Studies student.
Read abut Jeffrey Bowen, a police office for the city of Kaukauna and a Bachelor of Applied Studies student.
Read about David Hunt, a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Liberal Studies program.
Watch a video and read about Melissa Spielman, firefighter/paramedic with the Green Bay Fire Department, a Fire and Emergency Response Management student and the first recipient of the Candice E. Tylke Memorial Scholarship.