UW Oskhosh Wordmark

unnamedLooking for employment can be a daunting task for anybody in today’s economy, and for many with disabilities finding and keeping a job can sometimes seem impossible.

However, organizations like Lakeside Packaging Plus, which is located in Oshkosh, hope to change that with a variety of programs aimed at helping and empowering the disabled. Lakeside offers its patrons adult day services as well as training that helps prepare them to become a part of the workforce by helping develop social skills and solid work habits..

“We really put emphasis on our prevocational program, which aims toward  building skills and strengths that would take them out in the community to be hired at a normal position,” coordinator of adult services Heidi Vargas said. “We really focus on communication, safety, etiquette.”

For about 5 years, Lakeside also has been offering student internships at its Oshkosh location. This semester, UW Oshkosh human services leadership major Allison Janssen took advantage of Lakeside’s 120-hour field placement, gaining valuable experience and helping people in need.

“The associates at Lakeside were all really great to work with and all had unique qualities that I was drawn to,” Janssen said. “I learned so much from each of the individuals who I had the opportunity to work with, so they are all really special to me.”

Janssen had a variety of duties at Lakeside that centered around assisting disabled workers with their tasks and providing one-on-one support to those in the adult services room. She also shadowed case managers to observe things like handing out medication.

Janssen said she chose the internship because she hopes to work with special needs individuals once she graduates in May.

“My older brother has a cognitive disability, and I know how important it is for him to have meaningful employment,” she said. “Because of the experience I have with him and the joy he gets from having a place to work, Lakeside Packaging Plus was of particular interest to me.”

“Ally was very flexible and because she had some personal experiences already with people with disabilities, she was considerate and compassionate,” Vargas said. “She was very thoughtful about coming in here and taking direction.”

Janssen has completed her internship at Lakeside, and already has another lined up at Clarity Care, an adult care center also located in Oshkosh. “I am excited to see what I will learn there, and maybe that experience will help me narrow down my future career plans,” she said.

Learn more:

Smith STARRosemary Smith, Dean of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing, has been named the recipient of the Richard H. Wells STAR Award.

The University Staff Council Richard H. Wells Star Award celebrates the character, passion and commitment of non-classified faculty or staff member who has supported the advancement of UW Oshkosh University Staff. This award is named after Chancellor Wells because he was so instrumental in giving the University Staff a voice on campus.

Smith was nominated by Brenda Garza, Budget and Policy Analyst for the College of Nursing.

Portions of Smith’s nomination follow:

“Rosemary Smith began her career at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO) College of Nursing (CON) in September 1977. She was hired as a master’s prepared nurse to teach Community Health Nursing. Some of the comments written on her original contract, which at the time included statements of the chairperson or director, were “…highly motivated, articulate and dynamic nurse with many and varied capabilities. Interested in doctoral education. Rosemary would be an asset to the community nursing faculty and to the College of Nursing. She is a dynamic person and should be a fine role model for students.” Dr. Smith was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1982, earned her PhD in 1993 from UW Madison, was named the undergraduate program director in 1994, added to her education with an Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber license and promoted to Associate Professor in 1998, named the Graduate Program Director in 2000, appointed as the CON Interim Dean in January 2005, and became the Dean in May 2006.

“Since she began at UWO she was a member of every single University and College Committee she was eligible for, including two at the University of Wisconsin (UW) System level. This totals more than 60 different committees over the years and many she served on several times. This number does not include the committees she served on in the community, in the state or in the nation.

“Part of Rosemary Smith’s philosophy is her belief in shared governance. This belief was not only with faculty and academic staff, but with all university staff. As the Undergraduate Program Director and then Graduate Program Director, she was able to continuously work for shared governance. Once she became Dean, she was able to institute her process to the fullest. The CON Classified Staff (CS)/University Staff (US) were no longer looked at as non-participating members to the success or failure of the CON.

“Dr. Smith began by having regular meetings with the CS/US only. She made them aware of her vision for the CON and for the staff. Little by the little the office staff became more invested in the CON outcomes. Regularly the CS/US would be asked for their opinion on not only simple things like office decorations, but also on office and CON policies and procedures. If the CS/US felt the need to have a new policy or procedure, and Dr. Smith felt it was appropriate, she would say move forward and create it. If a new policy/procedure was recommended by the faculty/staff, she always asked the opinion of the CS/US and if the policy/procedure effected their work outcomes. If there was additional burden to the CS/US, she worked with the CS/US to create a more efficient way to institute the policy/procedure and how to divide the additional workload. Often times she came back from College or University meetings with the statement that she had to make a decision on something but she told the group she would need to talk to her CS/US first. That is commitment to the idea of shared governance.

“Dean Smith supports the membership of CS/US staff in organizations that will benefit the staff member in their area of work. She approves of attending conferences and tuition reimbursement for continued education. If the education a CS/US member is pursuing would enhance the College of Nursing, she has regularly approved reimbursement up to the highest amount possible. She actively gets the CS/US involved in campus activities and allows time for the participation of such.

“Each year, Rosemary supports CS/US day. She does this by allowing any CON CS/US staff to attend, and supports it with donated items and financially as well. During several years when a Dean’s challenge was started by the College of Business Interim Dean Don Gudmundson, Dean Smith was not only supportive of the challenge, but actively participated by raising the stakes.

“Her service to the CS/US, the CON, the UWO, the UW System, the surrounding community and the nursing profession reflects a deep commitment to not only the UW organization, but to humanity as a whole. Dr. Smith not only lived the CON vision, “The College of Nursing will build upon its tradition of developing caring and scholarly leaders who positively impact contemporary and future health care”, she is the vision.

“Dr. Rosemary Smith’s engagement and immersion with all staff in the CON and University speak to the quality of her character and demonstrates how she embodies the vision of the CON. There is no one more deserving of the Richard H. Wells Star Award for her passion and commitment to the advancement of UW Oshkosh University Staff.”

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.


Rathsack2University of Wisconsin Oshkosh journalism students were filled with anticipation as they waited to present their advertising campaign to alumnus David Rathsack ’12, of Brookfield, last week.

Students spent 14 weeks preparing the campaign for Rathsack’s client, Sauder Furniture, said Dana Baumgart, journalism instructor at UW Oshkosh.

Baumgart said alumni bring professionalism that connects well with teaching.

“The course teaches the basics of advertisement strategy,” she said. “It challenges students to work with a client and address real-world issues.”

Rathsack said pride in his alma mater inspired him to return to UW Oshkosh to work with students in Baumgart’s ad copy layout class.

“I like networking and mentoring,” he said. “I’ve always had an affinity with this campus.”

He stressed to the students that they should be prepared to work with people and rely on communication to achieve goals in the work environment. “There are inevitably some things you can’t learn in the classroom. That is part of the transition from college,” he said.

Rathsack said he was ready for the real-world upon graduation in 2012.

Rathsack4“I felt very prepared,” he said. “Being a marketing major in the College of Business with a minor in journalism created a nice combination of education and skill that helped me decide my career path.”

Since graduation, Rathsack has been working in marketing and advertisement.

“I started my career at Fullhouse Interactive,” he said. “I’ve gone through a buyout and a layoff before landing at Bader Rutter.”

Rathsack is an account executive at Bader Rutter, an independent business marketing agency in Milwaukee. His job requires him to manage projects and to be the day-to-day contact for clients.

Learn more:



The Northwestern, Dec. 12

Several University of Wisconsin Oshkosh athletics teams will come together to volunteer for a Feeding America mobile food pantry event on Dec. 19.

The Dec. 19 Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin mobile food pantry will be held at Kolf Sports Center at UW Oshkosh from 3 until 5 p.m. Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin will lead the mobile food pantry and will provide more than 20,000 pounds of food, which will be distributed at UWO’s Kolf Sports Center. More than 400 families are expected to be served during the mobile pantry.

Along with student-athletes and representatives from UW Oshkosh Athletics, faculty and staff from across campus will be on hand to donate their time and talents to ensure all recipients receive their food. Students from the Oshkosh North High School Communities program will volunteer their time at the event to help transport food items to vehicles, as needed.

Several organizations made the mobile food pantry a reality; those organizations are: J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc., Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin, Titan Touchdown Club and the UW Oshkosh Foundation.

The Hunger Task Force of Oshkosh, which consists of six local food pantries, will be in charge of data collection and documentation via a survey at the mobile pantry event. All data collected will be sent to the Oshkosh City Planning Office, UW Oshkosh, as well as the Chamber of Commerce for analysis. The Oshkosh Northwestern and the League of Woman Voters will be reporting the groups findings and working with the team throughout the project.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.

Take a look back through the 2014 Midyear Commencement Ceremony, which was held Dec. 13 at UW Oshkosh.

FullSizeRenderMore than 1,100 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students became graduates in what was truly a historic Midyear Commencement ceremony Dec. 13.

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew J. Leavitt, the institution’s 11th chancellor who began his role in early November, took to the commencement platform for the first time as students became alumni.

Of those graduating, there were nearly 1,000 undergraduates and 140 master’s degree candidates, including 18 who were a part of the first Executive MBA cohort. Saturday’s UW Oshkosh graduates are part of a statewide wave of approximately 10,000 who were awarded degrees from throughout the UW System.


For UW Oshkosh graduate Sheree Zellner, of Oshkosh, this commencement ceremony was especially special–and historic.

After a successful career in the education field, Zellner, 60, who graduated with a master’s degree in special education in the spring of 1983, officially “walked” in her graduation ceremony, something she had not done 30-plus years ago.



“As one gets older, you reflect on life. Teaching was my passion for 34 and a half years; it is so much a part of who I am,” she said through nervousness before the 2014 Midyear Commencement ceremony. “I want to do this for myself. I came alone, I wanted to come alone. It’s kind of like I can put this to rest in my mind–it’s been something I’ve thought a lot about. This is it–my celebration–it’s a gift to me from me.”

Zellner wasn’t the only one making history at commencement.

College of Nursing Dean Rosemary Smith participated in her last commencement at UW Oshkosh; she will retire at 2014’s end closing out 10 years of service as dean and more than 27 years as an educator.

College of Nursing graduates were a proud to be a part of the historic commencement ceremony, but even more proud to become official graduates of UW Oshkosh.

“It’s a sad day, but it’s also a happy day,” said Anyssa Schulte, a nursing major from Madison, “There is a sense of relief today as we finish. I won’t miss the work, but I will miss the people. I wouldn’t have gone to school anywhere else.”

Schulte’s mortar board was decorated with a message that thanked her mom and dad.

“They haven’t seen my cap yet, my mom is going to cry,” she said. “My parents listened to and watched me almost give up on this degree many times, and they just told me not to (give up) and never let me.”

Other nursing graduates felt a similar sense of relief mixed with excitement.

“School is all we’ve known. It’s time to get out into the world and do some work,” said Bob Baker, of Madison.

commencement2Elyssa Reed, of Neenah, who studied secondary education at UW Oshkosh, was also visibly excited to become a graduate. Her cap read: “To teach is to touch lives forever,” something she said she firmly believes in as she leaves UW Oshkosh and heads out into the world for a life as a teacher.

“This is a big turning point in my life,” she said. “It’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s surreal, I’m excited.”

Of course college is made up of classes, grades, successes and failures, and ultimately a degree. But for many, like Tom Beschta, of Lena, who studied journalism, it was just as much about the people.

“I will always remember the people. For as large as the UW Oshkosh student body is, there are a lot of tight-knit relationships here. There is a lot of cool people and you get to have real relationships with your professors. UWO was an awesome place to come to college,” he said.

2014 Midyear Commencement ceremony

At the official ceremony, UW System Board of Regents member José Vásquez offered greetings to guests. Kyle Bloedow, of Little Chute, delivered the commencement speech to his graduating class; Associate Professor of Economics Chad Cotti spoke on behalf of the faculty. The Chancellor’s Medallion was presented to Sue Panek, executive director of the Oshkosh Area United Way by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Petra Roter.

Leavitt lead the conferral of degrees–calling his first commencement a “joyous occasion”–while graduates were presented by the dean from their respective colleges and announced by faculty.

The ceremony concluded with words from Jim Rath, president of the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association.

“I promise the degree you earned here today will add value to  your life long after this ceremony is over…,” he said. “UW Oshkosh will continue to serve you…”

Learn more:

Kyle Bloedow, of Little Chute, offered the following remarks at the 2014 Midyear Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 13. Bloedow is graduating with a degree in communication studies.

“Welcome, friends, family, faculty and staff, and of course graduating class of 2014. I have a few words for all of you here today and they are WE DID IT! We finally made it to our destination of graduation. Today we have finished our college experience, we have achieved our goal of obtaining our degrees, and we did this through believing in ourselves and others believing in us as well. I’d like to start out today by telling you all a story and it goes something like this.

“My name is Kyle Bloedow and I am from Little Chute, Wisconsin. I am a first generation college student, as many of you sitting among all of us today may be as well. I have never been a standout student, achieving average grades at best even when I put in the work. My ACT score when I took that, well lets just say thats not exactly a talking point of mine in conversation about why I choose to go to college. My school advisers in high school often times would mention, “well have you ever thought about going to a tech school for a practical career or do you really think you have the ability to do well at a four year university?” Often times hinting at why I wouldn’t be a good college student or make it through school. However, there is one thing that all of us sitting here today can say and that is we achieved our goal, we gained our degree and that is something we will always have.

“Now, achievement can mean many different things to people. For instance, in the  Merriam-Webster dictionary achievement is defined as  “something that has been done or achieved through effort, as well as a result of hard work.” Some of us, this is how we measure achievement. Some of us will have measured this based on our ability in our academics. Some of us will base it off of the clubs and organization we were a part of in our time here. Now for some of you in the audience thinking of your achievements you have made in your time here a few that came to mind for me. They are the pronunciation of that building across from Dempsey as Clow and not cloow, you know a freshman when you see one when you hear this. Or others of us an achievement being able to finally say we know how to read our STAR reports. Or at least found someone who knows how to read those crazy things for us. Some of you may have ran for student government and others leadership roles within your clubs and organizations. Or maybe even if you’re like me one of your biggest achievements was just selecting your major, once, twice, three or well maybe even four or five times before we found our home in each of our departments.

“These are just a couple of the items in which we have been apart of here over the years, they have shaped who we are. These events have created and challenged our beliefs, that we may not have had. With these achievements, we form our legacy, the part of us that we leave behind for others, to discover and to share. I want to challenge everyone here today to ask yourselves what legacy have you created, whether here at this university or just in life have you left it, or is it still a work in progress? The answer could be both, because our legacy will always grow by the actions we have taken in the past and the ones that we will make in the future.

“The future is in our sights, my friends; we have reached the final stepping stone of our undergraduate path here at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and have many paths in front of us to place that next stone. So after today, don’t be afraid to take chances, throw that stone in a direction you’ve never gone before, experience the world and challenge the things you might not believe in, as well as challenge yourselves to be mindful and critical of your own beliefs. Depending on the degrees we have earned, its easy to say that, it’s situational, for us all and that we will all have different paths to follow.

“Well as I stand here before you all today before the December graduating class of 2014. I can once again say Hello, My name is Kyle Bloedow a first generation college student who is graduating from this University with a degree in Communication Studies I am an outstanding academic performer, and by that I mean someone who has learned to be curious, hard working, and caring about others. If you think about it, what has happened here over the last four years is that I have developed what Aristotle calls Ethos: intelligence, good character, and goodwill toward others. As a person, this was something that I was told I may never be able to achieve, and something that even I had believed for a while when times were hard. But, here I stand looking into the future about to jump off of these stepping stones we have laid in college and begin writing the next chapter of my life story as we all will do the same. This is the legacy I leave–my determination to never give up, my outstanding academic performance, my curiosity about the world that surrounds us, my sense of hard work to better understand this world, and the goodwill that I have for others. Congratulations to all of the graduates here today, the next chapter starts today so get ready to pick up the pen of life and write your story.”


WBAY-TV, Dec. 11

Everyone has a role to play in stopping sexual assault. Take the pledge to be a part of the solution at itsonus.org.

The Facts*:

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college
  • 40 percent of survivors fear reprisal by their attacker
  • Only 2 percent of incapacitated rape survivors report assault
  • Only 13 percent of rape survivors report assault
  • 8 in 10 victims knew their attacker (friend, significant other, etc.)
  • It is estimated that between 2 and 7 percent of sexual assault reports are false


*According to the Center for American Progress

Everyone has a role to play in stopping sexual assault. Join in taking the pledge. Learn more at uwosh.edu/itsonus.