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Portrait photo of John Kokor

Dear Friends of the College of Letters and Science,

If nothing else, recent events in our state have more than ever heightened awareness and solidified the consensus regarding the precious value of education.  We at the University do not try to teach students what to think; rather we strive at every turn to teach them how to think.  We use the power of the arts, the humanities, the sciences and the social sciences to present students with the knowledge and skills to navigate through these complicated and uncertain times.  No one wants to leave our children and grandchildren in debt.  Simply leaving them debt free, however, with no means to think critically, problem solve and learn is a short-sighted goal, one that may make us feel better now but leaves the future population unequipped to deal with issues that seem eternal.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Highlights and are impressed, as I am, with the wide range of exciting projects in which our faculty and students are involved.  The featured stories are examples of the high-impact learning opportunities that we support. They are invaluable to our educational mission and they are a great source of pride.

I invite you to share ways in which your education helped you to prepare for life after college. And I invite you to become involved as we explore new ways to enhance our students’ educational opportunities. 


John Koker, Dean

Med Tech at UW Oshkosh

Hailey Thimmig pulls on her bright purple hospital gloves and puts on her white lab coat. Cautiously, she picks up a test tube filled with a blood sample. She rotates the test tube a few times, punches some numbers into a computer and pops the test tube into the Culter Counter, a cell counting machine. Thimmig, a third-year student in the medical technology program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, is learning the ins and outs of being a medical technologist, the professional who tests the fluids of a patient, reads the results and interprets the information for doctors. On this day in the Introduction to Hematology class, Thimmig practices using the cell counting instrument. She is among about 100 students majoring in medical technology, a program headed by director John Strous since 1991.
For the complete story including audio and video podcasts, see Lab Results: Med Tech at UW Oshkosh.

TeresaLindandStudentIn Teresa Lind's Advanced Sculpture class, students are taught to respect the power of the flame, especially during a metal pour when the liquid bronze gets upwards of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. At a December pour, the heat is oppressive in the foundry, which is located in the basement of the Arts and Communication building at UW Oshkosh. The pour team gets ready for a sauna-like, yet profound, experience. Lind, who has taught in the Department of Art since 2007, keeps a close watch over the operation. The pour is run like a well-oiled Broadway production. Everyone has a role and everyone must be in sync. Unlike a play, however, a misstep in a metal pour could mean a trip to the ER.
For the complete story including video podcasts and photo gallery, see Stoking the Fire: The art of the Metal Pour.

Life on the Run title  card

With happy smiles, a few long pauses and plenty of introspection, two pillars of the UW Oshkosh athletic department donned their running shoes and jogged off together into the proverbial sunset. After three decades each of service to UW Oshkosh that included leading various Titans teams to 24 out of the school’s 42 NCAA Division III national championships, the married coaching couple, Deb Vercauteren and John Zupanc, has called it a career. 
For the complete story including audio podcasts and a photo gallery, see Life on the Run: The Story of John and Deb.

Jen Szydlik photo

Jennifer Szydlik, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, has been named a 2010 Regents Teaching Excellence Award winner. Each year, two $5,000 awards are given to faculty and academic staff members at UW System institutions in recognition of outstanding career achievement in teaching from the UW System Board of Regents.

For more, see the UW Oshkosh Today story on her award and Winning Math, which includes the video of Dr. Szydlik's acceptance speech at the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

Mark Mazur Trent Hilborn photo

UW Oshkosh student filmmakers Trent Hilborn and Mark Mazur are no strangers to the world of film making. Between them, they have worked on more than 60 films, three of which they co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced. In the short film CYCLE, their latest venture, they tell the story of a scientist, trapped in perpetual grief, who is pushed to the edge by his eternal need for redemption. Abandoning moral uncertainty, the scientist attempts to be the first to create life without reproduction.
For the complete story including movie trailers and video podcasts, see Young Filmmakers in Student Notes, which are short news and feature items relating to students in the College of Letters and Science.

For more highlights, please visit the College of Letters and Science Special Reports website.


UWO journalism project preserves fallen officer’s story
Craig Birkholz’s promising future in law enforcement ended in a Fond du Lac residential neighborhood, not the warzones he had dutifully served in and returned home from. Birkholz, 28, died March 20. The U.S. Army veteran and two-year officer with the Fond du Lac Police Department was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to an incident at a Fond du Lac residence. It is the first police killing in Fond du Lac in a half century. It is a tragic ending for a military veteran who had safely returned from war to earn a bachelor’s degree and pursue a career dream.

Alumni produce PBS Pioneers of Television Series
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumni Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein, both 1982 radio-TV-film graduates, have produced a Pioneers of Television series for national PBS. The four-part documentary series, which premiered Tuesday, Jan. 18, explores science fiction, Westerns, crime dramas and children’s TV shows.

German professor goes where Hollywood wouldn’t
After being heavily edited before its release in 1953, the archival soundtrack of Dr. Seuss’ only live action film, “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T,” has been restored with help from Alan Lareau, German professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Lareau heard about the film while writing his dissertation on Frederick Hollander’s work in Germany. A friend of Lareaus’s then suggested he research Hollander’s work in the U.S. Hollander, an internationally recognized German composer, fled Hitler and came to Hollywood in 1933. “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T” was one of his last and most ambitious American film scores.

A liberal arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh provides our graduates with endless possibilities. 

We hope you enjoyed reading about the students, faculty, staff and alumni that comprise the College of Letters and Science.  Please consider supporting current and future initiatives in the College by making a gift to support the College of Letters and Science Excellence Fund.

College of Letters and Science Excellence Fund – This fund represents the area of greatest need for the College.  These monies are used to support scholarships for students, professional development opportunities for faculty, and to bring speakers to campus. Such high impact opportunities are invaluable as they further enrich the liberal arts education we provide to our students.

Click here to make a gift to support COLS Funds at the UW Oshkosh Foundation. Please designate your gift for the COLS Excellence Fund.

For questions about establishing a scholarship fund or including COLS or a COLS Department in your estate plans, please contact Barbara Beuscher, COLS Director of Development, 920.424.2428 or beuscherb@uwosh.edu.

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