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Commencement 2017

Enhanced Experience Boosts Student Successes

When Missy Mas ’17 started at St. Norbert College four years ago, she was eager to get involved.

The Gurnee, Ill., native, who graduated in May with a major in communication and minor in leadership, jumped into volunteering her freshman year when she and her Freshman Experience Group pulled weeds and planted flowers at Heritage Hill State Park. Mas followed that stint with a long list of volunteer efforts that included service with Theta Phi Alpha fraternity, Relay for Life, Dance Marathon, the Emerging Leaders Program, St. Jude’s and Wishmakers on Campus. She also served as a student alumni ambassador for the college.

“Working as an ambassador helped me to continue making a difference at the college by allowing the group to put on different events per school year and per class. This helped to bring the college together and form communio,” says Mas, who credited the college’s academic enhancement program with helping her get off to a strong start and find success – both in the classroom and as a campus leader. “The program definitely increased my confidence and I believe it made a great impact on my college success.”

Mas dedicated most of her volunteer time to Wishmakers, which raises funds for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin to fulfill grants for local kids. She organized Rhythm & Wishes, the group’s largest fundraiser, where students and alumni show off their performing talents. The event includes a silent auction and raffle.

“That was definitely our biggest fundraising event,” Mas says.

Balancing school and volunteer work can be a challenge and Mas credits Corey Ciesielczyk (Academic Support Services) for her success. Ciesielczyk heads up the Academic Enhancement Program. 

“Corey was very friendly and pushed us to do our best work. To this day, he’s someone who is very supportive and wants everyone to succeed,” she says. 

Ciesielczyk says when students find success in the classroom, they are more inspired to get involved on campus. “I believe as a student increases their success and confidence within the classroom that they become more and more involved and prominent on campus,” he says.

Mas is one of 19 in her academic enhancement cohort who found success in and out of the classroom. Jared Hohol ’17, who also graduated in May, calls the program life-changing. It encouraged him to step out of his comfort zone, he says. He is already working at Expera Specialty Solutions in Kaukauna, Wis.

Hohol says, “The survival skills and reading courses helped lay the foundation for my success at St. Norbert.” He played football for the Green Knights, volunteered with the Sturzl Center for Community Service & Learning on campus and the local YMCA out in the community.

Looking back at her time at St. Norbert, Mas summarizes it succinctly: “I was definitely busy and involved,” she says.

July 11, 2017