Marinette Higher Education Coalition celebrates Stephen Jensen, graduate
army reservist. Veteran. Philosopher. EMT. Firefighter. Major in psychology. Taekwondo black belt. Stephen Jensen can claim all these titles.
Today Jensen works as a civilian state employee for the 128e Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard, where he specializes in fire rescue.
Graduating from Menominee High School in 2004, Jensen continued his education at UW-Marinette (now UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus), unsure of where his life would go. “Even though I wasn’t the best student in high school, UW-Marinette was a great place to start my college experience. I can’t tell you how many times I went to see the writing or math teacher, but I grew up because of it. I fell in love with learning just for the fun of it, and was able to achieve goals that I didn’t know I was capable of. I never dreamed that I would be a student on the Dean’s List, but I was.
After earning an associate’s degree in arts and science from UW-Marinette, he studied philosophy and psychology and completed his bachelor’s degree at Northern Michigan University. He then spent a semester at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College as part of the Emergency Medical Technician program. “The NWTC EMT instructors were very down to earth, real world oriented. I appreciate the way they share their own experience with us and instill confidence in their students.
He spent some time at a fire academy in Detroit, then, Jensen says, “I came to realize that, as Plato suggested, philosophers should be warriors too, so I joined the army reserve. I was a top graduate in my fire academy class at the Goodfellow Air Base Department of Defense and eventually deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan.
Back in the United States, Jensen realized that “fighting fires was a career that I could imagine for myself in the long run.”
Through all of his educational experiences, Jensen says he learned the value of dedication and hard work, spending long nights in the library, even until it closed. “It was great to see this hard work pay off. “
Jensen says he’s happy he started locally for college, as it offered smaller classes and more one-on-one time with instructors who cared about him and his success. Plus, he was able to work at a local manufacturing plant to pay for school fees and books. “Going to a local university and technical college was worth it for a lot of reasons, but also because I don’t owe a dime in student loans,” Jensen added.
What advice does he have for new students? “Sit in the front row. Prepare your lunch and show up early. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to go during office hours or see tutors. If you want to be successful, go against the grain, ”Jensen said.
NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus applaud the great work Jensen has done and continues to do for his community. He is one of the many students that institutions are proud to call alumni.
The Coalition for Higher Education in the Marinette region is a collaboration between NWTC Marinette and UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus, designed to provide a seamless student experience and higher education accessible to anyone living in the Marinette area. Individuals enrolled in either college have the unique opportunity to access the resources and services of either campus as well as transfer certain 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.