Tara Lohff, a 2009 Clintonville High School graduate, received the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Student Leadership Award at fall commencement on Dec. 14.
Lohff, daughter of Mary and Ricky, earned a bachelor’s degree in human services leadership in December.
The award recognizes UWO graduates who maintained a 3.0 GPA and participated in at least five campus or community activities throughout their college education. Lohff’s favorite leadership role at UWO was team captain on her intramural volleyball team. She also served as team captain on her intramural basketball team.
“I just enjoyed being in the sport atmosphere,” Lohff said. “And being able to play with a group of friends who also enjoy the sport atmosphere was something I would look forward to every day.”
She carried out public relations duties for the Human Services Leadership Student Organization, maintained the group’s social media accounts and started a scrapbook.
Outside of clubs, Lohff volunteered at Oshkosh Senior Center and Oshkosh YMCA. She also worked at UWO’s bookstore.
The hectic schedule was occasionally frustrating but also rewarding, Lohff said. “I am a person that does not like to sit around, to be honest, so I always kept myself very busy,” Lohff said. “And I’m very happy that I stayed busy in college because I made the best of it.”
Lohff said the highlight of college was traveling to Australia on a volunteer trip with St. Vincent De Paul resale shop in January 2013. She enjoyed the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the country’s landscape.
“I didn’t travel much before that and being able to travel for three weeks definitely opened my eyes to see there’s a lot to experience out there, and I definitely would like to travel much more in my lifetime,” Lohff said.
Life on her family’s farm in Clintonville prepared her for college.
“Growing up on a farm has taught me a really hard work ethic so I always put the most effort into everything I do,” Lohff said.
A first-generation college student in her family, Lohff applied for UWO three months before graduating from Clintonville High School.
Although she spent more than two years undecided on a major, and earning her degree was challenging, she said she was glad she went to UWO.
Lohff said high school seniors who are unsure about pursuing college, as she once was, should apply because an education is important in today’s job market.
“It might take you two and a half years like it did me to decide on a major, but I think all those things you learn along the way will also be very beneficial for the future,” Lohff said.
Editor’s note: Scott Bellile is a UWO student in Prof. Julie Henderson’s Public Relations Techniques course in the Department of Journalism. He developed the above story as part of a series profiling outstanding university students. The stories have been shared with students’ hometown newspapers.