Students and Graduates
Odds are you know a Western grad. They are family members, neighbors, and friends. They are at your doctor’s office, your local car dealership, your landscape company, and your bank. They are an essential part of the fabric of our community.
It’s really not surprising. In 2011, of the 1,000 graduates who responded to our follow-up survey, 85 percent stayed in Wisconsin, 75% percent in our district. With 60+ degree options, Western’s graduates impact our lives every day in so many ways. And they work in so many businesses in our region, businesses that are as varied as the graduates are.
Every day, our students are training for the jobs of tomorrow. Career and technical education prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers. These careers may require varying levels of education—from certificates, technical diplomas and associate’s degrees to bachelor’s degrees and beyond, Western provides the platform from which our graduates succeed.
So, Why Western?
Name: Kyle Vesbach
Degree: Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician
Year Graduated: 2010
Employer: Brooks Tractor, Inc.
Job Title: Field Service Mechanic
Originally From: Viroqua, WI
Lives In: La Crosse, WI
It was close to home and convenient and it had what I wanted. Three of my friends came here, too. Plus there were other friends who were in the Automotive Technologies program.
Name: Kaylyn Thompson
Degree: Clinical Lab Tech
Year Graduated: 2011
Employer: Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare
Job Title: Med Lab Technician
Originally From: Plymouth, WI
Lives In: Onalaska, WI
I was having trouble deciding on a major. My aunt and uncle lived in Onalaska and said that CLT was interesting. I could get my degree in 2 years and get into a career. Plus, it was less expensive than a 4-year.
Name: Ann and Jeremy Mitoraj
Year Graduated: 2006
Employer: Tri-State Ambulance
Job Title: Paramedics
Originally From: Jeremy is from Downers Grove, IL. Ann is from Hancock, WI
Live In: Cashton, WI
Jeremy: I came to UW-La Crosse as a pre-med major and realized
I wasn’t the school type.
Ann: I was at UW-La Crosse for pre-athletic training and decided it wasn’t for me.
Name: Roxane Herricks
Degree: Human Resource Business Administration
Year Graduated: 2009
Employer: State Bank Financial
Job Title: Human Resources and Development Director
Originally From: La Crosse, WI
Lives In: Chaseburg, WI
I was working at State Bank for a wonderful boss. I had gone to WWTI but stopped just short of my degree. She encouraged me to go back to college to get my degree. There was flexibility with my schedule of work/family, plus it was a convenient location. They also have an excellent reputation for Human Resources.
Name: Chris Brown
Degree: Supervisory Management
Year Graduated: 2008
Employer: Ft. McCoy Transportation Motor Pool
Job Title: Transportation Motor Pool Supervisor
Graduated From: Sparta High School (Chris’s dad was in the Air Force)
Lives In: Sparta, WI
Right out of high school, I attended Winona State University as an undecided student. I left college and worked for two years. My dad was a Supervisory Management student at Western. I was working as a shift leader at the Fort. The program allowed me to work full-time and attend classes at the Tomah location.
An unexpected career change led Kathy Guenther, of Black River Falls, Wis., to what she considers one of the best decisions of her life: returning to college and becoming a nurse. It wasn't easy. In fact, there were times she didn't think she'd make it and wanted to quit. But she persevered. "I did it!" she says. "And I'm so glad."
"I believe that continuing education is the key to success for a business and its employees," says Michelle Weisenberger, Trempealeau County Clerk of Courts and Western graduate. It's a belief she put into practice. Michelle enrolled in the Human Resource-Business Management program at Western's Independence location, a program that combined her love of people with business management skills that have served her well in her career.
"I love knowing that I make a difference every day. In somebody's life, every day. It just fulfills me," says Christy Georgeson of New Lisbon, Wis." 'It' is a career in nursing, something Christy has dreamt about since junior high school.
"Education is key in getting to the next step in your career," says Don Byrum. "It helps set you apart from everyone else." As a soon-to-be-retired Army sergeant first class, Don, of Warrens, Wis., will be starting the next phase of his career and joining the class of 2011 in the job hunt. With 20 years in the military, he brings a wealth of training and experience to the table. But he wanted to complement his years of military and supervision experience with an education that fit his skill set. He found what he needed in the Supervisory Management program at Western in Tomah.
"I really believe the program helped get me where I am," says Cathy Vosseteig, a soon-to-be graduate of Western's Supervisory Management program and the new postmaster at the Cashton, Wis., Post Office. Cathy, of Westby, decided three and a half years ago to go back to school. And what she found was that it was a much different experience than it was the first time around. "I knew what I wanted to do. I knew what I wanted to study and that was management. I knew that was going to help me in my career path with the post office."