‘Clear example of Stormer Pride’

Kelsi Casey named MATC’s outstanding graduate for spring 2022

Mark Feldmann, feldmam1@matc.edu

May 25, 2022

MILWAUKEE – In the classroom, on the job, out in the community and on the soccer field, Kelsi Casey certainly makes an impact.

In her two years at Milwaukee Area Technical College, Casey compiled 3.95 grade-point average. She cheerfully provided assistance to fellow students while working in the Office of Student Life. She passionately championed having immigrant students pay in-state tuition. She even made some history by being the first woman to play on the college’s men’s soccer team.

And she did much of that during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

For her academic achievements, college involvement and volunteer efforts, Casey was chosen as MATC’s outstanding graduate for spring 2022.

Casey was recognized at the MATC academic honors ceremony on May 12 and will deliver remarks at MATC’s Spring Commencement on May 22 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. She will receive an Associate of Arts degree.

“Kelsi has excelled and has engaged with the MATC community despite the challenges of COVID,” said MATC English instructor Michelle M. Felix. “She has gotten as much as she could out of her MATC experience and certainly has given just as much back to our school community. She is a clear example of StormerPride.”

Casey graduated from Cedarburg High School in 2020. In 2019, the North Shore school was named Wisconsin’s best high school in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings. Many of her classmates already knew which four-year colleges they would attend. Casey wasn’t so sure. She knew she wanted to be a psychologist, but that was about it. 

She had a family connection with MATC, where her father, Randy, is athletic director and men’s basketball coach. She also considered the University of Alaska Anchorage. Still unsure, she decided she needed more time to think and went to MATC. Looking back, she said she made the right call.

“I don’t really think I was ready for Alaska,” she said. “Coming to MATC was a great decision for me. I got high-quality general education classes at an affordable price, plus I had two years to look at colleges more closely.”

She certainly succeeded in the classroom. Casey earned one of the highest grades in the English class taught by Felix. “That was due to her work ethic and openness to feedback,” Felix said. “Even when an assignment earned an already solid grade, she willingly revised her work in order to improve her skills.”

She honed her people skills by working at the Office of Student Life, answering questions and providing assistance to students – Felix said she was “one of the friendly faces” helping fellow students.

Off campus, Kelsi volunteered with Voces de la Frontera, advocating for in-state tuition for first- and second-generation immigrants – a policy that would positively impact many MATC students. 

“I have seen her blossom as a leader and a person,” said Equan Burrows, MATC’s dean of student experience.

She also showed unique leadership skills on the soccer field. Casey played soccer for most of her life, first as a youth with North Shore United Soccer Club, then three years with her high school squad. In 2021, she became the first female MATC soccer player to play for the men’s team. 

She joined the men’s team after the women’s season was canceled due to low participation. Head coach Diego Garcia, who coached both the men’s and women’s team, kept Casey on the playing field and added more talent to the men’s team.

“Kelsi is one who likes to stay on top of everyone and keep the team accountable to perform at their best,” Garcia told the MATC Times, the college’s student newspaper, in 2021. “She has been tremendous. She is one of the leaders on the team and has definitely earned her spot.”

Casey doesn’t play anymore, but she does work at Cedarburg High School as the goalkeeper coach for the girls team.

“She is a great asset to our program,” said Cedarburg head coach Robert Willianms. “She works hard, is eager to learn and shares great knowledge with our players. It is an honor to have her on staff and we are really proud of her for her accomplishments at MATC. Kelsi is a wonderful person and deserves any accolades she receives.” 

This summer, Casey will head to the University of Missouri to study psychology. She considered several other schools before selecting Missouri. During the admissions process, the university awarded her an academic scholarship based on her grades at MATC.

Eventually she wants to earn a master’s degree, attain a doctorate and  have her own psychology practice. She plans to serve the elderly, an underrepresented population for mental health, she said. 

Her father is convinced she’ll do all of that.

“Kelsi has always been a very driven person and when she puts her mind to something she won’t stop until it is accomplished,” Randy Casey said. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and all her successes.”

For more photos from the Academic Honors ceremony, go to https://www.matc.edu/photos/academic-honors-recognition-2022-spring/index.html

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 25,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.