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 just finished his second bachelor’s degree, which he said helped him secure his job as a lean facilitator at ThedaCare.
Before choosing UW Oshkosh, Gijsen did a lot of research and talked to advisers from other colleges, but he said he didn’t feel they were the right fit for him in his pursuit of a career in the health care industry.
“My adviser went above and beyond for me to make sure I could get as many credits transferred as possible — I really think it was my adviser being that advocate for me that made me choose UW Oshkosh.”
Gijsen started college at UW Oshkosh in the summer of 2010 and was able to transfer many of his credits from his first bachelor’s degree. With his work and life experience, Gijsen also earned 18 credits through the Credit for Prior Learning program.
“When I started my degree at UW Oshkosh, I was looking to finish my bachelor’s degree as quickly as possible so I could start my master’s degree,” Gijsen said.
Through his many life experiences, Gijsen had the opportunity to do a lot of public speaking, accounting, budgeting and data analysis, which he showed through his Credit for Prior Learning portfolio.
“I’ve been fortunate to have quite a few careers in life, and I did the Credit for Prior Learning portfolio option, which essentially helped me graduate nine months quicker,” Gijsen said. “The financial aspect was also positive — instead of having to pay for the 18 credits I earned, I only had to pay a small fee for each.”
For Gijsen, it is vital to have the support of his wife and daughter, who motivate him to do well in his classes.
“I would get up at 3:30 or 4 a.m. every day to work on my classes,” Gijsen said. “The desire to complete the majority of my homework without taking away from family time is what drove me to get up so early.”