NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus proudly celebrate an alum making a difference
Jill Kramer's career path has always focused on building up the people around her. Inspired by a childhood friend who benefited from the way the criminal justice system and social work system worked together, Kramer began studying corrections at NWTC after graduating from Menominee High School in 2004. “Every single instructor that I connected with was super personable. They all seemed to care and put in the extra time to support me,” she said.
Kramer was an honor student at NWTC but was not able to finish her degree at that time. With her experience, she obtained a position as a youth development facilitator within the Marinette County Group Home Association and stayed there for nearly a decade. “I was lucky to have that opportunity early on in my education because it provided me hands-on experience working with people with special needs.”
At the same time, Kramer also started working as a mental health technician with adult clients: managing check-ins and helping with their needs. Kramer describes this work as “rewarding" and "educational," as she saw how the different departments connected and often overlapped. She observed and coordinated care for individuals with law enforcement, school systems, residential care facilities, and other local institutions.
Wanting to learn more in a formal setting, Kramer enrolled in classes at UW-Green Bay around 2011. The classes were blended (part online and part in-person) “which allowed for so much flexibility I was able to work full time, commute, and take classes,” she said. Kramer remembers loving her time on campus as well. “It was so cool to connect it all—work, education, and life.”
This summer, Kramer visited the table for the Marinette Campuses of NWTC and UW-Green Bay at the Library in Bloom event in Stephenson, MI, where she now resides. She started a conversation with the College representatives, who offered to check on her degree progress after her years working. There, Kramer learned that the requirements had changed for the degree she had been pursuing. She sought out support to meet those requirements and earned her Criminal Justice associate degree.
“I learned so many life skills through my college experience; from building consistent routines to multitasking—even flexibility through blended learning. Continuing my education has helped me grow, learn, and prepare for the life-long skills needed for the career I am working towards," Kramer said.
According to Kramer, both NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay focused on making it easy to have flexible options so she could fit further education into her lifestyle. Her advice to those considering starting college is to “go ahead. Do not be afraid to get to know every instructor and department. They truly do care about your success. You will build relationships with them—enjoyable relationships! Reach out of your comfort zone because it will pay off.”
NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus applaud the great work Kramer is doing and are proud to call her an alumna of both campuses.
The Marinette Area Higher Education Coalition is a collaboration between NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus designed to provide a seamless student experience and accessible higher education to anyone in the Marinette area. Those enrolled at either college have the unique opportunity to access resources and services at both campuses and can transfer select degrees from NWTC Marinette to UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus. Visit nwtc.edu/Coalition and uwgb.edu/Coalition for more information on the coalition and its collaborations.