Jed says that because of his coursework at UWFox, he has two professions – working at Valley Packaging Industries and lead singer for the group Grand Union. By staying in the Fox Valley and taking classes here, he was able to keep his job and pursue his passion for music. After some time away from college, he returned to complete a bachelor’s degree in human services leadership from UW Oshkosh. This degree completion program is offered right on the UWFox campus.
Name: Jedidiah Tuyls
Hometown: Sherwood, WI
Current Residence: Neenah WI
Current Work Title and Employer: Employment Specialist-Valley Packaging Industries and Lead Singer- Grand Union
Degrees: Associate Degree, UW-Fox Valley / Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Leadership, UW Oshkosh
What led you to choose your program or major?
While attending high school, I volunteered each summer at a camp in Watertown working with individuals with disabilities. In that experience, it was really evident that I was meant to help individuals who were disadvantaged or disabled in some way. As I wrapped up my associate’s degree at UWFox, I still had no definitive plan for my career path, so I took some time away from school and started working at Valley Packaging as a job coach.
It was during that experience that I discovered what I wanted to do. And, I went back to UWFox and I found the UW Oshkosh human services leadership bachelor’s degree completion program that was available on campus.
How does your current job relate to your program or major?
I was able to take night classes at UW Oshkosh right at the UW-Fox Valley campus and work full time to pay the bills, gain work experience, and save up for my future. My degree is specialized to fit my job as an employment specialist because I was able to complete an internship doing what I am currently doing now as a student. My degree helped me secure my internship into a full time career.
During my career at Valley Packaging, I was able to experience UWFox in a completely different way.
Tracy Schwartz, regional custodial supervisor, and his staff, have done an amazing job at teaching individuals with disabilities the ins and outs of maintenance work at UWFox and have assisted many individuals in achieving their vocational dreams.
Dr. Martin Rudd, regional executive officer and dean, has been very supportive of the THRIVE career academy which is a curriculum of classes and internships that are conducted right on the UW-Fox Valley campus. You will find these individuals wearing green and white polo shirts that say “THRIVE.”
Why did you decide to become a University of Wisconsin student at UW-Fox Valley?
I wanted to go to UWFox because I really enjoyed living in the Fox Valley. I was able to maintain a job that I had in high school, while still pursuing my passion for music. In addition to all of that, I had friends that were attending four-year campuses (UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW Oshkosh) and I was able to visit them on the weekends and really experience the college life by making wise financial and educational decisions.
What stands out to you about your time as a student at UW-Fox Valley?
I was able to take all the classes I needed to take to meet any general studies requirement for my bachelor’s degree at an incredible price. I was free to travel around to see my friends on weekends at any campus I would like to. In addition to that, I met my wife at UW-Fox Valley during my freshman year. UW-Fox Valley is the place that helped me figure out who I was.
Outside of the classroom, what activities, clubs or organizations did you participate in at UW-Fox Valley?
I was a member of the UWFox choir and Campus Crusade (CRU).
What is your best piece of advice for an incoming UW-Fox Valley student?
- Cherish your time at UWFox, and take advantage of all the resources that the campus offers. It is one of the cleanest universities in the UW System.
- Engage with faculty.
- Have fun.
- Do your work!
Knowing what you know now…what would you tell your college self?
If I could go back and talk to college self I would tell myself to keep going, because I wouldn’t change a thing about my college experience. I will be forever grateful for the time I spent at UWFox.
Some people think you have to go far away to find purpose; it is so wonderful how a building 15 minutes away from my parents’ house helped me discover who I was a person.