Blending the old with the new - Platteville student juggles online learning with tradition

Paul performing the first step in the booyah process: boiling the meat.


Paul Collen’s career spans over 30 years, a journey that began in the air force and now sees him as the head of his own project management consulting firm, Eptivis. The time between these two points saw Collen earn a bachelor’s in computer science and business administration, as well as other business credentials, which he then put to use working in different project management roles for businesses in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area. In 2015, Collen enrolled in the UW-Platteville’s Master of Science in Project Management, a goal he decided to pursue for his own benefit.

“UW-Platteville’s online program was new for me,” said Collen. “But it has resulted in a very positive experience. Going at my own pace, where and when I wanted, was key – and Platteville’s project management program offered exactly that and more.”

While it’s convenient to log on and learn wherever he is, Collen also stresses it takes the right attitude. “It helps to stay consistent,” he said. “As long as you have the discipline to be a self-starter, you’ll do fine. Self-motivation is the way to go.”

Outside of the virtual classroom and work, Collen enjoys a variety of interests that include fishing, golfing, and skiing. But perhaps the most interesting activity he observes is the making of “booyah.”

BooyahBooyah is a traditional Northeast Wisconsin stew, founded in Green Bay in 1894. Its main recipe includes potatoes, carrots, chicken or beef, celery, onions, and peas. Many variations of booyah have popped up over the years, but Collen’s spin on the classic dish follows closely to the original.

“My family started making booyah early on,” Collen said. “We would have it every holiday, and it’s just something I’ve inherited. It creates a nice tradition for Labor Day, the holiday I’m now in charge of, and it’s always fun when everyone comes over to try it out.”

Collen added that he makes about 6 -10 gallons of booyah for this event, an amount that’s enough to feed 25 – 30 people, with many taking home leftovers. He also revealed that while he mainly stays true to the family recipe, he’s never scared to experiment – adding in a few secret ingredients of his own.

“It’s always evolving to keep things interesting,” Collen said – a sentiment that applies to both booyah and an interest for continuing education if ever there was one.

Written by: Eric Herbst, writer and editor, Distance Learning Center,

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