Early Childhood Education student named Waukesha County Technical College district ambassador
Every spring, each of the 16 colleges within the Wisconsin Technical College System chooses one student to represent its district and serve as student ambassador. The ambassador acts as an on-campus advocate and participates in a leadership development and recognition program. Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) recently named Early Childhood Education (ECE) student Janixa M. Franco Gonzalez as its ambassador for the 2022-23 academic year.
Franco Gonzalez came to WCTC in spring 2021, after spending a semester at another college and realizing it wasn’t the right fit. She began taking pre-Nursing classes online at WCTC, but she changed direction in fall 2021 after deciding to pursue a career in teaching at the early childhood level.
Hands-on experience from day 1
“I’ve been blessed to come to this school where our instructors are very adamant about us getting that hands-on experience from day one. That is critical to my future and it will help me in the classroom,” she said. “Now, when I walk into a classroom, I’m no longer intimidated or nervous; I go in and interact with the children – it just comes very naturally.”
As part of the ECE program, she’s already had three practicum experiences. Her student-teaching has involved working in 4-year-old and 5-year-old kindergarten classrooms at WCTC’s Child Development Center, and La Casa De Esperanza and Hawthorne Elementary School (both bilingual classrooms). Additionally, she has a part-time job in the 4K classroom at The Goddard School.
At WCTC, besides her new position as ambassador, Franco Gonzalez is involved with the Early Childhood Education Club and is a student worker in the Global Education Center. Through the Global Education Center, she initiated and leads the International Encounters Book Club as a way to spread cultural awareness. In 2023, Franco Gonzalez hopes to participate in an international service-learning trip to Guatemala, which will allow students to engage in a variety of volunteer efforts.
Plans beyond WCTC
After she completes her associate degree at WCTC, Franco Gonzalez plans to earn a bachelor’s degree, and then spend time teaching in the U.S. – as well as abroad – in bilingual classrooms.
Franco Gonzalez said WCTC is allowing her to grow personally and professionally, especially in her new role. “I wanted to be the student ambassador because of all the leadership opportunities that it brings,” she said. “I just thought this would be the ultimate way to be involved … and be able to spread light about WCTC and all the great programs and things we have to offer.”
Franco Gonzalez and the 15 other WTCS student ambassadors will be honored April 21 at a recognition dinner in Wisconsin Dells. The event is sponsored by the Milwaukee-based financial services firm Baird, which also awards a $1,250 scholarship to each ambassador.