A Q&A with one of the 1,319 students who received a diploma May 4 at UW-Stout:
Name: Annalise Mark
Hometown: Vadnais Heights, Minn.
Major: Business administration, emphasis in project management with training principles
Awards, honors: Chancellor’s Award, Outstanding Co-op Student of the Year 2019, Manufacturing Advantage Conference 2018 selected student panelist, Outstanding Student Leader of the Year Nominee, 2016
Why did you choose UW-Stout? When I toured campus during my final months in high school, something clicked. My parents and I felt UW-Stout was a great match for me and the decision to come here was unanimous. The fact that it was also close to home was a big plus for all of us. Since I was little, my skills and creativity were best tested when I could work hands-on, whether that be with Legos, creating elaborate forts, experimenting with computer programs or video editing. I believe that I flourished on this campus because I was surrounded by others who also enjoyed creating, problem-solving, learning and challenging themselves just like I do. I am grateful for all of the creative minds and analytical thinkers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my time here.
What are the biggest obstacles you faced when earning your degree? I would have to say that the most challenging obstacles I faced were feeling like I needed to have it all figured out right away and that I needed to be great at whatever I did the first time around. As a result, I experienced some beautiful growing pains. However, those experiences taught me how to make mistakes, how to quickly and gracefully recover from them and how to keep pushing forward. I learned how to navigate external elements working against me saying that I can’t or I shouldn’t, but I did anyway. I will always remember and appreciate the people who wholeheartedly believed in me and never let me lose sight of what I’m capable of.
What stands out among your college experiences? By far, my family and the individuals on campus who helped me get back on track whenever I lost sight of who I wanted to be, the things I wanted to achieve, or the strengths that make me who I am. I quite literally would not be on the path I am now without them. My mom drove me to the final interview for my co-op because she and the rest of my family knew where I deserved to be, even when I didn’t feel the same. The professors, faculty, and my program director all understood my challenges, and I would not be at this point had they not supported my need to move past those roadblocks. After attending Stout, it is 100% clear that the faculty and staff on campus want to help you succeed. My graduation success is proof. My advice is to work hard, and if you stumble along the way don’t be afraid to ask for help because you have great people and resources here to help you get through it.
What’s next? My co-op employer turned into my full-time employer. I locked in my full-time job 11 months prior to start date. I am thrilled to be back with the incredible leadership at Hormel Foods as an associate production supervisor. Being around their products most of my life, I am fortunate to grow and advance my future with the Fortune 500 company. I can’t wait to see where it leads me.