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Congratulations to Honors Alumni Bethany Lerch and Tracy Wilichowski, who will be honorees at UW Oshkosh’s Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, October 22, and will be receiving Outstanding Young Alumni Awards:

Bethany Lerch (German and International Studies, 2009)

Tracy Wilichowski (History and Philosophy; minor in Social Justice, 2012)

After completing their major requirements in concert with the Honors curriculum through what was then the University Honors Program (as it was known prior to the establishment of The Honors College in 2017), Bethany and Tracy proceeded, respectively, to continue their studies and to make significant contributions to their fields, to communities near and far, and to UW Oshkosh.

Bethany was awarded the Honors Medallion at the Honors Graduation Ceremony in fall 2009.

After graduation, Bethany received a Fulbright scholarship to Leipzig, Germany, to teach English. She then applied for a Rotary scholarship to attend the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland, where in 2011 she earned her first postgraduate degree, a Master of Letters in Terrorism Studies. From there, Bethany’s work and travel interests, informed by a commitment to teaching and service, including advocating for gender equality and for women and girls’ education in the Middle East and serving as an advisor and trainer for the Department of Defense and for NATO, beckoned her all over the globe. Bethany’s experiences, including her extensive travels and the opportunities to study abroad and to work with populations in many different locations, circumstances, and capacities, greatly influenced her determination to continue her education. She later returned to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where in 2020 she completed another master’s, an MSE, to earn the necessary credentials to work as a therapist. Bethany now resides in her hometown of Oshkosh, where she is a dedicated volunteer, an avid writer and reader, and an active member of her community. Bethany’s work as a counselor has evolved into her current and vital role as a psychotherapist for those who have experienced domestic violence and are seeking services and treatment.

Dr. Carlin and Tracy Wilichowski at the University of Cambridge, always a favorite stop on the HNRS 275: Culture Connection in London itinerary, in 2015.

While Tracy was finishing her studies here at UW Oshkosh, she was accepted into the Teach for America program. After graduating, Tracy moved to Florida to teach in the Miami-Dade Public School System, where she taught English and reading in Miami Gardens, and also began researching graduate programs and funding. She eventually received a Rotary International Global Grant Scholarship that afforded Tracy the opportunity to study international development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. During those years, Tracy made herself available to meet with, mentor, and advise Honors 275: Culture Connection students whenever they were studying abroad in London with Dr. Carlin. In 2015, she graduated from LSE with a Master of Science in Development Management. Tracy, whose hometown is Marathon, now resides in Washington, DC, where she is an analyst for The World Bank’s Education Global Practice team. Her responsibilities include studying and developing educational tools and providing multi-dimensional support to teachers, primarily in Africa and South Asia, in the effort to improve student learning. Tracy has returned to UW Oshkosh as a guest speaker on multiple occasions and has served as a liaison to Honors Students for more than six years. She was selected as our Honors Alumni Award recipient in 2016.

We send our sincere congratulations to Bethany and Tracy, and we look forward to keeping track of their news, of their fascinating careers, and of the adventures and accomplishments awaiting them.

Seniors in The Honors College, if you’re interested in learning about Rotary International’s scholarships, click here for details. See Rotary District 6220’s Global Grant Scholarships for 2022-2023 here!