William Pulda: Alright I'm William Pulda and I'm conducting an interview forthe UW Oshkosh campus stories oral history project the time and date is 4:00 pm on May 3 we are conducting this interview over the phone, do you want go ahead and tell me who you are
Michelle Kampa: Sure my name is Michelle Kampa I am director of college advisingat the Milwaukee institute of art and design and I graduated from UW Osh in 2004
WP: Do you want to tell me where you grew up
MK: I grew up in West Allis Wisconsin which is a suburb just west of the city ofMilwaukee I always considered it a suburb, but not many people really knew where it was so I would just say I was from Milwaukee and really it was only a ten 1:00minute drive or so to Milwaukee.
WP: Do you want to tell me a little bit about the community you grew up in,where you close knit
MK: Well I mean West Allis is about 60,000 people I mean there is only two majorhigh schools in the city and only 2 middle schools, I knew I had like friends all the way from kindergarten up to through high school but I also knew kids who went to other schools because of activities I was involved in I guess West Allis was like a small big town, I don't know I never really thought it was a super big place to grow up but compared to some people to some people I met while I was in college it wasn't really big place to grow up, and even being close to 2:00Milwaukee, just being in the Milwaukee metro area.
WP: Do you want to tell me about your family?
MK: Sure, I have two younger brothers one is 5 years younger than me, the otherone is just about 2 years younger than me and they're both married and I have a niece and a nephew my youngest brother has 2 kids, my brother Scott who is 2 years younger than me he lives in California right now, he's in the air force with his wife and my other brother and his wife live in Burlington, WI and they are, he's a youth pastor, and my parents moved to Oconomowoc in 2008 or so, they built a house out there, they wanted to kind of move away from the city a little 3:00bit more and they always say they wish they would of moved sooner but I don't know I like growing up in West Allis and I loved my high school and everything, but my family is pretty close I have a very large extended family it was one of those family's where we always got together for birthdays and holidays and stuff like that so I feel like I was really lucky growing up with that type of family unit.
WP: What did your parents do?
MK: My mom she was a registered nurse so she was actually, she worked atchildren's hospital through my childhood she worked at children's from 1987 to 2007 and then my dad he worked like a lot of odd jobs when I was growing up 4:00because he went back to school when I was in Elementary school but he ended up working doing electrical engineering type work but it was one of those things like were when he was going back to school my mom was working second shift and so he was working 2 or 3 jobs at a time part time jobs while going to school and really it wasn't tell high school where he really had like stable full time job, even now he's in his second or third major empower and he's in his 60s and he's finally in a job where like you know he makes really really really good money and it's taken him quite a bit of time to get to that point but my mom is still a nurse but she no longer works at children's hospital
WP: What kind of values did you parents instill in you?5:00
MK: I think some of the biggest ones I mean just kind of relates to what I'mjust talking about my dad like hard work and sacrifice and I guess being humble, being great full for what you have and like recognizing the hard work you have to put in to get to where you want to go. I think another value is just like general kindness and being good to other people, let's see and just like the value of you know communication and like putting time into relationships and people that you care about, things like that
WP: Was school important to your family?6:00
MK: Like going to college or school in general?
WP: Just school in general I guess, and college
MK: Ya, well I mean for my parents they didn't go to college, I mean my dad hastwo associates degrees and my mom has the equivalence of a associate's degree in nursing but they didn't like go to your typical four year university, they don't have bachelor's degrees, they didn't have that college experience but like I have a grandfather whose passed now but he had his master's in education like I have aunts and uncles who have, like I have an uncle who's a doctor and I have like multiple family members who were always very highly educated, I mean I have a couple other family members with their masters degrees so it was always just kind of, I don't know if it was expected that I went to college but it was always expected that when I was in school that I was doing the best that I could 7:00do, and I was putting in good effort for that and I was always a really good student, school always came easy to me so I think the fact that school kind of was important to them or just the fact that I worked hard I mean I was able to you know, fulfill that, and with college like I don't know, I can't really recall them ever saying like you will go to college but kind of like what I was kind of wanting to do when I grew up quote on quote like required me to go to college and both my brothers as well it was always kind of like the task that they wanted to go on would in their minds require a degree of some sort so kind of not expected it kind of was like an unspoken type thing that was kind of an unspoken expectation I guess, but I don't think my parents would have been upset 8:00if they didn't, you know
WP: When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
MK: Well when I was really little I wanted to be a nurse cus my mom was a nurseand my grandma was a nurse and I had an aunt who was a nurse, but two aunts that were nurses actually and then I though pediatrician cus I liked kids and then the whole medical thing but then it kind of came to the point where I wanted to be a high school band director, I was really involved in music, all the way from like I played instruments starting in fifth grade and did summer marching band and did things like that so when I became a junior in high school I kind of made the decision that yes I'm going to be a high school band director. And so then that's what I ended up going to college for and actually starting in, which changed which as it does for a lot of students but yeah music had such an impact 9:00on me in my life that I wanted to help other people have those same experiences
WP: So then, what interested you about college?
MK: What interested me about college?
WP: That made you want to take that step towards college I guess…
MK: Well I mean I know based on like what my career goal was that I would haveto get a degree so that was one point but also just the whole you know going to college experience and living on campus and you know having that type of community that you're a part of and just it was kind of, I mean I had opportunities/ privilege to go to college so it was never really something that I questioned that I had the ability to do. But I think a lot of it too was also 10:00moving out and you know being on my own but still kind of a controlled environment. So I mean a lot of people say college isn't really the real world but it really is because you can make poor choices and still have to suffer the consequences or deal with what happens down the line because of decisions that you made just like in the real world, but yet still a little more controlled environment, but I know I wasn't ready to just go out and get a full time 40 hour a week job and have my own apartment or whatever, and I always liked learning, learning is a big value of mine that has continued in my life like I've always loved to learn and be exposed to new things and new people, so I 11:00think that also really attracted me to college.
WP: Alright, What were some activities you participated in as a child? Likesports, I know you said music
MK: Yeah, I mean I was in summer sports programs and tee ball, and softball andall that stuff, we always did swimming lessons, soccer, volleyball, when I was in high school I played softball and volleyball up through my junior year, but then when I got really focused in music all my extra time went to that, plus working, I worked part time when I was in high school, so I had to give up sports at that time, but once I focused on what I knew I wanted to do I just kind of had to make that choice, buy yeah I would say music really took up most of it, and my brothers were always really involved in sports, like my brother 12:00was a varsity wrestler during his freshman year of high school so my family was always really involved with my brothers, they always had weekend tournaments, they did club wrestling and stuff like that too. We were always really involved with that. Those were probably my biggest activities.
WP: What was your part time job in high school?
MK: I worked at cousin subs. It was very close to my house where I grew up. Imean I had worked at busing tables at a fish fry at a Knights of Columbus, because my mom knew the chef there. So I had worked little jobs like that, but my first true part time job was there [Cousin Subs] and I started there right 13:00before I turned 16. So I could only work like 3 hour shifts. But then eventually I became, I worked there even through college, I would come home on the weekends and work there sometimes over the summer. The first couple summers I was at Oshkosh I came home for the summer, but then I stayed up there. I worked my way up to a shift leader, so I was basically a manager even though I wasn't considered a manager. It was a great job, and I learned a lot of lessons about hard work and leadership and supervision, and training and things like that. And how to work on a team. I had really good managers and things like that, I was lucky. So it was a good part time job
WP: Alright, Why did you end up choosing UW Oshkosh?
MK: Well UW Oshkosh was, I think I told you this last time, but it was third on14:00my list, out of 4 schools. UW Madison and Lawrence university where my number one and two choice, but I ended up not getting admitted into their music program, and I figured well I'm not going to go there for a whole year and have to re-audition and not be studying what I want to be studying. I thought that would be a waste of my time, and Madison ended up being just a little too big for me. And Lawrence was fine, it was really small, but private school to be paying that much and not studying what I wanted to be studying. And then UW Milwaukee was my back up back up choice because I wanted to move away from home and if I went to Milwaukee. My parents probably would have let me live on campus but it would have been just so easy for me to go home. So Oshkosh was there and I applied there just because I liked their music department and 15:00because my Dad grew up in Oshkosh, I think that probably does have something to do with why I chose to go there. My grandparents were in town and it was not too far and not to close and I really liked the campus and when I went to do visits it just felt like the right place for me to be. And I got scholarships through the music department there, really just connected with the Band director and the other students that were in my orientation group. It just felt like home. So that's kind of why I ended up choosing Oshkosh over the other places
WP: I know we talked about this before, dour dad's family was from Oshkosh, doyou want to tell me a little bit about how his family was involved around campus when they were around?
MK: Oh yeah, so one of the houses my dad grew up in was on the corner of Elmwood16:00and woodland, so like where the arts and communication building is now. And his older siblings went to UW Oshkosh when they lived there. My grandma use to take in sewing, so she had a sewing sign on her door and she would have professors and students come in between class if they had like a torn hem or something like that, and she would fix it for them. My aunt and uncle published a book on campus called the pen and the prof which was kind of like the precursor to ratemyproffesor.com so they went around and they surveyed the students about their professors and then they published it and handed it out on the sidewalks. The administration and professors were just up in arms about it, and this was 17:00back in the 1960s. They both worked on the student newspaper and were really involved. My Dad ended up going into the military right after high school, he went into the air force so he didn't go to college until after he married my mom and went and go his first associate's degree, and my dad came from a lower middle class family, not a lot of money, my grandpa worked in Milwaukee and would only come home once in a while, like he would send money home but my grandma was essentially a single parent for a long time. My Dad was the youngest of four kids, the youngest by a lot like ten years. That impacted him, 18:00like growing up he never had a lot so that kind of rubbed off on us as we were growing up to. But it was fun going up to Oshkosh to visit my grandparents and my Dad would drive us around and show us all the homes he lived in and things like that. It made Oshkosh even more comfortable to me when I was looking for schools, but I was already familiar with the area, like I knew how to get around. And having family there too was nice.
WP: Can you tell me about your first day at school in Oshkosh?
MK: Yeah, I definitely remember moving in and having orientation and meeting19:00people. I don't remember specifics but I had to walk to Arts and Communications building being a music major and I lived in South Scott Hall, So I had to go from one corner campus all the way to the other corner of campus for an 8 am class, I always had those jitters of like oh I don't want to get up late, or do I get breakfast before or after class so just getting into those routines. But I remember walking down Algoma, that long stretch, so many days and just feeling a part of the community, and wow I'm in college, and this is happening. Then Again I was always good at school, it just came naturally to me, So I wasn't 20:00necessary nervous about all of that stuff. And I remember, I'm not sure if this was just the first day of class, but there was always a smell on campus. Even when I was working there as a professional on like a really nice spring or summer day you get like the smell of saw dust, I don't know if you have ever experienced that
WP: No I've never smelt saw dust before
MK: No, I don't know. Maybe I'm just crazy, it just smelt like wood or fresh,and I've never smelt that anywhere else in Oshkosh, just on campus. You know 21:00how they say smells help emit memories that you have, Like whenever I go back up there and I happen to smell that it all comes flooding back to me, like all those experiences in colleges.
WP: Do you want to tell me about living in the dorms during your freshman year?
MK: Sure, I lived in South Scott on the 4th floor which was an all-women's floorat the time, women's quite floor, which means their quite hour started at 9pm instead of 11pm during the week. But it was funny because when I sent in my housing paper work I specifically asked for Nelson or Clemons, like a small Hall, because I had visited campus my senior year of high school and stayed on campus with a friend of mine from high school had went there and she lived in 22:00Nelson Hall. And so I'm like yeah I want to live in a small hall and I didn't get any of my top choices, I got put in south Scott but I was still was on an all-women's quite floor and my mom called the director of residences life and demanded that I not be in a tower because she had heard these horror stories about the Scotts. I was like beyond embarrassed, I was like seriously mom? I'm on an all-women's floor on a quite floor, like I'll be fine. And eventually when I was a Hall director that person was my boss which was weird, but yeah that was my mom. But it was great, I loved living in the Scotts. It was cool to be able to go on the other floors and meet a lot of people I did have friends in the smaller halls so I would go and visit but I loved being in the Scotts, 23:00there was always something going on. And I loved my floor, I'm still friends with people that I lived with on that floor and my CA, I just saw her at an alumni event last week here in Milwaukee. It's just amazing how connected you stay to people. But then when I became a CA I moved to a smaller hall. I was upset at first because I wanted to be at a large hall when I became a CA. Like I requested to be put in a large hall, but I guess they put mean in a small hall, but I was fine. I ended up liking it just as much if not more than being in a larger building. So yeah, it was a good experience.
WP: Do you want to tell me about your roommates during your freshman year?
MK: Oh yeah, so I had two roommates. My first roommate my first semester hername was Kristen and she was from Oconomowoc and we actually met over the 24:00summer, we got our mail of who our roommates was and we had to call them because we didn't have Facebook back then. So we visited each other over the summer to get to know each other and we coordinated like what are you [Kristen] bringing and all that stuff and she was fine, she was nice, she was just a little more of a party person then I was. Her older sister was in Zeta Tau Alpha and so she would go to a lot of parties and there were times where her sister called me like Saturday or Sunday morning "Oh do you know where Kristen is?" and I was like No, I don't know where she is, she never came home and she only lasted one semester and she dropped out. And to this day I don't know what happened to her. I think she went back to Oconomowoc. And then my second semester I was by 25:00myself for interim in January but I knew I would get another roommate and sure enough I did. And she was fine, she was quieter, except she was in the room all the time. And I was never in the room that much, and Kristen was never in the room that much. But whenever she was her boyfriend was always over. I was kind of like ehh ohk. I mean she was fine and everything but it got kind of annoying but I was so busy I only really slept in my room and occasionally did home work in my room. So it was kind of interesting where like oh I'm still best friends with my college roommate. But I'm still really good friends with a lot of other people I met through being a CA and being involved on campus and stuff like that
WP: I know you said you were a really good student, was there an adjustment26:00period your freshmen year, or did that go pretty well?
MK: I mean there was an adjustment period for sure, like figuring out how tobalance my time because being a music major you are practicing all the time and the homework is really challenging like music theory. We had to take piano class and voice class so we had to practice our primary instrument plus for me being in education I had to take piano and voice as well. I spent a lot of time in the Arts and Communications building so that was an adjustment spending so much time practicing and studying but I really didn't have anything to worry about besides doing my laundry once a week, and I was a nerd, I did my laundry 27:00on Friday nights. It was an adjustment but I was just so focused on what I wanted to do. And I didn't really have to worry about working. I did work, my freshman year I got a job working at the music department office, answering phones and helping the secretaries and making copies and stuff like that for professors, but I was able to do my homework there to. So it was really nice, and it was really just for some extra spending money. I was lucky enough where I didn't have to worry about too much other stuff. But there was still an adjustment, and think one of the bigger adjustments was socially meeting people, like who can you really trust. Like when you're in college you're just trying 28:00to figure out who you want to be and who you are and questioning a lot of things. I think that was one of the bigger adjustments I had not necessarily the academic transition.
WP: So I know you said you had a friend you visited in high school that wentOshkosh, did you spend a lot of time with that friend freshman year or did you spend most of your time with new friends that you made?
MK: I spent most of my time with new friends I made, I mean she was in themusic program, so I did see her quite a bit because we were in band together and we did have some mutual friends because another one of my good friends I met my freshmen year also lived in Nelson Hall, but she ended leaving Oshkosh and transferring back to Milwaukee after my freshman year. But I was able to meet 29:00some other people through her that I knew, which was nice. But yeah, I pretty much made my own friends, most of my friends were music kids and then when I got involve in USRH and hall government they were all like the really involved leaders on campus were the people I hung out with.
WP: What were some memorable classes that you remember a lot from college?
MK: Well I think the one I remember most was my wind ensemble because even afterI changed my major, I was a music major for 2 years and then switched to psychology I was in the University of Wind Ensemble for all four years, and that meant 4 days a week for an hour each day. So I saw these people all the time, 30:00and when you're making music with people and having that experience it's a really encapsulate thing so you really connected to those people. I'm still friends with a lot of those people I played with even though I didn't continue onto music and they did. So that was probably one of my most memorable because it was so consistent all four year and it was the same people. We would always get new people in every year but it was essentially a core group of us all through 4 years and then the band director. I would say a couple of my other classes were a couple of my psychology classes like my experimental psyche class was really impactful on me. I mean it really helped me as I went into graduate school in terms of research class in grad school. And then I really like my 31:00cognitive psychology class, my sensation and perception class. I had the same instructor for both those classes. She just made learning about the subjects so exciting and so much fun. She made the concepts really easy to grasp onto. So those are probable some of my most memorable classes.
WP: Why did you end up changing your majors?
MK: Well when I became a CA my sophomore year I really got into it and I wasreally good at it. My supervisor at the time, my hall director, was just talking to me about student affairs and was like "well you know you can do this as a career, like you can work on a college campus and work with college students." When you are in high school you don't go to college thinking I'm going to be an academic advisor because you just don't know unless you come from 32:00a family that works on a college campus that you know about those things. So I started to look into careers in student affairs and there were some really good people on campus that I could go talk to. Like our department of residents life was really strong at UW Oshkosh and very well respected in the higher education community and specifically my hall director. He was a strong mentor of mine and he's still a good friend of mine. So I had some really good people I could talk to and process through things with. At the same time my second semester of my sophomore year I was really starting to struggle in my music classes. I was struggling with my instrumental work. My music theory four class was just kicking my butt, I ended up having to dropping it because it was just so hard and I just wasn't getting it and I was spending more and more time just really 33:00enjoying what I was doing as a CA. I mean I finished my classes fine but I had that turning point my sophomore year where I was like maybe I just want to music for fun and as a hobby rather than a career. And struggling so much maybe this is a sign that this isn't really what I should be spending my time doing. And I'm really enjoying and really good at this whole college student thing and working with the students and helping students. I did the research and I looked into what major could I switch to and am I still going to be able to graduate in 4 years and what will set me up really well for graduate school. Because I knew at that time that I would want to get my master's degree in higher education. That's why I declared psychology as my major. I basically had music as a minor because I took so many classes. I took every interim so I was ahead of the game 34:00and I had AP psych my senior year in high school so I was able to jump right into my psychology major in the fall of my junior year. So I took 2 full years of all so psych classes and a couple other general educations I had to finish up and I still graduated in 4 years. It was stressful to try to explain to my family that I wanted to live on campus when I graduate, like I want to be a hall director and I want to work with college students. That wasn't really a typical career path they were thinking of. I was the only grandchild out of 20 grandchildren who was going on in music. My Grandfather I was kind of following his legacy and I had to tell him I was quitting. So it was a really stressful 35:00time as it is for a lot of college students when you go through that transition. But I just found something I was more passionate about and that I really enjoyed doing and I was good at. I honestly to this day believe that if I had never went to UW Oshkosh I don't think I would have go into the field that I'm in right now. The great mentors I had there, I mean I ended up going there for music but if I had ended up going to Madison who knows where I would be right now.
WP: So I know you were a CA, why did you enjoy helping people so much?
MK: I don't know, I'm an introvert like I was never one of those socialbutterflies in high school but once I got to college I kind of took as like well 36:00no one here knows me. This is the time for me to reinvent myself and be who I want to be and I don't have to live up to anyone's expectations just my own. I was able to just really able to connect to people really easily and I really loved the concept of living in a community and just how much you can learn from living on campus with a roommate. Like conflict management, communication, respecting other people, and realizing that it's not just you. There is other people that you are impacting with your behavior so just really helping students get the most out of their college experience not just what you're learning in the classroom but what you're learning outside of the classroom too. And I had 37:00just great experience my freshman year that I wanted to help other students have that experience which translated into why I wanted to work on a college campus in general. I liked making the door decks and planning the programs and hanging out with my residents. Writing up incident reports and doing duty rounds and stuff like that wasn't necessary enjoyed doing. I don't think any CA enjoys doing that, but it's just part of the job in terms of helping the community be safe for everyone and welcoming people so they feel safe where they live, which is really important. I think it was mostly about the experience of being in 38:00college and what you can learn from that and take that with you when you leave.
WP: So the first part of your college experience you spent doing music things,how did you spend most of your time after you changed your major?
MK: So start of my junior year I was still a CA for one semester but then Itransitioned into a job on campus through the department of resident's life called leadership development specialist. I think they still have them but the job has changed since I was in it. But basically, I was on a team of three people and we did programs for residence life, we worked with hall government as peer mentors/ trainers. We planned summer events, we helped plan for some of the camp experiences. We were support for some of the upper administration in 39:00RL we [inaudible] for them. It was a position that helped me develop skills that helped when I was getting into grad school. It was kind of like a really awesome internship, is how I describe it. But it was an on campus job and I got full time hours during the summer and I would work about 10 to 15 hours during the school year, sometimes up to 20. So I was just so involved on campus that way. I did a stint of admissions tour guide and I still worked in the music department office for a little while. I was still in wind ensemble even after I changed my major, and I was still largely involved with United Students 40:00Residents Hall a little bit but not as much because of my position. That's kind of what I did my last 2 years, and my senior year was a lot of preparing for grad school, like interviews and applying for grad school and stuff like that.
WP: Did you go home much while you were in college?
MK: No, not really. I didn't have a car until I was a junior and most the timeit stayed parked in a remote lot during the week. My family had an extra car so I was able to take one but I really didn't go home that much during the school 41:00year. I mean during the breaks I would for sure and then the summer starting before my senior year I stayed up in Oshkosh, but every other summer I went home and worked. But since I had that weird leadership development position which was full time the summer between my junior and senior year I stayed up on campus. I sub leased an apartment and that was one of the best summers. But I think my family was ok with that, they would come to Oshkosh and visit because my grandparents were still there so I got to see my family kind of regularly. And I would call once a week, but I was one of those people that was able to 42:00manage on my own and my parents knew if I needed help I would reach out.
WP: Alright, I know you worked in the Hall Government, do you remember any bigpolitical or social issues at your time in Oshkosh?
MK: Well, this is kind of funny, I remember the contract for soda on campus,whether we would be a Pepsi campus or a coca cola campus. Not the vending machines or the convenience stores where you could buy Coke or Pepsi. But like in Black Hawk or in the Union by the food you could only get Pepsi. It was just 43:00up in arms about whether we would be a coke or Pepsi campus. And it was eventually Pepsi who ended up winning which destroyed a lot of us who were coke people. I remember that and I remember a few contracts like who was going to be our food provider like cost and things like that. I mean other things politically I don't know. I mean LGBT issues were kind of big, it was still hard for people to come out. The LGBT group was really just coming into play on campus. A lot of high schools didn't have one of these groups and now almost every high school has like an allied group or an LGBTQ group. In the early 2000s that was kind of going on. Things like Human Rights. Yeah I can't really 44:00think of anything else.
WP: Alright, Did you ever go off campus much at your time in Oshkosh?
MK: Yeah, I lived off campus my senior year but I lived right on Elmwood Ave,across from the Arts and Communications Building. So I was technically off campus but that's as close as you can get without living on. My senior year was probably the year I went out most with my friends. I didn't turn 21 until the summer before my senior year and I wasn't really one to drink underage on campus. My best friend went to Ripon College, and I would go to Ripon because their Fraternities and Sororities were on campus and anyone could go to their 45:00parties but at Oshkosh, when I was there the frats and sororities were a little more like I don't know elite I guess, and I wasn't in that so I would drive 20 miles west and go to Ripon and have a good time. But yeah I didn't really drink too much before I turned 21. Even then I didn't go out to much but my friends and roommates would have parties and we would go out. Maybe once or twice a month. But I did have a friend who did the Kelly's challenge, I don't know if that's still a thing.
WP: No what is that?
MK: Well you go to Kelly's every day for a certain number of days and then youget your picture up on the wall?
WP: Oh really? I didn't know that was a thing.
MK: Yeah I don't know if it still is, but yeah one of roommates in college, he46:00graduated in December so he was done with class. So the spring semester when the rest of us were still finishing up class he was working full time and he did the Kelly's thing with other people because he didn't have to go to class. I would go off campus to see my family but most the time I stuck around campus.
WP: What would you say you learned from UW Oshkosh?
MK: What did I learn? Oh Man
WP: Or Like the biggest things you took away from Oshkosh.
MK: Some of the biggest things I took away from my experience at Oshkosh wereprobably Just like how to really set goals and take action steps to reach those 47:00goals. How to really manage my time. I learned that hard work really does pay off. I learned the importance of taking advantage of opportunities that are put in front of you. I mean there are so many examples of things that happened to me while I was at Oshkosh that got me to get involved in something or apply for something or volunteer for something. And if I hadn't had said yes to those things, I think that would have changed the structure of my career path and my life. So I've learned more about what I can say yes to and what I should say no to, obviously you can't say yes to everything. But just learning about the impact of not taking advantage of opportunities and what that could do if you 48:00don't. I would say it just continued my love of learning while at the time I wanted to work on a college campus because like everyone should go to college. Like college is the best opportunity for everyone to have. I still think education is a path however college isn't for everyone, and there are other education opportunities like 2 year colleges, or apprenticeships, or job training programs that work better for some people. But I think being at Oshkosh just really encouraged the love of lifelong learning for me. It's just 49:00a really special place, and I've worked at other colleges since my time there. But there is just something about UW Oshkosh.
WP: What did you do once you graduated UW Oshkosh?
MK: When I graduated I had been accepted to graduate program at Western IllinoisUniversity for college personal administration and I had earned an assistantship on their campus, so I was an assistant hall director for the 2 years I was in grad school at Western Illinois University. Essentially I lived on campus, worked on campus, went to school on campus for 2 years, plus I stayed up there during the summer orientations. So I did that and when I graduated in 2006 I 50:00then came back to Oshkosh as a hall director which was kind of like my dream. That is what I wanted to. When I graduated from Oshkosh in 2004 I was like alright I'm going to go to grad school and then I'm going to come back here and be a hall director. Because I wanted to work for the University. So I did that for 4 years and then I was an academic advisor in the UARC at Oshkosh for 4 years before coming to Milwaukee as my current position.
WP: You said you are married correct?
WP: Did you meet your spouse in Oshkosh or was that later?
MK: Oh no, I met my spouse 4 years ago. Actually he and I had gone to high51:00school together. He didn't go to college. He just worked his way up in his career field. It's funny because he would actually come to Oshkosh to party with people that we had went to High school with and I didn't know this until after we met again and talked about stuff. Since I really didn't go out and party that much I never ran into him.
WP: Alright. Do you want to talk a little bit about your employment at Oshkosh?Post college.
MK: Sure, when I was a hall director I was a hall director from 2006 through2010. My first 3 years I was a hall director in Nelson Hall. Which obviously 52:00no longer exists on campus. But that was a really great small. I was one of the first hall directors there when it was an all freshmen environment. My first year there was a mix of freshmen, sophomores, and I even had a couple juniors. But my 2nd and 3rd year there was all freshmen. And then my fourth year I was a hall director at North Scott Hall. So it was from a small hall to a very big hall, and I supervised grad students and had a much bigger staff and then my 4th year as a hall director I started to work part time in the academic advising office. Which was actually how I then transitioned to become a full time advisor. They knew I was interested in academic advising. And one of my mentors was an advisor on campus. So I spent a lot of time over there. Essentially I worked part time. My boss in residence life let me work a day and 53:00a half out of every week over in the advising office and then I spent the rest of my time as a hall director. And it was really awesome that I was allowed to do that. So when a job open up in the UARC I applied for it and got a full time job there. So I was able to move off campus and not be a hall director anymore. I only want to be a Hall director for 3-5 years and live on campus and then transition to another student affairs role on campus. So advising was something I was also really interested in. So then my next 4 years from 2010 to summer of 2014 I was an advisor but I worked with College of Business students plus undeclared students. My primary students were business students which was fun because I didn't study business in college so I learned a lot. It was really 54:00fun to work with business students.
WP: So you talk a lot about how you had a lot of mentors at your time in UWO,were there any students that you remember having that you were able to help guide them and help them out through their time in college?
MK: Oh yeah! When I was a hall director some of my staff, who I'm Facebookfriends with, and I don't really communicate a whole lot with them but I know what they are doing. Some of them have kids and stuff and I don't even have kids yet. It's kind of cool to see them move along and some of them I was able to mentor along in the student affairs field as well. I actually have some them live in the Milwaukee area so I connect with them every once in a while, to see how they are doing. And then when I was an Academic advisor I was also an advisor to a student organization on campus call Alpha Lambda Delta which I 55:00started that chapter at UWO. So the students who were on the executive board for that group I kind of stay in touch with. Because I worked with that group for 5 years before I left campus. I don't think any of them went onto student affairs but they have all gone on to do some great things all over the country. So it's kind of cool to see where they all ended up. And I kind of like to feel like I had something to do with that. Just a very small part. But I actually had one of my students who he is now in a doctoral program at UW Milwaukee for criminal justice. He lives in Milwaukee with his family. He reached out to me 56:00not to long ago and thanked me for the impact I had on him. Because when he was a freshman in Nelson Hall he walked into my office one day and said I want to get involve. So I was like ok well we need a OSA student on our hall government. We did an election and no one wanted that position so do you want it? And he said sure. So he got involved and he became a CA and got really involved on campus and now he is in a doctoral program for criminal justice. So I've had a couple of former students who have reached out to me, especially now that I'm Facebook friends with them. I'm not Facebook friends with any my current students, but if you're a former student of mine then sure. So that has 57:00been kind of nice to see that. But I am one of the people that have a very internal. I don't need a lot of external gratification to keep me going. I have a very interregnal locust of control were I'm like I have the interest and motivation to do what I do. Which is helpful because sometimes in student affairs there can be challenging situations where you feel like you are trying to do a lot for a student and they are just not getting it. But then you have those students who really do appreciate it and you feel like you're making a difference. So I've definitely had those experiences.
WP: What advice would you give current students right now?
MK: I mean it kind of goes a long with what I've said before about one of the58:00take away I took from Oshkosh was just take advantage of opportunities that are presented. Never be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. To have courage to do something different and to stress yourself. Because you never know what you might end finding and you'll never know unless you try. And if it fails then it fails but at least you know. And you can say well I tried that and I know that's not for me and to go onto the next thing. I think so many times these days so many people are focused oh I have to get through college so I can get my job so I can do what I want to do. But you are so young, your job is going to change, and careers that don't even exist will exist. It's just taking advantage of opportunities to build your skills and decide who you want to be 59:00and what you're good at. So that you make those good choices later on in your life. The third thing I would say is that there was this phrase that I learned in grad school called "trust the process". That kind of goes along the whole being patient with the process, even just the process learning things in life that takes a lot of hard work. And it takes sacrifice sometimes and dedication. It's not going to happen overnight. And you just have to be really persistent, and even when things come up that side line you for a while. Looking at it as a learning opportunities not as oh I failed but what can I learn from this. It happened for a reason and its setting you up for the goals that you're trying to reach. I would say those two things. 60:00
WP: Alright, Well I think that is going to conclude our interview today. I justwant to go ahead and thank you for your time.
MK: Of course!