When Brittany Johnson was deciding where to attend college, she learned that her grandfather had earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee – at the age of 65. Although Johnson became the first in her immediate family to earn an undergraduate degree May 22, she proudly points to her grandfather’s example as a non-traditional student. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UWM’s Lubar School of Business.
Alejandro Corona, another May graduate, says his Mexican heritage inspired him to become a teacher. One of his goals is to pave the way for more young minorities to enter the teaching profession.
Karlton Lattimore, who graduated from UWM’s School of Architecture & Urban Planning, was drawn to UWM through a summer architecture program.
Lattimore was thinking about a career while still at Milwaukee’s Vincent High School, and he attended UWM’s Architecture Summer Camp. “I’m a creative person,” he says, “and I wanted a creative outlet.”
These three students are among the many UWM May graduates from diverse backgrounds who have found support for their individual goals at UWM.
Johnson discovered a passion for numbers while taking an accounting class at Bay View High School, and has since found her niche in accounting. Her passion for the field is evidenced in her work to re-establish the UWM student chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).
Corona says he chose education because he considers it vital for young people to see more diversity in the classroom. “There is such a high Hispanic population in Milwaukee Public Schools, yet the number of Hispanic teachers is increasingly disproportionate. This is sending a discouraging message to the young people in our communities that only white people can be teachers.”
Lattimore is proud of his success in the rigorous architecture program, but he wasn’t always so confident. A motivated and curious student, he confesses that he once considered pulling out of the architecture program to pursue his second choice – psychology. During his first two years in the architecture program, he says, “everything was so strenuous and I was nervous about facing that same thing in the workplace.”
Instead of changing disciplines though, Lattimore persevered, all the while looking for ways to bring psychology into architecture to help him “find where I would fit in.” This fall he will begin a master’s program – at Cornell University, an Ivy League school in upstate New York.
The students credit their families, UWM faculty and UWM programs and scholarships for supporting their efforts.
Lattimore was awarded the George L.N. Meyer Jr. Memorial Scholarship, participated in the Ronald McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, and was active in the UWM chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS).
Corona received an IMEBecas (Institute for Mexicans Abroad) scholarship during his senior year. The scholarships are provided by the Mexican government and support high-achieving U.S. students of Mexican heritage. UWM Associate Professor Javier Tapia helped bring the scholarships to UWM, where IME-Becas funded Corona and three other education majors.
Brittany Johnson credits the Dennis and Sandy Kuester Scholarship with helping her decide to attend UWM.
The scholarship, funded through a gift from UWM business alumnus Dennis (’66) and Sandy Kuester, provides scholarship assistance to African Americans from the City of Milwaukee who are interested in a future in business.