“I couldn’t figure out one thing I wanted to be in my life,” said Kayla Ebert ’16, Moraine Park Technical College’s 2015-16 District Student Ambassador. “I wanted to be everything.”
Curious by nature, Ebert, of Burnett, loves manual labor, driving semis and dump trucks and operating robotic welders. She gets her hands dirty, works alongside men in nontraditional occupations, and throws what she’s learned on the job into her studies. Next May, she’ll earn her Human Resources associate of applied science degree from Moraine Park.
“I have worked in many nontraditional occupations where I was the only woman,” said Ebert. “At times, my coworkers weren’t always supportive. I want to help people moving into these areas. Human resources arose as a perfect way to draw from my experiences to help others.”
Since graduating from high school in 2006, Ebert has worked on farms, in road construction and as a welder. At Mayville Engineering Co. in Mayville, she handles MIG and robotic welding, and recently learned to write robotic programs. “I love learning, and I am curious,” she said. “So I wanted to go back to school.”
While working full time, Ebert entered the Human Resources program at Moraine Park. In doing so, a Pandora’s box opened to her. While juggling full-time work and school, she chiseled out time to help establish a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Club on campus. This required a representative from the club to attend Moraine Park Student Senate meetings. “I attended and began to like my involvement in the College,” she said. Ebert threw herself into on-campus activities, events and fundraisers.
Meanwhile, she witnessed herself evolving as a person, leader and communicator. “It’s not easy to be assertive in a company full of men,” she said. “Through my experiences at Moraine Park, I’ve learned to be assertive without looking aggressive. I’ve learned to be a leader. I’ve learned to communicate, lead and delegate.”
Is it any wonder Ebert was named a District Student Ambassador? She holds this title alongside 15 other Wisconsin Technical College System students. As such, she is charged with promoting technical education throughout Moraine Park’s district, collaborating with student government, and assisting with college activities and events.
During a recent statewide training and recognition event, Ebert came together with fellow ambassadors. “It was a really fun experience learning how to work as a group,” she said. “Imagine 16 leaders in a room. We all learned to take a step back and share our leadership.”
No doubt, in her role as District Student Ambassador, Ebert will be a strong advocate for technical education. “Moraine Park has laid the entire foundation for my future,” she said. “The skills I’ve gained have readied me for everything in my life. I’m extremely excited to have this position.”
Passing on her enthusiasm for her alma mater, technical education and nontraditional occupations is easy, according to Ebert. Letting high school graduates know they aren’t alone is also critical. “Many of them feel pressured and have no idea what they want to do after high school graduation,” she said. “They need to know that an academic advisor will help them figure things out and set them on the right path. They need to know they can work and go to school at the same time and that they will get a first-rate education for an in-demand career.”
Additionally, Moraine Park graduates can easily transfer to four-year colleges in pursuit of bachelor’s degrees. That’s also Ebert’s goal. “I love what I am learning and want to pursue a bachelor’s degree and possibly a master’s degree,” she said.
Ultimately, Ebert hopes to transition into the human resources field and someday work for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
To learn more about Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu.