Eighteen senior students who exemplify high academic and leadership qualities and a deep commitment to serving others will be recognized on May 11 as recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. The criteria for this award include academic performance, University-related service and community involvement.
Here’s a snapshot of each Excellence Award winner:
Michelle Arenz graduates with majors in studio art and journalism. On campus, Arenz served as the president of the Reeve Union Board, chairperson for the Concerts Committee and as a core leader for Converge. She also served as a tour guide for the admissions office. More broadly, Arenz was the promotions team leader for PULSE in Oshkosh and Milwaukee. Arenz also was also the recipient of several scholarships during her time at UW Oshkosh, including the John and Pat Kerrigan Scholarship, which is given to sophomore students with strong academic and leadership potential, and the Paul S. Donhauser Scholarship, which is awarded to art students showing dedication to the program.
Ross Bartelt graduates with majors in international studies, history and German. Among his most memorable college experiences are his involvement with Model United Nations and a semester abroad in Germany. Bartelt was involved with the UW Oshkosh Student Association and served as director of student legal services; he also held a job with facilities management. Bartelt served as the president of the History Club and the founder and president of the German Club; he also was involved with many other activities and areas of service. His high marks earned him spots on both the dean’s list and multiple national honor societies.
Charles Block graduates with a major in supply chain management. On campus, Block worked with Career Services as a career resource representative and as a cadet with the UW Oshkosh Battalion. He further spent time volunteering locally for special events with Special Olympics, Cerebral Palsy and The Arc. As a member of the Army, Block was named a distinguished military graduate from Army ROTC; he also earned an officer of the year recognition and several medals for achievements. He plans to remain involved with the Army Reserves.
Jacqueline Charapata graduates with a major in elementary education. Charapata was both actively involved in the classroom at Horace Mann Middle School in Neenah where she student taught as well as within the community where she tutors struggling readers and writers; she also spent time at Franklin Elementary School in Oshkosh as an elementary education clinician. She recently concluded her last ten weeks as a student-teacher in South America. Charapata also held a leadership role as the networking director for the Society for Human Resource Management.
Michelle Duren graduates with a major in political science. On campus, Duren first became involved with the American Democracy Project, which eventually led to an internship. She also gained professional experience through her work with UW Oshkosh Career Services, as a French research assistant in the foreign language department and as a special assistant to a state representative. Within the community, Duren was civically involved with the Winnebago County Democrats, as an election official for the city of Oshkosh and as a board member for the Oshkosh Food Co-op. Duren plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy beginning this fall.
Elizabeth Gill graduates with a major in special education. Gill was deeply involved with the Department of Residence Life at UW Oshkosh where she held roles as a community development specialist, community adviser and with residence hall government; she was awarded Team Player of the Year and Resident Assistant of the Month awards from the National Residence Hall Honorary organization. Gill also demonstrated leadership through her role as a tour guide with admissions, via her participation in diversity events and conferences, through volunteer and practicum work at local schools and through involvement with various organizations and committees.
Shannon Henry graduates with a major in supply chain management. On campus, Henry served as the president for both Advancing Productivity, Innovation and Competitive Success (APICS) and Phi Beta Lambda; she was also involved as a College of Business ambassador. Henry’s passion to learn through travel and experiencing new cultures took her on study abroad trips to Italy, Peru and Ireland during her time at UW Oshkosh. Henry was recipient of both the Edwin and Dorothy Hartman and the Wisconsin Family Business Forum scholarships.
Ashley Leonardelli graduates with a major in psychology. While on campus, she was involved with Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology, as well as with a research initiative that led her to participate in the annual Celebration of Scholarship. Leonardelli also participated in an alternative spring break trip to New York. Leonardelli was the founder and executive board member of the Social Justice Club at UW Oshkosh as well as a member of the International Student Association, Campus Awareness for Relationship Education (CARE) and the Psychology Club. She was actively involved with charitable work with Wisconsin Special Olympics and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.
Madeline Meis graduates with majors in international studies and Spanish. Among the most impactful parts of Meis’ college experience was a study abroad trip to Argentina. Meis served as the vice president of the Oshkosh Student Association, as a teaching assistant for international studies and as a peer advising liaison. She was also involved with Model United Nations, the Parking Appeals Committee, the Differential Tuition Committee and as a College of Letters and Science student association senator. In her community, Meis has volunteered with the Oshkosh Dragonboat Festival, Hands on Oshkosh and the Wisconsin Music Association.
Kelli Parr graduates with a major in science education. With the goal of becoming a teacher, Parr is involved with the National Science Teachers Association at UW Oshkosh; she also was a member of Golden Key International Honor Society and the Sign Language Club. Parr was recognized for her commitment to her education through four scholarships and with an Educational Testing Services (ETS) Recognition of Excellence Award. To gain experience related to her field of study, she also worked as a teaching assistant for Science Outreach, as a tutor for Project Success and as a STEM Coordinator for the Center for Academic Resources.
Mayur Ranpara graduates with majors in accounting and finance. Being involved with professional organizations was important to Ranpara during his time at UW Oshkosh, leading him to get involved with the Accounting Club, The Institute of Management Accountants and as a volunteer for the Oshkosh Area United Way’s tax assistance program. Professionally, Ranpara gained experience through three internships throughout the Fox Cities. He was the recipient of six scholarships and was a portfolio manager for the Student-Managed Endowment Fund in the College of Business.
Marissa Reynolds graduates with a major in political science. Reynolds’ interest in civic duty led her to serve on the Winnebago County board of directors and with the College Democrats of Wisconsin as chair; she also volunteered for several campaigns. On campus, Reynolds was involved with the Political Science Student Association as president, the Pre-Law Society as vice president and the American Democracy Project as a member. Reynolds was involved as a volunteer in her community through work with the Winnebago County Free Legal Assistance Clinic and the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.
Benjamin Sanderfoot graduates with a major in science education. Sanderfoot worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the geology laboratories on campus as well as a geology tutor; the work led him to earn one of four national awards given to earth science teaching assistants. Sanderfoot was involved in Geology Club as president, with College Day for Kids and Science Safari and as a Science Olympiad judge. Within the greater community, Sanderfoot plays saxophone for his church; he also led a youth group for Oshkosh Earth Science Club and a Boy Scout geology group.
Madysen Schmidt graduates with majors in anthropology and sociology. At UW Oshkosh, Schmidt gained professional leadership experience through her roles with United Students in Residence Halls, where she served as co-chair for the leadership development committee and president of the organization. She also worked with the admissions office as a tour guide, a Titan Gold Corps member and as a member of the social media team. Schmidt was involved with the French Club, Beat2Soul Dance Crew and the freshman honor society Alpha Lambda Delta. She plans to pursue a career in student services.
Sitha Thor graduates with a major in biology. As a nontraditional student who returned to UW Oshkosh after a hiatus, Thor was motivated to work hard. He’s a student researcher with grant funding through both the UW Oshkosh McNair Scholars program and the Undergraduate Student Collaborative Research program. Thor has delivered four professional scholarly presentations; he’s also worked with Student Support Services as a First Year Scholars Leader, Learning Communities Leader and as a tutor. At UW Oshkosh, he started the Table Tennis Club and participated as a volunteer in Science Safari and Hands on Oshkosh.
Jake White graduates with a major in journalism. Being in front of a crowd comes easily to White. During his time as a student, he founded Jake White Speaks and Party.0 Sober Parties. On campus, he was involved as president of the Reeve Union Board, as the budget manager for the University Speaker Series and as the stage manager for the Dragonboat Race and Festival in 2010. Volunteer work led him to the Oshkosh Area Food Pantry and to Habitat for Humanity, Smith Elementary School and EAA as a participant in Hands on Oshkosh. He also participated as a judge for the National Catholic Forensics and Communications Association.
Jingyi Xiang graduates with majors in economics and math. Xiang came to UW Oshkosh as an exchange student where she made the most of her education despite a language barrier. Xiang was a tutor in the math department, an economics and math teaching assistant and a peer leader for the Office of International Education. She grew her leadership skills through roles as president of the International Student Association, as an educator and fundraising chairperson of the Gamma Alpha Omega sorority, as a networking team facilitator for the National Society for Leadership and Success and as president of the Chinese Culture Club. She also gave of her time as a volunteer for community events and organizations.
April Young graduates with majors in environmental studies and sociology. Young was involved on campus as a student advising mentor for the environmental studies department, as a peer advising liaison with the Undergraduate Advising Resource Center and as a content tutor for the Center for Academic Resources; she was also involved with the Sociology Club as president and as a Karate Club member. Within the greater community, Young was active in volunteering for the Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and the WISPIRG Energy Service Corps.
- May 2013 Commencement: More than 1,300 graduates to be recognized
- Snapshots: Chancellor’s Award Winners reception
- Commencement speakers ready to inspire thousands of grads, guests