Brand New World Awaits Brand New U.S. Citizens

Wis. Gov. Tony Evers, city officials and MATC honor determination and accomplishments of students who completed citizenship requirements

Mark Feldmann,

November 20, 2023

New Citizens Fair

I was always a strong, confident woman. But now that I am a U.S. citizen, I am even more confident and I know the only limitations are the ones I put on myself. I want everyone to know that you can do whatever you put your mind to.

Anallely Guadarrama MATC graduate, new U.S. citizen

MILWAUKEE – Two dates are beautifully burned into the brain of Anallely Guadarrama.

The first is April 12, 2022 – the day Guadarrama, who was born and raised in Mexico, became a United States citizen. The second is Nov. 5, 2024: the day she can vote in an American presidential election for the very first time.

And helping Guadarrama on her journey to the ballot box was Milwaukee Area Technical College. 

After arriving in the United States, she attended English as a Second Language (ELL) courses at MATC, received a General Educational Development diploma, earned college credit while participating in MATC’s Integrated Education and Training (IET) program, worked part time at MATC’s Education Center at Walker’s Square, and took citizenship classes at the center. In May 2023, she earned a technical diploma in MATC’s Bilingual Office Assistant program. 

“My schedule was very busy, but I was determined, so I made time to study,” she said. “I was always a strong, confident woman. But now that I am a U.S. citizen, I am even more confident and I know the only limitations are the ones I put on myself.”

The determination and accomplishments of Guadarrama and 25 other new U.S. citizens were recognized by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, city officials, community partners, and MATC administrators and staff on Monday, November 20 at the MATC Education Center at Walker’s Square, 816 W. National Ave.

See TV coverage of the event

The event, called the New Citizen Recognition & Resource Fair, celebrated the students’ completion of citizenship classes and the necessary requirements of becoming a U.S. citizen. The resource fair provided them with information on postsecondary education programs, financial aid and scholarship options, and voter registration.

Gov. Evers, MATC President Vicki J. Martin. Ph.D., Morna Foy, Ph.D., president of the Wisconsin Technical College System, and MATC instructors Diane Steigerwald and Veronica Torres, presented recognition certificates to the two dozen new citizens.

“Becoming a citizen so often can be a long, difficult journey, but it also has so many great rewards,” Dr. Martin said. She echoed the words of former President Jimmy Carter, who said the title of citizen was more important than the title of president. 

Dr. Martin also urged the new citizens to take advantage of what MATC offers to further improve and transform their lives. She reminded them that as U.S. citizens, they are now eligible for financial aid. “We are committed to being your partner to unlock your potential,” she said.

“Becoming a citizen is a big deal,” Milwaukee Common Council President Jose Perez said at the event. “Now we need you to help bring others forward to follow your path. There are many who are in the shadows, those who might be anxious, and we need you to show them the way.”

MATC’s Education Center at Walker’s Square offers ELL classes, basic skills courses for students who do not have a high school diploma, bilingual education programs, and community classes, like citizenship.

“The opportunities that await you are endless,” said Sadique Isahaku, Ph.D., MATC’s dean of General Education and Community Education. Isahaku came to the United States in 1998 and became a citizen in 2020. “Many doors will be open to you and you should run through them. And don’t ever stop.”

Learn about MATC’s Community Education offerings, including citizenship courses

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 28,000 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 180 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.

New Citizens Fair