Title: Degree Up & Community Relations Coordinator
How long have you lived and/or worked in Kenosha County? I grew up in Kenosha and graduated from Bradford High School (Go Red Devils!) in 2001. A basketball scholarship took me to Springfield, Missouri for college, where I stayed until 2011.
Describe a day in the life of Megan: Well, one of the things I love about my current situation is that every day is different. I recently took on a new role managing the Degree Up partnership that Herzing University has with Gateway Technical College (GTC). We’ve teamed up with them to give their grads an opportunity to continue on with their bachelor’s degree while still taking classes at GTC that count towards that higher degree. On any given day, you can find me at one of their campuses meeting with professors, students, and staff. Outside of work, I’m the director of a human trafficking awareness organization, Hope Run Kenosha. We’ve planned a 5k run/2 mile walk in June the last 2 years and have also put on a free human trafficking forum in March for those in the community looking for more information on this topic. I also sit on the Kenosha Human Trafficking Coalition, with other professionals in our community committed to combatting this issue. After all of that is said and done, I try to squeeze in some time to spend with my amazing husband, Andy.
What makes Kenosha County a great place to work and play? For work, I would definitely say collaboration! I love how eager organizations are to work together for the benefit of everyone in the community. I’m in a couple networking groups through the Chamber and TEMPO Kenosha and the general interest in the professional success of their peers is so encouraging and motivating. For play, I’m a big sports girl, and love basketball & tennis as well as playing sand volleyball a couple nights a week in the summer at Rivals. I also enjoy Twilight Jazz at Anderson Park, the Harbor Market, Peanut Butter & Jam, and all of the amazing places in town to get pizza. Great, now I’m hungry. J
Are there any trends in higher education that are particularly exciting? I think a big focus right now is maximizing transfer credit and making it easier for students to get done as quickly as possible. Traditional higher education is great, but there are many people in our community that have families and jobs and other responsibilities but still have that desire to better themselves through higher education. An example of how Herzing is doing this would be our dual enrollment for our master’s programs. Students can take master’s level courses during their final year of their bachelor’s. These credits count towards both degrees and don’t cost the student anything extra. After graduating with their bachelor’s, they already have almost a third of their master’s done. How cool is that?!
What is your favorite Kenosha County event/activity? As a sports fan, lately, I would say I really look forward to Kingfish games in the summer months. It’s nice to have something local that is family friendly, reasonably priced, and generally a great time. The Kingfish seem extremely invested in giving back to the Kenosha County community and that makes them that much more appealing. I just wish they would stop making the fried cookie dough, because it’s affecting my waistline! Seriously…so good.
What is one thing you would like to see improved in Kenosha County? I think the thing I would like to see improved is already heading in that direction- the downtown. There is so much potential in that area for small businesses and for our community to have a place to come together for work and play. I love seeing the new restaurants and shops opening up down there, but there are still a lot of vacant buildings with so much potential. Some of my favorite restaurants in Kenosha are downtown (Wine Knot, Captain Mikes, Villa D’ Carlo), and places like Sandy’s Poppers, M Again reMakes, Jockey, and Talulah Tattoo, are all places I enjoy and would love to see even more of downtown.
What about Kenosha are you really proud of? A couple things actually! As I mentioned before, I moved to Missouri for a few years, and one thing that drew me back was the Lakefront. I think many can agree how beautiful and calming the downtown area is. I personally love riding my bike down there in the summer, participating in the Farmer’s Market and heading down there on those stressful days that I just need a calming atmosphere. Additionally I’m proud of the growth and industry in this city. There are so many jobs, real estate, development, and overall growth. I’m proud to be a Kenosha County resident!
Who inspires you locally? So many people! But if I have to pick one, I would say Tracy Nielsen of United Way. I’ve gotten to know her through various networking events and partnerships and her enthusiasm and joy she has towards her job, peers, and overall community is intoxicating. She, like myself, is a “yes!” person. Those are the type of people I want to be around and the type of people that influence this community in a positive way.