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Reader Feature: Summer Hustlin

Badger Insider readers share stories on how they earned a living in Madison during the summer.

Aerial photo of Madison, WI.

Susan Van Horn Barnet ’61

Hartsdale, NY

Would you believe that I won a "scholarship" from the French government to eat lunch every summer school day at the French House to practice/ improve my French conversation/pronunciation????

Phil Pfund ’66

North Canton, OH

After graduation, I stayed in Madison for the summer before moving to Minneapolis to start graduate school at the University of Minnesota. I managed to get two summer jobs on campus. One job was for the Physics department working the midnight to 8 am shift in the basement of Sterling Hall assisting a physics graduate student. The other job was for the Civil Engineering department assisting a graduate student from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm tracking power plant discharge streams in Lake Monona. This meant that my times to sleep were from 8:30 am to noon and from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm each day during the week. This schedule was fine except for making the transition on the weekend to enjoy the State Street bars and various Summer activities around campus. I found myself falling asleep at some of the parties on a Friday or Saturday night.

Rebecca Greenlee ’72, MS’75, JD’84

Garden City, ID

Memorial Library is where I spent one undergraduate summer shelving books in the stacks. I loved those dusty old stacks with the carts of books for shelving ... and even perusing a few, including one on my boyfriend's father who had once been the president of Mexico (which I surely didn't believe when he first told me but true)! To this day I can hardly walk by a bookshelf without moving all the books neatly to the front edge of the shelf. And, loved to study in those quiet study cages in that library.

Robert Leonhardt ’69, JD’75

Milwaukee, WI

One of my favorite places on State Street during both my undergraduate and law school years was St. Paul's University Catholic Center. Not only did I grow in my faith there, sing in several music groups and lead a 60-voice choir, discuss many of the crucial social issues of the day, but I also met my wife there! After my first year of law school, I spent the summer as the custodian of the facility, sweeping, vacuuming, changing light bulbs, cleaning bathrooms and painting woodwork. It was refreshing to do some basic, hands-on work. After my second year, I had an internship with the Consumer Protection Division of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, handling phone and mail complaints from Wisconsin residents about a wide variety of business-related issues. It certainly helped me to cement my interest in public interest law that led to a career of service in federal, state and local government.

James Rinehart ’78, MS’84

Indianapolis, IN

In the Summer of 1977, I worked with Bonnie Svarstad MA’67, PhD’74, a professor in the School of Pharmacy, on an extensive research project regarding pharmacist communication with patients about their medications in an outpatient setting. There were several of us working on this project to interpret and code the data collected. It was such an outstanding learning experience!!! Bonnie was absolutely inspiring to work with. I learned so much about communicating with patients about their medications. We worked long hours day and night on this research project that summer. The work done that summer in 1977 has such huge implications today given the complexities and extent of medication use in the outpatient setting. What a great way to spend a summer in Madison!

Robin Ross-Henning ’81

Barrington, IL

I waitressed at Paisans in University Square. We had a half-hour guarantee for lunch service so the UW staff could eat and return to work on time. One gorgeous summer day, I worked the outdoor patio, which was furthest from the kitchen. As I hustled outside hoisting a large tray filled with seven lasagna specials, I tripped. The entire tray flew forward. Noodles sailed across the patio and landed on the shrubs, where they hung like tinsel. The horrified patrons stared as I turned beet red and ran back to the kitchen to put in rush orders. Not my greatest day for tips...

(William) Dennis Helsabeck, Jr. ’62

Elizabethton, TN

My summers, 1961–64, were spent on the Mills Street Playground (now the site of the Noland Biology research center). I was a recreational leader for a wonderful ethnic mix of American kids from that old neighborhood as well as the offspring of economically-humble grad students at the UW. I have fond memories of the Souders, the DiPiazzas and many more. And our Flyweight boys won the West Side softball title over 50+ other Westside playgrounds! Good times, indeed.

Bob Lawrence ’69

Waukesha, WI

In addition to working throughout the school year, I also worked the summer of 1967 at The Brathaus, now known as State Street Brats. It was an honor and a privilege to work at such a campus icon for two such fine gentlemen as "Shorty" and "Lammy." It was one of the best experiences I had on campus.

Sarah Fictum Mireski DPM’02

Lomira, WI

I worked at Elizabeth Waters Hall Front desk for several of the summers I stayed on campus. We sorted and forwarded mail that continued to come to students who lived in the dorms until the SOAR guests arrived. I loved interacting with the incoming Badgers and their families. I was a bit shocked by the number of dirty magazines that came to the dorms during the school year, and no those did not qualify for forwarding:)

Angela Beres ’88

Rochester, MN

After securing a summer job lifeguarding at the SERF, I found out I was accepted for an engineering summer internship at the UW Synchroton Radiation Center. When I let my soon to be supervisor at the SERF know I got an internship and wouldn't be lifeguarding, after all, I completely misjudged that he was NOT happy with my exciting news. He was very angry and told me to never apply for a position at the SERF again. I had thought he would understand my excitement over getting an internship in my intended career path. It was an important life lesson for me that not all people will share in your happiness! But the summer internship turned out great and turned into a two-summer opportunity that was a good learning experience and resume builder.

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