Interview with Courtney Rinka, 04/30/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Samuel Hebert, Interviewer | uwocs_Courtney_Rinka_04302016.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |

0:00

SH: My name is Samuel Hebert, and I am a part of the Universities Study Program on interviewing Alumni. Samuel Hebert, S-A-M-U-E-L H-E-B-E-R-T, and I am here with Courtney Rinka.

CR: C-O-U-R-T-N-E-Y R-I-N-K-A.

SH: Alright Courtney, to start today let's start with some background questions, where did you grow up?

CR: I grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Um I'm still there (laughs). So, it's kind of, I guess you could consider it a suburb of Milwaukee or that general area. It's pretty well populated, not too far from a lot of big things in the area, like Madison or Milwaukee or what not. It's a nice place to grow up.

SH: Can you tell me a little bit about the racial or ethnic diversity of your community, in Waukesha?

CR: Not a very diverse in the area I grew up in, probably if you went to different parts of town the diversity would change, but my high school was 1:00pretty much Caucasian students, not a lot of diversity there. I went to Waukesha North High School and that was one of the three major ones, there's North, South, and West.

SH: Okay, can you tell me about your family history, at all?

CR: Like genealogy wise?

SH: (Camera move, closer to Courtney) Oh, sure!

CR: Okay. (Laughs)

SH: Go ahead, yeah.

CR: So, I'm mainly German on both sides of my family with a little bit of Swedish mixed in. So, definitely European, I think it was on both sides it was my great-great-great, so my third time's great grandparents that came over from Europe. Maybe, it was the fourth time's great grandparents, but we hadn't been in America for very long. But my mom's father grew up in Nebraska and then his 2:00sister right around the wartime got a job in Milwaukee, and so the rest of the family came up there so that how my grandfather came out and met my grandmother, and so that's how my mom's part of the family came there. Then my dad's side, they just I think the ancestry from Germany came to Milwaukee since it's a big German area and that's how they settled. That's how I became a part of South-Eastern Wisconsin.

SH: Okay, alright. Did your family have any traditions that they brought over that they still participate in, or?

CR: Unfortunately, some of the stuff I think fell away, like so my great grandmother she still spoke German, when my grandmother was a little kid but, then that didn't continue with her generation, unfortunately. But, I mean at Thanksgiving time we still have sauerkraut with like gizzards and chicken liver (laughs).

SH: Fun stuff.

CR: It's my favorite dish, so it's little things like that kind of come out here and there. Like my mom's side the Swedish influence, Swedish meatballs, so 3:00there's like I guess food is what kind of continued on, and that makes sense because it's much easier to do than maybe learning a new language or what not.

SH: So not like traditions or dances, or anything of the sort?

CR: No, not like that no.

SH: So, how about before you went to college, what did your family do for a living? And did you have a job?

CR: Looking back, I probably should of had a job when I wasn't here [UW- Oshkosh]. I didn't get a job until I was in college. Going back to my family, my father was a firefighter and paramedic, or EMT I should say, no it was a paramedic. So, he did both of those and then he had to retire when I was about in fourth grade, due to some severe back injuries so he retired early from the force. Then my mother, for as long as I can remember, she's been working in the banking industry. I have an older sister, and there's me, and then a younger brother.

4:00

SH: Okay, how did their occupations affect your decision on what you wanted to do, like going to college or just a job later on?

CR: I can't say it actually influenced me, I know like my sister is in the medical field, so maybe that aspect influenced her. But, like I said when I was in fourth grade my dad stopped working so maybe that wasn't so much in the forefront, he wasn't coming home sharing stories from work. So, I was kind of more like the creative type, the kind of like into a bunch of random things, so I can't say that there was a great influence in what they did to what I ended up doing.

SH: So, you just wanted to find something else that sparked your interests more, and maybe not what their more used to, you would say?

CR: Yeah, and I think I also saw like my dad work long hours and he had very physical job. My mom worked in banking, you know the repetitive kind of work, so I think maybe I wanted something different for myself.

SH: Okay, so how much did you family see the value in education?

5:00

CR: Um. (Pause) It wasn't like you had to go to college, I think it's just my sister was ahead of me. She wanted to go for something that required a degree, so I kind of followed in her footsteps. Like I didn't have any specific idea of what I wanted, so I was like, 'Oh, I'll just go to college, I'll figure it out'. So, I think my parents would have been fine either way if I would have maybe done tech-school or may just would have gone to some job, I think they would have been fine either way.

SH: So, it seems like there wasn't a necessity to go to college, through their eyes. How about let's talk a little bit about the education your parents had?

CR: So, my mother, (pause) got married a few years out of high school and a couple years after that they had my sister so she pretty much was working a job. I do know that when she graduated high school my grandmother had somehow gotten her some scholarship to some cosmetology school. So she did cosmetology for a while, found out it really wasn't her thing so she did cashiering so that how 6:00she ended up in banking. Then my dad, he did a paper in high school about like career exploration. When he was a little kid, the TV show "Emergency!" was really big and paramedics were like a new kind of career field, so he was caught up in like the excitement of the show and like the potential of the career. So he shadowed the local fire department in town and he got a job there, so that how he got into the field. Eventually, he had some training through a tech college or I think for a while he went to UW- Madison and did a program out there for EMT's.

SH: Okay, so just process he had?

CR: Yes.

SH: Okay, next let's talk a little about going to college. What were the main reasons you chose to come to UWO, specifically?

CR: I got denied to my dream school. (Laughs)

SH: And what was that?

CR: So, (chuckle) there's a theme here. My sister, she was older than me so I kind of always wanted to do what she did. She went to Madison and I visited her 7:00on the weekends a lot, and I just loved the atmosphere and the culture of the city. So that was the school I really wanted to go to, so I applied there and I applied at UW- Milwaukee just so I had a local option. Then, I didn't do extensive touring of a lot of other schools, but I knew my friends had toured and applied to Oshkosh, so like okay (smiling) well if I have a few friends there, I'll apply there. I didn't get into Madison, I got into UWM and Oshkosh. It was like, I don't know, a couple of weeks before the semester started when I decided what school I wanted to go to.

SH: (Surprised) Oh wow, okay.

CR: So I graduated and then I spent three weeks in Germany, through a high school exchange program. So I was like, 'Oh, I'll figure it out after then' and then I spent my whole summer thinking about it and I was like, 'Oh, I still don't know where I want to go' and by that point I was so sick of living at home I was like, 'Okay, (pause) I'm going to move away and go by my friends'. So, that's pretty much how I (chuckle) decided on that.

SH: So, I wasn't so much the affordability or the programs that Oshkosh had, I 8:00mean maybe it was a little bit, but you stated since your friends went there?

CR: Yeah.

SH: Okay.

CR: Yeah, and I was so undecided I don't think I really considered like (short pause) what each school had as options for majors and what not.

SH: Sure.

CR: And I think maybe in the back of my head I thought, 'Oh, I could always transfer to Madison' or somewhere like that.

SH: So, you didn't know what specific major you wanted to get into?

CR: No, not at all.

SH: Okay, so what intimidations did you have, I guess, for going to college if you had any because you indecisive, I guess. So, were there intimidations with that, or?

CR: I think in the beginning no. I think they-. (pause) you go and tour schools and you speak with you know counselors and they always tell you, 'Don't worry if you don't know it, you'll figure it out', because I think that was drilled into me that I wasn't so concerned in the beginning. And, I guess I was really excited to get away from home, I really didn't think about like anything else (laughs).

9:00

SH: Okay, we talked about that Journalism degree, was that the first major you chose after you were undecided?

CR: I was undecided until... (short pause) probably my junior year.

SH: Oh, really?

CR: I never declared anything. So in that time, because I was undecided you know I spoke with advisors and what not, so I had done some popcorning around all the different majors to see what I liked. Honestly, I was in a religion class one day with a fellow CA of mine and he was a year below me and he was going to declare his Criminal Justice. I was like, 'If he was going to declare it, I should go declare something', and I don't know I just picked journalism. At that point, I had done like 'Intro to Mass Media' and I kind of thought this is a creative outlet, I could maybe combine some of my strengths, so that how I ended up there.

SH: So, it wasn't specifically journalism that you wanted to get a job with that, but you just decided to choose a major, that fit you?

10:00

CR: Yeah, something that fit like where my strengths were or things that like...

SH: Okay, that makes sense.

CR: Yeah, so when looking at all the classes too the majority of those classes interested me, and so again like when I spoke advisors they say when picking a major you should like at least like 80% of the classes and that's usually a good fit, so [unclear] [unclear] [unclear] [unclear].

SH: So, when you finally did chose Journalism is that what you stayed with, for the rest of your bachelor's degree?

CR: Yeah, so I chose that the fall, I think, of my junior year so that's why I ended up doing five years (papers being turned), to fit in more classes.

SH: (Papers being turned) So, you didn't think of a certain occupation you could get with that degree?

CR: When I chose it, I didn't have any specific occupation in mind, at that point I had been involved with RUB and I had done a lot of promoting and a lot of that marketing type stuff, so I figured that... that would just fit with the major.

11:00

SH: Okay, let's talk a little bit about your your college life.

CR: Sure.

SH: So first, let's go with the freshman experience, can you describe that for me like the free time that you were given and how that was different from high school back home, or just tell me a little about that?

CR: Um. (pause) I thought that my experience in Breese Hall was kind of a lot like high school. Just because we had student government and our CA's or the CA's that I had were really good about programing, so there was always [unclear] this involvement aspect that I kind of had in high school. So, and then my friends, now don't ask me how this worked out but I didn't have a dorm since I didn't choose a dorm room because I didn't choose until really late. So, I showed up the day of move in, went the the Res Life Office and said I need a room, I ended up on the same floor just down the hallway from my two high school friends.

SH: Wow, weird.

CR: So, that worked out well. In that aspect, the transition from high school to 12:00college was pretty easy. But at the same time, like my first day, my roommate was a sophomore so she didn't move in. So, I was in my room alone at night and I was like, 'I don't like this', I... I was a mess and I went down the hall to my friend's room and slept on the floor (laughs). So it's funny, because I thought I was really ready for college, but when you're in the thick of it you're kind of realize 'Okay, I'm not as confident as I thought I was'.

SH: 'It just hits you', you could say?

CR: Yes, it definitely hit me. But, the programing that they did in the Res Hall I think is really what brought me out of my shell. You know, I think- and eventually that was led me to being so involved in college was that initial involvement that I had.

SH: So you applied yourself, you could say?

CR: Yeah.

SH: Okay. Let's talk about some of the organizations later that you were a part of. I guess your freshman year, you were a part of Breese Hall Government, 2006-2007. Let's first start with what did you do, like what was your 13:00involvement in there being a freshman?

CR: I was just a member, I didn't have any specific like role, I wasn't a secretary or anything. So, that meant showing up to weekly or bi-weekly meetings and then we would kind of get a report of like things going on campus. If there was something that the hall was planning, we could maybe help out with that. There were always themes and awards, and I think the awards were like "Weenie of the Week" for someone that does something silly or what not. Or like "Star of the Week" for something outstanding, so I can't recall specifically if I got any of those. I think I got "Weenie of the Week" one time, I don't remember what floor, but it was always fun to kind of get dressed up. I know one week it was like twins, another week was the guys dress as girls and girls dress as guys, I was a whole lot of fun.

SH: And that was all in your freshman year, correct?

CR: Yeah.

SH: So later, we talked about this before, how Breese, Nelson, and Clemens Hall would be torn down later, for Horizon. Have you taken a chance to look at 14:00Horizon, have you seen it?

CR: Yeah, I did a tour and oddly enough they showed off the room that had the same like viewpoint of my Breese Hall room.

SH: Oh, really?

CR: So, (with enthusiasm) I look out the window and I was like this is exactly what I saw out of my freshman room. So, it was really sentimental like when I looked out the window I was like, 'Oh, like this used to be the space I occupied but now it's a different building'.

SH: Wow, so you could remember it specifically, I guess, even though everything is different over there. (Pause) Now, let's talk about your involvement with the Reeve Union Board, like 2007- 2011. You said you were a part of the Chair of Music and Comedy Committee, could you tell me a little about that?

CR: So, I can't specifically remember how I ended up being a part of RUB sophomore year, I think it might have been- (pause) there was major concert was Jack's Mannequin and Ben Folds, and I was like, 'I kind of want to help plan 15:00this', so I think I ended up on the hospitality committee and so that was a one time event. But then after that, I got involved with the regular Music and Comedy Committee and I just helped out with the events as a sophomore and I really kind of liked it and then the chair of the committee of that time really encouraged me to apply for the following year, and I just did (laughs). I kind of just went with it, so that how I got started in RUB. Which is kind of, you know, baby steps.

SH: Also, you said you were Vice President, what was that for again?

CR: So, I did two years as Music and Comedy or Music [unclear] when the name changed at one point and then after those two years (camera check) I was Vice President of Public Relations for RUB. So, I just advanced in the executive positions.

SH: Okay, that' what I figured.

CR: Yeah.

SH: I just needed to be clarified there. Then, you were a journalism student and 16:00you said you won an honorable mention in a national public relations competition, can you tell me a little about that?

CR: Yeah, so the Bateman Competition though PRSA, (short pause) I'm trying to remember now, it was financial literacy was our theme, and so the corporate sponsor or the corporate company that was involved was Ally Bank. So, we were tasked with going out into the community and to the students and teaching them a financial literacy course. I worked with two other girls, in the actual application of the project but in the previous semester I had worked with four other people. It's kind of the research the groundwork for it, so we ended up getting honorable mention out of forty or some school in the country that had participated and we had made the top (short pause) fifteen or top ten.

SH: That's pretty good then.

CR: So, and they had the theme before of like UW-Oshkosh making honorable 17:00mention for that competition.

SH: Okay, that pretty cool though.

CR: Yeah.

SH: (Short pause) Let's talk a little about the size of the Reeve Union Board, was there a lot of people that showed up for events, or how about the club itself?

CR: The club, it varied, like with my committee I think when I first started it was ten or fifteen. Sometimes, you would have like twenty people show up in the beginning and then classes and other things would come kind of come up and they maybe not show up weekly or they show up only for the events, it always fluctuated. I think you could say we had about ninety committed students throughout the entire Reeve Union Board that would show up for different committees and be involved.

SH: What about the events that would take place, what would you think the size of that would be?

CR: Oh gosh, like...

SH: Like depending on the event, I guess.

CR: Yeah depending on that, so if we did like a local live music night, it could be like one-hundred. If we did like a homecoming comedian, that could be almost 18:00one-thousand. I know when I did the event for Daniel Tosh that was close to a thousand. So, it's kind of [unclear] [unclear]. Sometimes you won't have people (chuckling) show up, we did country one year and nobody showed up.

SH: Nobody?

CR: Even though the survey results were like "We love country as a music genre!", no one showed up, so we realized that unless it was like a brand name country artist they weren't going to come.

SH: You learn from that, I guess.

CR: Yes, forsure. (Laughs)

SH: Next, let's talk about being a CA, a Community Advisor, in North Scott Hall. So first, why did you want to become a CA?

CR: I think, initially it was just for the room and board.

SH: Okay, the benefits.

CR: The benefits, because at that time my parents were helping my sister, she was still in college and they were helping me and at that point I was only working on the weekends on campus, so there wasn't a huge amount of money coming 19:00in, so it was mainly kind of you know so the room and board would be taken care of and I could put all my money toward my tuition. So I had applied and the first time I applied I got... I didn't get chosen at all. Then during the summer I got a phone call from one of the Hall Directors, and it was like 'there's an opening up and we would like to offer you'. So, someone decided they didn't want to do it anymore so I must have been on an alternate list, so that how I ended up becoming a CA.

SH: So, did you have training in the summer then?

CR: Yeah, we came back early in August I think it was two or three weeks of training. We did like one weekend we would spend away at a camp. I think it was called Camp Onaway, it was a little island so you had to take a boat out to the camp site. So, that was kind of fun, it was a bonding experience because all of the CA's across campus were there, so you got to know one another.

20:00

SH: So especially from on the same floor or just in your building?

CR: Like in our building, in other buildings, like you got to meet returning CA's, and you got to meet who the new ones were so you could all get together and say oh my god we are so nervous and so excited. You know, to share those experiences together.

SH: So, they can tell you they experienced and what you should expect, pretty much?

CR: Yeah.

SH: So, let's talk about your residents, I guess, were they friends to you like active friends or more respectful peers?

CR: I think my first year, I was trying to find the balance between being the authority figure and being their friend or being someone they can come talk to. So, I remember within the first couple of weeks there was a student who had her stereo blaring and we could give out noise warnings for people who had their music too loud. Like I could hear her down the hall, like all the way down the otherside of the hallway. Looking back, I probably wouldn't have written her up 21:00for a noise violation (laughs) but I did, so that created quite the tension between her and I, unfortunately, but other residents were a little more like, 'Whatever you gotta do, you gotta do, like we understand it's your job, we don't hold it against you'. It just depended, but then I think the years after I found a better balance and then obviously they weren't, my first year they were mostly freshmen so then the following years they are closer to my age so we had more stuff in common, or we might of had a class or two together so.

SH: And with age, I don't want to say comes more responsibility, but more growing up you could say.

CR: Most definitely, I think freshman, they don't know what to expect and they have this idea in their head of like, you know from the movies, of what college is supposed to be like because the older residents figured that out, and learned and grew.

SH: We talked a little bit about the activities that you had when you were a freshman, in Breese Hall, but what about in North Scott what activities did your 22:00floor participate in, in any year you were a CA?

CR: Gosh... well we planned so much stuff. I think one of my favorite things we started doing, I think it was my second year it was "Thursday Night Live" so on Thursday nights in Scott Hall, we work with the South Scott Community Advisors and we pair up, and we plan some big thing on Thursday night. Obviously, it was to keep students from out going out and drinking (laughs) but I know the one that I planned was a Jersey Shore party. That was a big hit, because that was when Jersey Shore was big. We had a costume contest and we had mocktails and then people could like show up and we would have board games or ping pong and what not.

SH: So there was a lot of involvement you could say, with the activities?

CR: Yeah, yeah.

SH: Would it be like, you would involve other floors with it, but when you had 23:00just specifically your floor could you say that the majority of people on your floor participated?

CR: Ah, it depended. (Laughs) Because sometimes I'd be like this is a great idea, like I would think this is fantastic, but then sometimes it wouldn't reach the majority of the students. So, it would just depend, like what I did I think the more social programing was more popular. But yeah, it really depended.

SH: Okay, let's talk about other clubs and organizations, were their any that you were interested in but never had the chance to commit to or be involved in?

CR: I can't say, I don't know if this was a club, or it might have been a class but Sign Language was always something that was advertised and was like this is so cool, but it never fit in my schedule. I mean I wasn't the Public Relations 24:00Student Society of America but I probably would have wanted to taken a bigger role, maybe like a leadership role in that, but I was so involved in being a CA and with Reeve Union Board that I was kind of like okay I already have this.

SH: You did say you had a job though, on the weekends?

CR: Yes.

SH: Where was that at?

CR: That was cleaning toilets.

SH: Oh, really?

CR: I was a part of the custodial crew. (Laughs)

SH: Here on campus?

CR: Yeah, yeah. So I would wake up at five o'clock in the morning, start working at six and work till noon cleaning all of the bathrooms on the weekend.

SH: So was it Academic Buildings or was it actually...

CR: No, it was residence halls.

SH: It was residence halls!

CR: It was all residence halls.

SH: Okay, that must have been quite awkward at times.

CR: Ah, most students were sleeping so it wasn't a big problem.

SH: That is true, yeah.

CR: Um, but you would come across the occasional, you know, vomit on the ground.

SH: Ah, jeez.

CR: Or just, whatever. I mean, some floors were always clean, you never had to do anything you dislike, you know spit shine. But some floors were just 25:00horrendous, always, so you kind of dreaded doing those floors.

SH: I've never heard of that, to tell you truth.

CR: You know, I'm not sure if they still do that, I know the year after I was doing that the River Center flooded which is where it was housed. I don't know if they just decided, 'Okay, we just don't have space anymore, we aren't going to do this', or if they just kind of condensed it to a couple of positions for the students work.

SH: You said there was a flood?

CR: Yeah, like over the summer it had rained a lot, so then the River Center flooded.

SH: Okay.

CR: And I think a couple other academic buildings, like I think Radford the computer lab flooded. I few thing flooded and they changed stuff around.

SH: So they had to renovate a little bit?

CR: Yeah.

SH: Wow, I did not know that.

CR: I wasn't here for it, but I had a few friends that were staying over the summer. Actually, I had one group of friends that were living in a basement apartment, and so they got flooded out. (Laughs)

SH: Wow, that must have been bad.

CR: Not ideal.

26:00

SH: Since you were a CA, maybe you could tell me a little about the weekends how it was here at UWO, just because there has always been a reputation as being a "party school"?

CR: Oshvegas, Sloshkosh, yeah. (Laughs)

SH: It's been all the same throughout the years even in your time of being a CA.

CR: Yeah, most definitely, that was what most students referred to as comedious (Laughs).

SH: Not the greatest reputation.

CR: No, but to be honest as doing weekend duty and what not, some weekend would be horrendous it just depended like if it was Homecoming or like closer to the Bar crawl or maybe like Saint Patties Day, those weekends were a lot more busy but in general like it wasn't really that bad. Even the Scott's had a reputation for being the bigger party like residence hall. But in general like if you knock on a door and they were drinking and they knew they weren't supposed to they'd 27:00be cool and just follow the directions and then they'd accept the consequences but sometimes you have people that didn't care. So, then you had to get the University Police involved.

SH: That's always paperwork.

CR: Yes. (laughs)

SH: Very time consuming. When you were working on the weekends it's probably the last thing you want to, well maybe not the last thing you want to deal with but it's just a nuisance, you could say.

CR: I mean in the Scott's, you always have a duty partner so like you always had someone to commiserate with. We had security stations, so the students would have to check in after nine o'clock and so you have those individuals down there so there would be four of you. You always had someone to kind of hang out with and talk with. It made the time go by.

SH: Sure. Let's talk about the academics here at UWO, but first how well did high school prepare you?

CR: Um, in my last year of high school we had block scheduling. Our school got a grant specifically North got a grant so they changed to block scheduling. That 28:00kind of reflected more of a schedule you would have at college, so I think in that aspect that prepared me very well. The course work did a pretty good job, again I wanted to be like my big sister and she took honor classes, so I in my last two years tried to take some honor classes. I didn't actually take the tests for the AP credits or anything. When I came here, I had to repeat some course work, but for example I took Honors English my senior year and I had to do a big research paper. It was like twenty pages, but I did it. When I came to campus we had to do like twelve pages and I'm like, 'Oh, this is whatever' and students are like this is so huge, well I did twenty pages in high school like this is easy. I felt prepared, like I had a good grasp of study skills and habits. Unfortunately, I'm a procrastinator.

29:00

SH: Ah, okay. Everyone has that a little bit.

CR: But, I kind of do well under that pressure so I always got my work done, you know I got good grades. I think, all except my first semester of college I got on the Honor Roll.

SH: Oh, wow.

CR: So, that first one I think was a transition period.

SH: Yup, exactly.

CR: But other than that I was always on the Honor Roll.

SH: Well good job for that.

CR: Yeah. (Laughs)

SH: Um, so you were talking about AP classes for college credit. Did you get a certain amount of credits or... you said you didn't take the tests.

CR: I didn't take the tests, when I took the placement (short pause) test for college I did the German placement test because I had taken foreign language in high school and I intended in taking more German. So, here at UW- Oshkosh I actually skipped like two semesters of German. So in that sense I got credit, but nothing from AP coursework.

SH: Okay, let's talk about the classes that you had were they majority lecture 30:00hall classes or more condensed?

CR: Ah, with Gen-Eds were a lot of lecture pits. I think, when I was undecided I kind of hopped around and kind of popcorned and took classes from other majors those were a lot smaller, even though they were introductory courses they weren't as big as lecture pits. I had a good mix of a little bit of everything. Then I took a lot of interim classes, too. Like speech, which would have probably been a bigger class that's a little bit smaller during interim because not as many students stuck around for it.

SH: Really, you never very took so many prerequisites because you never had a major that you...um what's the word I'm looking for.

CR: Yeah since I was undecided?

SH: Yes, yes.

CR: I guess I didn't have as many lecture pits maybe as much as other people. 31:00Just because I was taking more selective intro courses to certain majors.

SH: Okay. How about the test for some of those selective (courses), were they mostly multiple choice or were they essay questions?

CR: I feel like mostly multiple choice, I think the only essay type exams were in German class and like this history class. Otherwise it was mostly multiple choice or it was some type of paper for an English class or project for other course work.

SH: Okay, describe the professors you had, did they interact with students inside and out of the classroom?

CR: I think, the professors that I had in my major were more, I remember them being involved outside the classroom, just probably because the smaller number of students they would have the opportunity to you know do things with students 32:00outside the classroom. But for the big pit classes, I can't recall involvement from them a great deal. Unless they were coming onto campus for some event like the comedian or something they brought their kids maybe that's when I would see them.

SH: So, as you progress more into your major of Journalism, what were some of the material or what were you studying?

CR: I know that Journalism has been reconfigured and Public Relations is now a separate major, when I had it was an emphasis. Looking back, I might have done a little more like visual like maybe added photography or something. But since I decided so late I kind of was trying to get the all the, you know, emphasis coursework done instead of adding extra stuff on. What was the second part (laugh) or what was part of the question?

SH: Um... (short pause) or just what were you studying?

33:00

CR: Oh, what I was studying yeah. So, I was (pause) oh gosh what was it called now (longer pause). Now I can't remember it, but we pretty much learned the basics of like Public Relations. So like writing press releases--

SH: So like those basics.

CR: What it means to add [unclear], communications so it was kind of the introductory stuff. Then I did research class, and that was the class I did the base work for the BateMan Competition and then there was a class for that where that's all we do is executed that project.

SH: Would you say later in your college experience, the professors were tougher graders?

CR: I wouldn't say they were tougher, I think any professor had a way that they were tough. They gave you really good comments and really good feedback, with 34:00constructive criticism.

SH: Um, let's talk a little about your grades since you said you were on the honor roll, so you did a lot of work. Did the amount of work you do reflect what the grade you got?

CR: Yeah, I think I could have applied myself a little more and got a higher A.

SH: Well yeah, a higher A. (Laughs) There's not much higher you can get I guess you could say. So, honor roll, I'm just making sure, when you were going to school that would be above a '3.'--

CR: It was 3.3, but you had to have a twelve credit load.

SH: Oh, of course.

CR: So, twelve credits and then a 3.3.

SH: Okay.

CR: Yup.

SH: Do you know how you compared to the rest of your peers, in your classes? 35:00Just because I know that there was a requirement GPA for certain majors, so do you think you were in the higher section of your class or program, do you think?

CR: (Short pause) Possibly, yeah. I'm not really sure. (Laughs)

SH: Maybe that's a little too selective question.

CR: I do know, like with some of my friends from other classes like, they had to redo math or redo English. When really I didn't have to do that, so I kind of felt like in that sense like maybe I was a little above my peers.

SH: So, you mentioned you had a lot of help in academic advising, trying to structure that out since you took a lot of different classes. So do you think it really did benefit you for when you finally decided what you wanted to do.

CR: I think so, it gave me a good sense of what I liked and didn't like. It got me to meet different people from across the campus, you know so like sometimes 36:00when you get into a major you kind of stuck in this group of certain people, because I jumped around I got to meet people from different backgrounds so that was pretty neat.

SH: And even though you graduated after five years, that extra year didn't bother you at all?

CR: No, my sister graduated in five years, I think my brother graduated in five years, I just think there wasn't a pressure to do it in four years. My parents were like, as long as you get it done, like five years seemed manageable.

SH: It's just the norm is like people say four year degrees but the majority of people have to take four and a half or five years, so I didn't know if you had a problem with that aspect. (Pause) Let's talk about a little after school, you said after completing and obtaining your bachelor's degree in Journalism what impacted you to finally get your Masters?

37:00

CR: So, since I was so involved on campus and I had other friends that were very involved on campus, we all decided to go toward higher education Master's Degree, and I don't know if you're familiar with the Oshkosh Placement Exchange here at UW- Oshkosh. But I had volunteered with that, so when you're on campus and you're so involved you're always surrounded by these higher education professionals and a lot of people say that they didn't know that was a major or didn't know that you could have a job in. So, I think when a lot of people realize when they are really involved that they like that and they want to continue that so that's how they go into like higher education.

SH: You did say that you tried your Master's at a different university?

CR: Yeah, so I went through Placement Exchange. Again, I didn't get into the school that I wanted to go to. I think I wasn't so focused on the actual like Master's program, I was just more interested in the graduate assistantship 38:00experience. So, when I went through OP, I ended up deciding to go to Reno, Nevada and I ended up with a graduate assistantship in Residence Life, which wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, but I'm like, 'Oh, I'll be going to grad-school, so I can always get the job in the area that I want to do later on'. I ended up being a graduate hall director, it was just me of an entire building which was different because a lot of times you usually are the assistant to a seasoned professional at that point. So, it really didn't work out for me I think some of it had to do with just it was a right fit and since that was the only offer I had got at that point I didn't want it to delay my education, so I went with it. My grandmother was getting sick so I was like well maybe she won't be around much longer so maybe I'll just come back home. So I was there for a semester, then took the following semester off and in that time 39:00I went back through OPE, and then got a graduate assistantship with Reeve Union Board actually.

SH: OPE, what did that stand for again?

CR: The Oshkosh Placement Exchange, so you have colleges/ universities from all over the country they bring their representatives and they interview students on campus for jobs. You have hundreds of people coming from all different walks of life coming to interview. So, it's kind of a one stop shop. When you're applying for schools and they are all in one place then you would only have to pay for one place than pay to go to four different places.

SH: Just clarifying.

CR: Yeah, no problem.

SH: So, once you finally did go to Oshkosh to get your Educational Leadership Master's Degree, what was the difficulty in that, were there any difficulties I should ask?

CR: I wouldn't say there was a difficulty but, the Educational Leadership Program here is a little more comprehensive and includes K-12 individuals, so 40:00some of the course work isn't highly focused on higher education or it might have a little more twist with like the K-12 system. Which, depending on the class [unclear] it's actual a benefit because you kind of learn a little bit more about what students are going through to come into college. Sometimes it was challenging, but other times it was kind of a benefit.

SH: How about after graduating and obtaining both your Bachelor's and Master's Degree, did your vision of education change at all? Or your perception of education change?

CR: I think value my education a lot more. Like, more beyond the book stuff I learned. I think if I had not gone to college I probably wouldn't have developed emotionally and socially. You know what I mean, like when you move away from home and you're put into the situation you really have to grow up. Whereas if I had stayed home I probably would have lived with my parents for a few more 41:00years, I probably would have hung around my high school friends and not branch out, so I think I value the college experience as a whole a lot more.

SH: Okay, so what do you do now since obtaining your Master's Degree, in the job field?

CR: When I graduated with my Master's Degree, I took a year and a half off to take care of my grandmother. She had Parkinson's and her Parkinson's was speeding up pretty quickly, so I was helping to take care of her at home. So I had just started in January at an university in Mequon, WI, Concordia University and so right now my position is working with the intramurals and social education programing, so doing programing that reflects alcohol use and drug use and health relationships. So that kind of Educational Programing.

SH: So now that you are finally in the job market, you can say that the 42:00education that you obtained here from UWO, maybe not just the education but everything you learned I guess, has helped you build your character and benefited you as person?

CR: Most definitely, yeah.

SH: There's one topic that we forgot to mention how Obama came to Kolf, correct?

CR: Yes.

SH: Can you talk a little about that then?

CR: That was sophomore year, my sophomore year, and I lived in Donner Hall so I could see Kolf out my window since I was facing that side of the street. I don't remember if we had to get tickets or what not, I can't remember that but we ended up, me and my one friend ended up in Kolf and we watched Obama speak and it was pretty amazing. Because at that point I hadn't voted in a presidential election at all, maybe only in local elections so that was really exciting. I think I was also in a Political Science prerequisite class for something so we 43:00talk a lot about politics so that was pretty cool. I really tried to meet him, but (laughs)--

SH: That didn't work out?

CR: No, there were too many students. I didn't get my picture so.

SH: So is there any other topics about education here at UWO or in general that you want to talk about or any of the experience you had that you want to discuss?

CR: Um-- (short pause) I don't know if I mentioned this already before but in graduate school, when I stayed for graduate school, I participated in the alternative spring break program one year. Because I wanted to do it as an undergrad but then again I was a CA and I was so involved it really didn't work out and so I'd gone with a group to New York City, for spring break. So, that was a pretty great experience and I wish I would have done it as an undergrad.

SH: What did you do in New York?

CR: That was focused (pause) on AIDS and HIV, it was split between two 44:00organizations. One was like a food delivery service organization called "God's Love We Deliver" so we prepped meals. I went with some driver and we went around um what was it... Brooklyn or something, we were driving around one of the suburbs just delivering meals to people and that was kind a neat, because actually we go to the building walk up, hand the meal to the individual. Some of these individuals, well the organization started out as people only sick with like HIV and AIDS that couldn't make meals for themselves and then it expanded to include people who might be dealing with chemotherapy treatments or ailments that restricts them from making healthy meals.

SH: So anyone with disabilities you would say?

CR: Yeah, so part time worked there and then the other part we worked at The Gay Men's Health Club and for that we were preparing for a big race or event they had coming up.

SH: Okay.

45:00

CR: So, yeah it's pretty neat.

SH: Anything else you want to discuss that we haven't already or just reiterate?

CR: Honestly, I think we covered (laugh) a lot of it.

SH: Yeah that is true, okay well thank you again for participating in this.

CR: Yeah, no problem.

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