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UWOT_WIACChamps1The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh men’s and women’s basketball teams will each host a semifinal game of their respective Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship this week.

Men’s basketball
The Titans men’s basketball team, which secured the No. 2 seed in the WIAC Championship with its 9-5 regular season WIAC record, hosts UW-Whitewater Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Third-seed Whitewater beat UW-Stout in the opening round of the championship to earn the right to face UWO Thursday.

If UW-Oshkosh men’s basketball wins Thursday’s game and UW-River Falls loses to UW-Eau Claire, the Titans will host the WIAC Championship game on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.

Ticket prices for the men’s basketball game are as follows:

  • Adults $9
  • Senior citizens (62 or older) $7
  • Students (K-12, college) $3

Free tickets are available for UWO students. Students can pick up their free ticket at the athletics administrative suite in Kolf Sports Center now until Thursday at 4 p.m. One ticket per student with a valid UWO student ID. Students will also receive free pizza at the game.

Women’s basketball
The UWO women’s basketball team is the top seed in the 2017 Women’s Basketball WIAC Championship. The Titans won the regular season title outright for the first time since 1999 with an impressive 13-1 record. UWO will host its semifinal game on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. The Titans opponent is still to be determined.

Ticket prices for the men’s basketball game are as follows:

  • Adults $9
  • Senior citizens (62 or older) $7
  • Students (K-12, college) $3

If UW-Oshkosh women’s basketball wins Friday’s game, the Titans will host the WIAC Championship game on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.

Find more UWO athletics updates.

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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s College of Education and Human Services was selected to host two groups of students from Thailand this semester. Eric Brunsell, associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning played a fundamental role in both exchange opportunities.

Brunsell was asked by the Thailand Institute for the Promotion of Teaching of Science and Technology (IPST) to submit a proposal for a one-year plan of study focused on teaching STEM subjects at the middle and high school levels. This project involves a group of graduate students who will call UW Oshkosh home for the next year.

“I took the lead in organizing the field placements and the program of study. I will also act as the students’ primary contact at UWO while they are here,” Brunsell said.

The yearlong exchange shows the importance placed on teaching STEM courses in Thailand. The IPST, funded by the country’s Ministry of Education, focuses on science curriculum and STEM teacher preparation. The Thai students attending UW Oshkosh were selected from among the best graduate students in science, math and computer science education programs in the country.

32153835634_bcbe0f3069_zThe following graduate students participating in the one-year immersion course are:  Chanon Kampiwtha (biology), Anurak Khophadung (computer science), Anupap Puangsomchit (chemistry) and Patiphat Tittha (mathematics).

The students will graduate with master’s of science degrees in education. After completing their year at UW Oshkosh, they will return to Thailand as middle and high school teachers.

In addition, the students are taking coursework in STEM pedagogy, project-based learning and teaching English as a Second Language. They also will be helping with two Math Science Partnership grant projects led by Brunsell and Stephanie Bernander, UWO assistant professor of math education.

“UWO will provide these students with an experience that they won’t find anywhere else. They have a unique opportunity to observe excellent science and math teaching in middle and high schools in the area. They will learn about U.S.- style STEM teaching strategies from experts right here on campus,” Brunsell said.

Earlier this semester, a second group of Thai students visited campus. A colleague of Brunsell’s at a different institution had intended to host undergraduate students from Bangkok’s Kasetsart University in Bangkok, known internationally for academic excellence.

In the end, those plans fell through. That’s when Brunsell stepped in to organize a visit to UW Oshkosh instead. The group arrived on campus in late January and stayed through mid-February. The instructor, Suporntip Pupanead, remains on campus through mid-March, working with faculty and academic staff in UWO’s Department of Health and Human Kinetics Education.

The undergraduate student group included six teacher education students nearing the end of their studies.

Both student groups had the opportunity to visit classrooms within the Oshkosh School District. The visits were beneficial experiences for both the Thai students and the Oshkosh teachers.

“Thank you so much to UW Oshkosh for allowing these students to visit our classroom. Right now, we are doing a unit on ‘culture’  and it is very hard to teach, especially since our students have limited experiences,” said Teri Rucinski, a third-grade teacher at Webster Stanley Elementary School.

According to Zong Vang, a second-grade teacher at Webster Stanley Elementary, she really enjoyed the experience and loved how the Thai students appreciated everything about the school, community and environment.

“It’s been so much fun having the students from Thailand in our classroom. My students have enjoyed asking questions and interacting with them. Having the Thai students in my classroom really forced me to look at our educational system through a different lens,” said Stacey Thiede, a teacher at Webster Stanley.

 

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WAC POSTER 2 copy.pagesAn event hosted by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Department of Music will offer an opportunity to hear great new musical works created by young composers.

The Wisconsin New Music Festival takes place Saturday, Feb. 25, in the UW Oshkosh Music Hall. The music festival–revived by the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers this year after a 15-year hiatus–will include two free concerts of new music by Wisconsin composers at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Student and adult composers from across Wisconsin will travel to UW Oshkosh to hear performances of their music by UW Oshkosh faculty and students and receive recognition for their work.

“The students will benefit from hearing their original works performed live by student and/or faculty musicians, meeting UW Oshkosh faculty, and interacting with other student composers from around the state,” said Ed Martin, associate music professor at UW Oshkosh.

Martin said hearing one’s original work performed live in a concert hall is an extremely important learning experience in a young composer’s artistic development.

“This promises to be an exciting event for the Department of Music and university that celebrates the creativity of both student and professional composers from Wisconsin and showcases the outstanding musicianship of UW Oshkosh faculty and student musicians,” Martin said.

Concert 1

The 5:30 p.m. concert will feature performances of winning compositions from the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers’ recent Student Composition Competition–including first prize and honorable mentions in three categories: primary school, high school and undergraduate.

The students were selected through a blind judging process. The composition of one UW Oshkosh student, senior Christian Jesse, will be featured as a winner in the undergraduate category.

UWO student performers will be Hope Larson, alto saxophone; Ashton Boyd, piano; Erica Kennedy, bass; Cam Anderson, drums; Caitlin Kirchner, violin; Blane Dille, alto saxophone; Patrick Lang, violin; Tyler Dworak, violin; Aaron Cornelio, viola; and Nathan Franz, viola.

Faculty performers will be Ed Martin, piano; Drew Whiting, soprano saxophone; Dylan Chmura-Moore, trombone; and Eli Kalman, piano.

Concert 2

The 7:30 p.m. concert will feature works by professional Wisconsin composers selected through a blind submission process.

UW Oshkosh student performers will be Megan Wilson, clarinet; Blane Dille, alto saxophone; Danny Noonan, trumpet; Sarah Williams, piano; and Cam Anderson, Logan Fisher, Jim Keuler, Mason Lee and Seth Scherer, percussion.

Several UW Oshkosh faculty members also will be performing: Eli Kalman, piano; Linda Pereksta, flute; Sharon Tenundfeld, viola; Ed Martin, piano; Allison Shaw, vibraphone.

 

Admission to the concerts is free and open to the public.

A small reception for participants will be held between the concerts, around 6:30 p.m., in the Music Hall lobby.

New Music Winners

Primary School (K-8) category

First place, Zoe Kraus, Appleton

Honorable mention, Siddharth Nadkarni, Hartland

Honorable mention, Marcus Wakefield, Oshkosh

Honorable mention, Greta Thoresen, Sheboygan

Honorable mention, Nora Otte, Van Dyne

High School Category

First place, Alexandra Semina, Brookfield

Honorable mention, Gabe Lemke, Madison

Honorable mention, Emily Warnke, Appleton

Undergraduate Category

First place, Christian Jesse, UW Oshkosh

Honorable mention, Darren Deal, Lawrence University

Honorable mention, Scott Keith Horton, UW La Crosse

 

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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Alumni Association is seeking nominations by March 25 for graduates interested in joining the Alumni Board of Directors.

At least four open positions are expected on the 24-member Alumni Board beginning in fall 2017. Self-nominations are accepted. Terms are for three years.

The board, driven by pride in UW Oshkosh’s successes, builds connections among alumni, students and the University.

wrstThe internet audio stream of WRST-FM at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is now available worldwide through Radio Garden, a new website that is part radio streaming portal and part art installation.

Radio Garden is the work of Studio Puckey in Holland. It uses real satellite imagery of Earth and adds green dots to locations that have participating radio streaming stations. Users can move a cursor around the globe to zoom in on a particular location and listen to the stream. The site also provides a link to the streaming station’s website. As users move the cursor between stations, one station will fade to static before the next fades in, just as if the person was using a radio tuner. One of the designers was quoted as saying that the use of satellite imagery rather than maps suggests there are no borders to radio.

The site was profiled on National Public Radio and in industry magazines, but the designers were not prepared for its popularity, with 12 million unique visitors its first month. Interestingly, the country with the most logons is India, followed by Brazil, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The popularity is a problem for this publicly-funded site, and the founders are trying to find a way to keep the service going without having to resort to advertising.

The WRST stream is one of about 8,000 worldwide included on the site. Those tuning in will hear WRST’s student-produced music, news and sports programs from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily and alternative music programs from the Global Community Radio Network at other times.

The WRST stream can also be accessed directly at www.wrst.org.

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

Nationally-ranked University of Wisconsin Oshkosh wrestler Mark Choinski has faced adversity his whole life.

The challenges, including times in his youth that he didn’t have food or a place to stay, remain firmly etched in his memory. But he’s found stability and a home at UW Oshkosh, thanks largely to the school’s wrestling program and coaches.

But before his days at UW Oshkosh, the circumstances of Choinski’s childhood were grim. He tells of long winter walks to high school in sandals–with two pairs of socks underneath soaked and freezing cold. He recalls running his feet under the faucet to thaw them before replacing the wet socks with a third dry pair he stuffed in his pocket.

His childhood was without assurances of food or shelter, parental guidance or comfort.

 

Stability

_DSC3279Choinski’s college dorm room at Gruenhagen Conference Center at UW Oshkosh has been the first place he can call his own–a comfortable place to lay his head each night. Obtaining a meal plan at Blackhawk Commons was big, too–the first time Choinski was able to eat consistently.

Choinski dropped out of high school his sophomore year but returned the following year at the urging of his wrestling coaches. The one-time dropout is now focused on is future and is a college sophomore studying business at UW Oshkosh.

Brian Wojciechowski, a firefighter and coach from New Berlin, has mentored Choinski since his days coaching wrestling at West Allis Central High School. He and his wife and two sons consider Choinski a member of their family. Wojciechowski helped Choinski fill out financial aid forms, get insurance, make a visit to UW Oshkosh and even helped with teaching him about ATMs, the post office and other life skills.

Wre2016_1201_16Choinski’s college experience is not as much about wrestling as it is about succeeding in life, those around him say.

“I would love to have him do really good and be a national champion,”Wojciechowski said. “But he’s mainly wrestling to get through school.”

UW Oshkosh Head Wrestling Coach Efrain Ayala is working to keep Choinski focused–on the wrestling mat and off.

“Some of the stories he’s told me are unbelievable and no child should ever have to go through,” Ayala said. “We want to let young people know that anyone is able to attend college as long as they’re willing to put forth the work. I have done a lot of recruiting and too many times we have student-athletes who were told they weren’t fit for college, couldn’t make the grade or couldn’t afford it.”

Life-saver

Ayala believes wrestling saved Choinski’s life.

As a child, Choinski dealt with parents who struggled with addictions and who were in an out of the justice system. Choinski knows about drug houses and fighting to keep he and his brother safe. The two fended for themselves for as long as Choinski can remember.

They were “bouncing”–as they call it–to many different homes and were lost in “the system.” He never was in a school for more than a year and most of time he saw multiple classrooms and teachers in a single school year. He recalls bouncing around–and trying to stay away from violence and drugs that were prevalent.

There were no holidays and no presents. There was no family structure and the brothers basically were raising themselves. Choinski said one week during his fifth grade year stuck out: his parents were not at home. For days, no one came to help. Choinski and his brother fended for themselves at a place with no electricity and no drinkable water.

Through high school, Choinski essentially was homeless and stayed at friends’ houses or with anyone who would take him in for the night.

He dropped out of high school his sophomore year. Coaches reached out to him, convincing him to return to school and be part of the school wrestling team.

“Since he had missed an entire year of school, he had to do online courses while attending regular class, working, wrestling and trying to figure out where he was going to stay for the night,” Ayala said.

The West Allis Central coaches helped Choinski win a Wisconsin high school state championship his senior year and more important–they helped him to graduate from school. His class rank, though, was in the bottom 10 percent.

Ayala, who had noticed Choinski’s wrestling prowess, said his staff came up with a plan to help Choinski attend UW Oshkosh and wrestle as a Titan.

Setting goals

Choinski first attended Fox Valley Technical College for two semesters–walking to classes from his dorm room at Gruenhagen. His strong performance eventually helped him achieve admission to UW Oshkosh.

Ayala has been mentoring Choinski, helping him set goals and surrounding his student with strong role models.

“There is a lot of anger and trust is a big issue,” Ayala said, noting Choinski was used to operating independently. “At first we butted heads. We’re okay now.”

Ayala, the first in his family to go to college, said he appreciates the opportunity for students like Choinski to get a college education.

Choinski is focusing on a degree in business management. The lessons already are helping him plan his own painting business for the summer. There are no Division III athletic scholarships and Choinski is determined to work a lot of hours to keep his borrowing and debt to a minimum.

For the next few weeks, he’ll continue to juggle classes and strive for a strong finish to his first college wrestling season.

Wre2016_1201_17On Feb. 10, Choinski won all four of his matches at the conference tournament at Platteville, becoming just the third UW Oshkosh Titan conference wrestling champion since 1999. Regional competition is Feb. 25 at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.

Choinski has his sights set on a national championship in the 157-pound weight class.

The past few years, he’s seen the UW Oshkosh wrestling program triple in size and gain a solid reputation.

“You will see us on the map,” Choinski said. “People are talking. We’re making noise.”

Determined

Jon Nelson, who was Choinski’s head coach in middle school and high school, said the wrestler has self-discipline to get the job done.

“I tell him he’s dealt with a lot and gotten through it,” Nelson said. “It means you can keep doing it.”

Nelson said wrestlers form a bond that is considered as strong as family. He said members of the West Allis Central Bulldogs–just like wrestlers at UW Oshkosh–have each other’s backs.

Nelson said long-term, he hopes Choinski has a “good and happy life and finds a job he likes.”

In wrestling, he knows his mental toughness will take him far.

Wojciechowski, the coach who took Choinski under his wing beginning in seventh grade, said the wrestler has a lot to work out as he moves to adulthood and being a productive member of society. A college degree is a great starting point.

“Really I hope he knows there are a lot of people who care about him and want him to succeed in life,” Wojciechowski said.

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The Northwestern, Feb. 19

The Northwestern, Feb. 17

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh American Democracy Project will host a roundtable conversation to discuss ethics, politics, voting and strategies for citizen engagement. The event–called Real Issues. Real Dialogue. Real Change.–takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, at Reeve Union Ballroom, Room 227BC, on the UW Oshkosh campus.

Anyone who wishes to engage in conversations about important issues or wishes to make change in the community, is encouraged to attend.

“I am always amazed at the productive and energized conversations students have at this annual event,” said Jennifer Considine, American Democracy Project faculty chair. “They seem to enjoy the low pressure opportunity to engage with instructors and other students about important local and global issues. Our hope is that these dialogues spark students to get engaged with issues that matter most to them.”

The roundtable is part of the American Democracy Project’s spring series of engagement and education events.

The mission of American Democracy Project is to encourage civic engagement and awareness among college students. On the UW Oshkosh campus, American Democracy Project runs voter registration drives, organizes candidate forums, sponsors speakers, encourages volunteerism and offers forms of engagement and service learning. The group is focused on higher education’s role in preparing the next generation to be informed, engaged citizens.

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