The Distance Education Alumni Board selected students Maria Hutmacher and Isaac Dolan as the 2020 recipients of its scholarship. Created by the board in 2016 to help provide financial support to distance education students as they complete their degree, it provides two $300 scholarships each year.
The Distance Education Alumni Board represents the Distance Education Alumni Chapter of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Alumni Association. “The scholarship program is an important part of the Distance Education Chapters' outreach to both current and former students. It provides an opportunity for alumni to support current students while highlighting the important work of the Alumni Association,” said President Joe Roy (Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice ’14, Master of Science in Criminal Justice ’16).
Maria Hutmacher (Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing) earned her associate degree from Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, in 2011. “In high school both my parents and teachers emphasized the need to go to college immediately after graduation. I had no idea what I wanted my career to be…with the seemingly endless amount of opportunity available, I took general education classes at Ellsworth Community College hoping to find my path,” she said. “Upon graduation I chose a business route; not because I was passionate of the subject, but I figured every job involves business. The lack of interest made me realize I needed to gain real-life experience before choosing an area of study for a career.”
It wasn’t until several years later when Hutmacher begin working as a scribe at an eye clinic that she found her path. A recent transition from paper to electronic records prompted the need for her position. Processes were improved, but Hutmacher saw additional improvements she could make regarding security and the doctor-patient relationship. “These challenges motivate me to make programs which are easier to use, more secure, and streamline patient experiences, which is why I enrolled in the applied computing program through the distance education program.”
Hutmacher started the Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing program in fall 2018. “The distance education program allows me to continue my life while gaining the education I desire in a subject I care about. I can continue to work full time and have the flexibility to take classes on my schedule. I can incorporate the skills I am learning in my classes to the real world in real time. This is something I never felt was happening in the traditional classroom setting. I appreciate the ability to apply my knowledge immediately instead of in my career after I receive my diploma.”
Isaac Dolan enrolled in the Master of Science in Project Management program in fall 2019. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from UW-Platteville in 2011. Dolan is a licensed professional engineer, working as an engineering consultant for AECOM Technical Services. In his work he designs, coordinates, and manages transportation projects for Wisconsin municipalities, counties, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Recently, Dolan has evolved in his role, taking on more responsibilities, gaining additional management experience, and completing additional training to meet the requirements to become a certified project manager within his employer’s operation protocols.
“After earning my undergraduate degree, I have always desired to continue my education because I am always looking for ways to improve myself both personally and professionally,” Dolan said. “Given my career path is transitioning into project management, I wanted to further my understanding and education in project management so that I have the tools and techniques required to be the best project manager I can be for my clients, my employer, our subcontractors and vendors, and my colleagues.”
Dolan earned his project manager certification in April 2019, and the time was right to continue his education further. Ensuring he maintained a good work-life balance was also an important factor, and his wife, who is also a UW-Platteville graduate; three children; and employer have all been supportive of his dream of earning a master’s degree.
As alumni, Dolan and his wife remain connected to UW-Platteville, returning for Homecoming events. He also attends the career fair each semester to share opportunities for internships and entry-level positions at AECOM with students.
To contribute to student scholarships, visit www.uwplatt.edu/give.