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For the first time in years, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has an active student Titan at the table of the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents.

Desmond Adongo

Desmond Adongo, 30, was appointed to the Board by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on May 31. He serves as the Board’s nontraditional student Regent and attended his first meetings at UW-Milwaukee on June 6 and June 7. The Governor’s office announced that his appointment will fill a vacancy created by the expiration of Regent Jennifer Staton’s term. Adongo’s term expires May 1, 2026.

“I am excited and humbled to be nominated for the non-traditional students’ Board of Regents role,” Adongo shared in the Governor’s announcement. “As a non-traditional student, I hope to bring a unique perspective to enhance and prioritize all student experiences on every UW campus regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. I look forward to collaborating with faculty, administrators, and students to establish, cultivate, and promote a vibrant and meaningful culture where current and future students are endowed with the tools for success.”

Adongo is a junior at UWO, majoring in economics and environmental studies. He’s also working on a certificate in geographic information systems.

Up-and-coming Regent

Adongo said a few of his UWO professors suggested he would be a good candidate and encouraged him to pursue the nontraditional student-Regent role.

The Governor’s office called in May and extended him the opportunity, which, for a student interested in graduate school and a future career in policy, represents an incredible experience.

Adongo’s UWO career began in 2012 after graduation from high school in Milwaukee. His family moved to the U.S. from Ghana in 2009. He stepped away from college after his first two years. He said he proactively decided to return to UWO in 2023 amid right-sizing at his former employer, Foot Locker Inc., where he served as a learning and development operations coordinator.

“I took that as a sign,” he said.

Adongo has wasted no time reengaging in UWO’s experiential-learning offerings.

As he steps forward as a Regent this summer, he is also serving as a part of the student-research team in the “Harmful Algal Blooms” (HABs) project, a $1.6 million National Science Foundation-funded study of the social and environmental conditions that contribute to toxic algal blooms in freshwater systems.

Students in the HABs project are collecting biophysical and ethnographic data and analyzing toxicity of algal blooms and public perceptions about their impact to inform outreach, education and future policy.

“We’re not going to abandon growth, but we need to do so sustainably,” Adongo said, reflecting on the value of his experience and future degrees.

Learn more:

Gov. Evers Appoints Three Regents to the UW Board of Regents

Lake life: UWO students learn research skills while combating that ubiquitous blue-green algae

UWO awarded $1.6 million NSF grant for interdisciplinary research on toxic algae