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Alumni Spotlight: March 2024

Each month we will connect with alumni who are making a difference in their careers and find out how Baker helped them along their way. Here are our first two!

Rob Oyler, ’96

Founder, WANRack, Overland Park, Kansas

Rob Oyler

Oyler founded WANRack after spending 17 years building fiber-optic networks for the K-12 market and hearing firsthand their challenges with technology, budgets, and personnel. He has assisted in selling and installing to over 240 school districts nationwide. Oyler is focused on expanding WANRack to capitalize on the many opportunities presented to the company, and he enjoys serving as a mentor in the field. He is an alumnus of the Kauffman FastTrac program for early-stage entreprenuers.

What was the first moment that made Baker feel like home? 

I began feeling at home when I pledged the Kappa Sigma fraternity. I was welcomed into the brotherhood with dinners, hanging out with the guys, and getting the feel of the social aspect of college life. I also started to find my groove with classes a couple weeks into that first freshman semester. Those early days were a bit of a transition to the new pace and rigor of college. I enjoyed my courses, professor interactions, and really felt academically engaged, knowing I had made the right decision. 

What was your favorite class and why?

This is hard because there were honestly so many. I would have to say my business law classes were my favorite. Our professor brought the classroom to life with props and real-world examples of our subject material. This made it impactful and memorable to this day. We heard it, saw it, and interacted with the coursework, which impacted the retention. 

Who made the biggest impact on you while at Baker?

Again, so many great people come to mind. However, I’d say Dr. Lee Green was most impactful for me. I had the highest number of classes with him as I was a business management major. Second would be Dr. Karen Exon. I was initially afraid of her, but she gave me a huge appreciation to this day for world history. Due to scheduling my senior year, Dr. Exon was the only option for my SWAT class [Shaping of Western Thought, which served as a senior capstone course], which was required for graduation. Years after graduation I started to run into her in Lawrence and shared how she literally stood between me and graduation. So, the lesson here is, embrace change and fear. Those experiences have been hugely impactful to me personally. 

What are two things you would tell current students?

My first advice would be to jump in with both feet and be open to new things. The classes are smaller than at most other colleges, which makes for a closer relationship with your professors. Seize this moment in your life and maximize the college experience. Secondly, I’d say to try to make college your only priority if possible. I had a job in Lawrence and was in the Army Reserves. It made for a challenging schedule, but looking back, it was good practice for life after college. I just wouldn’t recommend that full of a plate. 

How did your Baker experience shape your journey?

This risks sounding cliche, but my time at Baker opened my eyes to diverse perspectives and sparked my intellectual curiosity, which continues today. I wasn’t a great student in high school but made the dean’s list and had a pretty good GPA at Baker. You all did a great job getting me ready for my career and life in general. I still reflect on a specific critical thinking course that keeps me opened minded today. I also took several public speaking classes and walked out of there with more confidence and the right tools to speak in front of folks throughout my career with confidence. 

What do you love about Baker the most?

Baker was great for many reasons. The proximity to larger cities, the seasons you experience (especially fall), and the small town feel in Baldwin itself. However, the friendships I gained and hold on to today are priceless. The majority of my closest friends are Baker alums. Baker is a big reason for the successes I enjoy today.

Julie (Regehr) Sizemore, ’90

Program Coordinator, Keller ISD Education Foundation, Keller, Texas

Julie SizemoreAfter earning the Registered Respiratory Therapy certification and a master’s in health service administration from the University of Kansas Medical Center, Sizemore served a variety of health care organizations at the executive level. She recently shifted gears and now uses her team building, management, operations, and organizational skills in the education sector, where she coordinates the Keller ISD Education Foundation’s programs to award grants and professional development scholarships to Keller Independent School District employees and the scholarship programs for Keller ISD seniors.

What was the first moment that made Baker feel like home?

The night we found out which sorority we were in and running to the house with several girls who had been in my rush group and had become my friends. Our sisters opened the door and welcomed us in; everyone was so happy. Greek life had been one of the reasons I’d chosen Baker, and at that moment I knew I’d made the right choice.

What was your favorite class and why?

Marching Band: I loved being part of this group. Playing at home games, traveling to the play-off football games, and our Winterterm tour of South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Hawaii were highlights of my time at Baker. I still use “I played a saxophone solo at Tokyo Disneyland” as an icebreaker answer. 

Who made the biggest impact on you while at Baker?

Dr. Calvin Cink: He was my advisor and the professor I had the most classes with during my time at Baker. When it was time to decide what health profession I was going to study, he helped guide me to a decision and through the application process at KU Med.

What are two things that you would tell current students?

Get involved. Join all the clubs and organizations you can. It’s a great way to meet people and be part of the BU community.

Do a study abroad semester! I was in the first group of students to go to Harlaxton, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Being able to experience life in an English village, meeting students from other parts of the world, and taking classes on British sociology and politics from British professors was an amazing opportunity!

How did your Baker experience shape your journey?

Baker provided a foundation that has been invaluable. Even though the Baker campus is small, there are so many opportunities to try new things. Being a Baldwin City EMT, writing for the Baker Orange, working as an admission assistant, these are just a few of the experiences I had at BU. During my career in healthcare, I had the confidence to work in different areas of the industry. I feel strongly that my success has much to do with my Baker experience. 

What do you love about Baker the most?

The people! I love going to alumni events here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. While I know a couple of people who were at Baker when I was, there are always people I don’t know. It’s fun to hear about their time at Baker and our shared love of being a Wildcat!

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