Jobs aren’t easy to find, and the job hunt often continues well after a student earns their degree. James Myles Teteak is a marketing major at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh whose story breaks that mold, and he said he owes it all to the opportunities provided by UW Oshkosh.
“I can’t be more grateful for it,” Teteak said of his experience at UW Oshkosh.
Teteak graduates Saturday with more than 930 other undergraduate students at UW Oshkosh’s midyear commencement. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. at Kolf Sports Center.
His story of success began as a child in Texas, struggling with his parent’s divorce and a move into a new school and home.
“That’s really hard stuff on a kid,” he said.
Though he struggled to deal with his parent’s divorce and the changes in his life, Teteak said he was determined not to let it drag him down. He joined his school’s student council and became involved with football, a passion that would eventually connect him with UW Oshkosh.
John Dinse, former UW Oshkosh assistant football coach and marketing director, met Teteak at football camps in Wisconsin, where Teteak has family. Dinse said he saw Teteak’s potential as a football player, a student and a leader.
“He had an amazing work ethic and he had the charisma that you could see could be a leader in the future,” he said.
Teteak followed Dinse’s suggestion to attend UW Oshkosh and enroll in its business program and play wide receiver for the Titans football team. Teteak said UW Oshkosh was the perfect school for him.
“Oshkosh really just had everything I was looking for,” he said. “It fit perfectly. It felt like it fit like a glove.”
Recognizing Teteak’s passion for the University, Dinse also recommended he work for the UW Oshkosh admissions office leading tours of the campus. It was on one of these tours that Teteak took the leap from student life on campus to the job world.
One guest on the tour was a regional vice president for Regus, a company that provides products and services to businesses. He offered Teteak a summer internship with the company in Chicago, which led to the offer of a permanent position with Regus upon graduation.
Admissions Director Jill Endries, who has worked with Teteak over the years, said this wasn’t the first time a visitor has been impressed with one of his tours. She said visitors often rave about his stories and commentary about the campus, as well as the kindness received from UW Oshkosh students and staff.
“People really appreciate and enjoy the warmth and the friendliness,” Endries said.
Teteak said he enjoys sharing stories about his experiences at UW Oshkosh, as his success is due to the opportunities the University provided for him to become involved on campus. He said the University provides “more than enough” options for student involvement.
“There’s no reason every student in this campus shouldn’t be involved in something,” he said.
Teteak also credited his success to the real-world experience provided through his UW Oshkosh program and said the University’s professors prepare students for what they will experience in their profession.
“We have professors that are former professionals in their field that are telling us what certain things are going to be like, and what they did and what we should do,” he said. “It’s like having a mentor in your profession before you get into your profession.”
The practical course material and experience with the professors is one thing Teteak said set him up to achieve his goals. The experience he gained at UW Oshkosh he said he “would not replace for any school in the country.”
Endries said the hands-on experience Teteak received is something UW Oshkosh strives to provide to every student. The University’s new University Studies Program will restructure a number of general education courses to provide more experience and prepare students for life after graduation.
“They’ll be much more engaging than they ever were,” Endries said of USP classes, which take effect in the 2013 fall semester.
Endries said a degree is only one aspect of education, and the experience UW Oshkosh courses provide will contribute to the success of future students and alumni.
“An education is much more than a diploma,” she said.
Teteak said every new student to enroll at UW Oshkosh can expect the same level of experience and success that he received. He said “the sky’s the limit” on their expectations for the University.
“I think students that come here, they should have expectations of greatness,” Teteak said. “You come here to be a great student, to be a great athlete and to have a great time while you’re doing it.”
UW Oshkosh is continually improving, Teteak said. With its provision of hands-on work experience, he believes UW Oshkosh ranks as one of the most reputable colleges in the country.
“This entire University is going in a direction of success,” Teteak said.