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It’s a day—and spring—unlike any other.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh held its 146th spring commencement Saturday morning with its first-ever virtual ceremony. The online event honored the academic achievements of students from the Fond du Lac, Fox Cities and Oshkosh campuses.

About 1,670 candidates for associate, bachelor’s and graduate degrees were saluted in an hour-long presentation that included formal remarks, student speeches and digital slides of each graduate. The new grads join the nearly 100,000 UW Oshkosh alumni making a positive impact around the world.

Learn more about the new graduates, their accomplishments and their futures:

DNP-Nurse Anesthesia grad proud to be among first in state to finish program

Inshirah Robsinson, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, is among the first-ever graduating class from the Doctor of Nursing Practice-Nurse Anesthesia program and also one of the very first BSN to DNP doctoral-level nurse anesthetists to graduate in Wisconsin. She is honored to be a part of the inaugural class and hopes the class of 2020 set the bar high for future grads while also creating a standard for success within the program.

Robinson said UWO has done an excellent job preparing her for the workforce and she will miss seeing her classmates, professors and the UWO College of Nursing community. She looks forward to spending time with her family before starting her job with Advocate Aurora Hospital in Oshkosh.

Student-athlete's next stop: Madison PD

Sydney Challoner, a native of Sun Prairie, graduates with a major in psychology and criminal justice. “Growing up I always wanted to be actively involved in the community,” she said. “In studying criminal justice I was able to learn the law and how our criminal justice system works. Meanwhile, studying psychology allows me to be able to work with an array of people and give them help when they need it.”

Challoner was a four-year letterwinner with the Titan women’s swimming and diving team. As a senior, Challoner placed second in the 200-yard butterfly at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship and third in both the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard medley. Challoner will soon begin her career as a police officer with the Madison Police Department.

Student-athlete feels well prepared for teaching, coaching

Alex Wippenfurth, of Sauk City, graduates with a dual major in elementary and special education. He was a four-year letterwinner on the Titans football team, earning All-WIAC First Team in 2019 and WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three times.

“UWO has done a great job preparing me for my future career,” he said. “The classes and amount of field placements it gave me allowed me to learn how I can become an effective teacher. I also plan on coaching and I believe my time with Titan football and the great coaches has given me the foundation to become a great coach myself.”

Friendship founded on Fond du Lac campus

Kassie Ellingson, of Fond du Lac, and Kaitlyn Hurst, of Mayville, met through the multicultural club on the UW Oshkosh Fond du Lac campus and quickly became friends. Both were drawn to the Fond du Lac campus by the opportunity to attend college close to home. Hurst was president of the multicultural club, which Ellingson joined after learning about its involvement in Fair Trade. Hurst is now vice president of the club and the two have led outreach on campus and in the community.

After earning their associate degrees, they will both be continuing their studies on UWO’s Oshkosh campus in the fall. Hurst plans to major in medical technology and work in the area of women’s health. Ellingson is pursuing a secondary education degree with a Spanish minor and would ultimately love to return to teach at the high school she graduated from, Fond du Lac High School.

Fulbright recipient to teach English in Spain

Ally Chard, of Madison, is one of a handful of graduates earning two degrees. A commencement student speaker, she majored in human resources management and Spanish and graduates magna cum laude. Chard recently earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award and will head to Spain as an English teaching assistant. She’s just the fourth-ever UWO student to receive a Fulbright award. What will she miss most about her time at UWO? “All the opportunities to develop personally and professionally,” she said. “Over the last five years, I’ve found ‘my people,’ but better than that, I found myself.”

Nursing grad’s nurturing nature shines

Senior Maya Gengler’s education at UW Oshkosh not only included the rigorous courses and clinicals for which the College of Nursing is known, but also a plethora of other experiences outside classroom.

The native of Theresa volunteered as a baby “cuddler” at St. Agnes Hospital, taught nutrition to children during a study-abroad clinical in Argentina and served as president of the Oshkosh Student Nurses’ Association. Her extensive resume recently earned her a prestigious Chancellor’s Award of Excellence.

Next, she’s ready put her nurturing nature and leadership skills to work as a labor and deliver nurse in the Fox Valley.

College of Business grad’s education continues

Milwaukee native Idonis Curtis wraps up his time in the College of Business and graduates with a degree in human resources management. He plans to continue his education and will pursue a master’s degree at Western Michigan University. He chose human resources because of a desire to help others with their careers and what he’ll miss most about UWO is the opportunities he had to help others grow.

‘I will miss seeing my classmates every day’

Kurtis Hoffmann wants to someday be president of marketing for a Wisconsin company. The Fond du Lac native earned a business degree in marketing, with a dual emphasis in digital and sales. “I will miss seeing my classmates every day—and that has already been tough with the virus,” he said, adding that he’ll miss marketing and sales club meetings (he was club president) and cheering on the Titans. He was featured recently on WLUK-TV for raising $502 to donate food to NEW PAWSibilities dog shelter as part of a senior capstone project.

Musician hopes to help next waves of artists

Alina Xiong, of Sheboygan, graduates with a music industry major with emphases in music business and recording technology. A daughter and granddaughter of Vietnam War refugees, she credits her mother with encouraging her to shoot for the stars, her older sister for supporting her every decision, her boyfriend for reminding her it’s OK not to know everything and herself for not giving up and always looking forward.

A summer internship at the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado, was called off due to the pandemic, so she pivoted and took on two new internship opportunities—including one creating a music label for the UWO music department. “I just want to use my knowledge, experience and skills to create opportunities for the younger generations in the performing arts,” she said.

Former CSO headed for law enforcement career

Derek Johnson says he’ll never forget the UW Oshkosh community as he embarks on the next step in his career path. The graduating criminal justice major from Bangor is planning a career in law enforcement. “What I am going to miss most about UWO are the relationships that I developed with my professors as well as being able to see and hang out with lifelong friends that I have made,” he said. Next month, Johnson, who worked as a community service officer at UWO, plans to begin four months of training at the Western Technical College law enforcement academy.

After a few bumps, a teacher found his way

Alec Aubry, of Green Bay, graduates with degrees in psychology and education and hopes to soon be teaching social sciences in a middle or high school. After first focusing on psychology, he later steered into education in part because, as he explained it, “I would be able to help people, kids are fun and no day would ever be the same.” He found his groove in teaching subjects like social studies, geography, history and psychology, completed both degrees and will teach at Wilson Middle School in Appleton over the summer.

College of Nursing grad set up for success in Milwaukee

Hartland native Lindsay Bertram said she knew she wanted to go into nursing after her junior year of high school, when she became a certified nursing assistant. The top-rated nursing program drew her to UW Oshkosh. “After touring, I loved the campus and the ability to get places quickly,” she said. “I will definitely miss the faculty and my friends that I’ve made here over the years.” She credits nursing faculty with being “caring and amazing people” who made school enjoyable. Bertram graduates magna cum laude and has been hired as a registered nurse at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee.

Twin brothers ready for the workforce

Aaron and Andy Griebler are twins from Colgate and both are heading into the next chapter of their lives with degrees from UW Oshkosh. Andy—who is older by just a few minutes—majored in supply chain management, economics and marketing and Aaron Griebler in mechanical engineering technology. Both plan to enter the workforce after graduation. As for what they’ll miss about their years at UWO, Aaron said Titan Catholics at the Newman Center was an amazing place to meet people and practice his faith. Andrew will most miss the classes and professors.

Student speaker strives to make a difference

Graduating with a degree in communication studies, Alexandra Fischer of Franklin focused her studies and activities on developing leadership skills in hopes of making a difference in people’s lives. Outside the classroom, she was named Mentor of the Month by the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh and spent time as the UW Oshkosh women’s lacrosse club team president and men’s lacrosse club team manager. Her dedication to the women’s team earned her the MVP award and a top three mention among all UWO club sports. Fischer’s involvement on and off campus has helped build a better community.

Fischer is proud to be passing on her grandmother’s advice, “Don’t wish your life away,” to her fellow graduates. Following graduation, Fischer plans to continue at the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh as their organization’s development and marketing coordinator.

Two degrees, one goal: Advocate for the underserved

McKenzie Hall, of Cornell, graduates with a degree in human services leadership (HSL) and another in Spanish. She majored in HSL because she has a passion for helping the underserved and wanted to advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves. She’ll use her second degree to help in Spanish-speaking populations. In February she was hired to work for Chi Alpha Campus Ministries on the UWO campus, and she plans to volunteer with local anti-trafficking organization and as a translator in her free time.

Pandemic reminds dual degree recipient of the importance of family

Huma Malik, of Oshkosh, began her college journey on the UWO Fox Cities campus and finished in Oshkosh with degrees in international studies and social science. Along the way she chose the English as a second language minor, knowing it’ll be a benefit when working with future students. Malik also is proud to graduate the same week as her daughter, a biomedical major at Marquette University.  “This pandemic taught me that life is unpredictable,” she said, “but as long as we are together as a family, we have everything.”

Army vet headed for Oshkosh from Fox Cities campus

Thomas Russell’s goal is to be a positive role model for children in a learning environment. An Army veteran and father, Russell began his college studies at the UW Oshkosh, Fox Cities campus because it was close to home, allowing him to continue taking his kids to school and coach sports. He will continue his studies on the Oshkosh campus to earn his bachelor’s degree in elementary education with the goal of earning a master’s degree while working as a teacher.

On the Fox Cities campus, he enjoyed spending time with the students in the Thrive Academy and the Strong Bones class. “Having an opportunity to get to know those guys and gals will always be one of the many great memories I’ll have from UWO, Fox Cities.”

Kenosha native and radiology a perfect match

Graduate Kayla Bringman of Kenosha was uncertain about a major when she started at UW Oshkosh. She wanted to work in the medical field but knew nursing was not for her. After researching and job shadowing, she realized radiologic science was where she wanted to be. “UWO introduced me to this unique field and I absolutely love it,” she said. Bringman interned through Froedtert Hospital and she was hired by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to work at clinics in Greenfield and Kenosha. “If it wasn’t for UWO, my advisers and my professors, the field of radiology may have never even crossed my mind.”

SMEF program has Greenfield native prepped for future

Kyle Radavich, a finance major who was part of the UWO Student Managed Endowment Fund for four semesters including three as portfolio manager, will do a little traveling after graduation. The Greenfield native had an internship planned with Tocqueville Asset Management’s Manhattan, New York office, but due to the coronavirus, he will head south to their Vero Beach, Florida office. Radavich plans to start his career as an analyst with an investment firm and earn his chartered financial analyst designation. He hopes to work his way to portfolio manager of his own fund and might someday open his own asset management firm.