As the spring semester winds down, a new crop of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduates will be venturing off to pursue their careers following spring Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 11. Some UWO alumni have taken their degrees to a new level, traveling across the globe to expand their educational horizons.
Some have traveled to Third World countries to bring their knowledge to impoverished communities; others have journeyed across the U.S. to pursue their dreams in Los Angeles. It just goes to show … there are many places you could go after graduating from UWO.
Lindsay Bahn’08, is one of these ambitious alumni. She graduated from UWO with a bachelor’s of nursing. In summer 2011, she and her sister, Nicole ’03 and MBA ’07, traveled to Ethiopia to bring medical knowledge to a community in need.
“We went to Ethiopia for several reasons,” Bahn said. “…To provide care for members of an underserved population and to gain skills and experience, manage health disparities and explore health-related cultural and environmental influences we would not see in the U.S.”
The sisters participated in what they called “clinical tourism,” traveling and experiencing the Ethiopian life and culture, all while practicing medicine.
As an Oshkosh native, Bahn has a genuine enthusiasm for the UWO community.
“I was very impressed by the professional expertise and accomplishments of the nursing faculty and staff and the technology,” she said. “I continue to be impressed not only by the accomplishments of the College of Nursing, but also by the quality of the students and graduates. I find a certain comfort in knowing that my colleague is a UWO grad.”
Bahn, who graduated from Marquette University with a master’s in nursing in spring 2012, is now a certified nurse-midwife.
Like Bahn, Matthew Miles, ’12, of Underwood, N.D., also followed his passion for his field of study to another country. Miles traveled all the way to Mt. Ngauruhoe, the mountain featured in the Lord of the Rings movies in New Zealand.
After earning his music education degree in spring 2012, Miles completed his student-teaching requirements in New Zealand through a program called Educators Abroad.
Educators Abroad provides an infrastructure through which interaction among educators in different cultural settings is nurtured so that a global perspective is integrated into educational policy and practice.
While Bahn and Miles found traveling abroad to be beneficial in expanding their educations, but Brenda Lau found her niche in sunny California.
After graduating from UWO in 1983 with a degree in radio-TV-film, Lau moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion for film-making.
“I always loved TV and movies, music and storytelling,” Lau said. “After completing three years of a chemistry major at UWO, I finally changed my major and pursued my passion. I was determined to find a way to move to Hollywood.”
With just $800, she moved to California 18 months after graduation.
Lau landed her first job in the promotional department at King World, a TV show distribution company that produced classic shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
“One of my first assignments was a new show they were taking national—The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she said.
After working with producers like Andy Friendly, a reality TV show developer, and other companies like NBC, Lau started her own company, Vision Productions, where she wrote and produced theatrical trailers.
In 1993, Lau made it big when she became a senior staff writer and producer at ABC Entertainment.
“I have worked on some fantastic shows,” she said. “I have been responsible for the on-air trailers for ABC’s primetime dramas and specials, including Once Upon A Time, Revenge, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Lost, NYPD Blue, The Academy Awards and The American Music Awards, to name a few.”
Lau currently lives in Venice Beach, Calif., with her husband.
“Storytelling, whether it be 30 seconds or two hours is just a thrill, and I feel blessed I have been able to pursue this passion,” she said. “Staying positive and offering to help is the best advice I can offer those wanting to make this their career. There is nothing to stop you, except yourself.”
Finding direction could take some time after graduation, but as Bahn, Miles and Lau have discovered, there are many directions and places you could go after UWO.