Life After Ripon – Taima Kern ’11

Checking In

[Editor’s Note: Taima Kern ’11 was our first Life After Ripon blogger, and here we check in with her again.]

June 3, 2013
Dear Journal,

Taima Kern

Taima Kern ’11

Since I wrote last, I had fellow Ripon alumna Vicky Weber ’12 as a summer roomie whilst she awaited the start of grad school in Colorado. I was working for Action Publications in Fond du Lac and picked up a part-time job to make extra money to buy a new car. I contracted a nasty strain of something that left me severely ill for several months and was just feeling better in October when I was struck in the new car by a flatbed Peterbilt semi in an intersection because his blinker was on, and I thought I could turn, which thankfully resulted in very minor damage to my new car, Sir Francis Bacon code name “Bacon” (the last car was “Eggs”), and a black-eye for the semi.

After that I journeyed north to Ashland, Wisconsin with current Ripon students Nick Skulan ’14 and Naomi Jahn ’14, along with Suzanne Patt ’14 and Rachel Smith ’12 to take engagement photos for the relatively-soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Skulan. (This is the second set of engagement photos I’ve been commissioned to take, the first being those of Mr. Matthew Muza ’12 and Mrs. Ashley Vanden Avond Muza ’13, who were wed four days after the writing of this post, on June 8.) That same fall, I also photographed Alan Johnson ’12 and Amanda Fenske ’13, who will wed on June 22, a wedding I will sadly miss, since I will be photographing the wedding of Alex Tessman ’10 and Caitlin Braun, who attended Ripon briefly.

Anybody else seeing a trend here? I’ll circle back to that in a moment.

In the spring of 2013, I got a raise to technically full-time as the Assistant Editor here at Action Publications in Fond du Lac, started a bi-weekly column where I spotlight local artists and explain their methods, mediums, inspiration and such. This column runs in The Reporter every other Sunday, can be followed online at in the Life section, and includes a short 1-2 minute video that I also shoot, edit and direct. In addition, my Pub & Grub weekly restaurant feature has reached its 52nd edition, and is still alive and kicking.

I also have been getting involved with the Tour the Town art walk here in Fond du Lac, where local businesses host an artist for a night and we all try to sell our work. Though my own artwork, Stars and Marbles (, has so far met with little understanding by the community, there is still hope.

Oh, and in March I shaved my head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I donated 21 inches of hair and raised over $760 to support childhood cancer research.

Then, as summer began, yet another friend from Ripon who will be starting grad school in the fall looked to spend the summer in the area, and so Bill Heinze ’13 moved in last month, a few days after commencement.

Looking back, I sort of assumed that as a couple of years went by after graduation, things would gradually move into the background, despite my proximity to Ripon. Being no longer constantly present in the lives of my friends should have meant that they gently slipped into the past. But this has not been the case. The ties I made at Ripon College were so strong that they continue to pop up in nearly every-day-life, between solid friendships with other alumni and current students. My friends helped me get through this last year’s illness and car accident, and they’ve helped me get up off the ground with my independent photography hobby. (I haven’t made enough money vs. expenses yet to call it a business, but it has its own Facebook page: Most of all they’ve been a source of constant moral support.

Two years and going strong.

I hope to continue helping others with their own success stories, so I keep my ear to the ground and try to give whoever I can a leg up and a helpful hand.

Taima Kern ’11
[email protected]

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