Meet Our Community

Jeremy Blakeslee, UWMC Student and Merrill High School Grad

Jeremy Blakeslee

UWMC Student and Merrill High School Grad

As a 26-year-old freshman, I did not like the idea of attending a vocational school and only learning an applied skill. I wanted a well-rounded education where I would be introduced to things I may never encounter on my own. What also attracted me to UWMC is that I heard it was very academically challenging when compared with other local universities. In my short time here, I’ve certainly found that to be the case, as my math and engineering professors are preparing me well for eventually moving onto UW-Madison, where I plan to complete my mechanical engineering degree.

I’ve also found TRIO to be an invaluable asset as a first-generation college student. The staff members are second to none and deserve recognition for what they do to help students achieve success.

For incoming freshmen, straight out of high school, spending two years at UW-Marathon County will prepare them for any four-year campus in more ways than one. And for non-traditional students, like myself, starting college here will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

Theresa Wetzsteon

Theresa Wetzsteon

UWMC Alum and Marathon County Deputy District Attorney

Being from a small high school, I had some fears or insecurities about attending college. I asked myself: Am I going to make it academically? Will I fit in? But I found UWMC to be a great transition, allowing me to focus on academics without getting overwhelmed by having to also deal with a bigger city or a bigger campus.

My time at UWMC definitely molded my degree choices. Every class I took prepared me for going to Marquette (University). I liked the small class sizes, and the professors were very engaging and helpful.

Read more about Theresa.

Mark Holdhusen teaching in class.

Mark Holdhusen

UWMC Associate Professor of Engineering

I went to the University of Minnesota – Morris to major in physics and minor in music. After realizing the precision of physics was not for me, I transferred to the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota to study mechanical engineering. I then went to Georgia Tech in Atlanta for my master’s and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. My area of study and research at Georgia Tech was in vibrations and acoustics.

I was always good at math, but never saw the point of it until I took high school physics.  I moved away from physics because engineering fit my personality better. 

Education is the key that unlocks the future. Everyone here (UWMC) truly wants you to succeed. Do not be afraid, intimidated, or embarrassed to ask for help.

Alisa Pergolski with student

Alisa Pergolski

UWMC Alum and Special Education Teacher, Wausau School District

 I love special education. I have a lot of energy, and my kids are so excited to learn. We feed off of each other so we might as well have fun and learn at the same time. 

I really enjoyed my time at UWMC. It prepared me well for moving onto UWSP.

Coming right out of high school, I loved the small class sizes at UWMC. It’s a place where I felt comfortable and helped me get to know what college life is all about.

College wasn’t easy for me so I really appreciated having teachers I could communicate with at any time of the day. They were always accessible, often before or after class. It’s not always that way at a big college.

Read more about Alisa.

Alyssa Schilcher, UWMC Student and Antigo High School Grad

Alyssa Schilcher

UWMC Student and Antigo High School Grad

Being only 45 minutes from my hometown of Antigo, the MC has been a great place for me to begin college. The relationships I have made with my professors and advisors have made my experience more memorable than what I could get at a four-year university. The passion and interest they have shown in me as a student will positively impact my future.

Outside of the classroom, I have taken advantage of opportunities to get involved on campus . . . whether it be through having a work-study job, living in Marathon Hall or volunteering as a student ambassador. As a college student, my biggest challenge is balancing my academics with my social life and the demands of my extra-curricular campus activities. UW-Marathon County is a challenging place to start college, but it’s preparing me to be successful in countless ways.

Kristine Prahl

UWMC Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

I have been teaching at UW-Marathon County since the fall of 1997. The most recent courses I taught include General Survey of Microbiology, Honors in Microbiology, Greek and Latin Origins of Medical and Scientific Terminology, Concepts of Biology, Genetics, and Biology of Women.

I was born in Minnesota, but most of my school-aged childhood was in a suburb of Detroit, Mich. I went to college at Concordia University in River Forest, Ill., near Chicago, where I majored in biology and minored in chemistry. I also played the French horn in the Wind Symphony there each year. Then I went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where I earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry. My graduate school research was a biofuels project involving genetic engineering of yeast for increased ethanol production.

I had some outstanding science instructors in both high school and college, and their excitement about teaching had a great influence on me. I love helping students prepare for their careers, and I also enjoy being in an environment where students and instructors are continually learning.

I like the small class sizes at UWMC, which allow me more opportunities to get to know my students. This is a school with quality academics, and it also has a family atmosphere.

Angie Hagan, UWMC Student and D.C. Everest High School Grad

Angie Hagan

UWMC Student and D.C. Everest High School Grad

I wanted to go to college since I graduated from high school, but it took me 10 years to enroll. I didn’t want the life I had without an education. I want my kids to see that if you don’t like the way your life is, then you need to make a change. UWMC made it possible for me to live that dream and to be a role model for my kids.

I love the smaller, more welcoming campus. My professors have been wonderful. In addition, the support programs have been outstanding.

 By starting college at UWMC, my confidence has really grown, and I know I am on the right career path. I’m not sure I would be as confident in my ability to do college-level work if I had started at a bigger campus. 

Read more about Angie.

Brad Berndt

Brad Berndt

UWMC Alum and Associate Director of Athletics at Duke University

Coming out of high school, academically and socially, I probably wasn’t ready for a larger four-year campus. UWMC was the perfect fit for me and the perfect academic preparation for my future. Athletically, I wasn’t talented enough to play at a bigger school so I relished the opportunity to continue playing basketball, a sport I love, for two more years at UWMC.

Every single credit I earned in my first two years transferred to UW-Madison and, more importantly, the academic rigor at UWMC was equal to or greater than the last two years of my undergraduate career. When I was at UWMC, I gained an appreciation for the importance of a strong liberal arts background. I learned to write well and speak well, the two most important skills I use every day in my job. I was in small classes, mentored by great professors who instilled in me a desire to learn.

It was a phenomenal financial value. I saved a lot of money because I was able to live at home with my parents. The money that I saved on room and board my first two years I was able to use to pay for graduate school later on.

Emily Joliffe, UWMC Student and Wausau East High School Grad

Emily Joliffe

UWMC Student and Wausau East High School Grad

I am a sophomore at UW-Marathon County, and I decided to attend this university because of its rigorous reputation for classes, the ability to transfer to other universities and the price. I am majoring in nursing and will be transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to complete my bachelor’s degree.

 The professors and advisors at UWMC have been so helpful, making the transition from high school to college easier than I expected. The smaller class sizes and friendly professors make it a great learning environment.

 I grew up in Wausau and graduated from Wausau East High School so I was a little uncertain that I would meet anyone different than me when I enrolled at UWMC, but I was happy to learn that there are a lot of great people who attend this university from all over Wisconsin. I’ve met many of these people by being very involved in the campus, currently serving as president of the Health Careers Club, volunteering as a student ambassador and working in the writing center as a tutor.

If you’re thinking about attending UWMC, my advice is to take the leap and apply. You will not regret it, and you’ll end up saving a lot of money while getting a great education! 

Paul Whitaker in class.

Paul Whitaker

UWMC Associate Professor of Biology

I took a year off from UC Berkeley to volunteer in Mexico, which turned into two years. I spent six months at an orphanage in Tecate, then 18 months with a non-profit organization in Tijuana, where I coordinated a family gardens project for low-income women in several shanty towns. That’s where I rediscovered my love of plants and gardening, discovered my passion for teaching.

I want students to know that their success is in their hands, but they need to be willing to pour themselves into achieving their goals. I also encourage students without clear career or educational goals to read widely, ask questions, talk to people and seek opportunities to stretch themselves in new and sometimes uncomfortable directions. Who would have guessed that my being willing to move into a Mexican orphanage, even though I knew only a few words of Spanish, would lead me to a career as a biology professor?!

Mike Heinrich, UWMC Alum and Ad Manager for Gannett Wisconsin Media

Mike Heinrich

UWMC Alum and Ad Manager for Gannett Wisconsin Media

Coming here was one of the best school decisions I ever made. Socially, by interacting and feeling comfortable with new people, it prepped me for going anywhere. I found the atmosphere more accommodating for someone right out of high school than at a larger campus. 

I also developed important time management skills and learned how to structure my day, thanks to the critical student advisor support I received each semester. 

What I learned at UWMC in the way of soft skills is benefitting me in my job too, especially when it comes to understanding new industries and businesses and relating to people with different personalities and points of view. 

Read more about Mike.

Sheng Khang, UWMC Student and D.C. Everest High School Grad

Sheng Khang

UWMC Student and D.C. Everest High School Grad

As a non-traditional student, who works and has a family, the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County appeals to me because of its location, affordability and size. It is unique in that most of the departments, professors and offices are in one building; so I don’t lose study time trying to locate them when I need assistance. In the classroom, instructors are responsive. Outside the classroom, they are available. The tutor lab offers drop-in assistance that works well with my busy schedule. I don’t have to set up an appointment like I would at a larger campus.

During my time at UWMC, I have gained non-academic skills by getting involved in clubs and organizations. For example, I have developed leadership and interpersonal skills through the Business Club and the Student Ambassador Program. I am using those skills now in my most challenging position as the executive director of UWMC’s Multicultural Resource Center.

 Returning to school and choosing the UWMC to further my education has been the best decision I have made in my life.

Kelly Goetsch

Kelly Goetsch

UWMC Alum and Director of Product Development at Oracle®

I enjoy what I do because my job requires more than just knowing technology. As a product owner, I’m using many more skills, ones that will serve me well throughout my career, including the ability to persuade and negotiate.

Overall, the education I received at UWMC was academically rigorous and gave me a good foundation. The faculty and staff were very friendly and gave a lot of personal attention.

I didn’t realize how great of an education I received at UWMC until I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. Everything seemed so much easier there compared to what I learned here.