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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to begin a full-time professional position before graduating from college? Well that is precisely what Neal Grosskopf has done. In March 2007 Neal was hired as the Manager of Interactive Communications, also known as webmaster, of Lakeland College. The interesting part of this story though, is that Neal did not graduate from Lakeland until May 2007.
Neal credits Lakeland with providing him unique opportunities to work in his career field as a student worker his junior and senior years. "It was the first job I've ever had working on a website and my skills and knowledge of websites has increased tenfold. The hands-on experience I received while working at Lakeland, along with things I learned in the classroom prepared me for the working world. Also people in career development were very helpful in preparing me [for the professional world.]"
Amidst the preparation for the working world, some unforgettable memories were created. Neal recalls the longest exam he's ever taken, which happened to be in Professor Mark Stone's programming class. No one was able to finish within one class period, so it was extended to the next period. Unfortunately during the second day the power went out, and due to lack of power, the test was delayed until the third meeting period. Neal says that the week-long exam was probably the longest he's ever taken.
But you can't be in class all of the time. Neal tells of a time in Muehlmeier Hall about a week before Christmas break when 20 people were simultaneously playing the videogame Halo 2 via the residence hall network. He says, "When you walked down the hallway all you could hear were sounds from the videogame and people yelling when they lost."
Neal transferred to Lakeland College from Fox Valley Technical College as a student in the fall of 2005. "Lakeland transferred all of my credits and allowed me to continue school where I left off which is one thing I really like about Lakeland that many UW schools don't offer," says Neal. Always wanting to work with computers, Neal majored in computer science at LC. He says, "I've always wanted to work with computers, but it wasn't until my freshmen year that I knew I wanted to be a web designer." Lucky for Neal, he was able to put those skills to use very quickly.
During Neal's senior year at Lakeland, his supervisor took a position with a different company leaving his job at Lakeland unfilled. Neal leapt at the chance to become the webmaster for the college's site and was hired prior to even graduating. Neal says he loves working at Lakeland because of the people he works with and the laid back work environment. As the Manager of Interactive Communications, Neal is responsible for nearly every aspect of the site, including email blasts like Muskie Mail!
Neal is originally from New London, WI but now resides in the Fox Valley. In his free time Neal enjoys playing guitar, playing videogames, and coaching soccer.