Interview with Amanda Betts, 04/22/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Jacob Tisdale, Interviewer | uwocs_Amanda_Betts_04222016.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project |

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JT: We are here today on April 22nd, 2016 at 2:30 with Amanda Betts, and we are here in concerning the Alumni History Project. So Amanda we will first start out with just a couple background questions, so where did you live as a kid?

AB: Where did I grow up?

JT: Yeah.

AB: I grew up in a town called Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

JT: What was your neighborhood like in Mukwonago? Could you maybe talk about the demographic?

AB: Sure, the town itself is about ten thousand. Predominately white, middle income home, pretty an average Wisconsin town in all honesty. We were right outside of the Milwaukee area, so hop skip and a jump. We were kind of emerged in the city but Mukwonago could be pretty country as well. People couldn't pronounce it… But yeah about ten thousand.

JT: So what was your family like living in Mukwonago?

AB: Sure, so I have two parents and a sister I grew up with, an older sister. And my parents, my parents were originally from Ohio. They moved to southeast Wisconsin because my mom landed a teaching job. They lived in Mukwonago for 1:00forty-two years and they just moved. We had a pretty normal childhood, as happy as that sounds. It's nothing abnormal there.

JT: Could we maybe go through what was your high school experience there? A quick look overview.

AB: So my high school was actually fairly large, we had two thousand students [inaudible] we graduated with five hundred so my class was 500 students. I was a pretty active student in high school. I was a competition cheerleader. I played rugby, won state my junior year. I was a part of Waukesha teen leader's teen council; team leadership group, essentially we went around to different schools in southeast Wisconsin to advocate for healthy dating relationships and anti-tobacco. So it was kind of an odd mix but did that also in high school. Worked odd jobs like a babysitter, worked in a nursing home… so I was an 2:00active kid, pretty average student. Only because I was bored most of the time but obviously I was fine as a student as well. Completed four years, had some fun.

JT: Alright, what kinds of classes were you taking in high school to kind of prepare you for college?

AB: Well I took some AP (advanced placement) courses, I got a technical side of things so I took AP science, AP psych, I took AP Spanish, I took Spanish all through high school, I even did a study abroad while I was in high school for Spanish-- uhm I did take a couple speech classes as in terms of communication type courses. I always knew I was good at talking and I wasn't afraid of being on stage necessarily. But in my high school you weren't really free to take a lot of electives. Most electives were geared around AP courses if you qualified. So I tried to scoop up some of those to earn some credits before I got into college. But it was pretty much normal fare, I didn't do much outside the box.

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JT: coming into your senior year, what were your intentions as a major and college? In high school did you have any thought in were you wanted to go and what you wanted to do?

AB: (Giggles) Yeah so, my whole life pretty much told, you have no fear, you have confidence for days, you can be thrown in front of a group of people and do just fine so I always knew it was something with communication. I was actually considering the University of Columbia in Chicago, for some of their arts programs, communication programs. My senior year was an interesting mix of circumstances, my father lost his job, I had an uncle who was very close to us who passed away. So the thought of going out of state financially just wasn't an option. So I did look at the UW system itself. I knew I did not want to go to a school too close to home, so like Milwaukee was too close to home. Or any school that a majority of my high school was going because I wanted to grow and branch out. So when I was looking at… I wanted still big but not too big kind of 4:00looked like Madison and Oshkosh. What I did not like about Madison was that uhm, it was really spread out. And the fear of missing a school bus or missing a bus to miss class was bad so I toured Oshkosh, my hesitation there was that their communications degree was more radio TV film and that wasn't what I wanted to do. So my senior year I worked with some of my teachers on some writing to see if that was the skill set I had and I was kind of a natural writer. So then I chose Oshkosh for their journalism program.

JT: Did you apply to anywhere else besides UWO, I know you mentioned Madison, was that also one of the schools you also applied for?

AB: When it came down to applying… where did I apply? I can't remember… it was Oshkosh, La Crosse, which I didn't say before but I will put it in there because… I don't know, I have no idea why I picked La Crosse. It was La Crosse, Oshkosh were the main two, my parents also wanted me to apply to the school 5:00where they met. Which was in Ohio called Defiance, it's a small private college. They would have got alumni benefits, discounted tuition but I did not want to live that far away so it was really just those three. Defiance in Ohio, La Crosse, and Oshkosh.

JT: You mentioned that your family kind of had a little bit of a role in like what kind of colleges you went to, were there any other reasons that your family wanted you to go college? Was it something kind of expected?

AB: It was never not a thought. My mother is a teacher and my father he was pursuing a PHD prior to Vietnam. So education was always part of my family. Actually a majority of my aunts are teachers. So education was just a natural thing in my family. It was never really a thought of could I, should I, it was that's what I do.

JT: Upon touring were there any other reasons that you chose UWO that were appealing to you?

AB: To be a hundred percent honest, there is probably three main factors why I 6:00ended up finalizing with Oshkosh. One, I really liked the campus I loved how it was compact, it was a little of a control thing, I wanted to make sure if it was going to be able to do it I was going to do it on my own accord I liked the compactness of the campus. The second one was I had a specific journalism tour, I can't remember what they called it back then but they basically walked us through old Clow, back where journalism used to be held. And I got to be able to hear about some of the alum of the journalism program who gone on to do great things and that was really impressive to me. And honestly the third factor was also because my best friend wanted to come.

JT: Okay, so what was the year that you first entered college?

AB: The fall of 2006. Ten years ago.

JT: Did you have any hesitations before entering at that time, was there anything that you were concerned about or really nervous looking forward to into the future?

AB: No, honestly not I was ready to get going. I think my roommate and I moved in and we both screamed, my best and I, we screamed in excitement and never 7:00looked back.

JT: So I assume that your best friend was your roommate?

AB: Yes.

JT: So what dorm did you stay in your freshmen year?

AB: (Giggles) Clemens. Which is no longer in existence.

JT: Okay, what is that now? What was it replaced by?

AB: It is torn down, it was where the Horizon Village is now, there was three dorms. There was Clemens, [inaudible], and Nelson. I lived there my freshman year and after my freshmen year they turned those dorms into freshman only. And then they named it NBC, then they tore it down two years later.

JT: Were these dormitories Coed?

AB: Yeah.

JT: Were they separated by floors or were they…?

AB: My freshman year it was by floors; sophomore year it was by wing. That's how Fletcher does it right? It's like half the hall?

JT: I believe so.

AB: Yeah

JT: Were there any policies that you can recall that seem out of date? Was there 8:00anything you guys personally didn't agree with or policies involving guests?

AB: Yeah, can I say I broke the rules once?

JT: Yeah you're good.

AB: (laughs) Yeah I guess I can't get into trouble now, the policies in how many times someone can stay over in your room. We had a girlfriend who would come visit us she went to school in Madison, they did not have interim. So she came up while we were staying here for interim. And I think it was like only two consecutive nights you can have a guest from outside the university stay, I think she stayed in our room for like a week. (laughs) I'm not saying people should do that but it was kind of like… it was kind of a grey area. The other issue we always had was… I don't know if you still have them, what do they even call them CA's (Community Advisor)?

JT: Yep.

AB: PA's do they still have PA's?

JT: No they do not.

AB: So we had a PA, program…whatever her title was program assistant. She lived across the hall from us. She did not like us. So we were always tip toeing around her and she would always be trying to make up policies and rules how we 9:00could get in trouble. But we were so close to our CA's that we never actually got into trouble.

JT: so was your floor kind of rambunctious then? Or always kind of going out and being loud, is that kind of why your PA did not like you guys?

AB: Yes, simultaneously, we were in circumstance there was a girl on our floor, who was fatally allergic to latex. Honestly twist of events we never actually knew who she was she lived on the other floor I think she was more of a quiet girl we always had very strict rules about latex. Everything you can imagine that includes balloons, rubber bands, uhm so we were always being told and reinforced to how we were supposed to dispose of things, which I completely understand. But it was really intense, even on campus because of that one student. Even when they were painting, they had to put up latex. Two years later when we got our first apartment we moved in with two guys, one guy that was his girlfriend. So then two years later those same exact rules applied. Then ended 10:00up getting married. She actually ended up passing away because of her issues two years ago. So it was weird how all of that kind of came to be but, the only real policies I remember my freshman year was a lot of that latex stuff. Which was not her fault so yeah…

JT: So moving on, what was your general education like? Just maybe like a brief overview, of what classes you took and how big the classes were?

AB: So my entry as a freshman, I was one of the last classes, like one of the last groups of students who could choose the old journalism program. So when I first entered the journalism program had two different emphases… now it has like five. I chose to stick with the old program because it was advertising and public relations and I thought that was a good mix of writing and speaking and what my strengths were. So I know for a fact the curriculum has changed immensely since I have took my gen eds. But right away in the very beginning one of my very courses I remember taking was journalism 101 with professor Grace 11:00Lynn. I remember her being very honest about real life experience and that's what I gravitated most during my gen eds was a lot of my professors have lived it, done it, learned it, gone through it so that was very beneficial for me to learn from them. But yeah the beginning was all the base courses, I also entered into a higher level of Spanish, I minored in Spanish but I finished my minor pretty quick because my AP credits so I kind of jumped into higher level Spanish which was super intimidating, going from high school to college was a little scary. Not sure if I answered all your questions. I did not take all of my science credits right away which hindsight I would have done that differently. I ended up taking physics my very last semester which was terrifying, because I had to pass that in order to graduate and I didn't think I was going to because 12:00it was not my forte. I remember taking, because I was bachelor of arts, it was much more writing based which was my forte get me writing for days and I am fine. Then I remember having to take macroeconomics. It challenged me to my very core. I felt like I was a super smart student, I remember studying, I studied more for that class than any other of my classes combined. I still got like a c+ in it, that was like my worse grade ever in college it was awful. So I know I am not going to be an economics person in the future

JT: So you talked a lot about your classes that you struggled with, were there any that you really excelled in?

AB: Yeah, so, a couple were my favorite, it was called Diversity in Literature. It was interesting so growing up I had an aunt who was a librarian she would always buy me books and I never wanted to read them. It wasn't until that class we had to read all these different types of books and novels and short stories and books. We really had to read them because all of our tests were basically 13:00short answer essays. And I think I got like a one hundred and one percent in that class, I was totally enthralled with it. A lot great books that we read, books that dealt with diversity issues, ethical issues, things of that nature. I also did really well surprisingly with my intro to law course and I'm not much for lawyer speak. I surprised myself with how well I did in that course, I think I took a lot of the precedence and the cases and made them into short stories in my head to remember all of them. One of my favorite courses was an elective, it was women and madness, it was definitely an elective course. It was so insightful it was very interesting to learn about mental health and women's rights getting to study that. We were each assigned a real mental health patient from the turn of the century a real woman who existed and had to follow her story and basically do an essay on her and so we had to go through the archives 14:00here on campus and learn about them and their issues. Its interesting cause of what we know nowadays probably with what these people are growing through is a lot different than it is now with their issues. It was clear as day that my patient had post partem, it was evident, across the board. And by the time she had her sixth child and tried commit suicide it was evident that it was. She was hospitalized in an asylum in Madison and reading all the documents and the type of things they were doing it was crazy. Pun intended. Women and madness was a fantastic class that I really did well in. And any writing based… I started getting into my actual major courses that pertained to journalism were my AP writing, I was horrible at in the beginning, I thought I was a good writer until AP writing came around and it just confuses the heck out of you and you think33 you know how to write until you go into that. So at first I wasn't so great but I think I came around to that pretty good… I'm kind of rambling…

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JT: Kind of tying that all together was there at any point I time that the classes whether you struggled with or excelled in made you want to change your major at any point in time?

AB: No, I can't remember a time doubting, what I was going to do. I don't know if this going to answer a question a head of time, when I was going to school it was during the foreshadowing of a recession and during my major courses…I graduated in the December of 2009…So I graduated early for three and a half years, but that 2008 2009 realm when the recession was going on to it was kind of a twofold hit. One you kept hearing that traditional journalism is dead, nobody prints. I knew that was going to deter me because I knew I was not going into the print route. Second, everyone, not the professors I met but family, other jobs, the news all pretty much that if you were going to graduate you were 16:00not going to get a job. So instead of being deterred by what I wanted to do I made sure I took certain classes and electives to diversify my skill set. I know that they all kind of feel into the realm of advertising and public relations but I made sure that if I took enough courses that if I got hired and that if someone wanted me to do photography I could do photography. You need me to write I could write. Do crisis management, I could do that too. So nothing really deterred me it was a matter of make sure the university gave me enough outlets to give a lot of different skills.

JT: Was technology commonly used by teachers and students during the classroom?

AB: Not to the way it is now I will tell you that. No it was probably not until into my last two semesters, that most technology exposure that I got was sitting in on Adobe InDesign all day. Especially that last semester I think every Monday and Wednesday I was in one of the Apple Labs in class. I don't think they have that class anymore that whole building has been renovated. Sage didn't exist 17:00when I was in college. The most exposure to technology was exposure to Adobe, which is just software but there weren't any whiteboards still had the good old fashioned projectors and tv screens. Kind of makes me feel super old but no we did not have a lot of that.

JT: You mentioned before about trying to find as many outlets as you could, did you guys have any advisors or resources to help you, kind of guide you through the major that you were going?

AB: Yes, and kind of no, so I had an official academic advisor who she herself was an advertising professor here on campus, she is no longer a professor she left shortly after my stent here. I started to feel every time I met with her she would only focus on the advertising courses, she was very advertising slanted which I understood but I felt that as an academic advisor I was not 18:00getting enough. So I went back to my actual original advisor through admissions, cause when you first come in as a freshman you are kind of assigned a general advisor to help you get to your declared major. So I actually went back to her and she was the one who gave me a realistic direction, a better direction and gave me the idea and pretty much said if you x, y, and z you can graduate a semester early. So because of utilizing past resources because I am the type of person to ask questions. That I got the resources I needed because I asked, but it wasn't just solely because of the direction given to me I had to kind of make it work.

JT: So how often did you talk to your advisors?

AB: There was a time you had to meet once a semester with an advisor. So when 19:00you went to declare you meet with an advisor to make sure your schedule made sense to meet your star report. So yes you still had to meet with an advisor to go through all that picking courses that made sense to complete what your star report was saying. So at least once a semester. But I think it was at the beginning of junior year I became an admissions tour guide. One of my many jobs as a student. So I bounced a lot of questions off of Laurie Stevens who is still over in admissions, she is great. So even though she wasn't technically my advisor I met with her all the time to talk about this and that to make sense.

JT: When being admitted to the specific college for your major, what were some of the requirements to get in?

AB: I don't remember, you had to pass certain gen eds by certain GPA. But that's 20:00pretty much all that I remember.

JT: What seemed to be the common majors at UWO during this time?

AB: My little network of friends I guess you could say, a good chunk of them were actually psychology majors, ironically. Education and business seemed to be the biggest ones.

JT: Did they seem to have any success landing jobs coming into this whole recession or did it seem really challenging to find a job being in these majors despite it being common?

AB: Yes, and no, so again I graduated early so it was interesting little caveat. Most people were graduating in five years so for me I was graduating a year and a half before a majority of my friends my age were graduating. I have a number of friends who are still close friends to this day that were a year or grade above me we actually graduated together so that was kind of neat. Couple of them 21:00had jobs in college, one of my close girlfriends she was a psychology major, she started in college the autism program therapy organization that is throughout the state and she continued on in that post graduation and she is like senior level management down in Milwaukee for that same company so she continued in college so she still got a job. A couple of them didn't. Some of them ended up taking odd jobs where they could because that's kind of how it was. I didn't have any friends of real significance got flat out nothing but they didn't get a career based job right out of college.

JT: How did you spend most of your time outside of school I know you mentioned 22:00many odd jobs, could you maybe talk about some of those?

AB: Sure, you now it's funny so when I work with students how did you graduate early and have all those jobs did you never go never go out and have fun? Yeah I had fun. My senior semester of my last year I guess you could say we lived across the street from French quarter so I am not without my own history there. But outside the class room I did work a lot of odd jobs I freelance writer, I milked cows, there was a girl on campus whose fiancé lived on a farm. I did a lot of commuting back and forth from home for a while just out of habit and seeing friends in Milwaukee. I was a tour guide, freelance writer, AT (advanced 23:00titan), milked cows I was an intern for center of community partnerships which is now the business success center so I was around before it was the business success center. I still went out, I party hard I did my due diligence for mu social aspect as well.

JT: Going off of that was going out the norm at Oshkosh at this time?

AB: Oh yeah it was still the norm, that was also my norm going into college so it was no different from that aspect.

JT: How did the police and community see UWO as this party school? If you can recall any comments or events that have happened?

AB: I don't know so much about the community. The community of Oshkosh you don't have much exposure to as a student. As a student, you kind of feel like you're in this bubble. Any interaction I ever had with police officers many of them were very fair. In some circumstances. But it was really my generation that pub 24:00crawl started becoming a thing, I know it's starting to become on the other end of it but it really started taking off during my time it went to a small thing to an explosion. The year after I graduated I still lived in Oshkosh because my boyfriend at the time now husband was still a student. We did go to pub-crawl at that time and that was when main street was actually ripped up for construction. I think that was a turning of tides because it got a little out of hand, there was kids walking along the street and there was construction equipment on the street and it was a little insane. But we didn't have, I know coming into Oshkosh we had in the 80s and 90s there was like riots and things of that nature- that wasn't the atmosphere when I came here it was way more chill. The only thing I ever heard from the community was very positive things like us hearing about the community. There was a lot of violence on campus but it was not student on students it was the outside attacking students. Not to the part 25:00where I ever scared, again I grew up in a part that was a mix of a city type so it didn't faze me but there were definitely instances on campus of somebody jumping a student. We even had a peeping tom, he was an old guy during my time in Fletcher there was a peeping Tom incident. So yeah stuff happened but it was never of really any significance I guess.

JT: What else was life like outside in the city of Oshkosh I know there is like this bubble, what did you do to go out and try to experience it?

AB: Whoever had a car, we were kind of stuck to you now if you had a car take us somewhere let's go to the mall. I don't know… just going out or sleeping, I 26:00know it sounds horrible when you look back it. Sometimes we go to some of the parks or go boating we had a friend who had a brother who in town had a boat but nothing in significance in Oshkosh. even before new moon café wasn't in existence until my senior year. The downtown you probably know in Oshkosh isn't what was then. There was no real to go down there until you were twenty-one.

JT: Could you maybe talk about any of the sporting events, was there sports really excelled in or lack luster in?

AB: So we, my girlfriend and I in college we were cheer leaders. We went to football a lot but our football team was not great back then we lost every homecoming. But we still went to the games because why not they were early 27:00enough in the day and they were fun to go to. Every once in a while we went to a basketball game. My junior year that same girlfriend had her sister come in and join the dance team so sometimes we would go to the games to just to see her dance. So mainly for me the only time we went to events was for basketball or football but mainly football.

JT: Were there traditions the school put on for these games? I know like homecoming was kind of a larger deal than it was now.

AB: We use to have a parade. Yeah they don't parade anymore right? There used to be a parade that went up from Pearl to High Street. That was fun all the different clubs and organizations got to put up a float. The whole "Greek thing" they kind of took that over to some extent. I was never in a sorority. Not wired to think that way… but yeah we used to have a parade that was the only significant thing that doesn't exist now that we did then that I can think of. Well they probably still have things during the week like comedians and court 28:00right? Yeah. So we had all that stuff too. We had comedians who came too, they were never at Kolf they were always at Albee Speakers would come to Albee.

JT: Was there any big contenders, like rival schools Oshkosh faced? I know Whitewater is a big one today is that the same?

AB: Yeah Whitewater is always being that one and for me even more so, literally 40% of the people I graduated with in high school went to Whitewater and 30% went to Milwaukee. And we were never going to play Milwaukee so Whitewater was always a more personal because I knew the guys who played because my high school was a good football team. We were state champions so guys did go play for Whitewater. Maybe it was more in my head than it was then but I still think Whitewater was still up there.

JT: Where the turn outs pretty large for people to come out and watch the games?

AB: Well homecoming was always the big one the big draw. It was really weather 29:00dependent especially football because it's not on campus so you were kind of at the mercy of how to get over there. We did not have Uber back then and things for us lazy people who did not want to walk. But yeah football was really dependent on weather because you're sitting outside. Basketball was always kind of so so. Depends on if the school we were playing was close. If it was some unknown school, no one really cared.

JT: Outside of that did you partake in any clubs outside of campus?

AB: So I was a part of society of professional journalists, I was also the co-president for a year. Was also part of Public Relations Student Society of America PRSSA. Back in my day we used to win the national competition. We go to nation conferences in San Diego and stuff like that. I was also part of national student leadership society. Which is a non-Greek, Greek organization it had 30:00Greek letters but I was a part of NSLS. That's based of academics. I wrote for the AT, the advanced titan. It was kind of a job but it was also a club to some extent. Because of that I always had to go to OSA meetings. Because I was the OSA reporter, so even though I wasn't in OSA I was at all their meetings. Yeah my big were SPJA and PRSSA.

JT: Writing for the advanced titan, were there any big stories or something large you covered or something that seemed controversial?

AB: The thing is back then the advanced titan was award winning. Its changed. I feel like the issues that we have had the last couple of years involving fact checking tend to stop being a thing…a lot of the stories I was covering were for OSA so student governance bodies so the most controversial thing was when 31:00Sodexo would change their food order. That's all I can remember except for one time I missed quoted, except the person I interviewed was total cool with what I wrote they were happy about it but the president of OSA at the time just berated me for misquoting somebody. Somehow that story was always stuck in my head. I also got to write about certain professors, faculty and staff who won an awards. We had a lawyer on campus won an award for his work in being a… it's a term for a lawyer who represents children in court. And he won some significant award about that and no one even knew he was on campus so I wrote a story about him to bring a name to him. That was kind of interesting because I got to learn about somebody.

JT: Were you more so the journalist aspect or did you do an editing or overseeing of the advanced titan?

AB: No, so I was strictly a reporter, I edited my own work and then I gave it 32:00off to my editor, who was sharp she knew her stuff. Her name was Ally she now works for a company in D.C. And doing just fine for herself but she was sharp she was my editor.

JT: What were recreational facilities like at Oshkosh? I know the gym was fairly new so what was in its place?

AB: Our gym was the basement of Fletcher. It was rough. So when I lived in Clemmons you had to call Fletcher a week in advance to reserve your treadmill for thirty minutes a week from now. If you were to get to Fletcher by like five minutes you lost your treadmill. There was like forty treadmills. And that was the campuses gym. I mean certain athletes had certain access to the athletic gyms as I'm sure they still do now but students did not have access to it so basically you had the Fletcher basement. If you ever been to the fletcher basement here is that one center space that was our gym.

JT: So how did people usually try to stay healthy was there a lot of joggers or 33:00bikers out there?

AB: I don't know; I don't remember people out there being very healthy. My junior year when I lived off campus when I was no longer in the dorms, I started biking to class and I know a lot more people were starting to bike. I'm sure there were people who jogged I never saw much of it. I think it was my junior year when the rec opened. So everyone started going there. It was kind of a mass exodus of everyone going to this side of campus always. I used to go there too. At that point you were engrossed in what you are doing with your major and your jobs that t was kind of hard to balance that out especially since I was taking twenty credits a semester there was only so much time.

JT: Did you live off campus at any point in time?

AB: Yeah so as I could I did. So my junior year we lived on Woodland and my 34:00senior year we lived on high street.

JT: What were the landlords like?

AB: Oh land lords were hated by and far no one likes their landlord that just kind of comes with the territory our land lord wasn't so great either. They were pretty awful I would not recommend them even to this day. I don't have many much nice things to say there but I also understand hindsight being an adult how wrong student can be as well. There's a significant landlord who has many properties who is also now my client. And I now see the other side of things where the student is so undeniably wrong even legally and everything but they are the ones getting bashed for it so. Tables have turned hindsight but yeah 35:00landlords were never good.

JT: How many people did you live with?

AB: So, the first time my junior year, I lived with the same best friend all four years. Her and then two guys there were students from Fox Valley tech going for the pilot program. They were not Oshkosh students. One of them we actually grew up with he was a year younger than us from our hometown and he moved up here for their pilot program and he was a really quiet shy kid he was like our little brother so we took him in. And one of his friends from the pilot school, the complete opposites of us, I think that's why it works out, boyfriends didn't care. And our senior year when moved across to High Street, it was a duplex with two separate units it was just my girlfriend and I but there were guys upstairs but it was separate.

JT: Heading towards your graduating what were some of the things you needed to complete in order to complete your degree?

36:00

AB: Physics, my science credit I just remember being the last thing I just put it off I also remember graduating early I kind of came into school thinking this is my job I have to do my job and somehow I badgered through a bunch of credits and I graduated early. So I didn't plan on that fall semester being my last semester so I didn't plan on taking physics science class. That was the way the cookies crumble so I had to take that. Probably the biggest annoyance for me was the summer before I graduated I had the international PR internship at the EAA. So my entire summer was dedicated to public relations and press release writing. Then my last semester in school in fall I had to take a PR course and I butted heads with that professor every day.

JT: Was just because you felt you had a better understanding than what he taught?

37:00

AB: No not that I felt that I was smarter than but she was teaching how to write press releases and she would teach you formatting and take points off my paper because my margins were not exactly a half an inch. So here I am literally all summer writing and distributing hundreds of press releases I also accepted and manage hundreds of international media coverages. Formats were thousands of different ways no one cared about the format. It was all about the content, so when I got my paper back it was stupid alignment things like headers and… it was just knit picky and I can't justify it because technically my writing was perfect she just didn't like my headlining was bolded. So I had issues with that.

JT: You talked about doing some internships, were there others that you did at this time?

AB: So I don't know how the business success center runs now but when it was the community partnership service they had like their good student bench. So my 38:00first major internship was the EAA prior to that was just a lot of odd jobs to survive and I was an AT writer to work on my writing. And then I always a CCP intern, I was a project lead. At the time, a smaller now growing credit union hired the CCP to do survey work for their members so I was hired to do survey work for that last semester so I was project lead on the CCP to do survey work with other interns. But during that same time is when I started doing my internship at Stellar Blue Technologies which ended up becoming my life. So I had a couple different internships but they went on at about the same time.

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JT: You mentioned a lot about Public Relations, was that the job you leaning towards graduation or did you have something else in mind?

AB: It was the job I was thinking; I was going to do. I really intended on doing international PR that's why I minored in Spanish. I got to meet through PRSSA a number of PR professionals that really intrigued me. It was kind of a series of events so I had an internship at EAA which was great, but I found myself very bored which is a poor word to use because it was an amazing internship. And during the week of AirVenture my nerves were just shot because I was starting to think someone is going to die and I have to manage that. And the thought of that kind of hit too close to home and I realized I don't think I was cut out at least not at the time. Now that I am older I think I could. But at the time the thought of doing real crisis management for a critical situation … I don't know if I could have handled it. So when I got exposure to a different type of marketing and I still get to use my PR in that realm I felt a little more 40:00comfortable in that space.

JT: So did you have like an official job lined up after graduation?

AB: I did that was Stellar Blue. So I had that internship they were a small company and growing. I'm the type of person who won't believe in it until it is in writing and they kept saying how they wanted to hire me beyond graduation. So I made sure to line up other interviews and I made sure to line up my boss knew at the time I was having other interviews. I had one with another PR agency, I just didn't like their attitude and what they stood for so I did not pursue that one. I did get another job offer from what you know now as silver star brands which was Miles Kimball. But they were just starting their e-commerce division at that time and I thought that was a little late at their part and Stellar Blue offered me a full time job. So I graduated on a Saturday and I started my job on a Monday during the recession. I was thankful to have that opportunity.

JT: How did it feel for you to graduate, being to complete college in such a 41:00short amount of time?

AB: Honestly it was scary, you know looking back on it I don't know if I was all that happy. It was a weird persona shift a little bit because here I am Monday through Friday with Stellar Blue the company I was with grow and create departments. I helped create their marketing department I helped create the sales team I created all these initiatives. So from Monday through Friday I felt like I was 22 going on the age 45 I was in board meetings with people who were twice f not more my age and conducting meetings and managing it while all my friends were still in the swoop of college. So it was actually really hard. I was also living… well not at that time but right before then… my friends were still in school and I got into the professional life and I started working 42:00the exact same hours so I got up and went to work then went right to bed because I was so used to that. So I was averaging like 15 hour days. It was just a different thing I was trying to play adult while my friends were still getting to be kids and that was more difficult than I thought I really knew at the time… But I was very thankful so I am not really regretting anything, it was just an interesting shift from everyone around you just not doing the same thing you are doing.

JT: You talked about working at Stellar Blue, what was it like starting out? Did college seem to prepare you for that position that you were holding?

AB: I get that question a lot. I don't know it's hard. My writing abilities definitely were fined tuned throughout college and things I did during college and the courses I took were to write word after word after word and edit after edit after edit you do get refined. So I can't take that away from education but 43:00a lot of what I do now of days… what I started doing at Stellar Blue was more from an environmental situation. But I would not have gotten to those environments if I have not gone here I would not have that exposure to PRSSA or given the opportunity to work at EAA. There was no way Stellar Blue would have even considered me in the first place.

JT: So it is safe to say your extracurriculars were what helped prepare you better?

AB: Right, and really your extracurriculars were just strengthening what you are doing in the classroom so realistically class work is for class work, but if you don't find an outlet to classwork and put into practical application, you really are not learning anything. So I really do think that extracurriculars allowed me to apply something I was actually benefiting someone else instead of just a grade. And that is what helps to move on in college.

JT: Wrapping it all up, where are you now since you graduated? What is your 44:00official title there?

AB: My official, technical title is sales and marketing director. I typically just go by marketing director because it sounds nicer but I do oversee the marketing and sales division.

JT: How often to you stay in contact with this campus and other former alumni from this school.

AB: Tons, well I married an alum so that is an easy answer. No but I am on the Oshkosh alumni board and I also serve on the IWM (Interactive Web Management) Advisory Board. So just those two outlets alone I am on campus all the time. I maintain really good connections with former professors. He used to be an adjunct his name is Sean Johnson he used to be my very first AP style press release professor who just slaughtered my press releases. He's actually not a client he works at insight publications, so I see him all the time. Other professors I am in other organizations with, Professor Brian Lilly I am in the College of Business with. Very close with professor Kathy Lynch she is in computer science. I am on campus all the time. It was Wednesday night Kathy 45:00Lynch's digital future course. I am on campus at least a minimum of once a month. And I am daily engaging with an alum not just my husband but either friends I have stayed close with. I am always talking to someone. So I'm super tight… I know that sounds nerdy but I am around always.

JT: So how often do students contact you and what do they usually contact you about?

AB: Well selfishly, when I prefer to ire interns, I prefer to hire UW Oshkosh interns. Only for the fact I have good understanding of the base knowledge they should by the time I hire them. It's also good during an interview I can say hey I know professor so and so, if I gave them a call what would they say about you? So when I work with a lot of students I usually get two questions; what did you do to get where you are, and the other question is how do I know what I am doing 46:00is the right thing I know I am doing if that makes sense. And those questions are kind of linked. A lot of times students see my position and things I do they think oh I want to do that how do I get there without recognizing these strenuous amount of years and hard work I had to do to get there. It wasn't luck, I made myself an asset and worked my butt off to make sure I was an asset. So if they were to lose me that it would have been a detriment. But to get to that level was a lot of personal time to figuring out what I was doing before even presenting anything. A lot of that extra work and putting in that extra mile, doing in theory is nice but I did it without a promise or award. I did it because I felt like I had to do it and some cases that kind of gets lost a little bit. So my path was my path and when I tell students I tell them you have 47:00to be active and have to take risks, if you can do it. Again I was in the middle of the recession and I had the opportunity to work for a very stable very large company and be a name in a cube somewhere or I could go work for basically a start up and be their very first employee making next to nothing but I could really make a name for myself. But that was a risk and I did it and I think they reason why I have the success that I do now is because of I took that risk. If I went the other route there was no way that I have been able to do things for the community, win the awards I have won, been the places I have been to, if I 48:00haven't taken that risk individually.

JT: You were kind of sandwiched between the older model of the university and the newer university, were there any regrets of anything you wish you did more or less of?

AB: it was interesting because I feel like my years at Oshkosh, we were always being exposed to the blueprints. Like, I remember seeing the blue prints of the rec center and thinking that's awesome. Or being to see what horizon was going to be and thinking aw that's awesome. Same thing with Clow, how of my classes for journalism were in the basement of Clow, like wooden desks. It's so different I remember seeing the blue prints what sage was going to look like so I just remember saying if wasn't a couple years older I would have been able to 49:00have all of that stuff. But I hold no resentment, I think that is fantastic the university continued to grow. I do wish… I don't know I don't really have any regrets I don't live my life like that. I know that when I needed professional guidance I saw… I know that sounds horrible I sought out a mentor. I do wish that in some ways I got more involved with other clubs. The two clubs I was in they were both great but they were very similar, looking back I think I could have done some more things. But yeah nothing I really regret anything.

JT: What are your feelings towards the university now? Would you rate your 50:00experience at UWO very high and rewarding or do think you could see yourself doing it somewhere else?

AB: Honestly it was great, I don't look back I have no thoughts were think oh that was disappointing but I mean there were low moments, things happened, bad things happened good things happened it is a part of life. I don't attribute any of the low lining things because of the university. Some scary things on campus to other students but never deterred me from living my experience and its where I solidified some of the friendships I hold close to this day, its where I met my husband, I met him in Clemmons. I wasn't very nice to him when I first met him. Then we became really good friends and all that is history. The only thing I really regret is we were going to come back and take pictures with Clemmons in the background. But we kind of came too late they already blown out all the windows and taken out the doors for demolition. So we showed up to Clemmons and 51:00it looked like a bomb shelter it looked horrible. No honestly all really positive, I think the only thing they have done better with, because I felt like I was in this bubble and its different now because Oshkosh has an Olive Garden, a TJ Maxx, and a Qdoba all the reasons we went to Appleton are now in Oshkosh. Which is good for the city but I just wonder sometimes if this is even more so of a bubble like you are protected in your little realm. I mean during my sophomore year; primaries were going on. During the time we were in the first time in history we were going to have a President of color or a female president. And we had very little access to politics education but I grew up in 52:00a family where you are educated, I knew what to do. But I felt like Oshkosh at the time was still predominately Caucasian. A lot of the same mind sets, I don't think there was a lot of exposure to education of politics so when Obama came here for his first primary, he came to campus and during that day I got to lead a tour for inner city Milwaukee kids which I did a lot of because I knew were they from and gave them the tour. I got like front row seats reserved for this group of students to come to the primary. This was before he was ever president but I was four feet from Barack Obama. Which was cool I knew who he was I was 53:00more educated I felt like students didn't even know what was going on. I wonder now with the very interesting political race we have now if there is any more exposure to political education. I remember in school; I am not a political driven person but I remember in school no one knew where the polling place was there was no access. So that was the only thing where it was a very interesting time.

JT: Well that's all the questions I have for you today so thank you very uch for doing this interview with us.

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