Past Events

The Whitburn Wednesdays Event Series covers a wide range of pressing issues and features panelists representing a diversity of viewpoints. See below for past events.

April 2022: Reimagining Social Welfare: Past, Present, and Future

LINK to video

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Increasing polarization, budget cuts, stigma, and other challenges have made it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of the most socially vulnerable in our communities. This conversation will reimagine how to advance social welfare and wellbeing to advance racial and economic equity. The panel will provide a historical account of public assistance programs in the United States, which were historically extensive and run by local governments. Yet,such services were not regarded as controversial, unlike today. Further discussion will examine how programs of the past have evolved, now requiring more collaboration between the public and nonprofit sectors. This conversation will also tackle the question of how government and nonprofit leaders can more effectively work together, promising practices that can foster collective impact, and why such partnerships are critical to address present and future issues.



  • Moderator: Said Ahmed Hassan, ’19 MPA President & Executive Director of Community Services Agency INC, a nonprofit resource center that provides culturally accommodating and customized services for Somali refugee and other immigrant communities in Northeast Wisconsin. Said is also a Whitburn Center MPA Alumni Board Member.
  • Dr. Jennifer Considine UWO Professor of Communication Studies and Faculty Fellow for Civic Engagement in the UWO Center for Civic and Community Engagement, whose mission is to build partnerships between individuals and organizations to address community needs and increase civic engagement in the greater Oshkosh region.
  • Lynnsey Erickson Community Health Strategist at the Winnebago County Health Department, Oshkosh Common Councilmember, and UW Oshkosh MPA Candidate.
  • Dr. Gabriel Loiacono UWO Associate Professor of History and author of How Welfare Worked in the Early United States, which tells the story of “poor relief” (known today as social work or welfare) through the lives of five little-known, but compelling, life stories.
  • Stuart Kuzik Stuart Kuzik is the executive director of the Oshkosh/Winnebago County Housing Authority and UW Oshkosh Executive MBA candidate.



March 2022: Women in Government: A Next Generation Initiative

LINK to video

Wednesday | March 9, 2022

To commemorate Women’s History Month, join us for a conversation with an esteemed group of women leading the way in government across the State of Wisconsin. The purpose of this event is to introduce and demystify public service careers for the next generation of leaders. Panelists will discuss their unique
journeys into public administration, barriers they experienced along the way, strategies for navigating government careers, the importance of mentorship, work/life balance, advice for those starting out or aspiring to the executive level, internship opportunities, and the importance of equity, inclusion, diversity, and the need to empower more women and people of color in the workplace. Time will also be provided for breakout groups. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and network with panelists and members of the Wisconsin City/County Management Association’s (WCMA) Women’s Leadership Committee, an initiative aimed at the development and support of emerging and existing women professionals in local government.



  • Malika Evanco, PHR, MPA Senior Human Resources Executive for the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, which staffs the Governor’s Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council 
  • Jennifer Gauthier, ’18 MPA Senior Outreach Specialist with UW-Madison Division of Extension (Menominee County/Nation) and Whitburn Center MPA Alumni Board Member
  • Lori Curtis Luther, MPA City Manager of Beloit, WI, Adjunct Professor at Northern Illinois University, and WCMA Women’s Leadership Committee Member
  • Kathryn Schauf, MPA Eau Claire County Administrator, Vice Chair of the WCMA Women’s Leadership Committee, and Vice Chair of the Whitburn Center Advisory Board
February 2022: Responding to the Opioid Epidemic in Wisconsin

Link to video

Wednesday | February 23, 202

The harms of opiates, such as overdose and death, can impact any family. Between 2019 and 2020, reported fatalities from overdoses grew by more than a quarter in Wisconsin – from about 1,200 to 1,530. Numbers surged as the coronavirus struck and disrupted social services, prompting the need for further harm reduction strategies. This conversation will focus on how various agencies are responding to the opioid epidemic on a systemic level. Panelists will provide perspectives from the lens of public health, law enforcement, healthcare, and recovery. Particular focus will be placed on the work of the Winnebago County Overdose Fatality Review Team. The panel will also cover the importance of having open and honest discussions about opioids to create a more supportive community where prevention, hope, and recovery can be a reality.

This event will be moderated by Dr. Jennifer Skolaski, Winnebago County Overdose Fatality Review Team Facilitator, Owner of Community & Nonprofit Leadership Consulting, and UW Oshkosh MPA Instructor.



  • Allyson Ford, NP Nurse Practitioner with Aurora Health Care, specializing in addiction medicine and primary care for adults and geriatrics
  • Trevor Fenrich Executive Director of Solutions Recovery, a recovery community center and sober living provider in Oshkosh
  • Stephanie Gyldenvand, ’21 MPA Community Health Strategist with the Winnebago County Health Department, Winnebago County Overdose Fatality Review Team and UW Oshkosh MPA Alumni
  • Kurt Liebold Chief of Police of the UW Oshkosh Police Department and Member of the Winnebago County Overdose Fatality Review Team