Interview with Alan Christian, 11/29/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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BM: Okay, so I suppose to start with some background, I suppose, answer, where did you grow up? And I know that you said you moved around a little bit, so where would you identify as where you grew up?

AC: Well the story I tell is I spent my, through eighth grade in Florence, Wisconsin, in northern Wisconsin, and I usually ask, my traditional, I graduated from high school from Deerfield.

BM: So then, tell me about the community of Florence, like, what type of work did people in that neighborhood do?

AC: Yeah, Florence is a really small. The town that I went in was 500 people and the county is only like 1500 people and it's in the northern woods and so, a majority of the people what they did if they didn't for some government 00:01:00organization such as the town or the school, they were in the timber industry. With a little bit of farming.

BM: Yeah, so how north is that, ah, of Wisconsin?

AC: Yeah, its two hours north of Green Bay and its right on the Michigan-Wisconsin border. I actually worked in the iron mountain in eight grade and I rode my bike so I was like two miles from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

BM: So then did the people that grew up around that area, did they typically go to college?

AC: Ah, no. I would say probably. I still keep in touch with those guys that were in my class and I would say probably about, only about 10% of the people went to college.

BM: So then, tell me about the community of Deerfield? And those ah, the work that they did?

AC: Well you're familiar with those guys but they ah, you know it was a little 00:02:00bit different because it was a suburb of Madison. But I would, by in large, at least when I was at Deerfield, a good portion of the kids lived out in a rural area and they lived on a farm or a ranch. And then I had a mixture then of people that worked in the local community and a lot of people that worked in Madison. So it was a much different, in some ways it was similar because of the farming but in a lot of ways it is different because you had Madison right there and a lot of people worked in Madison for various different jobs.

BM: And then do you think people around there typically went to college, or do you think that was different?

AC: You know it was about the same, a little bit higher, people in terms of college. And you know there a little bit more people went to tech school after 00:03:00as well because they had access to community colleges or tech schools, being outside of Madison. But I would about 20% probably went on to college.

BM: So what were your parents like?

AC: So my parents, they were both, um, they both went to college. My dad was a teacher and my mom she was a, she sold insurance in Madison.

BM: So where was your family originally from?

AC: My dad's family was actually from Columbus, so you know just north of Madison and my mom, she was from Florence and her dad is, interesting story, he dad, my grandfather played for the Green Bay Packers so she ah, she actually 00:04:00traveled a lot when she was younger and he actually was there because he taught Todd? School at Florence.

BM: So you guys' ah, you told me that you were, before kindergarten you were born in Oshkosh.

AC: Yeah my folks both went to Oshkosh and that where I was born on 1968.

BM: Okay. So do you have any of your own children?

AC: Excuse me?

BM: Ah do you have any children of your own?

AC: Yes, I have a six-year-old daughter.

BM: Okay and then what are like the values you try to impact in your daughter?

AC: You know I, being from the, living in the east coast now I crave all things of the Midwest. So I think it's just that kind of salt of the earth attitude and hard work. So those are the things I try and show her and just persevering 00:05:00through things and once you commit to something to just finish it. So I think I kind of still have those rural Wisconsin values.

BM: Do you emphasize education, like highly?

AC: Yeah well I'm a university professor so I by definition I definitely highly believe in that I believe in public education and I work at a public university and that's absolutely important to me. I think everybody should pursue whatever drives them and you know, I think just in today's society you have to, you know a college education is what a high school education was forty years ago. Just part of our evolution of our society.


BM: So what were some of your family routines when you were growing up in your households?

AC: Family what?

BM: Routines when you were growing up in your house like going to church or were there anything that were instilled on you?

AC: Yeah we um, my mom, my mom and ah, my mom was raised catholic, my dad was raised Lutheran so they raised the kids Presbyterian so we ah, we did go to church on Sundays. We, everything pretty much because my dad was a coach revolved around sporting events and we went into Madison, in Deerfield in Madison we took advantage of the opportunities to see different things in Madison. But for the most part, you know we just enjoyed friends and family and ah, kind of did things in the community.


BM: So describe your current neighborhood?

AC: My current neighborhood, so I live in the greater Boston the metropolitan area. But we live in a town called Quincey? Quincey is about a hundred thousand people but ah, we live in a neighbor that's we live right across from a park, so it's really kind of quiet. It reminds me to some extent of Deerfield because of the because of the park and it's kind of quiet in the back area. Other than hearing the airplanes go over because we are in a fly zone, it's pretty quiet. We're about 7 miles from downtown miles.

BM: So when you lived in Deerfield, did you live in the town of Deerfield or just the Township?

AC: No we lived in town. We lived on the north side.

BM: Okay so then tell me a little more about middle school and high school, at 00:08:00Deerfield? Like what were the teachers or other students like?

AC: Ah you know; Deerfield was actually smaller the school was actually smaller than Florence. So you know, for me it was really nice because you know, coming in and especially being a freshman, you didn't know anybody and so you know it was nice. I was able to get to meet everybody and get to know everybody. And I remember I just had a reunion this last, last when I came down in October and you know I was still kind of caught up with everybody and I knew everybody in the room so it was real nice. The teachers you know we had small classes so got, and we often times had them for multiple class so you got to know them. I guess it was a little different for me because my dad was a school teacher so I don't 00:09:00know if I had the exact same experience as everybody else because I had to kind of behave a little more because my dad, you know they were going to see my dad in the teachers' lounge.

BM: So, um where was I here. Do you remember your graduating class size?

AC: We had 51--52 students. I believe.

BM: oh wow, yeah because I believe I graduated with 76 but that was really high for Deerfield even today.

AC: Yeah I think we had a total of 215 students the year I was a senior. That was the total, freshman through seniors. So that was a big class.

BM: So how important was school to you and your family? Like in high school did you take it serious? Your education or was it more just about the sports and the weekends?

AC: You know, ah, I would say my first two years it was about me transitioning 00:10:00and about the social aspect. Just getting to know everybody that's when got to know your dad and JD and Ebba and those were my, and Doug and hung out with them. So I spent a lot more time socializing and just being a goof during those first two years and then I kind of, when I, this is the one thing I remember I, we had a work study program at Deerfield and you could go to work at one of the factories that use to be there they use to, they made gears for transmissions.

BM: Is that MPI?

AC: It might be. I'm trying to think of where it was. Ah. You know where the festival grounds are and the ball park?

BM: Yeah

AC: Maybe not the ball parks now but they use to be the downtown. Right behind 00:11:00all the bars and stuff. That factory was right off of that street there. Is that the same one?

BM: Yeah same one.

AC: Yeah, so I went there. It was the start of my junior year. We had this work study program and I worked four hours. And that was probably the hardest job I ever had. Standing for four hours, pressing on the air? Earplugs, I got all kinds of oils all over me and I said, you know what, I appreciate what these people do but I think I need to work on my academics and so. That's when I kind of said academics and doing well in school and going on to college and sports that kind of, the combination of those two kind of got me focused so that I can go on to college. But that was the one thing I remember really you know, where I turned and stopped goofing around as much and got serious about the books.


BM: So you would say it was like your sophomore or junior year where you started having thoughts of going to college?

AC: Yeah that's where it really, you know, my folks would always talk about it because they went to college so. It was always something in the back of my mind but I didn't really think about preparing for it but that was the moment that I really remember I needed to buckle down in school because I wasn't, I was not the best student. I was a C student. That wasn't going to get me into college.

BM: Do you think your parents always thought about you going to a four-year institution or were they just hoping you would go on to higher education?

AC: Oh no, I think they would've, they were happy that I was just going to be able to get a college degree. If I look back on it to I think, I suffer from 00:13:00pretty bad allergies and asthma and ah I have them year round and its sometimes especially in Deerfield with all the corn and soybeans I had a hard time, I just would get bad headaches and be tired all the time because of my allergies and I just had a hard time, struggling and so I think they were just happy with me going to college. I didn't do so well in my first year in college so they were going to just be happy for me to finish.

BM: So then, what was your interest in college, like what were some of your considerations when you were going there and what did you intend to study?

AC: So I started off as a business major. So that was from ah, I took an accounting class in Deerfield and I did really well in it and I said, you know I want to be in business. My mom was in, on the business side selling insurance. And so I started off there but I took a business class at 8 am on Monday, 00:14:00Wednesday and Friday my first year and again it was a transition and I was more interested in the social part of college. And I don't know if Thursday nights are still big there but ah, they were really big at that time and I never made a Friday class, I don't think.

BM: Did your friends go to college?

AC: So ah, let's see, you know um, JD--some of them did, some of them went to tech school and some just worked at the farm so um, you know your dad started off at Madison and decided he wanted to do something else and went off to tech school for I believe for the--being the journeyman or work with electricity, 00:15:00and then, you know what, Ty went on to college and ran track. You know a couple of them went on to college and ah Ebba went to college for a year or two and just decided that wasn't what he wanted to do, so ah. That was a little bit of pressure because your dad was going to college and Ebba was going to college and Ty and so that kind of motivated me to kind of kick it in gear in high school.

BM: So why did you decide to go to Oshkosh?

AC: You know; Oshkosh really was about the fact that my parents went there. I wanted to go on and continue to play football and I couldn't make up my mind and so I went to Oshkosh because of their business program and the fact that my 00:16:00folks went there and so I had to look at all states schools. Recruited by River Falls and by Lacrosse and then Carroll College as well and I just, because of the business school at Oshkosh that's, and my folks went there and I liked Ron Cardo? They ran the same, similar type of offense we ran. Because we went to football camp at Oshkosh our senior year. So just all of that just kind of made it make sense to go to Oshkosh.

BM: So were you recruited from Oshkosh?

AC: Yeah, for both football and track.

BM: So then did you run track your freshman year? Or what year?

AC: No, I was worried about my weight because I was a running back and when I ran track my senior year at Deerfield I had lost 15 pounds. And so I was worried 00:17:00about running track, so I didn't my first two years and then ah, after that I did run my junior year at Oshkosh.

BM: So then, what were your first impressions when you got to Oshkosh? And like your first couple weeks of school?

AC: I was over whelmed, you know, coming from Deerfield, and knowing everybody in my class and all of a sudden I was away from home and you know, my parents were pretty strict in terms of my curfew. Did you have a curfew?

BM: No, I didn't have a curfew.

AC: Yeah, Scott (Mancheski) didn't either. And so Scott and JD and Ebba didn't have a curfew. I had a curfew. I had a curfew of 10 o'clock until my senior year and then it was 11. So all of a sudden I get to Oshkosh, you know 12,000 students. College life, my own responsibility. Classes, nobody is really 00:18:00checking if I'm, you know, you go to class or whatever and I was overwhelmed. And I did a mistake, I didn't go to my freshman orientation. And so part of me, I was kind of lost in terms of how all that worked. And so, I guess the word would be overwhelmed.

BM: So then, what were your classes like? Like near the end of your first semester did you have a pretty good handle on it?

AC: No, I wouldn't say that. I got a 1.07 my first semester. And then I got a 1.7 my second. And ah, it wasn't until the end of my first year that I kind of had a handle on, okay, what do I need to do. I hung out with my floor mates, they were from Milwaukee and ah, they weren't really taking college seriously and ah, I was just kind of just taking it all in and just kind of soaking up all 00:19:00the freedom and I ended up getting hurt in October and so I ended up taking a medical red shirt. It kind of, and I wasn't practicing and I just kind of got lost in that whole college experience. I did not get it until the summer between my freshman and sophomore year when I got told by the coach, you got to take a summer course otherwise you are not eligible next year.

BM: So do you think athletics helped you, give you structure as far as academics went?

AC: Yeah because I wanted to play football. I knew I could. I was undersized because of running track and I lost a lot of weight and so I was smaller than I needed to play, and I knew I needed to work and I wanted to play and I think 00:20:00that gave me some structure to push me through the academics and get my shit together, so to speak, and prioritize school and athletics and kind of back off from the partying a little bit.

BM: So do you remember any gen eds that you took? I know now that we have the USP which is like University Studies Program so we have to take a lot of culture and society and community classes. Did you have anything like that?

AC: Um, we didn't have anything like that. We had gen ed distributions. Those I did alright in. I did have, I struggled in one of the classes was world--no east. No western civilization. I really struggled with that, but that was like, there was 200 kids in there. And I just was not use to that type of environment. 00:21:00I did take later on, I took world regional geography my sophomore year and I did, you know, it was again I realized what I needed to do and I needed to study more and get really focused on school and football. We also had, what else did I take, philosophy, um, your English courses. My English courses, they were, ah, they were not easy for me, in terms that it was different from what I had in high school. But we didn't have these kind of, they were really generals, humanities, arts and you know, those type of courses. They weren't kind of themed.

BM: Yeah okay, because we have paired classes to were, for instance, I took an English class that was paired with a history class so some of your readings related back to each other. So I think they took a pretty big step forward for 00:22:00your gen eds here.

AC: Yeah, well we do similar, we don't quite do that. We block students now so that they are in a series and we go cohorts? Here. Yeah, we didn't have that in my day which would have been nice to, you know it would've, it would've made Oshkosh just a little smaller, right. You know, because you see those people in class and for somebody that came, for myself that came from a small school, I kind of got lost in the numbers.

BM: Yeah, it was nice because you would see the same people working on the--for both classes so you got--they like helped you, ah form like a group of people that you would know then.

AC: Yeah, we didn't have that. My family was my football team and that was--those were dangerous guys.


BM: Is there any professors in particular that you still remember?

AC: I remember a lot of them and you know, especially in my major in biology they were critical for me, going on. That in my career. That was when Oshkosh got really small for me which was good. And I (something) was a good way means you know I got to know my professors that took a field trip down to Santa Rosa Island. And you got to see them, they kind of you know, let their guard down and you know, got um, you got to know them. And so a lot of my biology professors are, I remember. And then, you know I remember some from my gen ed courses, in particular. Like I really appreciate, even though I got a D in that course, in that western civilization course, that guy, that was in my spring semester and I 00:24:00knew I was in trouble. And you know, he was willing to sit down and work with a different way of taking exams. He gave multiple choice exams, he gave some people the option to take written exams, because they couldn't remember all that material. And so I remember him. I remember my math, math teacher, because I wasn't very good coming out of high school with my math, I had a couple professors that, you know, really helped me get over that hump and get through the math and actually enjoy math.

BM: Yeah, so where did you spend most of your time on campus? Did you go to the library?

AC: Spent a lot of time at the library. In the first two years that I was mostly just too kind of socialize and hangout but we spent a lot of--what is it Polk library?


BM: Yup.

AC: Yeah I spent a lot of time, and as I got to know the library a little bit more, you could go up on certain floors and you could get those little cubicles. I don't know if they have those. Or a little room, sometimes they have rooms that are available and you could get a quiet place and there's certain that you can kind of get away from all the noise and all the, you know the--part of Polk when I was a freshman and a sophomore was the social part, you know. Sitting at a table and just, you know, cutting it up. As I got upper level, you know it was more about sitting there and being quiet. And the Union at that time. My last year the Union kind of became a place to get something to drink, you know, get some coffee and something to eat and study there but at--when I first got there the Union didn't have that atmosphere.

BM: I was looking in past articles in the newspaper and it said that they use to 00:26:00have a bar in Reeve.

AC: Yeah, ah, bowling alley and bar.

BM: Really?

AC: Yeah.

BM: Yeah, they definitely don't have that anymore.

AC: No?

BM: No

AC: That's too bad. That was the--not many people really used it. I think that came out of the 60's and 70's when bowling was really big. And in the 80's hardly anybody went there, you know you had to be 21 so you had to be upper level but yeah, I went bowling on some Saturday nights and you know that was the kind of things, how we grew up in Deerfield. It was small. We would hangout, there was actually a-- a community center restaurant. So that kind of made it, again that was one of those things that made Oshkosh small.

BM: Yeah, so did you go home much and did your parents still live in Deerfield after you went on to college?

AC: Ah, they ended up moving a couple years after I graduated. My dad ended up 00:27:00becoming principle and superintendent so they moved my junior year of college. And because of football and things I didn't go home, ah, I don't know, at the time Oshkosh got pretty quiet on weekends because a lot of people went home. But I didn't we had game and different ah--practices and stuff like that. So, I went home probably once a month to wash my clothes.

BM: Ah, do you remember what dorm you lived in?

AC: Greunhagen!

BM: Greunhagen. And did you have to live there one or two years?

AC: Lived there two years and then I petitioned because I didn't have enough credits, at the time we had to have 60 credits before we could move out. But my junior year, we got a, I petitioned and was able to move off campus. Off of--on 00:28:00Elmwood Street. I just walked by that, a few weeks ago and that house is still there. Right across from Halsey.

BM: Okay, so then what was it living on the dorms versus off campus?

AC: Umm--You know, ah--it was a little bit different for me because my roommate went home a lot. He had Tuesday, Thursday classes. And he went home on Thursday nights, so I basically had my own room. So that was kind of nice compared to other people. And it was a good place for me to meet my floor mates. It wasn't a good place for me to study because there was a lot of distractions going on, and they were pretty small and you had two twin beds and you had a key to the bathrooms so you know, if you, you pretty much, you could sit at your desk but 00:29:00ah, you know, if your roommate was around you would end up shooting the shit instead of studying. But it was--it wasn't--looking back on it, it wasn't too bad it was a good experience. A then I got too meet a lot of different people. And then my junior and senior year living off campus was cool because I lived with a bunch of football you know, my teammates and you know, I had a little bit more flexibility, in terms of you know, when people come over, you don't have to check them in and all that stuff.

BM: So have you stayed in touch with not only your football, your teammates but maybe your roommate and, ah on the dorm?

AC: So my roommate actually ah--got killed in a car accident so he--I don't ah, -- He ending up dropping out our sophomore year and in the fall he had, right 00:30:00after that he had a car accident and ending up dying so I didn't keep in contact with him. I kept in contact with my, the guy I lived with after that but I haven't really kept with a lot of them. Just a few of them now I keep track of. And mostly those guys on the football team.

BM: So do you have any memories that you would like to share of you and your college friends?

AC: Haha, ah--well, one of them, ah jeez, these are safe one's ah, we use to have a, right around, you know, right about this time, I don't know has it snowed there yet?

BM: No, not yet, it's been weird.

AC: So I, we had a big snow fall right towards finals week on the last week of class and we had a huge Greunhagen versus Scott Hall snowball fight. There had 00:31:00to be a thousand people out there. Do you guys still do that?

BM: Ah, they try to but the campus police really do not like it so, they shut it down quick.

AC: Oh they didn't like back in our day so that was one of the best, that was it. You know you were like a, like a, like a kid again out there. What I can't remember what street it was between the two but it was, it was a war. And then, you know, just I have a lot of memories of students in my, you know, fellow classmates and just having a good time. The one big thing I remember is, you know, is that sticks with me is that field trip I took with my classmates down to Santa Rosa Island. We took 60, 60 science students and spent a week down in Florida and that was one of the best, best times I remember. And then, of course the off campus stuff, but those are, you know, those aren't stories to tell ah, 00:32:00but that was part of Oshkosh and part of what made it fun. And every now and then we would take a group and go down to Madison like, during Halloween we would take a car full of people and kind of the extracurricular stuff. That was, did a lot of growing up and at the, in the, on those off campus activities.

BM: Did you ever do like a study abroad?

AC: I did not.

BM: No? Just that field trip. Was that a, during class, or was it something that you did over spring break or something?

AC: Spring break. It was, one of the first alternative spring breaks. Got some, you got one lab credit for it, but it was ah, it altered were, ah, instead of going to be a high school biology teacher and football coach, I decided to go to grad school because of that.

BM: So what were some of the other students like at Oshkosh? Did you get to know 00:33:00many students outside of football?

AC: Yeah so, when you're in football you don't have a whole lot of time for other things so most of my friends that I made were my, were my classmates in biology. You know my last two years there we spent a lot of time at, you know, at Polk library in the first floor. We'd get a big table, we'd sit together and study for different biology classes and exams and that ah, that's one of the things I look back at and we're a commuter campus here at UMass Boston. That's one of the things that students don't get is that because they go back home and they do their studying at home. And I think that's one of the things we miss is kind of that, that, bonding and going through that studying for an exam and 00:34:00during finals week just, you know, sitting there and just commiserating on, you know, trying to finish out the semester, so that was it in terms of my social interactions for the most part. Sorry I got another phone call. That was it for my social interactions because the rest of the time, I would get done with classes, I'd try to get done at three, go and lift weights and workout, and you know, and then I would eat dinner, and then I had to study because I didn't use that afternoon time to study so.

BM: Interesting question. Did you ever race Ty or see him at a track meet?

AC: Yes! I did. He at that time, I only ran the 100 and 200 and by that time he 00:35:00was more of a 400, 800 guy. So I didn't race him in college. I would see him at meets and I always gave him shit because he would do this in high school too. He throws up after every race. So I would go over to him and give him shit, I would say ay puker.

BM: In high school, I missed his long jump record by six inches, so then when I graduated he gave me a card with a ruler of six inches. I was like ugh. It was good, it was good.

AC: Yeah, so you ran track?

BM: Yup, I did ah, in high school I did the relays, 4 by 1, 4 by 2, ah, 400, 300 hurdles, long jump, and I didn't really so 1 or 200, I'm not like crazy quick. But yeah, up in Oshkosh I only do long jump.


AC: Okay, so you're on the, I didn't know that. I didn't, your dad didn't tell me you ran track here and ah.

BM: I'll do, I'll do long jump and then the 60-meter dash indoor because it's still short enough to where I can keep pace.

AC: Okay, yeah. They wanted me to run the 400 at Oshkosh. At 200 pounds I guess couldn't, I wasn't fast enough. So you know I did it to, mostly I did it to ah, keep in shape for football. I put on too much mass to be as fast as I was in high school, but it ah--So what's your 60 time?

BM: Ah, well it was 7.25 at the end of last year but I'm hoping to ah, break 7.2 this year. And then I've jumped 22'6'' but I'm hoping to jump 23 feet this year and hopefully go to indoor nationals.


AC: So that's what Ty's record for the long jump was 22'6'' at Deerfield wasn't it?

BM: 22'1''

AC: 22'1'', okay.

BM: Yeah, and then I got 21'7'' so just a little off.

AC: Yeah, what did you play--did you play football?

BM: Not in Oshkosh but in high school I did for sure, yeah.

AC: Yeah.

BM: I was a running back and corner back.

AC: Nice.

BM: Yeah.

AC: I can relate to that.

BM: Yup, I was a linebacker but ah, I just, I mean we had such good linebackers that, and they needed me at corner and I was quick enough to cover so that's what I did.

AC: Pretty good. Do you miss football?

BM: Oh yeah, I tried to get on here, this team, but they weren't recruiting I guess.

AC: Yeah, I saw them, they were a lot better than we were. I saw a game. I ah, I 00:38:00thought your dad got invited to that weekend and ah, I guess they didn't so ah, we went to that game when they played Platteville.

BM: So then kind of, kind of circling back here. What did ah, what did you for like fun, like on the weekends, well, yeah on the weekends or ah, or like over the summer?

AC: Ah, I'm going to drive again. I have to go pick up my daughter. Let's see ah, what was a typical weekend--haha--you know, usually Friday nights were pretty quiet because we lived it up on Thursday night. So I guess the weekend started Thursday night, so we usually would go to ah, some ah, some house party. And then on Friday was kind of just chill out, eating dinner and we would 00:39:00probably just watch some kind of movie. And then Saturday was mostly, for me it was just, you know, it was mostly just studying, catching up in the week where I couldn't for different practices or working out. And then we'd ah, we'd typically, every now and then we'd go see a game if ah, you know, like basketball or volleyball and we'd try to, you know, probably go to a house party or go to Molly's. Sunday we'd typically go to, I don't know is Shaky's? Is still around, we'd go to the Shaky's buffet, on, around noon. It was pretty boring.

BM: Yeah, I don't think Shaky's is around, but there's been a lot of places that have just changed their names but have just basically stayed the same around here.


AC: Yeah

BM: So did you have a, any, like, did you date anyone or like have a relationship at Oshkosh?

AC: Ah--Let's see. Yeah, I dated uh, let's see what year was that--my first year, nah. It was, I was too much of a dork. I, you know, I was more about impressing my buddies that I was tough and I could drink a lot so I didn't ah, I didn't really. That wasn't my priority at the time and then ah, my sophomore year I ah, I had a girlfriend. She was from Oshkosh, and then she ended up dropping out and then we kind of broke up and then I had a couple of girlfriends here and there throughout. Throughout the time, but ah, nothing real serious. 00:41:00What about you? You got somebody from back home or there?

BM: No, I got ah, I'm dating a girl from, who's actually in track.

AC: Okay.

BM: Yeah, it's been 10 months today so, it's been pretty long. Ah, is there anything that you learned from Oshkosh or that you took away?

AC: Ah, well what I took away, you know, other than the academics, it was really a place, as you can probably tell, I kind of grew up and got to know who I was. You know, I ended up finishing with an overall GPA of a 3.2 in my major and a 3--2.96 overall so after that first year I kind of overcame that. Figured out, 00:42:00alright I don't need to be such a derelict and be out and trying to impress my buddies all the time and just kind of found out who I was. And ah, and so that was kind of the biggest thing for me. I just kind of grew up there.

BM: Okay, well now I'd like to hear more about Post College. So I guess, start, how did you feel when you finished college? Did you have like, an idea of what you wanted to do?

AC: Yeah, I wanted to do, like I said I took that field trip and I said you know, I wanted to go to grad school so I had an opportunity, I did an internship one summer with the DNR and I ended up getting into grad school. And I knew that biology was what I wanted to do and I wanted to work in the environment and so that's what I ended up doing. I started off wanting to be in toxicologist. And ah, but I fell in love with doing aquatic ecology. And then from, I did my 00:43:00masters at Arkansas State and then decided to not work so much on applied environmental issues like toxicology but to be more ecological and I did my PhD in ecology.

BM: So, have you had much involvement with Oshkosh since you graduated?

AC: I, you know, I had not, um, when I went to grad, I mean I kept up when I went, first went to grad school, I kept up with professors and stuff. And when I was doing my masters and then I kept up with a couple of my buddies and then when I went to get my PhD, that was so intense. I didn't keep in contact and a lot of the professors retired and so when that happened I kind of didn't keep in 00:44:00touch with Oshkosh. And it wasn't until this last year that I got nominated for the distinguished alumni award. And I was able to connect back. I just got busy with my work and my family and so it just, it was nice to come back and I got reconnected. A lot of the professor now are not there but it was nice to meet with the faculty and get reconnected and kind of see my roots of how important Oshkosh was in my development.

BM: So then, what are your thoughts on Oshkosh now? As far, it could be anything as far as the campus change to ah, the feel of the campus or anything?

AC: You know, to be honest with you I was pleasantly surprised in kind of the 00:45:00overall aspect of Oshkosh was the same and that was important, I think is important to me and impressive because I think they did a good job, they do a good job with their students. What I did see is how they updated, they progressed, they invested more in students. So like some of the things you said with that English class with that history class and student success. You know, there has been more investment in athletics and the facilities. But I felt like it was still Oshkosh, they're doing the right things and they are providing a good education, a good experience. And so, I was very pleased with that. I work at an urban institution, and you can the investments in the infrastructure and stuff at Oshkosh are much, much higher than ours here.


BM: So, would you kind of like take me through like a timeline of post-grad to now and where you've been and what you've done?

AC: Okay, um, Yeah I got about five minutes if that's okay.a

BM: Yeah that's okay.

AC: So I, graduated Oshkosh in January of '92. I went off to Arkansas State University and did my masters there from 1992 to 1995. And I worked on, fresh water muscles and the commercial aspects of fresh water muscles in Arkansas Rivers. And then from 1995 to 2002 I did my PhD at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. And which I looked at the ecology, ah the feeding ecology of fresh water muscles. And in 2002 I went back, I had a post doc at Arkansas State University, 00:47:00ah, so it's a temporary position, where I do research, and I did that for a year and then I got a temporary teaching, visiting, ah, instructor at Arkansas State from 2003 to 2004. Which I was replacing my, my master's advisor had retired. And so they had this teaching position open for his position. And then ah, in 2004 I applied for a national search for that. And I became, I was hired at Arkansas State and I was there as an assistant professor. I got tenure in 2008 and then in the fall of 2008 I was ah, my wife and I, she was at Arkansas State 00:48:00University, we moved to UMass Boston.

BM: Okay, so then I guess to wrap things up, what advice would you give current students? Not even at Oshkosh but students in general?

AC: Ah--well--that's a-- I could go on for hours and ah--you know I think what you have to do is decide what your passion is about, what you're interested in. And you know, I know it's a cliché but if it's something you enjoy, you really don't work a day in your life. but you have understood, you know, you want, if your passionate about it, then put everything into it and no matter what, where 00:49:00you go, whether is UW Oshkosh, whether is Harvard or whatever it's what opportunity you make after it. So take those opportunities. Take the opportunities with working with your professors, getting to know them. Also take that opportunity to enjoy college for what it is. You know those are, it's important for you to grow during that time. We often as academics forget you know, that you guys are 18 to 22-year-old individuals and you're just trying to figure out who you are so, take some time and enjoy that part of it as well. But really it's about finding something you are passionate about and put everything into it because if you want it you can get it. And then, don't be afraid that you might have to take a pathway and keep building upon it. When you get done, it doesn't mean that you are going to get that 100 thousand a year job. It's 00:50:00going to take you a while to get there. But that's what you have to do. And what you learn in college will prepare you to get there but it's not going to happen right away, you still have to keep building. But I guess, that about it.

BM: That's good advice.

AC: Yeah

BM: Alright well I'm going to end this recording.