Seminar Staff

Francis X. Vogel

Francis X. Vogel

Executive Director

I’m honored to serve as only the fourth staff leader since our Rotary-initiated organization formed in 1977. That continuity speaks volumes. WAS’s dedicated Board of Directors, other volunteers and part-time staff have engaged some 30,000 young people over the years, advancing peace through understanding by training tomorrow’s leaders.

As a seasoned nonprofit professional, I bring 31 years professional experience as a consultant or staff person to the position, including 18-plus years as the staff leader for Milwaukee-area groups. I’m also now the part-time Development Director for Arise Milwaukee. Previously, I served as the Executive Director for EconomicsWisconsin, Polish Heritage Alliance and Wisconsin Clean Cities. I hold Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in History and English. Go Badgers!

My volunteer involvement includes Chairing the Governance Council for my daughters’ former elementary school, La Escuela Fratney. I was also the Chair and Secretary/Treasurer for the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee – Holton Youth Center’s Board of Managers and am active in my two Parishes, Saints Peter and Paul and Our Lady of Divine Providence. And I’m a proud member of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee since 2017.  My wife, Carol Lynn Wandler, and I live in South Milwaukee with our daughters.

Dale Brock. Rick Luedke. Tom Plantenberg. These three past leaders of WAS embodied service above self in their illustrious tenures with WAS. I will always strive to do likewise, reflecting on their accomplishments as I strive to build a brighter future together with all of you.

Karlene Fox

Karlene Fox

Registrar & Administrative Assistant

Karlene serves as the primary point of contact for sponsors, families, and delegates throughout the World Affairs Seminar registration process. With her professional background in business and education, as well as her volunteer leadership experience with many youth events, she brings strong administrative and communication skills to the successful operation of the annual seminar. Karlene really looks forward to the enthusiasm, energy, and spirit that our delegates bring to each event throughout the week.

Michael Carriere, PhD

Michael Carriere, PhD

Academic Dean

Dr. Carriere is a Professor of History and Director of the MSOE Honors Program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He has extensive experience in curriculum development, international affairs, urban development, civics and global history. His work has appeared in such publications as the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of Planning History, Cultural History, Reviews in American History,, and He is the co-author, with David Schalliol, of The City Creative: The Rise of Urban Placemaking in Contemporary America (The University of Chicago Press, 2021). He holds a Ph.D. in American history from The University of Chicago

Dr. Carriere brings a wealth of creative energy and enthusiasm to his position. He has developed and is applying an innovative set of changes to advance the texture and scope of the World Affairs Seminar, including broadening the scope of break-out sessions and integrating service projects into the capstone process. His high level of experience in academics and international education adds considerable depth to WAS.

Stuart Schmidt, MS

Stuart Schmidt, MS

Program Director

Stuart Schmidt first attended World Affairs Seminar as a high school delegate, and has since found passion in supporting youth empowerment through education. Stuart joins the WAS staff with experience in higher education, youth program development, fundraising and donor management, and skills in web development and photography. He has held several different roles with World Affairs Seminar, including as staff counselor, Senior Staff, and Web Developer. In his current role, he oversees the development of all academic and social activities during the seminar. Stuart earned his Masters of Science from Lakeland University and his Bachelors from Northland College.

Jim Pittelkow

Jim Pittelkow


Jim earned his BA in Finance and Human Resources from the Marquette College of Business.  He is retired from careers in Banking, Property/Casualty Insurance, Milwaukee Archdiocese Parish Finance and Administration, and Federal Government Emergency Management as an Administrative Section Chief imbedded at disaster sites.

Now Jim spends his time in semi-retirement performing volunteer work for non-profit organizations in finance and accounting, including Wisconsin World Affairs Council which is a special focus for him.  He enjoys working several days per month managing all aspects of F & A and collaborating with staff as part of the management team.    

Jim is proud to be a part of WWAC.  He especially enjoys being part of the system of preparing teenagers to be leaders.  


World Affairs Seminar Staff Counselors and Nurses are highly valued and the backbone of the WAS seminar experience. They have a strong desire to serve the community and world at large. Throughout the week they create a safe, positive, and fun environment, while facilitating the extensive academic curriculum as a cohesive and well-trained leadership team. WAS Staff Counselors come from a variety of backgrounds including guidance counselors, teachers, librarians, business professionals, college students, and past participants.

Click Here for More Information.

Counselor applications now available for 2024!

Rotary District 6270 with Rotary Wheel

A Rotary District 6270 Initiative

World Affairs Seminar
10600 W. Mitchell Street
West Allis, Wisconsin 53214

Privacy Policy:

The World Affairs Seminar does not share or sell personal information about students or sponsors with any other organization except as authorized by signed release. This includes personal, health, financial, or other information. Information you post on public websites and other accessible media is your responsibility.

Refund Policy:

To receive credit after payment has been made, students, sponsors must notify the World Affairs Seminar in writing that their delegate is unable to attend, or if the sponsor is unable to fill a paid for space at the Seminar. (e-mail is considered "in writing" for these purposes as long as the e-mail is acknowledged as having been received.) Full credit applies if notification is received by April 1; 50% credit if application is cancelled between April 1 but prior to May 21; no credit is available if application is cancelled after May 21, unless extraordinary circumstances such as illness, death exist. All cancellation credits are subject to $75.00 processing fee and must be used within one calendar year. Note: in agreeing to attend WAS, parents and students promise to reimburse their sponsor for the full amount of any loss due to cancellation. WAS offices: (414) 453-4984, or

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