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DSC1714_Tyler Romenesko ’13, was nearing the end of his degree program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh when he was assigned a capstone writing project. The assignment was to find a problem and propose a research-based solution.

Already employed in law enforcement for the city of Kaukauna, Romenesko knew right away that he wanted to write a proposal for a K-9 unit. “K-9” refers specifically to a dog that is trained to assist law enforcement officers. Romenesko explained that a K-9 unit helps protect officers, apprehend suspects and connect with the community in a positive way.

But the greatest use for a K-9 unit in Kaukauna would be to improve drug detection abilities for the Kaukauna Police Department and to deter drug use, sale and manufacturing in the city.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, heroin and other opioid-related deaths are an increasing problem in Wisconsin. The percentage of deaths in Wisconsin that involved heroin has increased from 5 percent in 2006 to nearly 30 percent in 2013, which is the most recent data collected by DHS.

Kaukauna is not immune from the state’s rising statistics, with Outagamie County among the top counties for the number of drug crimes in Wisconsin.

After researching K-9 use in combating drug-related deaths and crimes, Romenesko wrote his proposal for the class. But while most capstone projects are completed at the end of the semester, Romenesko’s work wasn’t over. After discussing it with his instructor, Jennifer Bucholz, Romenesko considered turning his idea into a reality. And that’s exactly what Romenesko did.

He presented the proposal to his department chief, assistant chief and lieutenant. Romenesko said he was a little shocked when all three responded with great enthusiasm. Bucholz, however, wasn’t as surprised.

“Tyler selected a real world problem and used sound research techniques to determine viability,” Bucholz said. “He had all the information necessary to move this project forward.”

With approval from the department, Romensko started a K-9 committee to present the proposal to the Kaukauna City Council and to help keep the project moving forward. The committee chair, Trevor Frank, also helped the cities of Appleton and Menasha raise money for their K-9 units.

“Knowing what I know about Kaukauna, I felt the need was definitely there,” Frank said. “I felt it was my civic responsibility to help out.”

The Kaukauna City Council approved the committee’s plan, provided the committee could raise $90,000 to cover the unit’s expenses for the first three years. After three years, the council agreed to cover the costs of maintaining the unit.

Romenesko took the project to the community, and he was amazed by their support. “This needed to be a community effort, and it has been,” he said.

From a high school fund drive that raised more than $17,000, to raffles and brat frys, Romenesko and his committee worked hard to raise the money. Some of the largest supporters came from local businesses.

“The businesses and citizens of Kaukauna have been generous, and it is a real community effort. Everyone from pre-school age children to local businesses have been so supportive. It is an impressively close-knit community,” Frank said.

The committee was able to raise the full amount of $90,000 in one year. The funds cover start up expenses like the handler’s salary, a car, equipment, and of course—the dog.

The Dutch Shepherd named Rocko and his handler Lucas Meyer spent six weeks this fall training in New Mexico. Their first day on the job in Kaukauna was Oct.1, 2015.

As Romenesko reflects to how this all began with a capstone project at UW Oshkosh, he thinks about the support of his community and the skills he built as a UW Oshkosh student.

“The Leadership and Organizational Studies program allowed me to better understand a project of this size,” Romensko said. “It also helped me understand that it would take the whole community to make it happen.”

For more information on the Kaukauna K-9 project, please visit its Facebook page. Donations for the project are being managed by the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

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TiedemannRuss2The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh lost an athletics icon of historic measure when legendary baseball coach Dr. Russell Tiedemann passed away Monday, Nov. 23 in Wausau at the age of 84.

Tiedemann coached the Titans from 1968-69 and 1971-88, building the program into a national power. He was at the helm for one national championship, 15 conference titles and more than 500 victories.

Tiedemann led UW Oshkosh to 10 straight WIAC championships from 1979-88. He also guided the Titans to eight NCAA Division III World Series appearances and three NAIA World Series visits.

“The entire UW Oshkosh athletics community lost a great man, a great coach and a legendary figure in Russ Tiedemann,” said UW Oshkosh Director of Athletics Darryl Sims. “He was an outstanding representative of this university and paved the way for our baseball program to become a major player at the national level. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Irene and the entire Tiedemann family.”

In 1985, UW Oshkosh became the first school from Wisconsin to win the NCAA Division III Baseball World Series when it defeated Marietta College (Ohio), 11-6, in the championship game. The Titans captured the title by advancing through the loser’s bracket after suffering a defeat in their opening game.

UW Oshkosh concluded the 1985 season with a 37-3 record. Tiedemann, who recorded his 400th and 401st coaching victories at the World Series, was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year following his team’s performance. He also was selected as the NAIA Coach of the Year in 1974.

Tiedemann concluded his 20-year baseball-coaching career at UW Oshkosh with a 501-165-2 record. His win total and .748 winning percentage both rank third in WIAC history.

In addition to UW Oshkosh’s 37-3 record in 1985, Tiedemann also coached the Titans to records of 37-5 in 1987, 29-4-1 in 1983, 31-4 in 1981 and 17-5 in 1975. His 1987 team and the 1988 squad that posted a 28-8 record finished second at the NCAA Division III World Series.

Tiedemann saw 28 of his players sign professional baseball contracts, including Jim Gantner, who played 17 years for the Milwaukee Brewers, and other major leaguers Dorian Boyland, Terry Jorgensen, Dan Neumeier and Gary Varsho.

Tiedemann’s accomplishments have led to inductions into the halls of fame for UW Oshkosh (1978), the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association (1983), the NAIA District 14 (1990), the American Baseball Coaches Association (1992) and the WIAC (2015).

In 2012, he was selected the WIAC Baseball All-Time Co-Coach in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration.

Tiedemann, who served as UW Oshkosh’s director of athletics during the 1987-88 school year, was a letter winner for the Titans in football, basketball and track & field. The Kimberly High School graduate ended his UW-Oshkosh basketball career with 991 points and two all-conference awards.

Tiedemann earned a bachelor’s degree in education from UW Oshkosh (1955), master’s degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado (1964) and doctorate in education from the University of Utah (1971).

Following his graduation from UW Oshkosh, Tiedemann taught and coached at Hortonville High School from 1955-60 and Rhinelander High School from 1960-65. He then returned to UW Oshkosh in 1965 to teach physical education classes and coach basketball, baseball and football.

UW Oshkosh named its baseball field after Tiedemann on May 7, 1989.

Tiedemann and his wife, Irene, are parents of daughters Kathy, Patricia and Susan and son, Rusty.

Public visitation will be Monday, Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 426 Washington St. • Wausau, 54403. The funeral service will be held at the church, beginning at noon.

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

The Northwestern, Nov. 25

uwothanksUWOTThe season of thanks kicked off last week as dozens of alumni who also work at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh enjoyed a special appreciation breakfast.

Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and Alumni Director Christine Gantner praised the Titans X 2 alumni-employees for their dedication to UW Oshkosh at the Friday event, sponsored by Alumni Relations, University Books & More and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Leavitt said that UWO is strengthened through this core group of alumni-employees who have the university’s pride and traditions “incorporated into their DNA,” while Gantner added that more than 500 of UWO’s dedicated employees have degrees from the institution.

Ahead of the breakfast, a number of Titans X 2s shared what they are most thankful for at UW Oshkosh. Many mentioned the “opportunity” to learn, grow and succeed.

“I’m thankful that when I was a student there were many faculty and staff who truly cared about my success,” said Wayne Abler ’83, instructional television services in Learning Technologies. “They provided help beyond the walls of the classroom and served as great mentors and role models. Now that I’m an employee at UW Oshkosh, I’m thankful to see that there are still many staff and faculty with the same dedication and passion for our mission. I feel privileged to work with a group of colleagues who demonstrate unwavering dedication in the face of many challenges.”

Karen Gibson ’86 and MA ’90, an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Services, said she received a solid education that served as the basis for her continued academic success.

“As a tenured faculty member here at UW Oshkosh, I take great pride in calling this campus my home as an undergraduate and graduate student. I am thankful for the academic, creative and social avenues this campus provided me,” she said.

Others also noted the excellent education and support they received as students at UW Oshkosh.

Byron Adams ’02 and MS ’13, a counselor/adviser of first-year students with the Division of Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence (ASIE), said he is grateful for the “multicultural support programs that helped me stay in school as an undergrad.”

Kelsey McDaniels ’12, an associate adviser in International Education, appreciates the quality professors, small-class sizes and study-abroad opportunities she experienced as a French major at UW Oshkosh.

The welcoming campus community also impresses UWO’s alumni-employees with its numerous resources and supportive colleagues.

Michael Flanagan ’71, a math skills specialist with ASIE, said “I am most thankful for the spirit of sharing ideas and the compassion that we as faculty, staff and students have for each other.”

Marci Hoffman ’05 and MS ’08, student services coordinator in Graduate Studies, said “I’ve been on campus for so many years, it feels like home.”

UW Oshkosh continues its #uwothanks social media campaign throughout November. Please share you comments below or use the hashtag to tell us what you are most thankful for at UWO.

teacherfordayEach year, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) recognizes two outstanding alumni with a Professor for a Day opportunity.  

This year, Tammy Huenink ‘95, and David Farin ‘91, were invited back to campus to speak to students and be honored at a luncheon hosted by COEHS and the UW Oshkosh Foundation. The purpose is to honor alumni who have made significant contributions to their profession and to give them a day to interact with college students who are presently enrolled in teacher education, counseling and human services programs. The Professor for a Day program is supported through a fund at the UW Oshkosh Foundation.

Huenink currently teaches 8th grade science at Sheboygan Falls Middle School. Each day she shares her love of learning and passion for the natural environment.

“In my 21 years of teaching, it still makes me smile when a student states ‘I get it!'” she said.

Huenink and Provost Lane Earns.

Huenink and Provost Lane Earns.

Throughout her career, she has been honored for her outstanding teaching, including with a SMART Exemplary Educator award in 2008, a Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers (WSST) Excellence in Science Education award in 2011 and named to the Top 10 Sheboygan Falls Teachers list in 2015.

In addition to teaching, Huenink serves at the president of WSST, an organization she credits with helping to push her out of her comfort zone,  find her voice for science education and become a better educator.

“When it was time to nominate someone for Professor for a Day, I immediately thought of Tammy,” said Eric Brunsell, teaching and learning associate professor at UW Oshkosh.

Farin and Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.

Farin and Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.

Farin teaches specially designed or adapted physical education in seven different elementary schools within the Neenah Joint School District. Since 1999, he has mentored the human kinetic and health education adapted physical education practicum students in their field placements.

“Dave has been a valuable resource as a cooperating teacher in the school to our physical education majors,” said Christy Tipps, human kinetics and health education chair.

In his free time, Farin loves the outdoors and serves as the High Ropes Course Adventure Facilitator for Lutheran Social Services; is a whitewater kayak, canoe and swiftwater rescue instructor; a bicycle ambassador for the Appleton Police Department; a section chief for the Fox Valley Marathon and a volunteer with the Down Syndrome Association of the Fox Cities Awareness Walk. Most recently, Farin has been working on the development of an app for use with special needs students within the physical education environment.

While on campus, Huenink and Farin were asked to comment on keeping the passion in the teaching, despite what is going on in the world of education today.

“Cheer on! It gets better,” Farin said. “Keep doing what is right for the kids and the institutions.”

“I like to tell my students teaching middle school is an adventure,” Huenink said.  “Education isn’t always easy.  We [teachers] have a passion for what we do.”

Since 1972, the College of Education and Human Services has sponsored Professor for a Day.

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WRST-FM at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is joining student radio stations around the world in airing a special radio program in support of the people of France in the wake of the recent terror attacks.

The program also demonstrates solidarity with French college radio, which lost one of its own during the attacks. Claire Tapprest, a former student who was instrumental in running the student radio station, OnAir MS – La Radio de Neoma Business School, Campus de Reims, was inside the Bataclan theatre venue when the attacks occurred and was killed.

The program is called “We Stand With France: Student Radio Around The World Unites” and features messages of support from twelve countries around the world: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the U.S.  It will air over WRST at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The program has aired on college radio stations across France as well as on college radio stations around the world.

The program was put together by Rob Quicke, associate professor of communication at William Paterson University, who is co-founder of World College Radio Day. WRST has participated in College Radio Day events every year since its inception in 2011.

WRST programming can be heard at 90.3 on the FM dial in the Oshkosh area and worldwide at www.wrst.org.

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


The Northwestern, Nov. 20

JordanCarpenterElite90Jordan Carpenter, a senior from Ashwaubenon, won the Elite 90 award at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships Awards banquet for having the highest GPA at the national meet.

Carpenter also finished in 11th place at the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 21 and earned his first All-America award. Carpenter helped lead the Titans to a 13th-place finish.

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The Engineering Club at UW Oshkosh provides students with opportunities to learn more about the engineering field through visits to manufacturing plants, where students learn about production processes, apply knowledge gained in the classroom to real industrial settings and meet employers in northeastern Wisconsin.

The club is open to students in all majors.

Kevin Jooss, a junior mechanical engineering technology major from Omro, said participating in the Engineering Club has helped assure him he chose the right major.

“Going on trips with the club and seeing what you get to do and the skills you’ll need has really helped me know what to expect when I graduate,” Jooss said.

For Juan Cabrera, a junior mechanical engineering technology major from the Dominican Republic, being involved in the club has helped him learn more about what to expect as an engineering technologist.

“Through our trips with the club we make a lot of contacts with engineers in the area,” Cabrera said. “It opens doors for internship opportunities, you get to know a little bit about the company and you also gain knowledge in the field.”

Jamal Arafeh, a sophomore mechanical engineering technology major from Jordan, Oman, said Engineering Club helps students prepare for their future careers by visiting manufacturing plants.

“Engineering Club is important because we make trips to different countries in the area, we get to learn more about the processes in these companies, meet engineers and gain experience,” Cabrera said. “I’ve already made a lot of contacts with people in the engineering field in the area, and they are excited about offering internship opportunities to us.”


Watch the video to learn more about Engineering Club:


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