MATC-Portage campus shows off 2,200-square-foot expansion

August 17, 2012

From wiscnews.com:  MATC-Portage campus shows off 2,200-square-foot expansion” — PORTAGE –  The upside to being downsized, said Mark Huismann, is that he returned to school to pursue his passion. As the Wolfpack Welcome coordinator, he helped students Thursday with their identification cards for Madison Area Technical College’s Portage campus.

The campus underwent an expansion this year, and students had a chance to see the new campus with Thursday’s Wolfpack Welcome.

“I was in the work force for 20 years, and I got downsized. I decided that my next career was going to be my last,” Huismann said. The 47-year-old attends the MATC Truax campus for history and theater. The father of two said his goal is to be a teacher.

“So many companies are just shrinking. You don’t really have a choice. Everyone gets some lousy breaks in their life,” Huismann said. “Once you get involved in campus, you have a support net. Coming back where I am in life I’m more focused than when I was 18 at school with no responsibilities.”

Terri Bean graduated from MATC-Portage this spring and said the 2,200-square-foot expansion will help cut travel time and costs for students.

“All the classes I could take here I did. The ones you could only get in Madison were the ones I took online. So, hopefully this Portage expansion with a second teleconference room people won’t have to Madison for as many classes,” Bean said. “I was pushing for some of the advanced Microsoft classes they didn’t offer until this fall.”

The 1984 graduate of Portage High School lives in Westfield and works part-time at the college. The recent graduate from the administrative professional program began school work at Milwaukee Area Technical College from 1984 to 1985, Bean said, and then she got married and had three children. She returned to school in 2009 to the Portage campus.

“Most of the credits transferred. … I’ve always been the kind of person who when I start something I want to finish it,” Bean said.

A few people peeked into the anatomy lab with two model skeletons and over-sized ears and eyes ready to be opened and studied.

The chemistry/microbiology lab is lined with untouched test tubes and shiny beakers.

Both areas of expansion will be of use to Becky Rzepiejewski, who enrolled Thursday with the intent to study radiology. She’s a 2002 graduate of Portage High School and works as a server in a local business.

“I finally decided to go back to school. It’s been 10 years and if I don’t do it soon then I’m not going to do it. I’m almost 30 years old,” Rzepiejewski said.

The local campus was appealing, she said, because there’s no commute and she doesn’t have to move from her home in Portage.

MacKenzie Rostad, 18, graduated from PHS this spring. She’s interested in criminal justice and joining the city’s police department.

“I wasn’t ready to leave my home and go to a big college yet,” Rostad said. “It’s going to be so different from high school that I’m not sure what to expect.”

Wolfpack Welcome student ambassadors greeted students like Rostad to ease the transition.

“Our ultimate goal is fellowship. So many students are shy or unsure, so we go out of our way to make it a good environment,” Denise Cohn said.

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