UW-Fox Valley Logo

Student Spotlight

Ty Westbrook

Ty Westbrook

“Every class that I have taken at UWFox has met the high academic level that I would expect from any UW campus.”

Age: 47

Hometown: Mt. Dora, FL

Current residence: Appleton, WI

When attended UWFox: I first attended UWFox from 1995 through 1997.  Due to changes in my job and personal life, I had to put my college on hold for a while. In 2008 I was able to resume working toward my academic goals and I’ve been attending UWFox steadily ever since.

Background before UWFox

I attended Mt. Dora High School and graduated 1983. Among other things, I’ve worked as a professional bassist for 15 years, a pressman in a print shop for 12 years, five years in music retail and one year as a street character at Disney Studios in Orlando, FL. For the last six years, I’ve been a theater technician and show presenter at the Barlow Planetarium at UWFox.

Did you do any interesting travel or have any interesting experiences before coming to UWFox?

From 1985 through 1993, I traveled throughout the East coast and Midwest performing with various musical groups. I was able to visit virtually every state east of the Mississippi and then some. It was a great way to come of age and experience firsthand the terrific diversity of our country. During that same time period, I also completed a one year program at the Bass Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA. After graduating from B.I.T., I spent a few more years traveling in a show band that eventually brought me to Appleton, WI in 1993.

Why did you choose UWFox?

I can sum that up in two words:  cost and quality. I want the quality of a University of Wisconsin education, at the most affordable price. When I investigated some of the other higher education alternatives available out there, I was unimpressed with the quality of the curriculum and faculty. Every class that I have taken at UWFox has met the high academic level that I would expect from any UW campus. The same goes for all of the UW professors I’ve had here at UWFox. They’re all top notch.

Have you chosen a major?

Yes. Communication Arts.

What are you learning that you find interesting and rewarding at UWFox?

As an older “non–traditional” adult student, I’ve found every class I’ve taken at UWFox to be interesting and rewarding.  Having a bit of lifetime experience under my belt has only increased my appreciation and thirst for learning new things. I’ve heard it said that a real measure of wealth is by how many options a person has. That’s my main reason for pursuing a university education. I want to have as many options as possible. Attending UWFox has definitely broadened my knowledge about the world and our community and increased the options that are available to me.

What are your career plans after UWFox?

I plan on continuing to expand my role as a professional planetarian at the Barlow Planetarium while I complete my UW education.

Other interesting things about yourself that you’d like to share?

In 1993, some other fellows and I formed a very successful local band called “Kidd Gloves” here in Appleton, which lasted from 1993 to 1998. “Kidd Gloves” played a mix of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s rock and roll. After “Kidd Gloves” disbanded, I was finally able to more actively pursue my hobby of amateur astronomy. I joined a local astronomy club called NEWSTAR and began volunteering at the Barlow Planetarium. In 2005 when I was ready to leave the printing business after 12 years, a position opened at the planetarium and I started working there doing planetarium shows for school groups and the public. My current duties include doing all of the pre K -12 grade school shows, scout programs, programming and installing shows, maintaining all the equipment and training new presenters.
I have been extremely fortunate that twice in my life I’ve been able to turn a passion into a career. I still play music for my own enjoyment with my wife Kathleen and love living in Wisconsin.

More Spotlight Stories