University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Alumni Awards Evening

Arlene (Oody) J. Petty

PhD English `05, MA English-Creative Writing `00, BA English `99

Lecturer, Department of English, Ethnic Studies Program, and Freshman Seminars pettyProgram, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Oody is an outstanding example of how one individual can personalize a large institution. In 2007, while continuing to carry a full teaching load, Oody enthusiastically volunteered to assist with the first Project Welcome, UWM's sweeping initiative to provide outreach to talented prospective students.  While most faculty participants called a handful of students interested in their own field of study, Oody called literally hundreds of students who had not yet chosen a major.  But first, she had to learn the intricacies of UWM's admissions, housing, financial aid, placement testing, and enrollment processes in order to be a reliable resource.

In the second and third year of Project welcome, Oody became the sole outreach and contact person for the College, spending hundreds of hours calling students and parents, answering questions and following up on their concerns. And during the Spring 2008 semester, she called more than 1,000 high-achieving students, offering them information and encouragement to attend UWM.

Oody, who is now in her third year of helping recruit academically-gifted students, is providing an invaluable service to both the College of Letters & Science and the University as a whole because the presence of these talented students enhances every aspect of the educational experience for all UWM students.

Oody has also participated in the UWM Alumni Association's Panther Prowl 5K run/walk for scholarships and programs.  Of the more than 1,100 participants in the 2008 event, Oody raised the second highest dollar amount.