Select Page

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh -> A Special Place 

Division III Week showcases the success of student-athletes on campus and in their respective sports at Division III campuses all across the nation.

Student-athletes chose to come to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh because athletics and academics are on the same level for them, which shows the importance of the Academic Game Plan.

The Academic Game Plan highlights the cooperation between academics and athletics at UW Oshkosh, using a “Team Fellow” (previously known as Faculty Fellow) to assist in the athlete’s connection to professors.

One of the first teams to see early benefits from this initiative is women’s golf. Liza Ruetten, currently in her fifth season as head coach, has had nothing but positives to report about the Game Plan, as well as their team fellow, Jordan Karsten, UWO assistant professor of anthropology.

Karsten was involved in the team’s academics right when the season began in September, setting up biweekly appointments for freshmen and even connecting them with other professors allowing them to be proactive in their classroom experiences.

The relationship grew significantly after Karsten took the time to attend practice and play alongside the team.

“Jordan’s level of interest in their athletic accomplishments helped to build a trusting relationship,” said Ruetten, which strengthened and reinforced the importance of the Game Plan.

Although there is still a separation between academics and athletics on campus, Karsten believes this effort has begun to decrease the gap in ways that benefit student-athletes immensely.

“I have always been impressed with how student-athletes balance the demands on their time and succeed in both the classroom and on the field,” Karsten said. “By serving as a Team Fellow, I can provide a little extra help to these impressive students.”

Team members also have spoken highly of this initiative, adding that Karsten has been there to offer assistance, mostly to freshman. However, sole senior golfer Laura Stair, of Milton, said she is able to use the Game Plan in other ways.

“Jordan has been there to give me moral support during a stressful day and has also helped me with creating resumes and filling out applications to help me with my career after I graduate,” Stair said.

Stair continued that she loves being a DIII athlete because of the dedication and drive every team has and how each team member must give 100 percent in academics and athletics not because they have to but because they want to.

“There is a Titan family. The student-athletes are a family because we support each other and know what each person/team is going through,” Stair said.

Sophomore Kayla Priebe, of Appleton, said that she chose to attend UW Oshkosh because it allows her to focus on the two things she is passionate about: golf and accounting.

“In my opinion, college is about preparing for a career, and I love that DIII athletics allows me to keep that as my main goal while still playing the sport I love,” Priebe said.  

If athletics and academics are important to you, sign up to be a Team Fellow here. Team Fellow now encompasses all faculty as well as staff who are interested in participating in this initiative.

The initiative will increase by five teams next fall. Along with this year’s members (women’s golf, men’s swimming and diving, wrestling, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball), it will include men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving and gymnastics.


Robyn Elliott (photo courtesy of: Katie Hanson)

Robyn Elliott (photo courtesy of: Katie Hanson)

Why I chose DIII

by Robyn Elliott
UW Oshkosh athletics marketing intern
Four-year women’s soccer letter winner
Graduating May 2017

When my twin sister, Rachel, and I were getting ready to go off to college, everyone excitedly asked where we were going. We were always known as the “soccer twins,” so presumably we’d be going somewhere we could play soccer.

Often, our family members, teachers, friends and friends of friends would wonder about our choice and speculate that we must have gotten scholarships.

Robyn Elliott hugs her sister Rachel after her twin scores a goal.

Robyn Elliott hugs her sister Rachel after her twin scores a goal.

But I chose UWO to be surrounded by amazing athletes from all over who came to play their sport. I did not come because of an athletic scholarship, but rather to grow through the life lessons, adventures and successes that soccer had to offer.

The sport isn’t just a game for me. This is my love, passion and LIFE. Like other D3 athletes, I can’t imagine going through college without the opportunity to train, learn and compete. Being in a D3 sport, I have learned time management as well as other skills that are fundamental to being a member of our community.

I don’t play for solely the glory of winning; I play to finish my four years with a degree I am proud of. I play to work next to other phenomenal student-athletes who are chasing their goals, athletically and academically. I play because I can’t imagine my life without the game. And just because I didn’t get an athletic scholarship doesn’t mean I love the sport any less. It doesn’t mean the losses hurt less or that I am just doing this for fun.

Choosing to continue my education and athletic career at UW Oshkosh has been the best and easiest decision I have ever made.

My D3 school is right for me because I have mattered to my professors and to my coaches. I could go to office hours and talk to my professor personally about an assignment or project I didn’t understand, which was especially helpful after long weekend road games. My professors didn’t only give me the tools to succeed in their classes, but they also gave me tools to help succeed in life.

My head coach, Erin Coppernoll, was huge reason that I came to UW Oshkosh. She was always there for me to talk to … about soccer or just life. She helped me thrive academically by making sure classes were going well and I had the help I needed and also athletically, enabling me to reach my goals.

I picked a D3 school so I could graduate in four years and continue playing soccer competitively. In May, I will graduate with a degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising, and I finished my soccer career as the first four-time, All-Conference and All-Region honoree for my program. I chose UWO so I could compete in the sport I love as well as getting a degree I’m passionate about.

UW Oshkosh also allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself.  Each year, our team plays for a cause. This year we supported twins, Kendall and Chloe, who both received heart transplants at the age of 1, after they were diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy. Our fundraising event and online auction raised more than $6,600 for The Beat Goes on Foundation. Just knowing I was part of this incredible event, makes me so proud. I am so grateful that my school has given me the opportunity to give back.

As an athlete, I have a unique voice on campus. It allowed me to help influence change and to speak up for what’s right. I was involved in the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC),  which allowed me to volunteer at various events in the community, such as Feed America and the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2016.

I am forever thankful to UW Oshkosh for the opportunities and the lifetime of memories. My experiences here have shaped me into a caring member of society and pushed me to achieve everything I wished to accomplish. Being a D3 student-athlete is everything to me and I would make the same choice again.

Former Olympian, Title IX attorney to speak at UW Oshkosh on gender equity in sport

A former Olympic champion swimmer who is a sexual assault survivor and renowned Title IX attorney will speak on gender equity in sport, in a visit to the UW Oshkosh campus.

Nancy HogsNancy Hogshead-Makar Headshothead-Makar will present Gender Equity in Sport: Why You Should be an Advocate Even If You’ve Never Done a Sit-Up, in a speaking event Wednesday, April 5, that is co-sponsored by Women’s Advocacy Council; UW Oshkosh Women’s Center; Titan Athletics; CARE; and United Women of Oshkosh. Hogshead-Makar’s presentation takes place 7-8:30 p.m. at the UW Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center, 625 Pearl Ave. It is free and open to the public.

Hogshead-Makar is a lifelong advocate for access and equality in athletics. A civil rights attorney, an author, public speaker, activist and three-time Olympic swimming champion, she has a commitment to empowerment, using sport as a vehicle for social change. She is chief executive officer of Champion Women, a nonprofit organization leading efforts to advocate for equality and accountability in sport.

Hogshead-Makar said boys are taught early on that they are superior when it comes to sports.

“My daughters ask me why the boys have a scoreboard and restrooms at their field and we don’t,” she said about her 11-year-old twin girls who currently are playing softball. “They are getting (a message) they’re not as important.”

Nancy Hogshead-MakarHogshead-Makar said she’s spoken at 10-15 college campuses per year over the past 30 years.

She has the ability to provide first-hand perspective on sexual victimization among college-aged females; she was sexually assaulted as an undergraduate student in 1981 at Duke University.

A former competitive swimmer, Hogshead-Makar was ranked No. 1 in the world at age 14 in the 200- meter butterfly. At 18, she was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Olympics. At 22, she swam in five 1984 Los Angeles Olympic finals and returned home with three gold medals, one silver and one fourth-place finish. She has been inducted into 11 halls of fame.

hogshead 1984“She will undoubtedly deliver an engaging and inspiring talk,” said UW Oshkosh Women’s Center Director Alicia Johnson, who stressed the importance of equity in sports at all levels.

Hogshead-Makar has testified in Congress numerous times on the topic of gender equity in athletics, written numerous scholarly and lay articles, serves as an expert witness in Title IX cases and has been a frequent guest on national news programs on the topic.

What is Division III Week?

Division III Week is a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and student-athletes on campus and the surrounding community.

When is Division III Week?

The 2017 celebration begins Monday, April 3 and runs through Sunday, April 9. Also during this week, National Student-Athlete Day is celebrated on April 5.

How did Division III Week come to be?

The event is part of Division III’s Identity Initiative, which was introduced in 2010 to sharpen the division’s identity and enable schools, conferences and student-athletes to consistently explain why they prefer to compete in Division III. The initiative is guided by a strategic platform that describes Division III as a place where student-athletes follow their  passions and develop their potential. The approach combines rigorous academics, competitive athletics and an opportunity to pursue other interests.


What the Titans have planned for Division III Week:

Monday, April 3

  • A testimonial from Robyn Elliott, a four-year member of the UW-Oshkosh women’s soccer team. Learn why Division III and UW Oshkosh have meant so much to her.

Wednesday, April 5

  • Nancy Hogshead-Maker Speaking Event. (7-8:30 p.m. at the Alumni and Welcome Center)
    • Interested in learning how to be an advocate for gender equity in sport? Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a life-long advocate for access and equality in athletics, will share her expertise. A scholar, an author, public speaker, activist and Olympic Gold and Silver medalist, she has a commitment to empowerment, using sport as a vehicle for social change. Hogshead-Makar leads Champion Women, a nonprofit leading targeted efforts to advocate for equality and accountability in sport.
  • Softball vs. Marian University (doubleheader, first game starts at 3 p.m.)
    • The first 50 UWO students at the game will receive a free Titan T-shirt.

Saturday, April 8

  • Softball vs. UW-Platteville (doubleheader, first game starts at 2 p.m.)
    • League of Titans social
    • Alumni Day

Sunday, April 9

  • Softball vs. UW-Eau Claire (doubleheader, first game starts at noon)
    • League of Titans social
    • Clash’s Kids Day

#WhyD3 on social media

  • Along with showcasing #WhyD3 is important to members of our campus, we would love to hear from you. Use #WhyD3 or #D3Week throughout the week and tell us why D3 is important to you.


Learn more: