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joleneWith a smile that is contagious, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh senior Jolene Prahl is known as a talented hard worker, even in the midst of hard personal times.

Her peers and colleagues in the UW Oshkosh College of Business say she displays such an amazing confident attitude that no one would guess her mother recently passed away.

She could have used the challenging life-change as an excuse to give up, but instead she has taken advantage of every opportunity that has come her way and has used what she has learned from her family to always push herself to achieve her goals.

“My mom always said to be a leader, not a follower and it has become instilled in me. It runs in the family… I define success by being happy and I’m happy with my career, family and friends,” Prahl said.

Her success is evident on campus by her immersion in a College of Business fundraising program, her service as president of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and her most recent achievement: being named the Best CEO Student Leader at a national conference.

The CEO Conference took place in Chicago from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. There, Oshkosh’s CEO faculty adviser John Muraski surprised Prahl by letting her know that there was an award for Oshkosh but failed to mention it was solely for her.

“I was told that our chapter won an award, and I was surprised at the event that it was for me,” Prahl said. “It caught me off guard. I was really excited because this is a new club and our first semester coming to the conference.”

Prahl was chosen out of 2,100 students worldwide for the recognition and Muraski, who nominated Prahl for this award, said she was well-deserving because she efficiently leads UW Oshkosh’s CEO and uses new ideas and suggestions constantly.

“Jolene was able to pick up the pieces of where our last president left off and she got them moving again,” Muraski said. “She had great commitment even with stuff going on at home. It’s really tough; it is so easy to take the semester off and still doing everything that she did, that was very impressive.”

cobUW Oshkosh was also represented at the CEO Conference by Dan Brosman, Joseph Neff, Parker Lenz and Staurt Karas. Prahl said the entire student organization’s board was invited, and five out of the eight members attended.

Senior Alexander Neubauer had nothing but praise for Prahl as he suggested someone be nominated for one of the CEO awards. Muraski decided that it was appropriate to nominate Prahl.

“She is the most outgoing person I know, and can be trusted to get everything done in a timely manner, and exceeds the requirements that need to be met,” Neubauer said. “She has strong communication skills and time management skills, along with being able to multitask. She is extremely busy but always manages to get everything accomplished in a manner that seems effortless.”

As the president and fundraising officer of CEO, Prahl is kept busy. She organizes the entrepreneurs who come to speak and also leads the large meetings that consist of 40 to 50 people. She also spends much of her time working for Dave Krause, director of alumni relations and development in the College of Business.

Prahl said Krause–along with her dad and sisters–is a big role model and has always pushed her to be her very best. Likewise, Krause has been  impressed with Prahl’s work, so much so that he wishes she would stay working in the College of Business after she graduates.

“For her to be a leader and overcome some difficult family times, you never would have known,” Krause said. “With her positive attitude she makes everyone smile and she represents the college in a very positive manner. She is destined for success and I’m really proud of her, she is very deserving.”

Prahl will be graduating next May with a major in marketing and an emphasis in data analysis. She hopes to cofound a nonprofit and is currently doing research to develop that plan. Muraski hopes she takes what she learned from CEO to use it later in life.

“After Jolene graduates, I hope to see her create, take risks and live her passion,” he said. “I want to see her live her entrepreneur spirit. I wish to see her start a business or work in a big business, showing off her entrepreneur traits.”

 

Anyone interested in the UW Oshkosh Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (to be a potential speaker or member), contact Jolene Prahl for more information (). The organization is open to students with any major and is always looking for more members. 

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