Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Could You be Next?

16 02 2018

kthill By Kyle Thill @search4theroad

Despite being a small department at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the Department of Journalism has a large number of graduates who have received top awards from the university.

Each year during Homecoming, the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association recognizes graduates who have excelled in their professional field and civic engagement. Two awards are given: the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

The Journalism Department has had 28 graduates earn the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, and six earn the Distinguished Alumni Award. Four of the OYA winners also received the DA.

“The Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded to graduates who are widely recognized for accomplishments in their career,” said Sara Hansen, associate professor and department chairwoman. “It is considered the highest award alumni can receive from the association. The other award, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, is awarded to alumni based on their professional and civic accomplishments and who show future promise. Alumni who are nominated for the award must have graduated in the last 15 years,” Hansen said.

“Fellow alumni and faculty are responsible for nominating graduates,” Hansen said.

Once the nomination forms are received, the nominees are contacted and required to submit a resume, two letters of recommendation and the nominee questionnaire. Applicants must then submit the forms to the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

In 2009, UW Oshkosh graduate Brad Zibung became the Journalism Department’s 19th Outstanding Young Alum. After graduating from UW Oshkosh in 1999, he moved to Chicago and began working for Leo Burnett Worldwide in the public relations department. In 2003, he founded The Heckler, a satirical sports news publication, after witnessing the hardships that Chicago sports fans endured. Continuing his work with The Heckler, Zibung began working for StubHub in 2004, and the company became his publication’s first sponsor.

Now retired PR professor, Julie Henderson, coordinated the effort in nominating Zibung for the OYA in 2009. “I was very honored to be nominated,” Zibung said. “The Heckler has provided a lot of cool opportunities.”


Brad Zibung (’99)

The Heckler is active today with a social media presence reaching audiences in excess of 40,000 on Facebook and nearly 12,000 on Twitter. In addition to covering Chicago sports, they plan trips and events for fans and sell merchandise on their website. As for the future, Zibung hopes to expand The Heckler to other cities, and host user-generated content. “We have a great audience,” he said.


Coll Fellowship Helps Students Afford to Expand their Horizons

14 02 2018

Travis  By Travis Maciosek (@Travis777M)

The Gary Coll Journalism Fellowship is designed to assist journalism students at UW Oshkosh expand their horizons. It allows students to apply for financial assistance if they want to take advantage of professional opportunities outside of the Oshkosh area. The fellowship can apply to internships or job shadowing, as well as attending conferences or competitions. All of the opportunities must be related to the journalism field.

The fellowship would not be possible without Coll, a former journalism professor who taught for 36 years at UW Oshkosh before retiring in 2005. Coll said he taught a number of courses, served as department chairman, published two books and was the adviser of the department’s honor society (Kappa Tau Alpha). In 2003, the university honored him with an Edward Penson Distinguished Teaching Award, one of the highest honors for professors at UW Oshkosh. It’s a feat Coll simply called “gratifying.”

Coll receives NEWSPA's Zacher Awrd

Gary Coll receives the Skip Zacher Friend of Scholastic Journalism Award at the 2013 NEWSPA Conference

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Coll graduated from Ohio University with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and eventually earned his Ph.D. in journalism from Southern Illinois University. When Coll began working at UW Oshkosh, he quickly earned the reputation as a student-centered professor. Coll said this was because of the small building he taught in, which made for a more personal environment and allowed him to become close with many of the students.

At the time he started working in Oshkosh, the Vietnam War was happening and the Advance-Titan was in its early stages as a popular school newspaper. Coll said the school paper gave the students a great platform to express their views.

Within his classes, Coll said he noticed students had many different perspectives, due to their differences in background and ages. Coll said that when older non-traditional students started attending UW Oshkosh, or those who had served as veterans or previously were stay-at-home mothers, they brought a wide range of experience that enriched all they did. He said he enjoyed the opportunity to teach these different types of students. “For great expression, you don’t have to see things as others do,” he said.

Coll said he has witnessed the success of many students and always enjoyed seeing the growth of the late bloomers. While students may have learned from Coll for 36 years, he said he believes that his time teaching was impressionable both ways since he also learned how to adapt and be flexible from his students.

A former student of Coll’s, Dan Benish, now manager of technical publications at Miller Electric, recalled how passionate Coll was in his classes and all the interesting stories he told. “His mind was always working, thinking about different topics outside the box,” Benish said.

Gary talking to alumni at Homecoming2017

Dr. Gary Coll, Dan Benish (’78) and John Giesfeldt (’84) share memories during Homecoming 2017 Tent City event

Coll said the journalism field is currently under attack. “Our students’ inner confidence needs to stay strong,” he said.

His fellowship awards a maximum of $250 per student and the university can distribute up to $1,000 over the span of the fall and spring semesters each year. To qualify, students must be attending college full-time, be journalism majors, have at least a 2.5 overall GPA and include evidence of the opportunities that students want to participate in. The Department of Journalism faculty judge all completed entries.

The deadline to apply for the Coll Fellowship this spring is Feb. 18.

While Coll is retired, he is still busy and makes almost daily appearances on campus when he and his wife, Elaine, aren’t traveling. He also participates in a beer blog, Riding the Beer Trail.


Career Options for Journalism Graduates

15 12 2017


By Dakotah Armbruster (@Dakotah__A)

As a student who majors in journalism, you may get the occasional, “So you’re going to be a journalist?” Although that may be the perfect position for you, there are a plethora of job opportunities out in the workplace for journalism majors, some that may even surprise you! Below is a list of five of the many jobs that are amazing options for graduates with a degree in journalism.

  1. Social Media Specialist– Social media is a vital key for marketing of a company. Social media specialists communicate with the public through tweets, likes, shares, posts, etc. and build a authentic brand for said company. They can also review analytics sites to see how to improve their company’s social presence. View specialist job postings here to learn more.
  2. Copywriter– Have you seen any advertisements lately? Copywriters are in charge of writing the text for ads and publicity material. Talk about getting your work out there. If you are naturally creative, persuasive and can pack a lot of information into only a few words, this is the job for you. View copywriter job postings here.
  3. Public Relations Specialist– Want to be one of the faces of a major brand? PR specialists create and maintain the image of organizations through various media tactics, all while trying to build brand awareness and inform the public. View PR specialist job postings here.
  4. Creative Director– Let your creativity run wild in this position. With at least five years of previous agency experience, creative directors lead in advertising agencies where they work with graphic designers, marketers, artists, etc. to come up with visions for products being sold. Every brand has a story to tell, and it’s the creative team’s job to let that story be shared with the world. View creative director job postings here.
  5. Editor– Want to oversee the entire process for major publications and send out final drafts of text? With previous experience, editors work at magazines, newspapers or online media outlets. Basically anywhere there’s a story, there’s an editor. View editor job postings here.

The journalism department at UW Oshkosh has many alumni that are in a variety of job fields. Just by checking out the homepage for the department, students can view outstanding alumni from this program and their current position titles all across the United States.

Connect With Fellow UW Oshkosh Journalism Alumni on Facebook

13 12 2017

By Taylor Kuehl (@TaylorKuehlUWO)

Are you interested in tapping into a special network of media professionals that connects alumni and current University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh journalism department students? A Facebook group named UW Oshkosh Journalism Alumni & Students is the perfect place to do so!

Reasoning Behind The Facebook Page

Cindy Schultz, academic department associate, said the Facebook group offers another way for alumni and students who share the UWO journalism experience to connect and share.

“So many of our alumni have had an interest in being involved with the department and helping current students, so we developed this group as a platform where a collaboration could potentially take place,” said Catie Schultz. “We encourage all of our alumni and students to join.”

 Give Me Some Details!

It is a closed Facebook group of 467 members, headed by eleven admins. All journalism department alumni requests for membership are accepted. Members are encouraged to share their photos, experiences and memories related to the journalism department and to engage with other alumni. Students can share happenings and network with alumni. The department hopes the group will grow past 500 members by the end of the year.

Why Should You Join?

  • It’s a place where alumni and current students can interact
  • Internships and potential job opportunities can be discussed
  • Updates are posted from the journalism department
  • Trends and news for journalism, advertising, visual communication and public relations are shared
  • It’s fun to take a trip down memory lane no matter your graduation year

What Would You See If You Joined?

You would have access to content pertaining to upcoming department events, such as guest speakers or the journalism department’s 50th anniversary celebration taking place in October 2018. Modern Monday, Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts are a fun way to create conversation among alumni and current students.



Current journalism department student and admin of the Facebook page, Catie Schultz, shares the successes of current and past students who competed in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC)


Leave a comment below if you would like to be added to the Facebook group or tag a friend who may be interested in joining!

Senior Wisdom: Getting to Know Journalism Faculty Members

12 12 2017

By William Waschow

Since becoming a senior at UW Oshkosh, I have reflected on how important it is to find a professor that is right for your learning style. When I first enrolled in the Department of Journalism as a public relations student, I gained insight into each professors’ different and individual style. They differ in their approaches based on how they want to help you reach your own personal goals and in ways that they connect course work to tasks you would do in future jobs. With this guidance, you will find yourself surrounded by a supportive faculty and staff where they provide a clear learning environment, help you understand core principles and prepare you for entering the workplace. Out of the department’s six full-time faculty members and two adjunct positions, I have identified three professors that I have had the experience of learning from in the classroom and I believe these three individuals offer personable approaches to create a professional, supportive learning environment here at the university for students.

Dr. Tim Gleason


When meeting Dr. Gleason for the first time, you will quickly realize not only how passionate he is about his professional work, but also how much he cares about his students. While teaching media photography and several other media studies courses, he brings enthusiasm, excitement, and hands-on teaching for all of his students. He assists students in understanding tools such as Adobe programs and media equipment that are essential tools for the students’ success. Through my personal experience with Dr. Gleason, he does an excellent job making sure every student in the course is on track with the content before going on to the next section or topic. This ensures that each student is fully capable and prepared going forward in class, as well as future classes.

Dr. Kristine Nicolini

Nicolini-Pic-163-pxWhen I first enrolled in one of Dr. Nicolini’s courses in the fall of 2016, I was convinced she was a professor who had multiple years of experience at UW Oshkosh. My perception was based on how clearly she created each class structure, provided an open-door policy and offered great feedback on assignments. As the year went on, I found out that she had an extensive 11 years of teaching prior to coming to the journalism department, along with a career as a public relations professional. As I have been enrolled in many of her other courses, I now realize how much of an impact her professional teaching style will have on my future career in the field of public relations. Whether it is through her honesty in feedback, or helping with the pressure of working with a client, Dr. Nicolini does a great job in setting an example of what the real world in public relations truly looks like.

Professor Miles Maguire




Currently teaching courses in writing, editing, reporting, media law and film, Professor Maguire tries to create a classroom environment that resembles a newsroom. This includes timed in-class assignments, which give students an opportunity to experience what it is like to work in the field of editing and reporting. Being enrolled in one of his editing courses previously, I quickly noted how you have to analyze every detail, such as AP style, grammar and sentence structure, as Professor Maguire likes to focus on the small, yet key details that most students miss.


Choosing a path to a successful future is difficult. You may be asking yourself, is this major a good fit for me? Is choosing this department going to open more doors for my career? I found my answers to be “yes” for the Department of Journalism at UW Oshkosh, and I’m looking forward to my future in the field.

UW Oshkosh Journalism Alumnus “Moved Fast With Stable Infra”

11 12 2017

By Taylor Kuehl (@TaylorKuehlUWO)

Self-proclaimed advertising nerd, Brody Karmenzind, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, with an emphasis in advertising in 2014. After graduation, he gained invaluable experience while working for Pandora. It was when the opportunity to work for Facebook presented itself, that Karmenzind jumped at the chance to continue to grow within the field he loves.



Brody Karmenzind, Journalism Alumnus 2014, celebrating his “Faceversary”


Life Is Good Being a Facebook Employee

  • Assists his clients as partner manager to help them achieve their marketing goals through advertising on both Facebook and its family of apps
  • Works with world-class coworkers who push each other to work faster, be smarter and improve overall as employees
  • Mentors coworkers and clients
  • Plays ping pong a couple times per week
  • Enjoys the free cooked meals served within the office three times a day

Move Fast With Stable Infra

Karmenzind believes there are three main skills/personal characteristics necessary to be successful within a career.

  1. Be consistently clear and concise with your communication.
  2. Have a hunger to learn because industries are constantly changing.
  3. Be open to failing and learning from those mistakes because the bigger risks you take, the bigger the rewards received.

He considers the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Department of Journalism to be the number one reason behind the high-level of success he has seen thus far within his career. The program not only laid out all career possibilities, but it provided him with the knowledge and skills needed to break into that industry.

Favorite Journalism Department Memory

“My favorite memories are all of the everyday encounters with classmates and professors. It was a great experience to be part of a smaller program and really get to know everyone,” said Karmenzind.



What are some of your favorite memories associated with the UW Oshkosh journalism department? Do you have a question for Brody? If so, leave a comment or connect with him through his LinkedIn account!

The Trend of Google Analytics

8 12 2017

By Allie Weitekamp (@weitekamp_allie)

In the Journalism Department, one of the major tools professors are discussing in classes is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a tool to study how users are interacting with web pages and blogs. It also helps measure advertising ROI, track Flash, video and social networking sites.

Google states, “Google Analytics makes it easy to keep track of your customer’s journey by connecting customer behavior, channel performance, and much more across your sites and apps in robust reports and dashboards.”

The program is free to start and very easy to set up. Below is a video tutorial that gives step-by-step instructions of how to set up a Google Analytics account.

Not only is this service helpful for the average consumer, but also for businesses. Google Analytics studies exactly how users interact with their website. The tool can calculate page views, clicks, bounce rate (how fast users exit from pages), where the person is located and so much more.

Google is even able to calculate a business’ return on investment (ROI) when using Google’s other service Adwords. Through the “cost analysis” tab, Google is able to calculate the “cost per click” and return on investment. The data from the advertising campaigns is imported into the Analytics page and then Google creates dashboards and graphs depicting that information.

Since Google Analytics is such a useful feature for journalists and business, it is possible to be certified in utilizing the tool. This certification will set set students apart in a job interview because of its difficulty and practicality, especially in the workplace. The certification is provided once users go through the Google Analytics Academy, which is a series of videos. Once the videos have been watched, users will then take a 90 question exam.

Google Analytics can help increase traffic, compile data and assist with advertising campaigns. For more information about Google Analytics or how to become certified, click here.