Tuesday – October 17, 2017


Johnny Craig, new MATC vice president for student services and enrollment management, is focused on student success.

New Student Services Vice President Johnny Craig Hones in on Student Success

Johnny Craig, Milwaukee Area Technical College’s newly appointed vice president of student services and enrollment management, believes he has a lot in common with MATC students. He said his background helps him identify with some of their struggles, challenges and successes. For instance, like many MATC students, Craig was the first in his family to graduate from college.


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78-Year Old Marjorie Zellmer Earns HSED; Enrolls in MATC’s Associate in Arts Degree Program

78-Year Old Marjorie Zellmer Earns HSED; Enrolls in MATC’s Associate in Arts Degree Program

When Marjorie Zellmer crossed the stage at the GED/HSED graduation at MATC on June 7, she finally earned her high school equivalency diploma (HSED) – 60 years after she left classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s predecessor, Milwaukee Vocational and Adult School. The 78-year-old promptly enrolled in MATC’s associate in arts degree program and is excitedly looking forward to beginning classes in August.

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Biden and KJ Front

MATC Celebrates First MATC Promise Graduates and Prominent Commencement Speaker Dr. Jill Biden

When KJ Lor applied for the MATC Promise program in late 2015, he couldn’t have foreseen that he would have a chance to meet former U.S. second lady and Promise program champion Dr. Jill Biden an hour before his Milwaukee Area Technical College graduation. Lor was a member of the first MATC Promise class, which began attending courses at the college in August 2016. He and three of his fellow Promise students chose to pursue technical diplomas, so they were able to complete program requirements in time to graduate from MATC this May.

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Ivory Coast Native N’Dri Diby Shares His Passion for Math with Fellow Students

N'Dri (Prudence) Diby, an MATC Liberal Arts and Sciences student from Africa's Ivory Coast, has been passionate about mathematics since he was a child. He speaks enthusiastically about the way mathematics is woven into every part of life – bringing sense, order and beauty to the world.

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Lydia Gonwa

MATC-Led Guatemala Trip Helps Dietetic Technician Student Lydia Gonwa Broaden Her Cultural Understanding

Conquering a fierce personal struggle against anorexia led Lydia Gonwa to a career decision. She wants to “help others heal themselves by understanding the effects of food on their bodies.” Returning to her native Wisconsin from California, she enrolled at Milwaukee Area Technical College in late 2014 because she knew MATC had the only dietetic technician associate degree program in the state. The unexpected bonus for Gonwa was the chance to also learn about other cultures through MATC’s winter break trip to Guatemala.

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Katie Hinson

Daughters Inspire Katie Hinson to Earn MATC Adult High School Diploma and Continue Education

Katie Hinson was a 21-year-old high school dropout struggling to raise two young children on a minimum wage salary when she decided she needed to make a change. She knew she needed to finish her high school diploma to create a better life for herself and for her children. So she turned to Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Adult High School, (part of the School of Pre-College Education) for help in getting that all-important diploma.

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Julio Rivera

Julio Rivera Conquers Physical Challenges to Pursue MATC Machining Diploma

“I’m alive today because of a miracle,” explained Milwaukee Area Technical College student Julio Rivera. The energetic, determined man with the ready smile said that he will not allow the physical challenges of having lost both legs in a horrific motorcycle accident get in the way of earning an MATC technical diploma in machine tool operations.

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Jarob Ortiz was selected from a pool of nearly 5,000 candidates for the prestigious National Park Service photography position.

MATC Photography Grad Jarob Ortiz Lands Prestigious National Park Service Job Capturing U.S. History

While enrolled in MATC's photography associate degree program, Jarob Ortiz was consumed with photographing the ruins of abandoned steel mills and manufacturing sites using special equipment rarely used these days – a large format view camera. The marriage of skill, passion and ability to use the "Zone System" developed by legendary photographer Ansel Adams led Ortiz to a stunning achievement last summer. He was chosen from a field of nearly 5,000 applicants for a prestigious job as a National Park Service photographer.


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Lesha Knowles 1

MATC Surgical Technology Training Leads Lesha Knowles to Fulfilling, Exciting Career

Lesha Knowles was drawn to Milwaukee Area Technical College’s surgical technology associate degree program because she likes the intensity, fast pace, and opportunity to work side-by-side with physicians as they perform surgery. “Sometimes my chest is racing during surgery,” she said. “I have to remind myself to breathe. But after you pass that first instrument, you know what’s coming next. I love that feeling. Everyone in that room is part of the team."


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Nick Ratas Cover

Marine Corps Service in Afghanistan Inspires Nick Ratas to Pursue Career as Police Officer

Embedded in a small village in Afghanistan in 2010, Nick Ratas was one of a group of Marines who helped bring medical services and school supplies to Afghan women and children. As a member of a military police (MP) platoon, Ratas and his fellow Marines protected Navy medical corpsmen and villagers. He said that the experience of “serving and protecting” was influential in his decision to eventually enroll in MATC’s criminal justice studies associate degree program and later, MATC’s Law Enforcement Recruit Academy.

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Mike Williams

Mike Williams Follows Unusual Path to Success in CNC Machining Career

Mike Williams’ educational path at Milwaukee Area Technical College has been anything but typical. When most of his peers were attending high school, Williams was enrolled in MATC’s computer electronics associate degree program at the age of 15. Fast forward 16 years: Williams trained in machining labs at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus in the middle of the night, taking computer numerical control (CNC) classes as part of a unique program.

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Promise student Maya Hess is enrolled in MATC's criminal justice studies associate degree program.

MATC Promise Assures Maya Hess an Opportunity to Attend College Full Time

Maya Hess has been working 65-70 hours a week since her early graduation from Port Washington High School in January, striving to earn money for college, a car and other necessities. She knew she wanted to study at Milwaukee Area Technical College, but thought she might only be able to afford to attend college on a part-time basis. When she, her mother and her high school counselor learned about the new MATC Promise program, they all quickly agreed she should apply.

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Anne Wineland

Earning Medical Coding Diploma Helps MATC Graduate Anne Wineland Triumph Over Homelessness

At an age when most people are planning retirement, Anne Wineland was living in her car, “eating day-old bread and wilted lettuce,” and “reinventing herself” by earning a technical diploma from Milwaukee Area Technical College’s medical coding specialist program.

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Omar Alvarez-Rodriguez

Omar Alvarez-Rodriguez Earns MATC Technical Diploma While Attending Tenor High School

Omar Alvarez-Rodriguez graduated from college three weeks before he graduated from high school. He received his technical diploma from Milwaukee Area Technical College’s refrigeration, air conditioning and heating service technician program May 13. Three weeks later, he graduated from Milwaukee’s Tenor High School. Alvarez-Rodriguez is a participant in a unique partnership program between MATC and Tenor.

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Yucca Donahue

Yucca Donahue Transforms Child Care Center with Ideas Learned in MATC Early Childhood Education Program

Yucca Donahue, a May graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical College’s early childhood education associate degree program, often raced home after evening classes, excited to make immediate updates and improvements to the child care center she runs from her home. She was often too excited to sleep before she made changes.

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Kristin Gies Ignites Passion for the Earth in Mequon Nature Preserve Visitors

Kristin Thiel Gies credits Milwaukee Area Technical College's landscape horticulture associate degree program with "lighting the green fire" in her nearly 15 years go. Now the executive director of the Mequon Nature Preserve, one of her most fervent goals is to light that same fire in the approximately 12,000 youngsters from southeast Wisconsin who visit the preserve each year. For many, especially children from the central city, it is their first chance to experience nature.

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Maggie Fernandes

Career-Ready Training Leads to Near-Instantaneous Job Offer for Web Developer Maggie Fernandes

Maggie Fernandes’ participation in Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Portfolio Night last year was more than an academic exercise – it was an express ticket to an exciting job as a front end web developer at Milwaukee’s Communicor, Inc. Fernandes received an email inviting her to meet with Communicor staff about a job opportunity the day after Portfolio Night. She received and accepted a job offer from the company within the next week.

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Armen Hadjinian

MATC Program Helps Students Follow Entrepreneurial Dreams

The term “entrepreneurship” conjures up images of the hit ABC reality show “Shark Tank.” Milwaukee Area Technical College’s entrepreneurship technical diploma program and Center for Entrepreneurship are a bit like “Shark Tank,” but without the star investors’ “abrasive personalities and their money,” Armen Hadjinian said with a wry smile.

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Gordie Gohr

MATC Alumnus Gordie Gohr Builds Successful Career then Pursues Bachelor's Degree

It may be natural for some students to want to take a little time off between earning one degree and pursuing another. For MATC alumnus Gordie Gohr, that “little time” spanned three decades.

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Right Path - Young and Fuller

First Graduates of MATC's Right Path Program Earn Their Adult High School Diplomas

Steven Young, Jr., and Heather Fuller radiated pride and excitement as they received their diplomas from Milwaukee Area Technical College's Adult High School at MATC’s Winter Commencement in December. A year ago, neither knew when or even if they would ever earn their diplomas. They owe their success in part to participating in MATC’s new Right Path Program.

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Charles Linyard

Human Service Associate Degree Helps Charles Linyard Inspire and Serve Others

Charles Linyard's life story is one of overcoming obstacles. One of his greatest accomplishments was regaining his sobriety four years ago. That success started him on a path that will lead him to graduate from MATC Dec. 11 with an associate degree from MATC's human service associate program.

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Tatiana Zaldua

Zaldua Follows Her Heart to Study Cardiovascular Technology at MATC

Two brushes with heart health issues as a teen piqued Tatiana Zaldua’s interest enough to lead her to investigate careers in working with heart patients. Several years later, she discovered that MATC’s cardiovascular technology associate degree program was the perfect path to the career she wanted.

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Taylor Deutsch

Machine Shop President Taps MATC Classes, Instructors to Grow and Improve His Business

Taylor Deutsch, 34, blends in with the other students, working on complex computer numerical control (CNC) vertical machines on MATC's Downtown Milwaukee Campus. A casual observer would not suspect he is the president of a company who is taking classes to sharpen his skills, learn more about cutting-edge machining equipment and network with instructors and students.

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Latrina Diggs and Aimee Kiel

Federal Work Study Internships Benefit Students and United Way

Flipping burgers, waitressing or working as a cashier are traditional ways to work to earn money for college expenses. But MATC students Latrina Diggs and Aimee Kiel have been very fortunate to land paying internships that offer them a chance to advance their careers by working in their fields of study, while also serving a cause they feel is worthwhile. Arranged through MATC’s JOBShop, they are serving as Federal Work Study interns at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.

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