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Attention Social Work Alumni! If you would like to become involved with the UW Oshkosh Social Work Department or would like to share your successes, please contact the office.

Featured Social Work Graduates

Danel Burchby, MSW

Danel Burchby is a UW Oshkosh, Department of Social Work class of 2007 graduate of the Master of Social Work Collaborative Program.  She has recently accepted a new position with Goodwill as the Regional Program Coordinator for a newer program called Circles of Support.  Danel works administratively with Circles of Support who oversee volunteers and coordinate support systems for men and women coming out of the prision system and back into the community.  Circles of Support offers encouragement, models pro-social behaviors, and assists individuals with accessing needed resources.

Melissa Elmer, BSW

Melissa Elmer is a UW Oshkosh class of 2000 graduate and was acknowledged for positive contributions in a newspaper article on September 24, 2003.  Melissa is now the Executive Director of the Hamilton-Wenham Community House where her job involves organizing community events for families and people of all ages, fundraising, marketing, and rentals of a beautiful hall, state of the art kitchen, and offices, among other duties.

Alumni News

Sad News about one of our MSW Alumni

James Arthur Dercks, age 60 died peacefully Sunday, November 24, 2013 after a short illness. Jim was born on February 14, 1953 in Little Chute, Wisconsin, son of Eugene and Clare Dercks. Jim married the love of his life, Rochelle Yngcong, on April 11, 1998 at a civil ceremony in Green Bay, Wisconsin and a Catholic mass of celebration in Roxas City, Philippines in January 1999. Jim was a member of St John's Parish.

Jim began his high school years at St Lawrence Seminary and graduated from St John High School in 1971. He served two years in the US Army in Bamberg, Germany as a medic. After completion of his service to his country Jim received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oshkosh. He worked at the Kimberly Mill for 27 years. He was the financial secretary of the mill union. Jim was instrumental in the efforts to keep the mill open. Upon the mill closing he returned to school and earned his master's degree as a licensed advanced social worker specializing in substance and domestic violence abuse. At the time of his death he was employed by Attic Correctional as a domestic violence group facilitator. Jim's volunteer work was very important to him. Most recently he was a volunteer for the Offender Program for Outagamie County. Jim was an avid reader and traveler.

Jim is survived by his wife, Rochelle, and their two Maltese dogs, Sammy and Goliath. He is further survived by his mom, Clare; his brother Steve (Dori) Dercks and their children, Nick, Mike (Katie) and Charlie Dercks; sister Paula (Tom) Zielinski and their children, Dave (Katie) Schommer, Tara (Christopher) DePrey, Brad (Angie) Zielinski and Michael Zielinski; brother Dan (Amy) Dercks and their daughters, Emily (fiance Adam ) and Katie (fiance Rob); and sister Beth (John) Straw and their children Christopher and Kevin Johnson and Joel and Tatum Straw. He is also survived by a very special Aunt Rosemary Pennings. He was preceded in death by his dad, Eugene, in March of 1998; and his loyal dog Chancey.

Jim had a wonderful sense of humor. He will be sadly missed by his family and all of the people whose lives he touched.

Funeral services for Jim will be held at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at ST. JOHN NEPOMUCENE CATHOLIC CHURCH (323 Pine Street, Little Chute, WI). Friends and family may call at the church from 2:00 p.m. until the time of Mass. Military rites conducted by the Jacob Coppus American Legion Post 258 will immediately follow. Committal St. John Cemetery. To sign the guest book, please visit<>.

In lieu of flowers a memorial fund is being established to benefit Jim's favorite causes and the victims of typhoon Haiyan in Capiz, Philippines.

Jim, you will always be my Hunny Bunny. Love Rochelle
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by Clark, Leslie A. last modified Feb 02, 2015 11:17 AM