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8 UWM Alumni Share Why They Chose UWM and Their Advice to Future Panthers

May 1 is Decision Day and we’re so excited to welcome new Panthers to the UWM family! To celebrate, we reached out to some UWM alumni to find out what made them choose UWM and what advice they’d give to incoming students. Here’s what they had to say.

Ernesto Lira de la Rosa

“As a first-generation student, I was concerned about being able to enroll in an institution of higher education that was affordable and allowed me to stay close to my family. I decided on UWM because it allowed me to stay close to home and offered me opportunities to work with diverse faculty. UWM also had programming and resources for diverse students and was committed to serving the city of Milwaukee through many educational endeavors. I am grateful to all the faculty, staff and peers that I interacted with throughout my time at UWM. They were integral in helping me work towards my long-term goal of becoming a psychologist.

“As the Fall 2021 semester approaches, I would encourage incoming students to explore the many opportunities UWM and the great city of Milwaukee have to offer. I would also advise incoming students to take advantage of the student programming through the various academic and cultural centers. These resources were invaluable during my academic journey and provided me with a sense of community and support.”

Alyssa Geisler

“I chose UWM because I wanted to attend a diverse university in a big city with a close-knit feel. It was important to me that the school be well-integrated in the business community to help me make connections as I grew in my academic career and beyond. I didn’t want to be in a college town — I wanted to be in the real world, and UWM hit all of those marks.”

James Tucker

“I chose to attend UWM due to affordable pricing, great location and the reputation of the Lubar School of Business. My recommendation for incoming students is to study hard, network to build long-lasting relationships, and most of all, make the best of your time at UWM.”

Ty Stahl

“For me it came down to UWM and Syracuse University. After I took a UWM campus tour and met with students, faculty and staff, there was no doubt in my mind. The opportunities that were afforded to me both in and out of the classroom shaped me not only into the professional that I am today, but also into the person that I have become. UWM will challenge you but will also welcome and support you throughout your time here.

“Advice for future students: Take a campus tour, explore Milwaukee and listen to an episode of the Chancellor’s Report on our radio station WUWM. Once you have done those things, I want you to ask yourself these questions: Can I see myself here for the next few years? Will I grow here both professionally and personally? And are there interests outside of the classroom that I can enrich both on and off campus?”

Lindsey Vanden Berg

“I chose to attend UWM for many reasons! It has a wide variety of majors, so I knew I would find the right fit for my future. UWM has a unique and compact campus, but has access to the city, Lake Michigan and so many other activities and resources. The athletics programs are very competitive in Division 1 and I was excited to be part of that tradition and compete for the Panthers! I still carry a lot of Panther Pride to this day!

“My advice for future UWM students would be to utilize all the resources that the university provides to you as a student. There are so many resources for students of all ages, whether you are just starting as a freshman, or if you are preparing to graduate and enter the real world.”

Sarah Donovan

“I chose UWM knowing I would get a great education while being immersed in courses alongside other students with unique experiences and backgrounds. There are programs at UWM that have amazing accolades and I wanted to be at a university that was recognized for the impact they made on their students.

“My advice for future students? Use your network at UWM and utilize the opportunities they offer. Take internship opportunities that come your way, participate in extracurricular activities and absorb as much advice as you can. Don’t forget to have fun — the time will fly by!”

Scott Yanoff

“I graduated many years ago, but I chose to attend UWM because it was and remains a high-quality local option for an engineering degree. I received a computer science degree from UWM in the ’90s, and even back then, UWM’s engineering program was cutting-edge. I had access to the blossoming internet and computer-based tools and programs that I sensed were available only to select universities. The university was helpful when I began publishing my “Yanoff’s Internet Services” list as a way to guide others in navigating the internet before Google and similar sites were created. Lastly, while tuition in the U.S. continues to outpace inflation, UWM was and remains a stellar deal in terms of bang for your buck.

“My advice for future students is similar to what I gave to my daughter, who is currently finishing up her junior year at UWM in the Peck School of the Arts: Even though your focus is on a specific discipline, recognize the value in the well-roundedness you achieve by taking electives. In the long run, you are guiding your own path and will get to work on what truly is your calling.”

Jodi Nolte

“I received my undergraduate degrees in English and Honors Studies from UWM in 1995. I returned to UWM in 2019 to obtain a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and leadership, which I completed in 2020. UWM enabled me to follow my passion as an undergraduate by studying literature and women’s studies. I was able to use the skills I gained at UWM in my career as a technical writer and instructional designer. When I changed careers in 2015 to focus on nonprofit philanthropy, UWM again allowed me to follow my passion and expand my education through the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management.

“My advice for incoming students is to follow your passions and explore the wide variety of programs UWM offers. Don’t focus on what kind of job you will get after college. The job will come. Take this time to learn things you didn’t know already about yourself and explore different areas of study. There is so much to choose from. You don’t want to look back on your college years and regret what you didn’t try.”

There are so many reasons to choose UWM and we couldn’t be prouder of all the amazing things our alumni have accomplished. Whether you’re an alum, current student or new student, let us know what made you choose UWM!

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