After working for a plastics manufacturer for three years after high school graduation, Shelly Puckhaber of West Bend decided she wanted to do something different with her life.
“I knew I needed to go back to school,” said Puckhaber, a Phillips, Wis., native who is close to turning 23. “I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
When she and her boyfriend moved to West Bend in spring 2007, Puckhaber started looking at colleges in the area. She registered for the Career Explorations and Career Decisions classes at Moraine Park Technical College’s Career Center.
“Those free classes helped me choose a career path and I enrolled in Moraine Park’s Marketing program shortly after,” said Puckhaber. “I got a job at the Pier 1 in Germantown and went to school in my free time. I’m currently in my second semester and I feel that I’ve chosen the right program for me.”
Her Marketing instructor, Robin Rodee-Schneider, felt that Puckhaber was the right person to nominate for Moraine Park’s 2008-09 District Student Ambassador. Puckhaber was later chosen for the role.
“Shelly has exhibited an extraordinary ability to balance school, work and outside growth activities,” said Rodee-Schneider. “She has maintained high grades, and has the support of her employer. Her skills go beyond the basics – she has written a marketing plan which required a great deal of research. She used all resources available and sought out new resources to help her learn a complicated marketing/business area. Her projects are creative and she has demonstrated the ability to see possibilities. She doesn’t talk about what she will do – she just does it.” Rodee-Schneider added that Puckhaber uses her problem-solving ability to get things done in class, for the Marketing Club and on the job.
Upon enrolling in Moraine Park, Puckhaber joined the Wisconsin Marketing and Management Association (WMMA), competing at the regional and state levels in the Retail Management category and placing first and third, respectively. “I’ve gained quite a bit of confidence and professional polish from being in the WMMA,” said Puckhaber. She joins her fellow WMMA members in Atlanta, Georgia, this month for DECA’s International Career Development Conference.
Puckhaber will participate in a statewide recognition event for the 16 new Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) District Student Ambassadors in Madison April 16-17. She begins her term as Moraine Park's ambassador with the start of the 2008-09 academic year.
The WTCS District Student Ambassador Award program identifies outstanding students in the technical college system, with nominations solicited from faculty and staff each year. A committee of college administrators and community leaders select the ambassador based on the College’s core abilities – work productively, learn effectively, communicate clearly, work cooperatively, act responsibly, value self positively, and think critically and creatively. The core abilities are defined by Moraine Park as transferable skills, knowledge and/or attitudes essential to an individual’s success regardless of occupation or community setting. The Student Ambassador represents the College at numerous events throughout the year and serves on the College Planning and Leadership Team as the student representative.
“I enrolled in the technical college system for many reasons,” said Puckhaber. “First of all, it's affordable. Living on my own, I really appreciate the low tuition cost at Moraine Park. I also enjoy the flexible class schedule. I work full-time, so it's great that I can choose classes that fit into my schedule. I also enrolled in the technical college system because I can jump right into my core program classes. I don't have to take a lot of classes that don't apply to my degree. Last, but definitely not least, I chose a technical college because I feel that smaller class sizes allow for a more personalized learning experience. My teachers know who I am and care about my progress.”
In addition to Puckhaber, finalists for the 2008-09 Student Ambassador were Joe Calliari of Campbellsport, Radiography program, and Candice Sippel of Fond du Lac, Instructional Assistant program. All three will be honored during Moraine Park’s Student Awards Banquet on May 2. The current District Student Ambassador for 2007-08 is Lori VanGorder of Fond du Lac, Legal Administrative Professional program.
For more information about Moraine Park, visit www.morainepark.edu.