After Several Twists and Turns, MATC’s Outstanding Technical Diploma Graduate Finds Right Path

Pharmacy Technician student plans to become pharmacist, then teacher

Mark Feldmann,

December 16, 2022

See Lee

MILWAUKEE – See Lee has spent hours and hours in her bedroom in the past six months.

She hasn’t been sleeping, and she’s certainly not lazy.

For the Milwaukee Area Technical College student, the room has become her haven to tirelessly read, write, study and complete her courses in MATC’s Pharmacy Technician program.

“I start early. If you start early, you’ll accomplish so much more,” said Lee, who has Hmong roots and grew up in Green Bay. “I just lock myself in the bedroom for five or six hours. My husband watches our daughter and I can get done what I need to get done.”

And she has turned her self-imposed solitude into success. Lee has made the Vice President Honor Roll and belongs to the National Technical Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She also served as a student representative on the Pharmacy Technician Advisory Committee which ensures that students are learning the most current workplace skills.

For her academic achievements and exemplary leadership, Lee was selected as MATC’s Outstanding Technical Diploma student for the Fall 2022 semester. 

“I have been inspired by her work ethic, dedication and compassion,” said Jennifer Lucas, an MATC pharmacy technician instructor. “See has excelled at every challenge sent her way at MATC. Whether that is memorizing hundreds of drug names, learning to use new equipment in the lab or procedures used to make IV medications for patients. I am so excited for the next steps of See’s career.”

For many years, Lee wasn’t sure what career path she would take. After graduating from high school in Green Bay, she took a year off because she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.

In 2010, she enrolled at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay and earned an associate degree in law enforcement. “My father had taken some classes in that, and I gave it a try,” Lee said. “But I didn’t feel like it was my passion.”

In 2012, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to study early childhood education. Then she got married and moved with her husband to Milwaukee. She had a baby girl in 2016 while her husband attended school and worked.

She took a job at a local CVS Pharmacy. “I didn’t know anything about pharmacy, but received some training at the store,” she said. “I decided to see where it would take me.”

Her husband had taken some classes at MATC before earning a degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, so Lee enrolled in the Pharmacy Technician program.

Her instructors were immediately impressed by her dedication and work ethic. “She masterfully demonstrated work/life balance in her role as a mom, while at the same time never missing a class or assignment at school. In fact, each week, she is the first to submit her homework,” Lucas said.

Lee also frequently assisted classmates with assignments, usually without being asked, Lucas said.

“She stayed up-to-date with current pharmacy technician practice, and her drive to master the skills in her pharmacy technician career is what sets her apart from other students,” said Nhat Nguyen, another pharmacy technician instructor.

Lee completed clinicals at a Walgreens pharmacy in Milwaukee and at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa. At Walgreens, Lee’s positive attitude and helpfulness did not go unnoticed. 

“Whether we needed help with patient care, shipping, inventory or compounding, See was enthusiastic to help wherever she could,” said Cara McGurry, PharmD., who served as her preceptor at Walgreens. “It is not often that a student makes an impact in our pharmacy enough to be missed when she is gone, but See was able to accomplish this rare feat.”

Amazingly, while attending class, raising her daughter and working, Lee found time to help her mother-in-law, who came to the United States from Thailand in 1994, become an American citizen. The two studied between three and four hours each day for three weeks to learn the 100 citizenship test questions.

“It was a challenge, but I liked the challenge,” Lee said. “When she passed the test in November, I was the first person she called.”

After graduation, Lee plans to take prerequisite classes for pharmacy school at MATC, then transfer to either Concordia University of Wisconsin or to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She hopes to become a pharmacist one day and perhaps return to MATC and teach. 

“The services and resources MATC offered to me have been extremely helpful,” Lee said. “The instructors were marvelous. They really shaped me. They helped make MATC the experience of a lifetime.”

About MATC: 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 — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide 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.