Pioneer Spotlight: Doug Nimke
Doug Nimke, coordinator of the UW-Platteville Wright Center for Non-Traditional and Veteran Students, grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, before joining the U.S. Army. Nimke served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence analyst with assignments to Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Büdingen, Germany; and Fort Meade, Maryland. Nimke earned his bachelor’s degree in history from UW Oshkosh after leaving the Army. Prior to coming to UW-Platteville, Nimke spent four years working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a patient advocate and veterans service representative.
What brought you to Platteville?
After leaving the Army, I went back to college in the UW System and utilized my benefits. I had a tremendous support network and help as I transitioned from being in the military to being a civilian. Once I graduated, I took a job with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and worked my way up there providing services for veterans and making sure they received what they were entitled to. I’m from Wisconsin and I wanted to move back home and I saw the opening here at UW-Platteville. It provides me with the opportunity to continue serving veterans, and to give back in kind of the same way I got help when I got out of the military and came home.
What is your main goal as the Wright Center coordinator?
My main goal is to create a good and welcoming environment for our student veterans and non-traditional students, to really let them know they are part of the community and to find ways to allow them to share their experience with the campus as a whole.
What does Veterans Day mean to you?
To me, Veterans Day is an opportunity for people to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who have chosen to serve and those who were forced to serve because of the draft. It’s really a chance to honor the service and sacrifice of those people and to just take a moment and recognize that without the service and sacrifice of those individuals and those who are yet to serve, we wouldn’t have the country that we do have. A nation that doesn’t remember its veterans is kind of an ungrateful nation and so it’s important that we remember and honor the sacrifice.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Getting to interact with the students, especially with the veteran students, and getting to see their transition from being a service member to being a civilian. I think any time you get to see someone grow and develop it's exciting and ensuring that we are providing good services to our population of the students that we help.
What does the future of the Wright Center look like?
I think one thing I would definitely like to do is to strengthen our non-traditional student groups, because I think it’s easy for non-traditional students to come to campus, go to class and then go home. They have this huge part of their life which is school, but yet they don’t truly get to experience school and all of that. I would also like to try and increase our veteran population. I think Platteville has a lot to offer. Bringing veterans in can enhance the Platteville community, but they can also gain knowledge and skills from the university that they can take with them in the future.
Interview conducted by Ryan Kotajarvi, student writer, Communications. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, contact email@example.com.
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