Interview with Brooke Tabbert, 05/02/2017 (Transcript Only)

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Hana Staub, Interviewer |
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |

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´╗┐Hana Staub: Alright, my names Hana Staub and today is Tuesday May second and I'm interviewing Brooke Tabbert for the campus stories oral history project. We'll be conducting our interview over the phone call today and it's around 8pm. Alright, so where did you spend most of your years growing up?

Brooke Tabbert: I spent all of my years growing up in Wittenberg, Wisconsin. Which is a small town in central Wisconsin.

HS: Alright, and what was that community like?

BT: Oh, that's a great question. Um, small, very rural, um we had around 900 people in our town, or village, um as I grew up its not much larger now, um very um similar demographics, in the fact we're all very Western European. Um and just yeah just very rural, small town America.

HS: And then, what was your family and home life like?

BT: It was, that's a great question, you know that these are easy questions but hard questions Hana.

HS: I know, you don't think about them much.

BT: Right, Right. Well I am the youngest of three children and um the youngest by quite a bit. Um my brother is twelve years older than me and my sister is nine years older than me. And um, my dad, took over his father's agricultural trucking business um when, actually my grandfather died six months after my, or not six months, one month after my mom and dad were married. And so um my dad very abruptly took over the family business, which was very small at the time. And um, he worked very, very hard for, still does to this day, um fifty plus years later. So I grew up on a farm um where my dad ran his livestock trucking company. Um my mom was home um until I was in first grade and then she went back to school and began working. So it's, my brother and sister both married when I was, in the summer of 1991 um they married within a few weeks of each other ugh so as of 7th to 8th grade I was really just the only one home. Grand kids came, nieces and nephews came soon after and so it was a, that was a good guestimate I guess of family life growing up.

HS: Where you all a very close family?

BT: Wow that's a good question. Um you know, yes and no. I think I've seen other families that are, what I would consider close. I think there's different definitions of close so when I, when I think most people hear were you a close family, do you communicate all of the time, did you talk all the time? Um no that wasn't us, um but we were, we knew what was going on in each-other's lives. We were very supportive of each other um still are and yeah we. I actually grew up down the road, my dad has always lived on the same road he was born on, so we um, I grew up on that road with my grandma, my fraternal grandmother, half a mile down the road from me and aunts and uncles from both sides of my family within short walking distance on the same road so we were close in the fact that we were always around each other but yeah, not what I think most people think of as close. Emotionally.

HS: Um so you mentioned that you lived on a farm, were you close to the town then?

BT: To the town?

HS: Or for the village? Was everyone kind of close or spread out in the area?

BT: It was, it was pretty spread out. I mean my great aunts and uncle lived across this little field. Yah maybe, I don't know 200 feet from our house um because they also had a farm um so it was close but you could see their houses not close like a city like you having houses on top of each other. You're about, we're about four miles I'd say from town, wichenwell Wittenberg, the actual village, so um quite rural in that if we wanted to go into town we needed a ride, um yeah I never felt comfortable biking there um but it was pretty spread out but we had neighbors.

HS: Okay, that's interesting. So um, did your parents, did your dad's job effect what you wanted to do when you were older or if you wanted to do a completely different path than he chose?

BT: Wow, uh um I think there was a part of me, you know that a great question, I always think that because my dad worked so hard um and I did love being in the country um there was a part of me that wanted to go into that ager business, or something like that, it's not a large enough business where I could go to school and come back and work for the business um but, I definitely thought of it but um I wouldn't, um, the only thing I'd be good at in agriculture would be marketing over you know, it's something along those lines of demonstration. Um but the one thing I saw from him is his work ethic and the care that he took in providing for his family and I learned that from him.

HS: And um you said your mom ended up going back to college, did she encourage the education for you then to go to college when you were older or was it more up to you?

BT: Um I never felt like I had a choice, I was going to go and I don't mean that as she made me go, it was she definitely, both her and my father very much supported our education. So if we wanted to learn something or take lessons or, you know, do something educational. I read all the time, it was, I think almost for her, because her father didn't let her go to school when she graduated high school she was going to ensure that if we wanted to we could. Um so they provided college to us, um my sister and myself, my brother didn't go but, we were, we were, there was never an option if we wanted to go to college, we could go.

HS: Okay, that's really cool. Did your sister end up going to Oshkosh too?

BT: Yes she did! She was one of the main reasons I went there!

HS: Was she, oh never mind she was nine years older than you so didn't end up going together.

BT: Her and her family still lived in Oshkosh

HS: So then growing up when you were in high school, was education more important to you or was it more just socializing time? Or a mix of both?

BT: Yeah, it's definitely a mix of both, I was, I always had good grades. I never needed, in high school, which hurt me in college, I never needed to study, in high school, I just did not need too. Um, things came easy, I took advantage of the time that you're given in high school to do your homework, um and I just understood things. So it was socializing in the fact that I was in sports, I was in student council, um music class, chorus, you know and other student organizations. Always super involved, um but no school was the reason, so it was um the moment in college in the fact that I always, school was the reason I was there but I took every advantage to also socialize in whatever those capacities were.

HS: Absolutely, what sports were you involved in?

BT: I, in high school I did volleyball and softball and then I was a basketball manager statistician. I was, I would train in the summer for volleyball and in the fall and then train all winter long for softball and in the spring.

HS: Very busy then. What were some of the organizations did you say you were involved in?

BT: I was involved in student council, and I was a class, not only a student council officer in high school, but I was also class president my senior year and um, I was I was in TADD (teens against drunk driving), I was in, I'm trying to think what else. I feel like a lot more I was in choir, I was in band, I did musicals, I did the play, um a lot of anything.

HS: Anything to keep busy.

BT: Yeah, pretty much.

HS: So then when you were in high school did have any more of an idea of what you wanted to do when you did go to college?

BT: I always wanted to do, most of high school, well I did, I really wanted to be a music education teacher, um and my, the beginning of my senior year I, I played saxophone, in the beginning of my senior year, during a powder puff football game for homecoming I broke a finger on my hand, and that, not only could I not play my saxophone, but I also could not set for volleyball and I had um thought about going to Oshkosh, which I also had talked to the coach, the volleyball coaches at the time and was seriously looking, I was going to Oshkosh to play volleyball um and then I was going to be a music education major and that was at least what I had in my mind. And when that happened that just sort of derailed it and I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do um and I always had an interest in history and law and so I was, when I, as a freshman I came to school uh my as in college I was a poly sci with a law emphasis major.

HS: So just a little different from the music teacher,

BT: I know, it was hard because I said this a lot to my nieces and nephews is that, not only think about what you want to do so what you're interested in and passionate in. I feel like I was just never asked that question. It was, oh what's your favorite subject? Oh its history, I love studying government and politics, okay I'll be a poly sci major. And I loved it, I did but I didn't have, I didn't have the end game in sight. If I, I always think back, because of my current career, I'm still volunteering a lot with the university and working with students, I think if I would have met and had a mentor honestly that wasn't attorney my first couple years at school probably would have, I'm sure, I would have went to law school, I'm sure I would be an attorney, um I didn't have that, I couldn't see the end game in sight. I changed my mind a lot in college about what I wanted to do and I still don't really know what I want to do for a living. But I never really had that, "Okay I'm going to go to school for this and when I graduate I'm going to get a job at this." That just, that never triggered in me.

HS: When your mom went back to college did she go for a similar major to you or did she just want to get her degree?

BT: Um she actually started as nursing and she ended up after two years not liking it anymore. She was mid-forties, you know and just lower to mid-forties and just did not like nursing it wasn't what she thought it was, um so then she ended up receiving her accounting degree. And becoming um a purchasing director for a company in my home town, so it was, she was interested in it, she liked numbers, she had done the accounting for my dad's company, it was inception probably so um I think it was just another, I think it was something she knew and she was good at um and she enjoyed.

HS: I give her credit, accounting's definitely one of the more difficult classes.

BT: Yes it is! That is why I did not stay a business major at Oshkosh!

HS: Was the accounting classes still a requirement to get into the business program?

BT: Yes, oh yes, first semester I was in intro to accounting 101 or whatever I think it was like 201, accounting 201 was the first class you took in accounting and I remember sitting down with my professor in office hours going over some things and I just looked at him and he looked at me and he said "Brooke maybe you just don't have a mind for accounting." And I completely agreed with him and he let me drop the class, you know back then we could drop a class as long as it was by the first day. You didn't have to pay for it, you could drop it without any penalty and um yeah, I knew I was not going to be a business major.

HS: Yeah, I mean it's definitely hard. I remember my accounting teacher in high school said that I should probably do that major either so.

BT: At least they're honest with us!

HS: So you said that your sister was one of the main reasons that you wanted to go to Oshkosh, was there any other deciding factors that made you chose that college?

BT: Huh, it was just kind of happened that way. I actually was, I was accepted to St. Norbert College in Green Bay, um I was going to go for international studies politics, um received a lot of scholarships to go there and loved it um and then I woke up one Saturday morning and of course I had applied and I was accepted into Oshkosh, um, I just looked at my mom and said "You know I think I'm going to go to Oshkosh," and she, she just kind of shrugged her shoulders and said "Well okay, that makes it easier since your sister lives there," and my sister had one son already and was pregnant with her second child, so it was, well my mom thought I could kill two birds with one stone when I come down there, but um it was, I was familiar with the University because of my sister having gone there and visiting her um I had gone to many volleyball camps at Oshkosh, um like I said I was very familiar with the campus, it was a nice size I think coming from a small town like I did, I was a little anxious, you know I applied to and was accepted too Madison and I think as I was walking through campus I remember thinking it was so large that I'd get lost and that it'd take me so long to get from class to class, and I said that scared me that it might take twenty minutes to walk from one building to another and I didn't want that. So I think it was a mix of things, but I always knew that my sister and brother in law owned a house, they were raising their family in Oshkosh, they belonged to a church in Oshkosh. You know I just had, I knew people there if something went wrong and it was far enough that my mom wouldn't just show up in the afternoon but um close enough that if I needed something she could get there.

HS: That's always a big thing, still a nice little space away but still close. So, did any of your friends growing up go to Oshkosh as well?

BT: Um oh. I'd have to think about that I think, hmm, a few people my sisters age did um so I mean they were graduated by the time I went to school but not that many, the years ahead of me went. Um I had a class of 90, 9-0, graduating class from high school so um there was no one else going to Oshkosh my year, I was the only one, um and maybe a handful a couple years after, 3 or 4. It wasn't, it's never been a real popular school from Wittenberg, but um people in my area so I did have a friend who went to a different school district that I had played softball with, who was the same age I was, she went to, she was going to Oshkosh. So at least I did know another student you know for that first day of orientation. I moved in, gave her a call and we went to freshman orientation together the next morning. So I think that helped, but not that many students from Wittenberg have gone to Oshkosh. Historically.

HS: That always helps that there was someone there for freshman orientation. And did you move to a dorm right away when you lived here or your sister?

BT: Um I moved in a dorm, I actually lived in Donner hall my first semester, again mainly because I knew all my classes would be in Clow. I was lazy. I didn't want to have to walk all the way across campus in the middle of winter. I remember looking at the map and what is the closest dorm to the academic building. So, um funny story. Back in that day you received a letter with your roommates name and their phone number, and where they were from. And you'd call them and talk who's bringing the TV, who's bringing whatever, and I called and left a message, called again a few days later and left a message, and I called and the mother of the student said she's not going to Oshkosh anymore, quit calling and hung up the phone. I thought oh my gosh! I remember calling again the next day, admissions or housing and they said "Well we don't have anyone else to give you as a roommate, so unless something comes up we'll let you know, but otherwise you will have a single room for a double room rate," which my mom was super excited about. Um and it was really cool, I was really excited about that I had my own room but then I got down there and I didn't really know many people. I was in a different dorm than the friend I knew from home and I remember that first night actually being quite upset because I was alone and I didn't know anyone really, I met the girls across the hall from me but they were roommates so their door was shut and my door was shut. Um it was a little, it was nice because I had my own space, but at the same time I think I missed out a little bit because I didn't have that roommate that first semester.

HS: Yeah, absolutely. So did you, was the first couple of weeks keeping to yourself or did you meet more people on your floor?

BT: Oh I definitely met more people, I got to know the girls across the hall from me really well as well as others, there were some upper classmen down the hall who um we just had a really nice hall it was the fourth floor of Donner um very nice CA and just met some people and hung out with, then I think I started to hang out with my friend who was my softball friend that lived in Taylor and I started to spend more time with her in Taylor and met more people there um got to know her roommate really well and I actually ended up moving into Taylor in the second semester of the year with an upperclassmen who's roommate was moving out and so I moved in with her.

HS: That's nice that you ended up, did you like sharing a room more than you liked having your own then? Was it a bad change?

BT: No it was a good change, it's just part of it was I knew, her name was Lisa, and I knew that she would be at her boyfriends a lot so it was really more convenient I would just have a roommate in Taylor on the same and we were all on the first floor Taylor and it was more convenient than anything but, um it was fine, I did like having a roommate that I could talk too, someone to share with, do things with, but at the same time she was older and had a group of friends and had a serious boyfriend so it was like that that true roommate that we weren't really close friends but we were roommates before we were friends.

HS: So it wasn't awkward, that's always good.

BT: Yeah, no not awkward. And I got to know her and throughout that first semester I always would see her there so it wasn't that bad.

HS: Yeah, absolutely. Alright so then for your first day, or even your week of college was it what you expected it to be? Class wise, and campus wise and professors?

BT: Um for the most part, I know that the first class I went to, I was so, so excited for, international politics, and I even read the first six chapters for it over the summer because I was so excited for international politics and I sat down and it was a 9:40 to 11:10 Tuesday and Thursday class and I can't believe I remember that but I remember sitting there and it was and older professor and he just lectured that entire first hour and a half. And it was different than what I expected in the classroom so we sat there and when he left it was "Ok read this chapter and get ready to take this quiz." And I thought "Oh my gosh what is this?" I needed more direction. I remember his syllabus wasn't that good either, so it was probably the worst class and it was my first one. There was a lot of upperclassmen in this one too, who I actually got to know as the semester went along, but lots of seniors and juniors who were taking the class either just for the heck of it or because they were poly sci majors, or um it was interesting. I'm trying to think what the rest of my classes were. Oh! I was in the honors program, that actually I loved my honors program classes, because we, I was in honors English, and um it wasn't English comp it was honors English, and I loved it. It was Doctor Philman, still on campus to this day, and by the way he still remembers my name twenty years later!

HS: Ooh! Favorite student.

BT: I think he remembers everyone, but I like to think I was his favorite student. But um I just remember him being, um he was a little quirky but I loved doctor Philman, I loved his class and for working with English and working with students, and um the honors program. Doctor Stark, the sociology program, Doctor Robert Stark, he was someone I really ugh, someone I thought of as a college professor was like. I wish I knew then what sociology was because I would have changed my major to sociology graduated in four years and went on to get my masters and PhD in sociology because I absolutely loved it um when I found it like my fifth year of school. But it was, I just remember I really liked the honors program because everyone that was there was furious about school and had done really well in high school, but because I think we were at Oshkosh it wasn't like we were competing against each other. And the honors program at the time, you had to read a book over the summer and do, you had to do homework over the summer for it and come ready to discuss things right away. Like your first class you were doing a report that first week in school so it was just a neat group of people to see every week and to be around and it was extra-curricular events that you did and it was, I wish I would have taken that more seriously. Because I think that, I loved the honors program, loved the things that we had to do, um the way that we were asked to think, um and really just examine and research things, um so that is what I thought college would be like. Um but I was disappointed by my political science classes. I thought they'd be more engaging. Um and they really weren't until I hit upper levels of poly sci.

HS: And then it started being more what you expected it to be?

BT: Yeah I think more um, discussion based more um, interactive, then once my junior year I began to become more involved in College Republicans and was in that group and eventually throughout two years um a executive officer for College Republicans and I went on to become a State Executive Officer for the State College Republicans Organization. So once I hit that it wasn't even that I was College Republicans, it was that then the teachers knew that, the professors knew that you were engaged socially and politically. So you just knew more people in your classes, even though I was a republican I knew the democrats, we were all friends and we would sit and so if we didn't engage with the professors we engaged with our fellow students who were fun to talk to because we all cared. So you respected each other's opinions um and you debated, it was open debate. And I, you learned deeper things like you were asked questions that were hard but I remember always looking forward to researching it so I could try and figure it out. So it was, it definitely became more engaging you know in my level 300 and 400 classes.

HS: And I'm sorry, what year did you say you joined the college republicans?

BT: My junior year.

HS: And you said that was for two years? : And then I also saw that you were involved with some other groups like the Gamma Phi Beta.

BT: Mhm! The interest in to being involved with that on campus was Gamma Phi Beta. It was and I'm still an active member, an active alumni member, um I literally, it was my sophomore year of school I'm living in Taylor and there was this group of friends we were going to look for, what I thought a house with eight bed rooms that eight people could live in. Well six of our friends, my roommate and I, thought that six of my close friends from our floor found two apartments next to each other, three and three, and then my friend Julie and I just had to find somewhere to live and I remember being very, I was hurt, I was, I was very hurt that they had done that, that I wasn't good enough to be a roommate with them or that they did it without talking to me. So my friend Julie and my other friend found an apartment to live with each other for the next year and just the rest of that spring semester, my sophomore year, was just different. I remember after everything happened just thinking different. And one day I woke up and I went to the bathroom in the dorms and there was a poster up on the door, the bathroom door, it said you know, Gamma Phi Beta, um informal rush, come see what we're about. And honestly there was a crescent moon on the poster and I had crescent moons on my futon cover and I always just liked that celestial theme and just thought "Oh a soriety, I'll see what that is!" um I went the next night, I think I went back to my room and called and went to the first night of rush the next night and two nights after that I was given a bid and you know became a new member and never looked back since then. So that was spring, that would have been May, of um my sophomore year. And then over the summer I was involved and would receive information about soriety events and that's when I lived on campus, I lived in Oshkosh for the summer, so I got to know a lot of the older members of the soriety, and then fall came around and that's when I was an official new member, um went through the new member period and became initiated and then that spring of my junior year you just get connected, you meet people, you just, there's a group of people you're always around and you're meeting others through socials. And then that fall I was elected to be on our executive board of the soriety chapter as a Panhellenic delegate, which the NPC, National Panhellenic um that is governing body for our sororities chapter and we have a representative from every soriety that's part of the PC nationally um that every chapter has a representative on that campus, were we'd take information back or whatever. I was elected to that as a new member and that just spring boarded everything because now I was on the executive board of my soriety chapter um, I was on Panhellenic, I was a Panhellenic delegate, which was a two year term so I knew I was a delegate for Gamma Phi Beta the first year, and the second year I automatically became an executive officer on Panhellenic so I knew next year I would be Vice President, which at the time was in charge of rush for recruitment for all of the sororities, um on campus for the big fall formal recruitment. Um so just by accepting that position in Gamma Phi Beta I was already connected on campus for the next two years. So um sitting around that spring um just meeting people I remember some older members of the other organizations who said "Have you seen, yeah you were involved in student council in high school, there's a student government called Oshkosh Student Association, OSA, would you want to be a senator?" and well I don't know sure, I'll fill out the paperwork, and it was kind of like Gamma Phi Beta, two weeks later there was an election and boom I was elected because people knew my name because I was greek, so they voted for me so all of a sudden I was a senator for the college of letters and sciences, on OSA and met someone there who was also a member of College Republicans, and got involved with that so it really was seeing that poster on that dorm room, or on that dorm bathroom door and making that first phone call that ended up, I was really not involved at all in extracurricular my first two years, um besides the honors program because I had to be because I was a member. Um, but after it was, once it was second semester that sophomore year, once I joined Gamma Phi Beta, um that's when all my extra-curricular memberships really just blossomed.

HS: Yeah that, it grew fast, it's good that you joined that! It was definitely a sign with the crescent moon on the poster.

BT: Yeah that's all it was, it was a crescent moon, I like crescent moons, I'll call her that sounds fun! And that was it.

HS: And I'm sorry what year did you say you joined the Student Association? Or the OSA?

BT: Um I would have been elected the spring of my third year in school. So I would have been a senator my fourth, my fourth year. Actually both I was a senator in the college of Letters and Sciences, I did. I was on campus for six years um and then on my fifth year I was the executive for um my Oshkosh student association.

HS: Very cool!

BT: Yeah!

HS: Um so then is that what you spent most of your time doing then or did you still do any intramural sports at that time? Or mostly busy with everything going on?

BT: yeah very much mostly busy with mostly everything else I think I really never played sports on campus, I mean, I jumped into everything so anything I joined I became an officer or legend committee so in the Gamma Phi Beta chapter you know my, my fourth year in school, I was, the terms went from years so the January of my fourth year in school, right? Um I got to think about this, it was the January of my fourth year in school so the December of my fifth year in school I was actually the Vice President of recruitment for Panhellenic's plus I was a public relations vice president for my soriety chapter and then I also was senator on OSA, I was the, oh what did I, I was the, the secretary for the college republicans, and I was just always, I was never just a member. I always took a position on, I always became more involved.

HS: That definitely looked good for all the resumes so that was a very good idea on your part!

BT: It is!

HS: So, did you spend most of your time on campus, or would you ever go off campus a lot?

BT: Um, well I, I moved off campus my junior year um and then I lived kind of over by the AC building and then um lived over there and actually for the two years after that I lived in the soriety house um which is over by the Scotts, 545 Algoma, um but I pretty much, I was on campus all the time. I mean I was there for class obviously but also for organization meetings um you know I worked, it would be called work. Um but I worked in the registration office for over a year um just as a student employee, um and then I worked in the, where did I work, oh custodial grounds crew, custodial services as a student office worker. So um, I usually had some little job on campus that I did but for the most part my schedule was pretty busy all week.

HS: I believe that. Um, did you ever, did you like to go out on the weekends or did you like to stay in more?

BT: Oh no I went out! I went out a lot, um, my grades would reflect that. No, I definitely was very social um but I was social before I joined Gamma Phi Beta, um but that is definitely a social organization. Um and then just even all of the organizations I was in had a very social aspect. So I did, I did go out whether it was house parties or once you're twenty-one, I actually waited until I was twenty-one, I was too scared to have a fake ID my friends had them I was too scared. Um so I just did the usual house party stuff before I was twenty-one and then when I turned twenty-one I started go out with friends to the bars and yeah I was very social.

HS: Which bars were popular when you were twenty-one? I'm curious if it's the same!

BT: Well it depended on the night of the week! Um I mean it's your typical it's Molly's, Kelly's, French Quarter is your main ones, there was, there was also one that is where Mahoney's was you know it was Barneys for a while it was NADS, N A D, um so that was because I had a friend who bartended there we were there a lot um but yeah it was Monday nights we went to Molly's for quarter taps um Wednesday Night was ladies night at Molly's, Thursday nights, these all were based on drink specials, Thursday night French Quarter, I don't know, French quarter was more if we just wanted to hang out, you know? Molly's was if we wanted to people watch. I'd go to Kelly's but I always thought it was dark and small.

HS: It is dark and small.

BT: Yeah still to this day when we'd go there homecoming weekend it was quarters night, it was all alumni and we'd wake up Saturday mornings and go to Kelly's and I'd sit there and think "Uh this place is so dark," and it's so small.

HS: You need a flashlight in there

BT: I know, um and the other one was, we would go down to I think it's called, huh I don't know what it's called now like Oregon Beach club or something it used to be the Oregon spice and it's down on Oregon south of campus and that was our get off of campus go to bar. It was a little nicer, drinks were a little pricier but it was just a littler nicer bar to go too.

HS: Yeah absolutely. Yeah those are still the more popular ones because I know Molly's still does the Wednesday so that's cool that that stayed the same. I guess it wasn't even long ago so!

BT: Right!

HS: Um, so did you say your husband was an alumni here too?

BT: Yes he is!

HS: Did you meet him in Oshkosh while you were going here or more after?

BT: Um, well it's kind of a funny story where, we actually had an article written about us what was that three years ago, yeah three years ago in the engage magazine um about our love story. But well we, he is seven years older than me so we weren't, we weren't really in school together a member of a fraternity, he is a member of a fraternity, and he was the advisor at the time, so um when I joined Gamma Phi Beta I knew of him. He was, you know, Ron the advisor for Seta Ki and um we are, we determined we were at a a few events together, actually quite a few events together but we didn't really officially meet until um, oh God what would that have been, about ten years later. Um we were, he have mutual alumn friends through soriety and fraternity and we were all back in Oshkosh. I was there for a soriety meeting, I was back advising Gamma Phi, the Gamma Phi Beta chapter and um mutual friends had a band that were playing at the bar in Oshkosh and um so my friends said "Hey you should come over to the bar" and um so she drove me out there and then I ended up meeting Ron and we realized we had similar friends and then fast-forward five years and we were dating! Um we have a lot of similar, we know a lot of the same people, but we didn't know each other when either of us were in school.

HS: That's really cool how that worked out then

BT: It did!

HS: Definitely a love story!

BT: Yeah!

HS: Let's see, where there any major campus issues while you attended Oshkosh or was it pretty mellow still?

BT: Um! I'm trying to think well, there were some, I don't want to say riots because it wasn't the 80's riots um but there was a few, some kids got out of, um like on Monday nights, when the Packers played Monday night football, um if they won students would run to the streets, and I just remember that being a little contentious. That probably would have been around 2000, 2001. Um I'm trying to think what else. Um I don't know if Oshkosh is still a member of United Council, um actually I don't even know if United Council still exists, but it was kind of the, the, I don't want to say the governing but the organizing body for student government across the state, so in the UW system. So the Oshkosh Student Association of, you know we are a member of, at the time we were a member of united council which meant we received um information from them, it was almost like a lobbying body for us. And um the college republicans and some others, we led a campaign to leave United Council and um it failed the first time so it was successful the second. Um we didn't feel that students should have to, I think we were paying like 3 dollars or 2 dollars a student, to be a member of united council and while it seemed like it was only 2 dollars we didn't really see the benefit of it. Um, so that was just an issue I remember. Um I mean the 2000 election was huge, Busch vs. Gohr, so that was being politically inclined and um being very into politics I was very involved in that. Um as far as other campus issues, you know we had, we changed chancellors, Chancellor Wells came um in 2001 I believe so that would have been something. As far as big campus issues that's all I can really think of.

HS: That's always good, yeah I would rather have not any riots while I'm there or any issues.

BT: Yeah, nothing too crazy.

HS: Yeah, we were learning about some of them and I was thinking "That is crazy that some of that would happen here."

BT: Yeah my sister, my sister was in school for that so was my husband actually but just hearing what those were and how they went down Mains Street and crashed cars and smashed windows and it just, it yeah. I'm glad we did not have that. But also I mean the fall of my last year in school um it was sept 11th of 2001 so that, while that was my last year in school, a lot was different that last year. I think that kind of just put a different spin on life as a whole um that changed um because of that. I think everyone was more aware of their surroundings and the world because of September 11th.

HS: Absolutely. Were there any memorials that Oshkosh held?

BT: Yeah! I'm trying to think of what we did, I know we organized something like the day after, or no that Friday. So it would have been the 14th um we did a memorial right in that area, well reeve wasn't as big as it was now, or it would have been actually. Reeve building was rebuilt while I was in school so that's something. Um but yeah we did it right between Reeve and the library, that little area there. Um yeah we did like the little memorial and just, I don't really remember. I remember being there, I remember helping to organize it, but I don't, I think it was more like we had some speakers. Um I do know that there was a couple of students on campus that at the time of the attack had parents parish in the World Traits Center, so I knew that because I worked very closely with the Dean of Students office, and there were certain students that were just made aware um that there were students that had parents that perished. So we could be a resource for them, but yeah it was, it was just different. I think everyone just took a deep breath and took a step back after that happened.

HS: That's definitely a step back. So then did you graduate that fall?

BT: I graduated May of 2002.

HS: And then, so when you graduated did you feel prepared for the real world after your years with college? Or was it still kind of scary?

BT: Yeah, that was another thing! I didn't have a job, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I ended up graduating with a political science major um although I had a few other majors in the meantime. And uh, I really didn't know what I wanted to do. College for me was about the experience, I could say this and not feel bad about it, it was about the experience not the education and I mean that in the fact of formal education. I really feel like, I, I learned a lot from my classes, um you know the homework and the work load that we had I learned a ton but I almost feel like I carried more from and carried more forward from my experience in school um whether it was through my student organizations, or just even getting to know professors or other students in the class um and that is what I feel like I learned more from. So was I prepared? That was as prepared as I was going to be but I didn't know what I wanted to do. In fact we went to brunch after graduation and were sitting at brunch and my mom looks at me and says, "So how does it feel to be a political scientist?" and I wasn't a political scientist I just had a degree in it, and I'm like whatever. And you know so I moved home and almost all of my friends, yes all of my close friends um had jobs, both of my friends were either nursing majors um education majors, or I had a few friends that were MIS, so you know the beginning of computer programming at the time. And they had jobs, and in fact my roommate my senior year, soriety sister, I'm still close with, she had to go to work the Monday after we graduated you know at 8 o'clock. And I remember, I was like what? Yeah I'm moving home throughout the next couple weeks and then I'll start looking for a job. Like I just, I really did not know and all my nursing friends, they had signing bonuses, and still, especially then in the early 2000's if you were at school you had to have good grades to be in my nursing school. But you had your pick of places and I had close friends that have 5 or 6 offers and really were able to pick what hospital to work at, or pick the one with the highest signing bonus. And all of my education friends had jobs teaching after graduation you know starting that fall of I think, I know there were others definitely my closest friends they all had jobs um if not that fall right after school started so I, I really didn't know what I wanted to do and I should probably have that. And a major part of that was about two months into my freshman year um my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and I think that really shook me to the point where I never really felt like I could plan anything. You know, so much was out of my control because I saw her get so sick and she lived about another 7 and a half years so she saw me graduate, eventually, but its, you know for leaving this small town, you know I did so much, we traveled quite a bit growing up and you know that last maybe 7 years or 6 or so it was always just me and my mom and my dad um because of the age difference so I was finally going onto school and kind of having my own life and then on Halloween my freshman year in school um she was diagnosed with breast cancer so it all became a, "what do we do now?" And I mean it is what it is, you deal with it, you work with it. I do know that, that changed my outlook, I was so glad, I think joining Gamma Phi Beta saved me, I don't know if I would have graduated, I think I would have but it would not have been a good experience. Because I just didn't know what to do, I'm so glad I joined Gamma Phi, and the other side is that the fall of my junior year the cancer has metastasized um for my mother, right before Christmas my junior year so I actually skipped finals week because they found the cancer had spread to her liver and so we had to go to Maeok clinic for three days you know in what was supposed to be my finals week and if it wouldn't have been for Gamma Phi Beta and the friendships that I had I don't know what I would have done because she did not have a good progress diagnosis at that time. So that second semester of my junior year I was actually was barely full time. I um, only took 3 courses during the regular semester, two of them were classes I was just taking over to get my grade up, you could also do that back then, um and then I took an interim. So I had a very minimal schedule um to whether it was to go home to my mom or um just too, I was very confused. Um on what life was and what the future held. So I think that was a part of me not really, I don't want to say buckling down or really making a decision on what I wanted to do because that really threw me for a loop and I think it still does to many parts of my life. I'm going to be 40 next year but I still, like nothing seems final to me, and I do, I think that's what it was I think it's the fact that everything you're so sure about and your parents are supposed to always be there and all of a sudden she maybe wasn't going to be. I graduate school in a year and a year later she dies. So um that's always been, I would never blame it but that's a reality that changed my outlook on life.

HS: Yeah because not everything is in black and white so you just have to roll with it.

BT: Exactly.

HS: Well is there anything else you would like to add in about your college experience or any advice?

BT: Advice? Go to class! No, um for one I stayed super involved, I'm still on the alumni club I just got re-elected to the secretary of the alumni board this evening!

HS: Oh, congratulations!

BT: Thank you, it's, I love giving back to kids and campus and um those, I laugh when I say six years but I don't regret it. You know, maybe my mom and dad always thought, God we paid six years, but it really was the experience and the relationships and a lot of the professors I knew are no longer there whether they retired or passed away, moved on, but a lot of the people from campus are still there also the people who work at reeve or the people who work in the dean of students office or any of the different offices I interacted with when I as in school so for me to be back, donating my time, volunteering my time to give back. UW Oshkosh I will say, it was the right choice, I woke up that Saturday morning, I am very thankful very religious and I do thank God, it sounds so dramatic, but I was being told, "You know what, you need to go to Oshkosh." It was an incredible experience, I love that just by getting involved not only did I meet incredible students that wanted to have fun but still get a great education but also Dean Shitzwood, the Dean when I was in school he's still one of my references if I ever apply for jobs. I can walk into the chancellor's office anytime but um it was that type of university. That you didn't have to be someone special to feel like you were special. You had a very inclusive, and welcoming campus around you whether it was staff, or professors, or students, and you didn't always get along but you were always there for each other. And I see it when I read, now being on the Alumni Board we do the Alumni Awards and I see it when I read the Alumni Award Application because I see it when people say I'm in Europe or Africa curing disease or doing whatever they're doing these incredible things. And every single time they say it is because of this professor or these students. It is because of the ability to feel like I connected and was a part of something bigger and I could have a big university feel with a small university setting. So I would never trade that for the life of me I mean going to Oshkosh obviously led me to meeting my husband and so many other friends that I am so extremely close with to this day. So I mean my passion is just to connect professional mentors with students whether it's for my job I do it with junior achievement but even for the university to connect students with mentors that they can talk to that they can see what they do for a living and see how UW Oshkosh changed their life. Um that's the key, we all took something away from UW Oshkosh whether it was our education or just even getting a degree or even for someone who just wanted that BS in accounting or take it full circle for people that were actually good at accounting, right? They just wanted their degree so they could take the CPA and become an accountant. Um but we all found our niche there and I wouldn't give that up for the world so. My husband and I our wedding reception was at the Alumni center um we were the first event in the alumni center. It opened April 1st and our reception was April 5th. So it, we just both feel an extreme connection to the university and extremely lucky and thankful that we were led there and that we had the experiences that we did.

HS: Well good! Alright well I wanted to thank you for taking the time out of your day to share your story with me. I really appreciated it and I found it very interesting.

BT: Well thank you and I appreciate you reaching out and I appreciate the project I think it and I talked to a few other alumnus who were interviewed so just to hear we even shared oh I forgot about this or whatever it was so I wanted to thank you and your professors and whoever's running this project. Because it is, this is the history we won't read in a book or it's the stories that really tell the whole story of Oshkosh. So thank you, and thank you for your patience and being in communication and I'm glad I was able to meet in person with you. And if you ever need anything if you need a connection or you have a question or who knows what if you just want to reach out to someone please always feel free to reach out to me I am always happy to be a resource or a mentor.

HS: Absolutely, I will definitely keep that in mind.

BT: Alright well thank you Hana!

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