LA CROSSE, Wis., March 28, 2023 – Zander Barr, of Mauston, has been selected as the 2023-24 Western Technical College Student Ambassador, an official spokesperson for Western and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).
As Student Ambassador, Barr will have opportunities to speak to potential students, community leaders, community groups, and others, and will spotlight the important role of technical and occupational education to the economy and society. In addition, he will represent Western at the state level by working with other student ambassadors throughout the WTCS.
Barr is a Digital Media Production student in his second year of the program. He chose Western because of the program selection, affordability, and proximity to home. He also believes the compassionate and understanding instructors help lead to successful outcomes for all students.
“Western has amazing staff and students,” said Barr. “I wanted to surround myself with that positive and help me push forward in my endeavors. They always want to see you grow and push yourself to success.”
Barr is close and active with his family, who serves foster children in the Mauston region. He’s open with his struggle balancing his family and college coursework, but says Western’s instructors have gone above and beyond helping him stay on track.
“I did not think I deserved good grades, because I missed class because of personal and family issues,” said Barr. “My instructor said he understood and helped me catch up in class. It was a huge weight off my shoulders. I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like I had someone who I could talk to when things were going wrong.”
“Zander really shines when he works with his peers. He naturally lifts them up and encourages them to do their best work, all the while along the way he’s learning too,” said James Bushman, Digital Media Production instructor at Western who nominated Barr for this honor. “He’s such a joy to have in class. His positive attitude, infectious personality and contagious smile really just make the learning environment a better space for everyone.
Barr plans to use this opportunity to further develop his leadership and speaking skills while expressing the importance of career and technical education with key stakeholders. He hopes to use this position to highlight the affordability and accessibility of technical college education throughout the state. Barr will be honored with all 16 student ambassadors of the WTCS at a ceremony in Wisconsin Dells in April.
Barr hopes to enter the workforce as a photographer following graduation, with hopes of eventually becoming a video producer. He enjoys powerlifting, nature photography, and helping his community.