Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

13 UWO alumni to be honored at Alumni Awards Celebration Homecoming weekend

Courtesy of UW Oshkosh Today — The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will celebrate the talents and successes of 13 alumni during Homecoming 2024 this October.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will celebrate the talents and successes of 13 alumni during Homecoming 2024 this October.

The UW Oshkosh Alumni Association will present four top graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award for their accomplishments in their professional fields. A total of seven graduates will be honored with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award for their professional and civic accomplishments within 15 years of receiving their degrees as well as their future promise. Two deserving alumni will receive the Alumni Outstanding Service Award for making exemplary contributions to support UWO through volunteer efforts, energy, leadership and/or philanthropic donations.

Detailed stories about each of the winners will be published this summer.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Scott Barr, of Appleton, a 1986 criminal justice major, is an attorney and managing partner of McCarty Law. He is active in the community serving as board member, leader and supporter of a number of organizations. He served many years on the UW Oshkosh Alumni Board and a term as president. He was part of the merging of Titan Alumni Foundation with UW Oshkosh Foundation and is a current board member.

Shane Carter, of Omro, a double alumnus holding a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 2002 and a master of science in nursing in 2010, began his health care career as an ICU nurse at the hospital now known as Ascension NE Wisconsin – Mercy Campus. Now, a couple of decades later, he is leading as president of Ascension Mercy Hospital. He has served on the board of visitors for the UWO College of Nursing since 2011, is an Omro School Board member and volunteer with several athletics’ booster organizations.

John Close, of Charlotte, North Carolina, a 1976 radio TV film major, retired after a long career in motorsports as a NASCAR journalist, author of five books, marketer, team member and race day spotter. In retirement, Close serves as publicist for his high school 50th reunion and Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. He’s been a presenter at the Learning in Retirement speaker series, spoke in UWO classes and mentored UWO students.

Alan Freitag, of Denver, North Carolina, a 1973 radio TV film major, is retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Lt. Col. after 22 ½ years of service and high-profile assignments. In civilian life, he earned a Ph.D. in mass communication, specializing in public relations, from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and went on to serve as a professor and assistant dean at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Outstanding Young Alumni Awards

Kenton Barber, of Los Angeles, California, a 2017 radio TV film major, works as a network Steadicam owner/operator, specialty camera operator and has more than 12 years of experience in television, sports, esports, music videos, news, live events and film. He earned a 2022 Emmy Award for Outstanding Technical Team Studio for his contributions to Super Bowl LVI and nominations for his work on the Olympic Games and college and pro football.

Blair Braun, of Platteville, a 2018 graduate with a degree in psychology, is an assistant professor of psychology at UW-Platteville. She said her experience conducting undergraduate research set her up for success in graduate school and her current role. She started as a transfer student and ultimately withdrew from college when she decided her first chosen major wasn’t for her. She returned to school two years later and immersed herself in her psychology major and graduated with honors.

Zoe Dahse, of Vienna, Austria, a 2021 graduate who majored in international studies and political science, works for United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency as an associate project officer in the Department of Technical Cooperation, division for Asia and the Pacific.  She began with the UN as an intern with the International Atomic Energy Agency. She moved to Paris, France, as a junior analyst with the Organization for Economic Development, before returning to Vienna and her current role. She is co-founder of NEA Women of Nuclear chapter.

Caitlin Hopper, of Washington, D.C., is a 2015 graduate with a degree in international studies with European emphasis. Hopper directed her passion for international affairs in support of two major international organizations: International Food Policy Research Institute and World Resources Institute. The organizations align with her desire to advance food security and economic growth, especially in developing countries. Her volunteer work has been with Midwest Model United Nations and National Model United Nations.

Alexandra Nussbaum, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a 2016 graduate of the medical technology program, is a laboratory information systems technical specialist at HealthPartners, serving as a liaison between the labs and the IT department on an enterprise level. She earned a master’s degree in health and human services administration in 2020 and is active in numerous professional leadership and volunteer roles in her community, state and region.

Kyle Petit, of Greenville, a 2014 graduate with a degree in athletic training, is an assistant professor at UW Oshkosh. He earned a master of science in athletic training at Illinois State University and a doctor of philosophy in kinesiology from Michigan State University, where he conducted a great deal of research on sport-related concussions and continues today. His research on various subjects has resulted in more than 30 publications, both nationally and regionally, while also mentoring student research projects.

Aaron Robinson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a 2012 graduate with a biology major, is an emergency medicine physician with Hennepin County Medical Center. Following graduation from UWO, he earned a master of public health degree from the University of Minnesota and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Wisconsin. He serves as an assistant professor of emergency medicine and medical director of education and critical care and serves the National Football League in Minneapolis as visiting team medical liaison.

Alumni Outstanding Service Award

Chris Tarmann, of Neenah, a 2014 graduate with a degree in human services leadership, is chief of police for UW Oshkosh. He was nominated for his assistance to other university departments and organizations and his work to build community—particularly for being a longtime advocate for Special Olympics Wisconsin. The annual Run with the Cops event he organizes to raise money for Special Olympics brings dozens of law enforcement agencies to campus. He has brought a national active threat response conference to UWO and is a nationally recognized instructor.

Dan Thome, of Appleton, a January 1985 graduate with degrees in accounting and finance, is a managing member of Axiom Advisors, providing independent advice on corporate finance matters. Thome, who is involved in many volunteer/service activities, has been a staunch supporter of all things UWO, particularly its men’s basketball team. A nominator noted Thome, a former four-year student athlete and team captain in both track and cross country, purchased a winter home in Arizona to assist and support his former track coach, whose wife is navigating a serious illness.

The 2024 Alumni Awards Celebration will be held Oct. 18 at the Culver Family Welcome Center, with a reception at 5 p.m. followed by the dinner and program beginning at 6 p.m. Cost of the event is $40 per person. More information is available by contacting UWO Alumni Relations at (920) 424-3449, or 

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