Arts, Entertainment, and Production

Josh Bycel


Josh Bycel Josh Bycel graduated from UW-Madison in 1993 with a B.A. He has been an  executive producer and writer on comedies such as “Scrubs” and “Telenovela.” He is also the founder of OneKid OneWorld, a non-profit organization that supports education in developing nations. In 2008, he received the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s “Forward under 40” award for his international work.

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First Job after College

Bycel was an assistant at a large talent agency. “I knew within the first half-hour that I hated it. I wanted to be on the other side of the desk,” he says.  The agency later represented him.

Skills I learned as a History Major

“Relaying ideas to other people is one of the intrinsic skills of the history major,” Bycel says. Learning how to communicate clearly – whether via writing or presenting – is transferable to any field.

“I’m a storyteller,” Bycel continues. As both an executive producer and as the founder of a non-profit organization, he writes messages that appeal to his audiences: scripts that will draw in viewers and pitches that will help draw financial support for OneKid, One World.

Advice for Students

Be creative and willing to try different things, but “you have to be open to failing.” All experiences (even failure!) are relevant to building a successful career, he says. “I wish someone had told me at 22 that it’s not about right away – it’s about the long play.”

Catherine Capellaro


Catherine CapellaroCatherine Capellaro graduated from UW-Madison in 1989 with a B.A. in History. She is now the Arts & Culture Editor for Isthmus.

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My Work Life

On most weekdays, I spend the day at Isthmus, Madison’s independent newsweekly, where I serve as arts & culture editor. I write stories on theater, books, movies, television and cultural trends. And I curate and edit our arts coverage, including Isthmus Picks. Many evenings I am either working on a theater project or rehearsing with one of several bands I perform with. I sing and play trumpet with VO5 and Loving Cup.

First Job after College

My first full-time job after college was as an office manager at California Tomorrow, in San Francisco. I was attracted to the mission of the organization, which produced editorial content related to California’s rapidly shifting demographics. But I was ill-prepared and unenthused about administrative work. I ended up leaving after a year to take an internship at Mother Jones magazine and worked part-time gigs to pay my rent.

My Career Path

I took many side paths. I began a career as a freelance writer, and then wound up in South America on a botanical expedition. I worked as a marketing and newsletter editor at a local food co-op and a printing cooperative. I edited syndicated progressive opinion columns and a magazine for social justice teachers. Twice I lived and worked in New York City. One of those times was as the co-creator (with my husband, Andrew Rohn) of an Off Broadway musical called Walmartopia.

Skills I learned as a History Major

Studying history taught me to look for the voices that have been silenced or marginalized. It taught me to understand the importance of movements and the power of people to right wrongs and injustices. I learned to seek out voices of women, queer people, and people of color, and to recognize and name white privilege and economic advantage. I learned about disparities, and how history has been written by the winners. My senior thesis was about a woman-led anti-colonial movement in Nigeria. It was filled with creative acts of resistance, naked dancing and humorous mockery of coopted officials. That lesson stuck with me. I want to harness the power of art, music and dance to make the world a better place.

Advice for Students

I do not have just one field, and maybe that’s a lesson. Do not abandon the music, theater, visual art or writing that you care about to chase a salary. Yes, we all have to pay the bills and student loans (fight for free college tuition!). But keeping your creative soul nourished in whatever way you can will help you make it in the long haul. There are few actual jobs for historians outside academia, so I never really identified as that. But my sense of history and the perspective I gained at UW have informed many of my choices, including abandoning my job for a time to write satirical musical comedies.