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Local graduate earns Excellence Award at spring UW Oshkosh graduation

June 5, 2014

Melanie Lepkowski, a 2010 graduate of Franklin High School, was one of 18 students who received the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for the spring class of 2014.

The award acknowledges students’ academic achievements along with volunteering and involvement on campus. Students had to be nominated for the award and, after a committee reviewed their application, the recipients were hand picked by Chancellor Richard Wells.

As a major in nursing, Lepkowski also served as the Health and Wellness Chair, the Nutrition Chair for the Oshkosh Student Nurses’ Association and participated in a nursing clinical in India.
Lepkowski said her accomplishments during her tenure at UW Oshkosh can be credited to one key personal trait.

“My success is attributed to my attitude,” she said. “I pride myself in taking opportunities and running with them because I firmly believe that you can never succeed unless you try and try again.”

Her decision to enroll at UW Oshkosh was based on her desire to work in the medical field after graduation.

“I enrolled due to the phenomenal nursing program,” she said. “I was impressed by the way the College of Nursing prepared its students with the highest passing rate for the National Council Licensure Examination.”

UW Oshkosh’s study abroad program took Lepkowski to India where she helped at various hospitals and clinics. She said that opportunity was something she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

“It was a memorable and life-changing experience where we were welcomed into villages with open arms,” Lepkowski said. “What made this experience unique was we worked directly with universities in India. We shared stories and learned about each other’s culture.”

Lepkowski said the training and opportunities that she received while being a student at UW Oshkosh have directly prepared her for her career in nursing.

“I feel confident walking into interviews knowing I have utilized all the career services the college had to offer,” she said. “Not only do we have the name of a college that speaks for itself, but I now have the demeanor to build an outstanding resume.”

Lepkowski has accepted an offer to work at St. Joseph’s hospital in Milwaukee as an Intensive Care Unit nurse, but has plans to extend her schooling.

“My plans are forever changing,” she said. “But I plan to continue my education and teach for an undergraduate nursing program while working on getting my doctorate of nursing practice.”

Lepkowski offered a few words of advice for any high school students who are considering UW Oshkosh for their potential university choice.

“UWO is different from other universities because there is a sense of unity among all students,” Lepkowski said. “Not one major or organization is showcased more than another, they are all equally recognized.”

Students in UW Oshkosh Prof. Julie Henderson’s Public Relations Techniques course in the Department of Journalism developed the above story as a part of a series profiling outstanding university students. The stories have been shared with students’ hometown newspapers.

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