Twenty-five undergraduate student teams from universities across the United States have been selected to participate in “e-Fest,” a competition that will award more than $200,000 in grants and scholarships for the best undergraduate business ideas.
e-Fest will be held April 6-8 at the Schulze School in Minneapolis.
Two teams from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) were chosen from a pool of more than 160 teams from 81 schools. To qualify, teams submitted seven-minute videos and slides describing their business ideas.
Abigail Merrill, who is still a senior at Oshkosh West High School, is earning six credits at UW Oshkosh this semester. Her presentation will unveil an app she began developing in 2016. Designed to help citizens navigate the political arena, the app In Our Hands, allows users to set up customized alerts or apply filters to drafted legislation. The end goal is to help citizens become better informed and more active in the legislative process.
“I am excited to be going to e-Fest, it will allow me to gain further support for the development of this app. I want to help citizens share their voice about the proposed changes or policies. After all, it is in our hands to hold our government accountable,” Merrill said.
Originally from Oak Creek, Dylan Parks ’17, and Brad Ploch ’17, came to UW Oshkosh with the intent of studying business. Parks majored in finance and Ploch majored in management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and small business. While at UWO, they participated in the CEI accelerator program, which connects students interested in entrepreneurship to the resources (mentorship, consulting and capital) they need to pursue their business ideas.
“Our education at UW Oshkosh gave us the technical skills (financial forecasting, marketing, etc.) and, more importantly, the ability to find solutions to challenges that allow us to stand out from the competition,” Ploch said.
Upright Kids is their latest business venture that would provide affordable stand-up desks for elementary age kids. Research shows standing instead of sitting for prolonged periods of time can alleviate health risks associated with sedentary lifestyles. Although the concept of a standing desk isn’t new, Parks and Ploch set out to create an affordable solution for elementary schools. Upright Kids might be a way that schools or parents could purchase a solution that would allow kids to move more and sit less.
“Going to e-Fest is an unbelievable opportunity for us to not only spread awareness about the issue and our mission but also for a chance to really make a huge leap forward in terms of capital and potential mentors and partners,” Parks said.
Both UWO teams also will have the opportunity to participate in the Innovation Challenge. Judges will shuffle participants into new teams and present them a challenge. The students must devise a business-based solution with a compelling value proposition and present by the end of the evening. The top three winning teams will be awarded scholarships.
Saturday the teams will pitch in groups of five, with the winners of each round advancing until the competition has been narrowed to the top five. The top three winners will walk away with monetary prices with additional grants going to their universities to support entrepreneurship education.
“Having not one but two teams heading to the e-Fest competition is an amazing achievement. UW Oshkosh is the only university (other than the host school) to have more than one team at this event, and most universities didn’t have any teams make the cut. This accomplishment exemplifies the power of our program and the tenacity of our student entrepreneurs,” said Jordan Rhodes ’12 and MBA ’16, Alta Resources CEI director.
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh student researchers are preparing to showcase their work at a national convention.
A total of 17 undergraduate student researchers will make the trip to Memphis, Tennessee, for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), taking place April 5-7. Faculty members Stephen Kercher and Cordelia Bowlus will be traveling with the group to the event that will be attended by UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.
Madeline Hass, who recently turned 18 and is in her first year at UW Oshkosh, will be among the student presenters with her Perspectives through Oral History. Students chosen to present their work at NCUR submitted research abstracts, which were judged and ranked by a selection committee.
Double-majoring in history and philosophy with a minor in German, Hass earned a number of credits during her high school career at St. Mary Catholic High School in Neenah and technically has junior academic status at UW Oshkosh.
“I’ve never presented at a conference,” Hass said. “I did theatre in high school so I’m not worried about being in front of a crowd, but this is a little different.”
As part of a multiyear farming oral history project undertaken by students at campuses across the state, Hass will present research on farmers’ relationships with individuals outside the farming community, their isolation and perspectives on public opinion of their profession.
“I was reading through original transcripts and looking at which ones to focus on,” she said, when the idea of her own research paper struck. Hass works as a research assistant with the history department in her student job, and one of her tasks was to comb through the transcripts.
Hass has no farming background. Her parents both are information technology (IT) professionals who told her to pursue what she desired. She said she never felt any pressure in her career path but would “not have believed it myself” if she had been told a few years ago that she would be doing research and on a farming topic.
“The professors here have been supportive and encouraging to me in pursuing the (research) path,” she said, adding that she’s become skilled at time management while working independently on a project outside of a class.
Hass’ NCUR presentation is limited to 15 minutes.
“I think I have a better understanding of farmers,” she said. “It’s interesting to see what misconceptions I have and what I don’t. It’s interesting to see all the types of farms. ‘What’s the difference between a small farm versus a huge corporation?’”
Kercher, an associate professor in the history department and interim director of the Office of Student Research and Creative Activity, believes there are multiple benefits to the presentation of research.
“NCUR affords UW Oshkosh undergraduate students with a unique opportunity to share the results of their research with students and faculty from across the country,” he said. “As with our very own Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity, it provides students with a way to appreciate what it means to conduct research in a great variety of different disciplines.”
He said in a competitive job market it helps to be able to say in an interview that one’s educational experience went above and beyond the ordinary and that you are the type of individual eager to pursue new challenges.
Students selected to present their work at NCUR submitted research abstracts, which were judged and ranked by a selection committee. “We are very proud of the fact that so many UW Oshkosh students are doing such great research and were chosen to participate in NCUR,” Kercher said.
Additional UW Oshkosh students presenting at NCUR in April:
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) recognized three teachers with the Elementary Teacher Excellence award as part of the Celebrate Education event on March 20.
Celebrate Education is an annual event that honors local teachers, principals, coaches and volunteers for hard work and dedication to students within the community. The event is sponsored by local community leaders, including the Mid-Morning Kiwanis Club of Oshkosh, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, Wisconsin Public Service Foundation, Oshkosh Area School District, UWO College of Education and Human Services and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. By partnering, thousands of dollars in grants were awarded to educators whose programs make a difference in the lives of children throughout the community
Since Celebrate Education began in 2005, there have been a total of $179,151 (as of 2016) awarded to educators in the Oshkosh community.
The Elementary Teacher Excellence award, sponsored by the UW College of Education and Human Services, honors caring professionals in education, counseling and human services who impact education and social programs in a global society. The award provides access to professional development or the purchase of supplies to enhance the classroom.
Area elementary principals nominated outstanding teachers and award recipients were selected by the COEHS committee. This year’s honorees are as follows:
Jackie Trebiatowski BSE ’08, is a third-grade teacher at Carl Traeger Elementary School and has been teaching for more than nine years. Every day, Trebiatowski works to instill a sense of gratitude in her students because grateful people often show lower levels of depression and stress. Her students engage in random acts of kindness and in February paper notes filled with appreciation could be found throughout the building. Like her students, Trebitowski is an avid learner and always takes the opportunity to engage in professional development opportunities. Trebiatowski was nominated by Principal Brenna Garrison-Bruden ’00.
Mary Hendricks MSE ’99, BSE ‘94, is a third-grade teacher at Oaklawn Elementary School and has been teaching there for more than 21 years. Known for her genuine care and concern, Hendricks takes extra time to build rapport with individuals who are having difficulty making connections within the classroom . Hendricks has taken opportunities to observe instruction in other schools, attend conferences and collaborate with other educators in order to implement best practices in her classroom. One initiative implemented at the school is the Oaklawn Community News Network, which strives to share strategies for students to build connections through greetings and interviews, find joy though the joke of the day, and learn to focus better through brain breaks. Hendricks was nominated by Principal Scott Johanknecht.
Ellen Schutt is a first-grade teacher at Valley Christian School and has been teaching for 22 years. Schutt’s joy is contagious as she challenges her students to grow as individuals and not just absorb the material. Students find that learning through play allows them to develop their unique personalities and find their working style. Former students come back regularly to connect with Schutt because she celebrates their current successes as much as she did when they were in her classroom. Schutt was nominated by Principal Scott Freund.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services will recognize the outstanding contributions of two Oshkosh educators at the upcoming Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (WACTE) awards ceremony April 2.
Each teacher licensing institution in the state, in association with the WACTE, has the opportunity to select two recipients for educator awards each spring. This year, the College of Education and Human Services is recognizing two exceptional teachers from the Oshkosh Area School District.
The Early Career Educator Award is presented to an outstanding educator within the first three years of his/her professional career. The recipient is selected based on any combination of the following: positive impact individual has on schools or communities, innovation in designing learning experiences and advocacy for students.
An excerpt from Griffith’s nomination letter provides a brief testament to her accomplishments at this early stage of her career: “Alex’s top quality is her unwavering commitment to student learning.
As an English teacher, Griffith works to develop positive relationships with her students, uses highly effective instructional practices, uses assessment data to ensure that her instruction meets the individual needs of each of her students, and collaborates with other educators to ensure that her students get the support they need in all aspects of their lives. As a result of Griffith’s outstanding implementation of personalized learning, her classroom has become a model for the district.”
The Pre-Service Educator Mentor Award is presented to an outstanding educator who has demonstrated a sustained pattern of mentoring pre-service educators for at least five years. Attributes such as the ability to model professional responsibility, demonstrate evidentiary assessment and effective classroom management and the ability to nurture teacher candidates while developing their capacity to be leaders are considered.
Lynn Bridwell, a 1981 UW Oshkosh alumna and music educator at Lakeside and Roosevelt elementary schools, is the recipient of the Pre-Service Educator Mentor Award. Bridwell is recognized for her long-standing mentoring contributions to music education candidates and passionate support of the profession at large. Her untiring support of our field experience program has played an integral part in launching many budding professionals into successful careers as music educators.
UW Oshkosh Associate Professor Ken Liske stated in his letter of nomination: “Lynn Bridwell is the sort of teacher who draws out the very best from those around her. She lifts up her students, both elementary and collegiate, to be successful no matter their strengths or weaknesses. The ability she has to engage her students in active music making sets an example that transfers quickly to her student teachers. She sets high expectations and ensures they have what they need to succeed. Most importantly, Lynn truly cares about children, the future of education, society, and the teaching profession.”
WACTE is a professional organization comprised of Wisconsin institutions that prepare students for initial teacher licensure. WACTE is committed to the education of career teachers whose work in classrooms in Wisconsin, the nation and the world will result in robust student learning. To that end, the organization facilitates deep consideration of issues related to teacher effectiveness and student learning and collaborates with organizations and agencies to promote research-based standards and policies for professional educator development.
The Northwestern, March 23
Two influential leaders from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will leave the institution later this summer for their next endeavor.
Franca Barricelli, associate dean and history professor in the College of Letters and Science, will leave her position for a new role as dean of Arts and Sciences at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. Barricelli will begin her new role Sept. 1.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lane Earns will retire Aug. 30 from UW Oshkosh and relocate to Massachusetts with his spouse—a move that will take the couple to Barricelli’s home state.
Barricelli came to UW Oshkosh in 1994. In addition to teaching European history courses in the department of history, she also frequently taught students abroad in Rome, Florence and at Cambridge University. Barricelli served as department chair from 2002 until 2007 prior to serving as associate dean.
Barricelli’s many successful University and College activities and accomplishments include, but are not limited to, her leadership in developing and implementing the Global Citizenship/Scholar Program, her membership on the University Studies Program planning leadership team and subsequent implementation team, and her participation in the development of the current UW Oshkosh strategic plan. She also led and organized all sessions related to the Bayeux Tapestry exhibit, featured at UW Oshkosh in spring 2016, and has been active in cultural outreach in the greater Oshkosh community.
“She has touched the lives of faculty, staff and students across our campus. I truly extend my sincerest thanks and utmost appreciation to Franca for her dedicated service to the College of Letters of Science and the entire University during her years on our campus,” said College of Letters and Science Dean John Koker. “It has been a joy for me to work closely with such a talented, vibrant and committed individual for the last 10 years. Simply stated, she has made me better at what I do.”
Earns will depart from UW Oshkosh after 30 years of service to the institution, UW System and the state. He has a distinguished record in administrative service as well as in teaching and research in the area of Japanese history.
“UW Oshkosh is a stronger institution for Lane’s contributions. He has provided calm and steady support through years of University growth and change,” Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said. “Lane has always put the best interests and the long-term prosperity of the UW Oshkosh community first, and it has personally been a pleasure and a privilege to serve with him.”
Administratively, Earns led the division of Academic Affairs as Provost for 13 years and also served two years as associate vice chancellor in the same division. His leadership was especially influential in the development of UW Oshkosh nationally acclaimed general education program, the University Studies Program.
Beyond UW Oshkosh, Earns served as interim chancellor from 2008 to 2009 at UW-Parkside, where he led that campus through its first-ever strategic plan, before leading UW Oshkosh’s own strategic planning process last year.
At UW System, Earns was among the earliest and most steadfast advocates for liberal education through Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) and other national initiatives. He also currently chairs the System’s International Advisory Committee.
In the community, Earns has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Paine Art Center and Gardens, the Board of Directors of Ascension/Affinity Health System and the Board of Curators of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
An interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs will soon be named. A national search will follow.
Post-Crescent, March 22
UW Oshkosh has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA since 2010. At UW Oshkosh, there are nearly 50 species of trees throughout the 173.5-acre campus.
Currently, there are 296 campuses across the United States that earned the Tree Campus USA designation.
Tree Campus USA is a national program, which was created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
“Trees have played an important role in American history both for their part in the development of a young and expanding country and later in the growth of an American conservation ethic. Today trees and forests are highly valued for far more than the money they can fetch as timber,” said Brian Kermath, UW Oshkosh sustainability director.
“In dollar terms, our nation’s national forests, for example, are more valuable for their provisioning of fresh water than for wood. Real estate in urban and developed areas is worth more with trees than without. Planted wisely, trees can reduce heating bills by serving as wind breaks around buildings, and they can reduce cooling bills by shading properties and through the effects of evaporative cooling. Fruit trees can provide human food and essentially all trees can help sustain wildlife with nourishment and cover,” Kermath said.
UW Oshkosh achieved the recognition by meeting five standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA, including establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program and an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) is holding a Free School from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, in Sage Hall.
Free School is open to everyone, and participants can come and go as they please.
The event offers a whole day of free classes on topics related to sustainability, health, social justice and community building as well as workshops for children.
Some of the classes include Greening Your Kitchen, Tae Kwon Do, Intro to Muslim Culture, How to Take Political Action in Wisconsin, Sewing and Mending, Beginning Yoga and How To Compost.
Free parking will be available in the lot next to Sage Hall.
For more information, visit uwofreeschool.com.
Food is something to get excited about on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus.
University Dining is making strides in its “Sustainability and Healthful Movement” campaign in partnership with Sodexo.
Blackhawk and Reeve Union dining halls, along with Scotty’s and the cafes in Sage and Clow, are stocked with foods made fresh each morning. Chefs clock in at midnight and start prepping the fresh foods for the day. Each Simply-To-Go snack cup is made daily, along with the stickers that go along with the packaging.
Marty Strand, assistant director of dining operations said, “I’m proud of the way that food is prepared fresh daily as close to the time that it is served to the customer as is reasonably possible.”
Students and faculty may wonder why some days the Simply-To-Go snack cups include grapes and other days strawberries. That’s because UWO works with 10 to 15 local producers within a 200-mile radius.
Some produce is even grown and harvested on campus. Blackhawk Commons grows its own fresh lettuce in the campus tower gardens, which yields about 220 pounds a year.
Bill Rotchford, Sodexo general manager said, “I am excited about being part of such a progressive University that supports the same initiatives that are an integral part of Sodexo’s culture.”
To help students and faculty make healthy decisions, University Dining has partnered with MyFitnessPal. More than 321 Sodexo food items served on campus and their calorie intake are included in the app.
Another app created by Sodexo—Bite—pulls all menus from UWO food venues and their nutritional content.
In addition, Sodexo employs more than 500 dietitians who converse with and offer guidance to students, faculty and staff simply contacting them on the University Dining website.
“I feel that it is not only important to provide quality and healthy food for our customers but it is also part of our job to assist in the educational process of wellness and healthy choices,” Rotchford said.