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Alumni and Friends


As an alumnus or community member, your participation with and support of the UW Oshkosh History Department enables us to provide our students with additional resources for scholarships.

Drs. Braatz and Starr were two long-time faculty members of the history department at UW Oshkosh. Read about the careers of Braatz and Starr and learn about the impact they made on their students here.

Donate to an existing scholarship or establish a new one. Contact the department chair, Dr. Michael Rutz at


We invite you to connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Let us know what you are up to! Send additions and changes to Also, alums are on Facebook. Check the UWO History Facebook page.

Katelynn Sherwin '13

Katelynn Sherwin, ’13, Consumer Care Specialist

Katelynn received undergraduate degrees in history and psychology and has plans of pursuing graduate work in psychology. First, she is putting her skills to use in the business world, at Alta Resources.

1) Currently, I am a Consumer Care Specialist at Alta Resources representing Johnson and Johnson brands. I’m working towards joining their training team. I will then pursue my master’s degree and Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

2) My history major has given me many valuable skills to apply to this career path. Aside from being able to write and speak well, which is helpful in my current role, the analytical skills I have acquired helps me see both positive and negative trends in my work environment which will help me improve future training classes. Furthermore, the research skills that I have learned have prepared me tremendously for a career in I/O Psychology where research on how to make a business run more efficiently is absolutely necessary to be successful.

3) It may not be easy and you may hear “no” more than you hear “yes” but never give up! Connect with as many people as you can and be patient. We all have to start at the bottom. Just remember that in every role you are in, you are gaining valuable skills and experience that will help you achieve your long-term goals. Just have fun learning along the way!

Rachel Raasch '12

Rachel Raasch, ’12, Technical Support/Customer Service Representative and part time CNA

Ms. Raasch earned her B.A. in History from UWO in 2012 and is now a technical support/customer service representative and part time CNA. She is currently pursuing her Associate of Applied Science degree and running for Appleton City Council, District 6.









1) What career or course of study are you in right now?

I’m currently pursuing an AAS in software development. While I’m in school, I’m paying the bills by working full time as a technical support/customer service representative and part time as a CNA. I’m also running for Appleton City Council, District 6.

2) How does your history major help you in this career or course of study?

For one thing, having a bachelor’s degree means all my gen eds are done, so getting any associates degree is a snap. Secondly, having a degree in history gives you a huge competitive edge in any field because you are going to be able to absorb and analyze information better than almost any other candidate. In an IT job, you can teach people how to code, but you can’t teach the “soft skills” that you’ll get through a liberal arts education. The critical thinking and time management skills that I acquired through studying history have definitely set me apart in the workplace. Plus, I can translate hieroglyphs and what employer isn’t going to be impressed by that?

3) Do you have any advice for current history majors who will be on the job market soon?

What I wished someone had told me upon graduation is that you have to start somewhere. You may not get your dream job right away, but the job you start in will help you refine your skill set, and learn what employers value most in an employee. Don’t ever stop believing in yourself. You may feel like you’re being brushed aside initially, but once you have a chance to prove yourself, you will really stand out. And please, PLEASE get involved with politics. We need you!

Sara (Wilkomm) Held '11

Sara (Wilkomm) Held, ’11, M.S. Candidate in Community Counseling

Sara (Wilkomm) Held graduated from the History Department in 2011, after publishing her senior thesis, “A Movement Without A Face: Anonymity and the Push for Women’s Rights in 1800s America,” in the Oshkosh Scholar journal. She is now pursuing her master’s degree, and a career in community counseling.


1) What career or course of study are you in right now?

I am 3/4 of the way done in the Community Counseling program. I am applying for the Psych doc program come this fall (so fingers crossed!)

2) How does your history major help you in this career or course of study?

My end goal has always been to be a Professor, which was inspired by the Professors I had at UWO. I also took a wide variety of classes at UWO which gave me a solid foundation prior to coming here.

3) Do you have any advice for current history majors who will be on the job market soon?

My advice would be think outside the box. You never know where your degree could take you!

Matt Pietruczak '10

Matt Pietruczak, ’10, Attorney

After finishing his history degree, Matt went to law school at the University of Wisconsin and is now an attorney in a firm specializing in the representation of biotech and life science firms.


1) What career or course of study are you in right now?

I am a business/transactional attorney working for a law firm focused on the life sciences and high tech industries. Typical work for us ranges from routine corporate transactions (e.g., the hiring of an executive officer), technology licensing deals, to venture capital rounds of financing and mergers and acquisitions transactions.

2) How does your history major help you in this career or course of study?

My studies in history have helped me prepare for law school and working as an attorney. The exercise of researching a particular topic and drafting a research paper—however long it may have been—was particularly helpful. Such work teaches you how to research a topic, develop an understanding of it, organize your thoughts, interpret the research, and put the foregoing on paper in such a way that will make sense to the reader. Such a skill is of great value in business and law, and other fields I’m sure.

3) Do you have any advice for current history majors who will be on the job market soon?

Go out there and meet people who have ties to your industry/career/position of interest. If you go out there frequently and are genuinely interested in the people you meet, you will likely develop long-lasting relationships that will be rewarding on many different levels. Many jobs are found through someone the job seeker knows. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to people that are in senior positions in your desired field; they will often take the time to grab a coffee, share experiences, and help you in some way.

Todd Olson '08

Todd Olson, ’08, Active Duty Army Officer, MBA Candidate

After finishing his history degree at UWO in 2008, Mr. Olson was commissioned as an active duty Army officer, specializing in transportation and logistics. He was twice deployed to Afghanistan. Soon, he’ll be pursuing his Master’s in Business Administration at the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University.


-The History department at The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh was instrumental in providing me with critical reasoning, researching, and communication skills necessary to advance in my career.

-The critical thinking, researching, and writing skills I learned from the History department at UW Oshkosh have been crucial in my ability to succeed in my career.

-Since graduating in May of 2008, I have been an active duty Army Officer working in Transportation and Supply Chain Management. During my time in the Army, I have lived in Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma, as well as spending two years in Afghanistan.

Jordan Wilms '06

Jordan Wilms, ’06, Records Management Consultant for a UN agency in Germany

After graduating from our department, Mr. Wilms directed a small museum in South Dakota, directed economic development for a Minnesota county, and earned his master’s in public administration before getting a job with a UN agency in Germany.


1) What career or course of study are you in right now?

I graduated with a B.A. with a major in History and a minor in German from UWO in 2006. I also received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2010. From 2007-2009 I was the director of the Tri-State Museum in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. From 2009-2013, I worked as the Director of Economic Development for Houston County, Minnesota. Last April, I moved with my family to the Köln, Germany area, and since September 2013 have been working as a Records Management Consultant for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn.

2) How does your history major help you in this career or course of study?

My history major, together with the practical experience I gained interning and volunteering at the Oshkosh Public Museum ultimately led to me landing my first professional job at a small museum in South Dakota called the Tri-State Museum. I was the director with two part-time paid staff and over 30 volunteers. This job also led me back to school, as I wanted to learn to be a better manager, I studied Public Administration. My career path took a major turn in 2009, when I accepted a job as the Economic Development Director for Houston County, MN. My hope at the time was to pursue a career in city/county administration, and this seemed to be a good step in that direction. My wife is originally from Germany, and after the birth of our daughter in 2012, we decided to move to Germany to be near her family.

Since moving abroad, I have been working to get back into the field of historic preservation, and my experience at the Tri-State Museum led me to my current position. I currently work as a records management consultant for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. My work primarily includes appraising a backlog of historic documents for their preservation or destruction, and then implementing that work. The organization also has a historic collection of artifacts from their earlier conferences/events which also need to be appraised and preserved. My history degree and the skills I gained through my museum work have helped me immensely in this field.

3) Do you have any advice for current history majors who will be on the job market soon?

– During my time at UWO, I did a one semester internship and then volunteered for an additional 1.5 years at the Oshkosh Public Museum. During my internship I gained a broad overview of museum management and operations, as well as hands on experience accessioning artifacts into the museum database, and writing artifact descriptions. This experience was invaluable to my job search and ultimately landing a job in a museum. If you are looking at a career in historic preservation, I highly recommend getting in touch with the Oshkosh Public Museum.
– I can’t stress enough the importance of networking within your desired field, and it’s never too early to begin. In the museum field, keep an eye on national, regional and state associations. The ones I am most familiar with such as the American Alliance of Museums, Association of South Dakota Museums and Mountain Plains Museum Association all keep updated job boards, and usually offer discounted rates for students to attend their conferences. You never know when you might meet somebody who can help you get your foot in the door.
– For the past seven months I have been working as a consultant to the UNFCCC in their records management department. This is a growing field of work not only within public institutions but also in private businesses as well. The records management department has grown from one staff in 2008 to five today in our organization with plans on further expansion in the next few years. This field meshes traditional physical records management (i.e. archiving) with digital records management. Two of the five people in the department I work in have a degree in history. My advice is to research the field of records management, especially if you have a background or interest in information systems as well.
– Search far and wide for jobs. When I was searching for work in a museum, I applied for jobs as far away as Alaska. Sometimes smaller museums don’t post on the statewide job boards and you have to find their ads in local newspapers or on their websites. It takes a lot of time, but if you do find such openings, there can be a smaller pool of qualified candidates.

David Rugowski '80

David Rugowski, ’80, MS, CAADC, CRC, LCPC

David Rugowski, a Rehabilitation Counselor Senior, focused on European history while at UWO, and has since worked in both marketing and counseling. Read on to know how he parlayed a study of history into two seemingly unrelated fields.

My name is David Rugowski and I am a proud graduate of UW-Oshkosh with degrees in the field of History (BS in 1980 with an emphasis in European History; MA in 1984 with an emphasis in Historical Services).  Although I have never worked in the field of history, I believe my studies in this field have been invaluable to me in my professional career.  The skills that I obtained in these academic pursuits have been used everyday in my career.  I have learned that the study of history is so much more than an examination of events and corresponding dates.  The skills I refer to are the ability to collate ideas; conceptualize thoughts; complete effective research; write with brevity and clarity; identify sources of information; recognize trends and patterns; and, gain an appreciation for humanity.  Most important, the skill set that I obtained in my history studies have been transferrable skills which I have taken with me to the various positions I have held and have used these skills on a daily basis.  Further, my studies in history have proved to be a strong foundation for my career and additional academic pursuits.

Upon completion of my MA degree in 1984, I obtained a position as Director of Marketing in a healthcare organization. After several years, I began doing consulting work in the healthcare field working with physicans’ offices in rural settings (that served high numbers of elderly and financially poor patients) to become federally certified Rural Health Clinics.  My employers for both of these positions informed me that I was hired specifically because of the skill set I had obtained in my history studies.  As time passed, I decided on a career change which caused me to pursue another Master’s degree.  I obtained an MS degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1997.  As a point of interest, my MS program entrance review committee informed me that I was given approval to enter this graduate study program based upon my portrayed skill set obtained through my history studies even though I had not previously completed academic work in the counseling field. Subsequently, I have worked at a local hospital for 17+ years as a substance abuse and mental health counselor.  Once again, my skill set obtained from my history studies has served me well whether taking patient histories, engaging patients in individual or group therapy sessions, or, writing concise progress notes on patient activities.  Most recently, my current position is as Rehablitation Counselor Senior with the State of Illinois in which I work with persons with various disablilities and assist them with gaining entrance to the job market.  I continue to maintain the credentials of LCPC (state Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor), CRC (nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor), and, CAADC (state Certified Advanced Alcohol and other Drug Counselor).

I have recently turned age 60 and now have one eye focused on retirement.  As I review my professional career and the academic pursuits which have helped me throughout, I believe that my history studies served as the foundation which enabled me to have a varied and successful career.  I highly endorse the study of history (or any of the humanities) as a basis upon which to build a career.

Gary Dundas '71

Gary Dundas, ’71, retired

Gary Dundas, Class of 1971. Recently retired after 38 years with Allstate Insurance Company.

“I look back on my days at Oshkosh with great happiness…..History helped me understand other people, places and times. I benefited so much not only from what I learned from books but what I learned from fellow students and teachers. In the late 60’s and early 70’s Vietnam divided the campus and country so that was a major influence on me. Today’s students will also benefit from any opportunity to discuss and reflect on the issues of the day.

History for me was just a launching pad to begin life’s journey as an ” adult.” It opened up the world and introduced me to American, European, Asian and African culture and thought. I think any history graduate will enter the world more rounded, more open to other people and ideas and more confident in what they have done and the great things they will do going forward.”

Contact Us

UW Oshkosh
Department of History
Sage Hall, Room 3003 and 3464
Phone: (920) 424-2456

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Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards


2017/18 Wayne Wiegand

2016/17 Paul Stellplug

2015/16 John Schuh

2014/15 Heather E. Freund

2013/14 Ann Kunkle-Jones


UWO Department of History

Sage Hall, Room 3003 and 3464
Phone: (920) 424-2456


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