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Five WCTC students receive Outstanding Student Awards, Grit Award


PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Thursday, May 7, 2020) – Waukesha County Technical College selected five students to receive Outstanding Student and Grit awards for their academic achievements, commitment to their education and perseverance in meeting their goals.

Outstanding Student Awards are given to graduating students who embody the spirit and mission of WCTC and demonstrate remarkable success in and outside the classroom. Recipients are chosen based on their academic performance, credits completed, leadership experience and involvement in campus activities. The Grit award is given to a graduating student who demonstrates the characteristics of courage, resolve, strength of character, perseverance and determination in reaching long-term goals.

Meet the spring 2020 award recipients below.

> Stacey Rudolph – Outstanding Student Award, School of Health

Rudolph, who is graduating from the Dental Hygiene program, got involved with many volunteer opportunities at WCTC and beyond, including vice president of the WCTC Dental Hygiene Club and as a student representative on the Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition Steering Committee. Additionally, she has provided oral health education and screenings to children and families through Special Olympics of Wisconsin, the Hispanic Collaborative Network Family Health Fair and at area elementary schools – among other volunteer roles. A member of the National Technical Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa, Rudolph plans to work in a community dental clinic that focuses on patients with special needs, and later, run a mobile dental unit that provides preventative care to populations that can’t easily access it in a clinical setting. “WCTC has given me a well-rounded experience that not only builds a strong foundation academically, but also personally and socially,” she said. “I have become a stronger leader, and that will help me as I pursue a career in the healthcare field and seek to make a difference in the public health sector.”

> Reagan Larson – Outstanding Student Award, School of Protective and Human Services

Larson, who is graduating from the Early Childhood Education program, has been involved with activities at WCTC relating to her program. She served as co-president of the Early Childhood Education Club, attended early childhood education conferences and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association. Additionally, she is a member of the National Technical Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa. Larson’s posts-WCTC plans include continuing her education and earning a bachelor’s degree. “My education at WCTC has provided me with valuable insights into lesson planning, differentiating curriculum to meet the needs of the children in my care, and using the pyramid model to create a safe and engaging learning environment,” she said. “All of these skills are necessary in my current position as an assistant preschool teacher and my future endeavors as an elementary school teacher.”

> Joel Beskow – Outstanding Student Award, School of Applied Technologies

Beskow, who is graduating from the CNC Setup Technician program, returned to school after spending several years working in the printing industry. While working full time, and raising two young children with his wife, Beskow also began taking night classes to pursue a new profession. In March, he was hired as a CNC technician at Gauthier Biomedical Industries and is eager to continue his new career path in the metals industry. “Every class, every instructor and nearly every minute of my education has been important in being prepared for my new job,” Beskow said. “I feel strongly that I not only made the right choice in choosing WCTC, but that I made the perfect choice. I will always consider WCTC to be an essential part of my new career.”

> Kelly Gonzales – Outstanding Student Award, School of Business

Gonzales, who is graduating from the Baking and Pastry Management program, was the student ambassador for the 2019-20 academic year and has been involved in other activities. She has been in leadership roles with Campus Christian Ministry Club, LatinX Student Organization and the Multicultural Student Mentorship Program; attended special events, including the Midwest Food Service Expo and U.S. Hispanic Leadership Conference; and is a member of the Wisconsin Bakers Association and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. Her long-term goal is to open her own bakery and hire individuals who have special needs. Over the next few years, Gonzales will focus on developing recipes and a business and financial plan for her bakery, while working at a school for children and young adults with disabilities. “In addition to the technical skills learned in the classroom at WCTC, I learned how to build relationships, network and be more outgoing, which will benefit me in everything I do,” Gonzales said.

> Amy Forsberg – Grit Award 

Forsberg, who is graduating from the Human Services Associate program, has overcome many health challenges. In the early 2010s, she was diagnosed with a rare, chronic pain condition affecting the trigeminal nerve. Recently, she learned of additional issues affecting her spinal cord, brain and skull and underwent three complex surgeries in March to repair the problems. In spite of these challenges, Forsberg continued with her studies and maintained an “A” average. She also received an Outstanding Student Program Award and was named to the National Technical Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa. Additionally, she helped start JED Campus, a WCTC group devoted to student mental health and wellbeing. Forsberg is working as a behavior technician at Autism Behavior Network, which was her practicum site, and she plans to continue her education to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. “Starting this program in August of 2018 was a life-changer. I used every bit of energy I had and started a full course-load of classes. The support I received from day one has been nothing short of amazing,” Forsberg said. “I am grateful for WCTC, and all the assistance I have received in helping me achieve all my goals.”


About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 150 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit