Your Stories


Submit your story and enjoy these stories.


Desarae Saffold at commencement

Class of 2017

My story is to find your Parkside Family. I commuted for 3 years: went to school, work and home. That was my life. I wanted to change that so I made the decision to live on campus for my final year. It was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. I made friends, connected well with faculty and staff, attended on campus events and became a student leader! Lifelong friendships were made.

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I would have never broken out of my comfort zone and reach for my dreams.

Carolyn Eastman in Guatemala

Class of 2018

I went to Guatemala on a life-changing study abroad trip to complete my Spanish major. We saw volcanoes, experienced an earthquake, saw a Mayan ceremony, and met some really amazing people. We will never forget our host families and the memories made. A big thank you to Professora Kauffman and Casa Xelaju for organizing the trip and allowing us to have an experience of a lifetime. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I never would have met the amazing friends I have today or see life from a different perspective, nor have the courage to continue traveling. 

Yoger and partner

Class of 2020

The most important and best story is when and how I met the most amazing and beautiful lady in the universe that today is my life partner and significant other.  It was during my first semester at UW-Parkside (Fall 2016), when we started working together as leaders in our campus organization, and I felt in love with her. Since then, Crystal has become my motivation and I am so blessed with her. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I couldn't have met the love of my life.

Shakespeare tent

Class of 2011

In Fall of 2010, my learning/creating/leading came to an apex of inspiration in a Parkside Drama Club performance of "Much Ado About Nothing". The Two Week Shakespeare production (two weeks of rehearsing, designing, and marketing) opened in the Student Center's new terrace to resounding support and amusement. This event fueled my still-burning passion for Shakespeare, spurred my future as a theatre director and educator, and cemented many friendships that would serve me both professionally and personally in my future. Thank you, UWP!

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ... I might not have ever realized my ambition and ability of directing Shakespeare.

Maggie Lawler and fiance

Class of 2014

My whole family went to Parkside. When it was my turn to become a Ranger, I was lucky enough to become the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Ranger News. I was a student employee for Campus Technology Services, which led to me becoming a permanent employee upon graduation. And I met my future husband during a gen-ed extra credit lecture in Molinaro Hall! I'm so thankful for Parkside. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I wouldn't have the career I do now, or the fiancé!


Shewanna Brown Johnson

Shewanna Brown Johnson
Class of 2003

The best way to predict your future is to create it. However; when the community around you supports your dreams....You achieve them! I am a graduate of the '03 consortial nursing program with UWM but a true undergraduate alumni of UWP at heart!  Thanks to the UWP community, I completed my doctorate of nursing practice degree in 2016.  

#nurse #educator #researcher #advocate #wife #mother

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I wouldn't be able to live out my dreams.  We may be small in size but the magnitude of the support at our campus is remarkable. 

Karin Kirchmeier

Karin Krischmeier
Class of 2002

Have you ever felt like you lacked direction in life? When I started as a freshman at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, that was me, but professors, Faye Akindes and Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, changed my life and set me on the path to create impact. Now I am the vice president of community impact at United Way of Racine County, where local donations help us create change for the community. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  then I just don't know where I'd be.

Paige (Mano) Barreta

Class of 2005

I took my first art history class with Dr. Funkenstein my first semester at Parkside. While challenging, her classes helped me to realize that I had a real passion for the subject. After an art-filled semester abroad in London my junior year, Dr. Funkenstein encouraged me to pursue my first master's degree at Christie's Education in London! It was one of the best experiences of my life. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I wouldn't have pursued my academic passions into graduate school and beyond.


David Gehring

Class of 1990

I worked as a student for the library from 1985-1990 and earned an Art and English degree. After graduation,  I went to Europe for a month and came back to become a supervisor in the library. While at a former student worker's wedding I saw my future wife, Michelle. Two of my siblings graduated from here and my son, Mark, attends UW-Parkside. I have many reasons to be thankful for UW-Parkside. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I am not sure what I would be doing for a living.

Class of 1997

Started at UWP, 25 years ago fall of '93, UWP was roughly an hour and 45 minutes from where I grew up and I didn't know a soul... I was a walk-on cross county runner (fall93- winter 96) under Coach Lucian Rosa, so I got to move in early (which was cool!). Campus apartments meant I had 7 roommates and it just so happened that two of them shared a first name with me- we are still close to this day. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I probably would have attended another state school, but I don't think I would have become the person I am today, UWP allowed my personality to come out through athletics, campus housing, SafeWalk and being an RA.

Franca Carls and family

Class of 1990

I started at UWP in the Fall of 1986, majoring in Communication and Psychology. I was also very involved on campus: started the Parkside Association of Communicators and I held office for the Parkside Activities Board. These experiences shaped my future. I'm currently an Administrative Assistant in the Kenosha Mayor's office where I happily collaborate with UW-Parkside staff - full circle! 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ... I would not have my beautiful family! I met my husband, Tim Carls, in the Union and we have two amazing kids: Hannah is a freshman at UW-Parkside majoring in Teacher Education with a minor in Math, and Liam is a junior at Horlick High School in Racine - he's interested in Physical Therapy. We are proud parents for sure! 

Lisa Nalbandian

Class of 1999

I studied French philosophy and helped found WIPZ. At Parkside, I learned how to think critically and run a radio station. I've been doing both ever since!

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ... I wouldn't have learned the power of hard work and grit!

Nicole Leilski and family

Class of 1998

UW-Parkside was an instrumental factor in my family and career.  Junior year, while serving as President on the Activities Board, I met my husband who attended another university.  We dated and he transferred and we both graduated from UWP.  I then worked at UWP as an Admissions Counselor for 11 years. We joke that he was my first "recruit."  We owe our family to UW-Parkside. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I would not have found my passion for the work I do in outreach & education and of course, my family.


Brian McDonald
Class of 1982


I graduated in 1982. I had some very good professors in philosophy, political science, science, math, economics and business. I spent a lot of time in the library; one night waking up at 2 am having to let myself out. The campus is beautiful. I enjoyed the year-end parties at the union. Also, liked to run the cross country paths. Fun times and learned a lot.

Nicki Kroll
Class of 1980

I decided to go back to school at age 25 in 1976. A friend was at Parkside at the time and I drove down there from Milwaukee with him to check out the campus and fell in love with the place. The diverse age span of students, as well as ethnic groups was appealing to me, as well as the smaller classes and opportunities to interact directly with the professors rather than TAs were the best thing. I even had a job in the then Humanities Division office and met the nicest people. We had legendary parties in that office in those days. Our Christmas party was known throughout campus and we always had visitors from other divisions. It's been a long time; I graduated in 1980, but my memories of Parkside are some of the most fond ones in my life.

UW-Parkside Graduation June 1980

Class of 1980

50 years, where does the time go....

Parkside has always found a great way to blend the best of non-traditional and traditional students and provide a great educational experience and learning environment to prepare their graduates for the competitive and opportunistic world they'll experience over their careers.

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  life would have turned out very different.... Parkside enabled and facilitated a business life full of personal growth and opportunity that otherwise couldn't have happened.  

Debbie Mogensen-Hetlet

Class of 1989

Graduated from Parkside in 1989. My dad was a Microbiologist at Abbott and they sent him back to update a course so I would pass him in the halls sometimes. Very weird thing, “Hi Dad.”

Gary Eckstein

Class of 1981

I came to Parkside during summer session of 1978 after a year at UW-Oshkosh. I attended three years of summer classes so I could graduate within four years. I met some wonderful people (friends and faculty) in the theater department but after a year, had to work full-time to get by so no more theater work after that. The classes were small and personal. The faculty in the Behavioral Science department were great people. They helped me develop my writing skills and encouraged me to go on to graduate school. My years as a student at Parkside were amazing in every way. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ... I'm not certain that I would have come this far in life - I'm eternally grateful for my Parkside experience.


Nancy Sander

Class of 1973

My most memorable moment there was the day we watched the Apollo 13 astronauts' safe return to the Earth after their fateful mission.. There were a hundred or more of us in the student lounge (then in Talent Hall) watching on one small TV that was mounted up in the corner of the room as they splashed down safely. That was quite a moment! The whole room cheered... It was great. I also will never forget that LONG long walk up the sidewalk to the brand new Greenquist Hall. No parking up there then for us!

Class of 1975

When I started Parkside in 1971, classes were actually held at three different locations. I attended classes at what is now the Racine Gateway technical college, the current campus, and what is now Bradford High School. There was a shuttle bus that would take students to the different sites! The student union was in what until recently was the child care center. 

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ...  I would have pursued a completely different career! 

Doug Mogensen

Lucian Rosa’s Running for Fitness class. My only A+. I didn’t run much but do remember running a 3-mile where he clocked everyone and I had an 18:22 time. I just ran in to him a couple months ago and talked for a good 15-minutes about the good old days.

Class of 1973

Parkside was on three campuses -- Racine, Kenosha and the current campus just being built. I had a science class where the lecture was in Kenosha, the lab in Racine and the quiz at the new campus on Wood Road. One benefit, riding the bus between campuses with the faculty -- we really had great discussions and got a lot of personal attention. We also got to know the folks for whom the various buildings are named for on campus!

IF NOT FOR PARKSIDE ... I probably would not have been able to get a college degree, or at the very least it would have taken a very, very long time. Going away from home for college was not an option.

Arthur Dexter

I began studies at UW-Parkside in 1970. Did quite a bit of theatre. Miss Baxter taught acting and acting (2). Acted in plays. Had fun times and used the education to make a good living.

Michael McDonald

I remember the professors I had with great fondness: Ronald Gottesman, James Liddy, Don Kummings, Stella Gray, Wally Graffin, and Peter Hoff among them. They were great teachers, very knowledgeable and supportive. Parkside was still in its infancy then, a fun and exciting place to be. Watching movies projected on the wall at the old student union is also a great memory!