Your school is famous…well the city is

Eau Claire, WI was put on the map February 12th 2012, when hometown hero Justin Vernon of the band Bon Iver, accepted the Grammy for the best new artist.  He also won the Grammy for best alternative music album.

Justin Vernon was clearly nervous accepting the award.  But he remembered to thank his hometown of Eau Claire, WI and his parents, just in time as the Grammy producers rolled the “your time is up” music.

Interestingly, Bon Iver was asked to perform at the awards show, but not on their own terms.

“We wanted to play our music, but were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else…they sort of acted like they wanted us to play, but I don’t think they wanted us to play.”

Have no fear!  If you have never heard them play, as I had not, here is your chance to hear them play, and to be proud of the talent coming out of your university’s hometown, the city of Eau Claire.


Resume Writing Tips

First, the good news. You do not have to be a world-famous author to compose a solid, well-organized, professional-looking resume. All you need is the ability to express your ideas in proper English and have an understanding of how a resume should be organized and written.

Now, the bad news. You can forget most of the rules and principles you were taught when you were writing papers in high school or college. Those principles just don’t apply to resumes. Resumes are business documents and, as such, they follow certain conventions that business people take for granted but conventions that would make most English teachers cringe.

Following are five simple writing principles that apply specifically to resumes. All of them might come in handy when you begin to string words together in your resume, especially when the time comes to describe your work history.

1. Avoid the first person pronoun

The pronoun I has no place in a resume — and for a logical reason: Who else would you be talking about if not yourself?

Instead of this:

I demonstrated professionalism, tact, and diplomacy while I worked with our customers in high-pressure situations.

Write this:

Demonstrated professionalism, tact, and diplomacy while working with customers in high-pressure situations.

2. Keep your sentences short and don’t worry about fragments

Resumes call for short, crisp statements. These statements do not necessarily have to be complete sentences. You can frequently leave out the articles a, an, and the.

Instead of this:

Spent three years working on major accounts, as both a lead generator and a closer, demonstrating proven skill in organizing and managing a territory with efficiency as well as in developing customer databases.

Write this:

Spent three years working on major accounts. Generated leads and closed sales. Demonstrated proven skill in organizing and managing a territory and in developing customer databases.

3. Try a bulleted format:

  • Created and implemented statistical reports for large metropolitan hospital.
  • Analyzed costs with spreadsheet software.
  • Created database to track patient visits.

4. Use plain English

Don’t be victimized by the myth that the bigger the word you use, the more impressed the reader will be with your intelligence. Keep things simple. Go easy on the adjectives.

5. Go from general to specific

Sequence the information in a section by beginning with a general statement and following it with more specific ones.

Instead of this:

Supervised training of seven toy-making elves. Responsible for all toy-making and customer-related activities in Santa’s workshop. Answered customer complaints during peak season. (Note that the second of these two sentences is more general than the first.)

Write this:

Responsible for all toy-making and customer-related activities in Santa’s workshop. Supervised training of seven toy-making elves. Answered customer complaints during peak season.


Claim Your Space!

It’s Wednesday and, of course, that means study tips. It’s important to stake out an effective and positive place to study. Everyone’s different. The library doesn’t work for everyone, especially if you’re easily distracted like me. Some need absolute quiet, others actually do well with some background noise. Follow these steps to find out where and when is the best place to study for you.

  1. Evaluate your personality and preferences. Figure out whether or not you are vulnerable to noise and other distractions. Also determine if you work better by sitting quietly for a long period of time or if you need to take short breaks once in a while and then return to your work.
  2. Identify the space and claim it.Your bedroom maybe the best place to study, but it may not be. Some students identify their bedrooms with rest and simply can’t concentrate there.A bedroom can also be problematical if you have roommates. If you happen to need a quiet place without interruption, it might be better for you to set up a place somewhere else in the house or a campus building with quiet study areas.
  3. Make sure your study area is comfortable. It is very important to set up your computer and chair in a way that won’t harm your hands, wrists, and neck.
    Next, stock your study space with all the tools you’ll need, like pens, pencils, paper, dictionaries, a thesaurus, and math tools.
  4. Establish study rules. Give yourself strict rules to when to study and when to take breaks! If I let myself go unchecked, I’ll take hour long breaks that turn into…well, not breaks. I just quit studying. If you set up a study schedule, you can hopefully avoid sabotaging yourself!


Valentine’s French Macarons!

Happy Valentine’s Day, BPSers! When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of all things red, pink, white and delicious. Combine delicious treats with French confections and you have a sweet and holiday appropriate treat…the French Macaron! If you’ve never had these airy delights, you’re missing out, but you’re in luck. I have a recipe. Macaron’s are a sweet meringue-based pastry commonly filled with buttercream or jam. All you really need to know is how addicting they are!

Basic French Macarons
Adapted from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita

The basic meringue-style French macaron is merely the springboard for your wildest color and flavor combinations. Try adding a teaspoon of Dutch-process cocoa and red gel food coloring for a red velvet macaron, or a 1/4 teaspoon rose extract and pink gel food coloring for rose. Always add the dry flavorings to the almond meal/powdered sugar mixture and the extracts/gel color to the meringue.


2/3 cup almond meal or ground almonds
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites at room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 280º and position two racks in the lower section of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. If you have time, draw 1-inch circles on the back of each sheet, spacing the circles at least 1/2-inch apart.
  2. If your almond meal is very coarse, grind it with the powdered sugar in a food processor until fine. Sift the almond meal-powdered sugar mixture twice through a mesh sieve.
  3. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and begin to beat on medium-high. When the eggs are frothy, gradually add granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters. Be careful to not overbeat the meringue (e.g., the meringue takes on a clumpy texture).
  4. Add half of the sifted almond mixture and gently fold it into the meringue using a flexible silicone spatula. Lift from the bottom, up around the sides, and toward the middle, being careful to not overagitate the meringue and lose too much air. Once the almond mixture is predominantly incorporated, add the second half and repeat the folding motion.
  5. When the almond mixture is just incorporated, you will need to transform the batter into the appropriate texture. Using the flat of the spatula, “punch” down into the center of the batter, then scrape more batter from the sides to the center, and punch again. You will need to repeat this 10-15 times (or more, depending on your arm strength and the beginning texture of your batter) until the batter slowly and continuously drips back into the bowl when you scoop it up with the spatula. Think of the consistency of molten lava. For the best results, punch the batter a few times, check the consistency, then punch a few more times, etc. Do not make the batter too runny or the macarons won’t rise as they should, and you could end up with oil stains on the surface.
  6. Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 0.4-inch tip. In a pinch, you can also use a gallon size Ziploc bag: just snip a teeny bit from one of the bottom corners. Twist and clip the top of the bag to avoid overflow. On your prepared baking sheets, pipe out 1-inch rounds in the circles you drew (remember to draw the circles on the back side of your parchment to avoid ink or pencil stains on your macarons!).
  7. Holding the baking sheet in both hands, rap each baking sheet firmly on the counter two or three times. This smooths out the tops and helps form the “pied” or frilly foot on the bottoms of the macarons. Allow the piped macarons to dry, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. The macarons should form a very thin, smooth crust where, if you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter will not stick to your finger. If after 15 minutes, the batter is still sticky, let it dry longer. This may take up to an hour on humid days.
  8. Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, open the oven to allow any excess humidity to escape. Halfway through, swap oven racks and rotate the sheets for even baking. The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Take care to not underbake (insides will still be mushy) or overbake (tops will begin to brown). Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
  9. When fully cooled, assemble the macarons with your choice of filling. The assembled macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Makes about 4 dozen macaron halves (about 2 dozen complete macarons).

And here’s the buttercream filling recipe!


7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Cut butter into pieces and mash with a spatula until the consistency resembles mayonnaise.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then add the granulated sugar and whisk until the mixture lightens to an off-white and you can no longer see the granules of sugar. Add the milk, and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into a small saucepan and heat over low heat, whisking frequently to ensure that the mixture does not curdle or scorch. Cook until the mixture becomes thick and custardy, like pudding.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into its bowl and whisk constantly until it returns to room temperature. Whisk in the butter in three batches, add the vanilla, and stir until smooth and all ingredients are fully combined. Pipe or spread onto one macaron half and sandwich between the other.

Makes enough for 2 dozen macarons.

Enjoy! <3

Business degree is a good choice

It’s admirable when college graduates are determined to work in their dream job, no matter if it pays six figures or next to nothing.  Unfortunately, it’s also rare.  Students want a job where they can earn enough money to build for the future, provide security in the present, and in some instances enough to clean up some hard times in their past.  Their financial investment in college needs to equal a financial gain in their career — which means majoring in something to take them there.

According to an article in Career Builder, the average starting salary for some professions is rising.  The average starting salary for the college class of 2011 is $51,018, up from $48,661 last year, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

“The steady increases in starting salary offers we’re seeing this year is a good indication that the job market for new college graduates is gathering strength,” Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, said in a press release.

A survey asked 900 employers and 1,800 colleges and universities to come up with a list of top-paying college majors and their corresponding average salary offers.  Overall, the average starting salary offer to graduates in the business disciplines rose 3 percent to $48,694.

At the end of the day, to be truly passionate about a career you must love your job — no matter what it pays.   But if you can find a job that makes you happy and earns good money, well that’s even better.


You are the expert

As the BPS student services coordinator it is my job to connect with students, to help identify any roadblocks, as well as document factors that bolster academic success.  Student input is what helps us refine and direct BPS programming and supports.  It is essential to the success of BPS, and I enjoy checking in with students more than any other aspect of my job.

This past week I spoke with several BPSers about how classes were going.  Their insights proved to me just how important their voice is and how potentially powerful the blog forum would be to share these insights with all BPS students.

For example, I spoke with two students who, in my opinion, gave an excellent overview of e Books, including: their experience with them, the pros and cons, and their recommendations for use.  Their insights were just as meaningful as any I’ve read, and because they were unique to our program, they became more relevant to me than other more generic applications that I have read on-line.  I am still hoping one of them will write a blog…hint, hint.

When confronted with the task to write, most students say “I don’t blog” or “I don’t know how to blog”.  It couldn’t be easier.  Send an email to with a couple of paragraphs you would like to share.  It doesn’t have to be written like a newspaper article.  Write like you speak, like I am doing now.  If you share something cool that you have read somewhere, write down where you found it, so we can look it up as well.

Then just cut and paste whatever you wrote into the body of an email, or attach it in a Word document.  Not interested in writing, but wanting to pose a topic for discussion on the blog, email me that as well.  We will do the research and begin the conversation.  Chime in at any time by clicking on “comment” which is located directly below the post.

That’s all there is to it.  You can do it.

Getting to Know You… Part III

Today, we’re going to highlight your Academic Program Director and Academic Adviser, Kate Lang.

Kate is the academic director for the Bachelor of Professional Studies program. We asked Kate a few questions.

Where did you grow up? 

Hinsdale, IL

What was your major in college?

Comparative and Regional Studies/Arab Studies

What made you come to work for BPS?

I believe public higher education needs to do a better job of serving adult students. I also love an administrative challenge.

What drives you?

It might not be healthy, but I am driven to get things done.

What’s your favorite color?


Favorite song?

I’m not sure I have one. Lately, I’ve been listening to the Kinks.

Got kids?

I have two sons, ages 9 and 12, two stepdaughters, ages 23 and 30, and a stepson, age 25.

Got pets?

I have a 13-year-old cat. I spend a lot of time babysitting the neighbors’ German shepherd puppy and adult chocolate lab.

Got milk?

Only with cereal.

If you could go anywhere in the world for an all-expenses paid 2 week vacation, where would you go? 

The south of France – but I’d want to start with a long weekend in Paris.

Who is your favorite student services coordinator at UWEX? 

Alia :)  (Hear, hear!)

Thanks to Kate for answering our questions. Stay tuned for another exciting installment of Getting to Know You!