On the Scene with Interns: Wisconsin Herd

6 11 2017

By Monica Salmeri @MonicaSalmeri

Eighty-seven percent of students in the journalism department complete one or more internships before they graduate. Many of our students have interned locally, throughout the nation and remotely. Currently, several of our students are interning throughout Wisconsin. Two of our students were recently hired for the highly competitive public relations internship at the Wisconsin Herd, the new G-league NBA Basketball team in Oshkosh.

Seniors Katie Biersach and Alicia Kahl were selected from a large pool of candidates to serve as interns during the inaugural season for the Herd. As interns they are tasked with a variety of jobs including writing content for the Herd’s game-day program, media guide and social media. They also research statistics, compile player biographies and draft copy for donation request emails. On game days the two will be the go-to people for the media that are in attendance, making sure they are equipped with information, statistics and equipment needs.

FullSizeRender-1“I love seeing how excited the community is for this inaugural season, and I think it will be a fantastic opportunity to bring people together,” Biersach said.

Kahl says that she wanted an internship with the Herd ever since the team announced that there was going to be a developmental league team in Wisconsin.

“I knew this is what I wanted from the beginning and patiently waited for the internship to be announced,” Kahl said. “I checked Handshake every single day until they showed up. On the same day the internships were posted, I polished my resume, wrote a cover letter and spent hours updating my website/online portfolio.”

While preparation and qualifications are important to getting hired, passion is also a key component. We are proud to have such passionate individuals in our department. Go Herd!

Advice from the interns:


If you are seeking an internship that you really want, don’t be afraid to find the key, management staff within that organization and just inquire about a potential internship. They may not be looking for interns at that exact moment, but by you reaching out and getting your name out there, that could potentially put you ahead of all future applicants.

Do your research, be prepared and feel in your heart that it is a position you truly want to pursue. You want to be able to showcase how passionate you are about the position and how unique and dedicated you are.


Internships are extremely important in a student’s college career. Internships can help you figure out where your passions lie and where they do not. All of my internships have provided me with countless ways to expand my skillset and give me a glimpse into the real world.

I would always recommend students get an internship, maybe even more than one, and when they do, to take advantage of every learning opportunity within the internship.



Biersach Runs for National PRSSA Committee, Increases Awareness of UWO

1 05 2017

Brianna Colebourne By Brianna Colebourne

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh journalism student Katie Biersach ran for a National PRSSA committee position and increased awareness of the UW Oshkosh Public Relations Student Society of America chapter and the journalism department as a whole.

Katie Biersach image

Katie Biersach

Biersach, a junior majoring in public relations with a minor in Radio-TV-Film, traveled to Seattle from March 30- April 2 to run for the vice president of career services position, which entails managing the PRSSA Internship Center, planning events for Career Development Month, increasing champions for PRSSA’s presence in the society, and much more.

In the end, she did not receive the position, but it was an extremely valuable experience. She even ended up running for another position off the floor, which she had not prepared for at all. Biersach said, “I put my professional skills to the test and proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Running for those positions meant so much more than the position itself to Biersach. She used it as a way to gain experience, raise awareness about the UW Oshkosh journalism department, showcase her skills, and spread her knowledge to inspire and lead students from all across the world because she truly admires PRSSA.

Sara Steffes Hansen, faculty adviser of the Dr. Julie Henderson PRSSA chapter, helped Biersach prepare for her presentation by listening to her speech and providing constructive feedback. Hansen said: “It is quite an accomplishment for Katie to be a finalist for a National PRSSA position among a highly qualified field of candidates. We are very proud of her for reaching this level, and further putting UWO and the Department of Journalism on the national stage.”

Biersach, who will graduate in May 2018, is president of the UW Oshkosh PRSSA chapter and has served on its executive board for two years. Biersach also will be the 2017-2018 Promotions Director for Titan TV and is currently a part of Reeve Union Board.

In the past, she was a news reporter for the Advance-Titan, the communications director for Fletcher Hall Government, production member for Titan TV and a news reporter on 90.3 WRST.



Making the most of advising…

19 02 2016

By Catie Schultz (@CatieSchultz17)

When you are in college, one of the most stressful decisions to make is deciding which classes to take. You want classes that are interesting and that fit well within your major/minor.

When you look at the process as a whole, it can seem overwhelming and daunting. Fortunately, the UW Oshkosh Journalism Department has great faculty advisers who are willing to help you when choosing your classes.

As a non-traditional transfer student, I was worried about the advising process. I had no clue where to start. Luckily, my journalism advising experience has been painless. I worked one-on-one with my adviser who answered my questions and concerns. A plan was laid out that was beneficial to me based on where I was academically.

Laurin Krekling, a Journalism (Advertising) and Public Relations major, shared her experiences with advising. “As a traditional undergraduate student who has changed my major more than once, I have learned to appreciate how helpful the Journalism Department’s advising sessions are.  This last semester was my first time advising with the faculty, and it helped me a lot. I was able to sit down and personally talk with the adviser one-on-one. I think it helped out a lot that these advisers also taught some of the classes I was going to be in and gave me more of an up-close view,” Krekling said.

The advisers are here to help you complete the program as soon as possible, excel in the journalism program as well as take the best classes that will be beneficial for you and your future career goals.

“They were also very helpful in making sure I graduate as fast as possible. They were able to lay out the rest of my classes for me so I could visually see what the rest of my years here at the university looked like. I think that every student needs to take advantage of this because they can help you from the simple things of picking out classes, to helping you choose your emphasis and even show you internship opportunities,” Krekling said.

Here are some things to remember that will help you with the advising process.

  1. Sign up for the appropriate time and do it early–Signup for advising appointments starts next week. The sign-up sheets are posted outside of each journalism adviser’s office. Journalism classes fill up quickly, so the earlier you see your adviser, the better chance you have of getting into the classes that you need.

Note: Make sure you come early! Students will only have 15 minutes to meet with their advisor, so if you are late, you will lose part of your appointment time.

  1. Come prepared–Bring your current STAR report and come with a general idea of the classes you are interested in taking or have questions about.

Cindy Schultz has sent out an email that gives detailed information about the registration process. Please read the information carefully so you have a stress-free advising experience. For more information on journalism courses that are offered, see the curriculum worksheet.

Happy advising week!




Amplifying Your Internship Experience

6 11 2015

By Ryan J. Sweeney, UW Oshkosh journalism alumnus (@sweenr0272)


Let’s face it: in today’s competitive job market, landing a college internship–whether it’s paid or not–is essential to bolstering your résumé, garnering real-life work experience, and getting hired after graduation. On the surface internships sound like a necessity, but how do you ensure that you’re getting the most out of the opportunity? Below I’ve compiled several tips on how to take full advantage of what your internship has to offer.

Show a Strong Work Ethic

Forget any and all rumors regarding interns and coffee-making. If you want to really get something out of this experience, you’ll need to prove yourself. Make deadlines, ask questions, and deliver high-quality work. Prove to your boss and your coworkers that you really care about the quality of work that you’re dishing out; your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

Get to Know Your Colleagues

Although working hard at what you do is imperative, networking is also key. Acclimating into your new work environment can help create trust between team members, generate contacts for your future career goals, and build confidence in yourself and your role within the company. Your coworkers will also feel more confident in you, too, once they realize you’re more than just a productive machine.

Provide Your Unique Millennial Insight

As a millennial, you know new trends in technology better than any other generation. Whether you’re passionate about mobile tech, adept on social media channels, or simply knowledgeable on the latest trends, providing this unique insight can help you be seen as a resource within your company.

Take Advantage of New Opportunities

If there’s a new opportunity available for the taking, don’t hesitate. As an intern, you have to be willing to try new things, even if it’s out of your comfort zone. But don’t just wait for opportunities to arise. There’s no shame in asking if there’s any additional work you can do.  

Overall, it’s important to take risks and give it your all. Your internship experience will only be as impactful on your future as you make it. If you’d rather just be the coffee-maker, then you’ll likely miss out on the truly rewarding experience that an internship can provide and maybe the possibility of that internship becoming a full-time job upon graduation.

Author Bio:

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in English with an emphasis in creative writing in spring 2015. I started working at E-Power Marketing in fall 2014 as an online marketing intern and became a full-time team member upon my graduation as an account specialist. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, or Tweet at me!

Journalism department introduces public relations as new major

23 09 2015

By Brenna McDermot (@letterstowomen)

Public relations is debuting as a major in the journalism department this fall 2015 semester.

With projected job growth being 23 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of public relations is growing rapidly, especially as online communication and media become more relevant in people’s life. This in addition to public relations being journalism’s most popular emphasis prompted former journalism department professor Julie Henderson to make public relations its own major.

Moreover, UW Oshkosh is the only university in Wisconsin and one of 28 universities in the country whose public relations program achieved Certification in Public Relations.

What is public relations? According to the Public Relations Society of America, public relations is a “strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” It’s not spin. It’s not making someone or something look good.

Even though most people think that public relations practitioners only do media relations, the breadth of job options is diverse. Here are some of the fields in which public relations practitioners work:

  • Employee relations
  • Social media
  • Event planning
  • Brand management
  • Crisis communication
  • Government relations
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing

So what kind of person is most suited for public relations career? Public relations practitioners write well, talk easily with others, enjoy no two days being the same, can handle multiple projects at once, think from multiple points of view and work calmly under tight deadlines.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in real-word public relations projects such as creating campaigns and blogging in class and in Public Relations Student Society of America.

Required to take 39 credits, public relations majors can obtain a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. The major does not require a minor, but it is encouraged.

To learn more about the major, contact professor Sara Steffes Hansen (hansen@uwosh.edu), professor Jean Giovanetti (giovanj@uwosh.edu) or journalism department chairman Timothy Gleason (gleason@uwosh.edu).

2014-2015 — A Year In Review…

19 08 2015

By: Dr. Timothy R. Gleason

2014-2015 was an exciting academic year to kick off my term as department chair. As one administrator kept telling me, it has been an awful year to become chair. My favorite piece of advice is one I learned from the biography of Urban Meyer, the football coach of The Ohio State University Buckeyes, “Don’t tell me the problem. Tell me the solution.”

The biggest news in Wisconsin higher education has been Governor Scott Walker’s $250 million cut to the UW System. The rationale for such a devastating cut is that the University of Wisconsin System is flush with waste. I wish I knew where the budget fat was hidden. Journalism has been running one course short of its usual offerings because of a previous budget cut. For 2015-2016, Journalism has already canceled three course offerings as departments are expected to run leaner. That’s one of the tactics undertaken by the department and college to achieve a solution. Additionally, tenure protections and shared governance have been removed from state statute. In brief, faculty are no longer protected to seek the truth and make recommendations for the betterment of students and even society. Tenure is not about guaranteed lifelong employment. It is earned after years of rigorous effort, and it enables faculty to report data and findings on controversial topics and to protect students from the fly-by-night trends and profiteering at their expense.

Fortunately, there is also good news. One effort the department is excited about is the implementation of a Public Relations major in Fall 2015. After a two-year development and review process led by Dr. Julie Henderson, the UW Board of Regents approved our new major in April 2015. We expect increased enrollment because majors are more appealing to students than emphases, and a major is easier to find in UW’s areas of study listing than an emphasis. This is the only PR major in the UW System, so we expect to see enrollment growth.

Journalism’s enrollment also benefit from continued participation in the Interactive Web Management (IWM) major, which offers B.A., B.S. and B.B.A. degrees through the interdisciplinary program run by Journalism, Computer Science, Information Systems and Marketing. IWM students take at least three Journalism courses, and many are minoring in Journalism.

A number of curricular changes were approved this year. Writing for the Media became a prerequisite for the New and Emerging Media course. Introduction to Journalism and Mass Communication has been changed to Introduction to Media: News, Public Relations and Advertising. This course will become part of UW Oshkosh’s University Studies Program. Two new math and statistics courses are available to meet our requirement in this area, while the College of Business’ economics and accounting courses no longer count. This change will make it easier for students to enroll and complete the quantitative literacy requirement, and quite possibly, lead to dancing in the streets.

On the personnel front, Dr. Sara Steffes Hansen earned tenure. She has been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor after completing the six-year tenure process. As some of you know, Dr. Hansen originally joined Journalism as a part-time lecturer, earned a doctorate at UW Madison, and returned to UW Oshkosh as a tenure-track faculty member.

Dr. Julie Henderson retired after more than two decades of service to the university. She has left the department with the creation of a public relations major, CEPR certification, and a successful PRSSA chapter that students renamed after her. She has repeatedly told us she is moving out of Oshkosh because it is too warm down here. Her colleagues and students wish her well as she returns to Minnesota.

Journalism unsuccessfully conducted a faculty search to replace Dr. Jin Kyun Lee, who returned to South Korea in January 2014 for family reasons. The university is considering Journalism’s request to seek Dr. Henderson’s replacement during 2015-2016 with the goal of a new hire starting in Fall 2016.

Faculty and staff continue creating the reaccreditation report in advance of a site team visit by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in October 2015. Journalism is also using this process for its program review, which is required of every university department on a rotating basis. This is an opportunity for the department to receive productive feedback. Journalism faculty and staff have begun a SWOT analysis (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats analysis) as part of the review of its strategic plan. While we have already revised our vision statement, mission statement, and core values, Journalism remains committed to providing a liberal arts education along with professional values and competencies. The foundation of this education remains the teaching of writing, despite the many inside jokes I’ve heard that I would try to convert us to the church of photojournalism.

If you haven’t returned to campus and Oshkosh for many years, swing by to see how we have changed. The department moved into Sage Hall in 2011. UW Oshkosh built an Alumni Welcome and Conference Center on Pearl Avenue, the street that leads you to Sage. A few minutes away is Oshkosh’s summer farmers’ market on Main Street, which was named one of the 101 best in 2014. You can extend your stay overnight by checking into the downtown Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and receive an alumni discount. The hotel’s ownership includes the UW Oshkosh Foundation. UW Oshkosh’s new chancellor, Dr. Andrew Leavitt, is a frequent visitor to university sporting and cultural events, so you never know when you will get the chance to meet our new campus leader. If you can’t visit this upcoming academic year, you will be pleased to know we are planning our 50th anniversary party during the 2018 Homecoming. Make sure you Save the Date: Oct. 26 & Oct. 27, 2018.

How a Class Project Taught Me the Ease and Necessity of Networking

3 06 2015

By: Brenna McDermot (@letterstowomen)

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While Realtors live by location, location, location, it seems like journalists live by networking, networking, networking. In my journalism classes, professors presented this buzzword as one of the most important aspects of my career. Initially, I was skeptical. Wouldn’t my stellar grade point average, extracurricular experiences, and grammar knowledge get me wherever I wanted to go? Plus, networking just seemed like a lot of work. It wasn’t until I took New and Emerging Media that I realized the power and ease of networking.

One of the projects in New and Emerging Media required me to choose a local, small business, interview the person who runs the business’ social media accounts, and evaluate the business’ social media presence. I chose Salon la Rousse and talked to owner Tamara Adelmeyer. When I asked about the salon’s almost complete lack of social media, Adelmeyer said she knew social media is important, but she didn’t have the time to devote to it.

Before our meeting I had researched how to improve a small business’ social media, and I thought about how social media could exhibit Adelmeyer’s masterful work and hair knowledge. Because Adelmeyer liked my ideas and my understanding of her business, I suggested that I work for her during the summer to accomplish the public relations tactics that I presented to her—she agreed.

Now, I have a job for the summer that I will truly enjoy. After this experience I realized that every job I have ever gotten has been because I talked to someone, not because I applied for it. Actually, 80 percent of jobs are gotten through networking.

Networking is essential and straightforward:

  • Make a genuine connection with people. Find something you have in common and mention something you admire about them.
  • Put in the effort to understand them and their business.
  • Position yourself in a way that will benefit them.
  • Always have your portfolio with you and updated.
  • Just ask if you want to work with someone. The worst someone can say is no, but you still gained a contact.