…helping with a smooth transition to civilian life.
Mark A. Ard Jr. entered UWGB not long after having exiting the Armed Forces, having spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Admittedly, Mark knew that he was in a stressful situation.
“I found myself in the same difficult spot many veterans face when they are transitioning back into civilian life,” Mark explains. “As unaware I was then and knowing what I know now this was a very difficult and challenging time in my life for a multitude of reasons. If it were not for the direction and constant show of support from not only my friends and family but also from my UWGB teachers, I doubt I would have been able to make it through.”
Of these UWGB teachers, Mark greatly appreciated the work of Prof. Katia Levintova.
“Katia had the most impact on my development and progression as a student,” Mark says. “She always took the time to listen and guide me through the process of learning and gauging where I should take my education into my career.”
Mark also cites the influence of Veterans Advisor Elaina Koltz, who helped him navigate his veterans benefits that paid for his tuition, Mark Olkowski in the Dean’s Office, who was always available and provided great counseling and guidance, Prof. Marcelo Cruz, whose zeal and eccentric passion motivated him to learn as much as he could, and the Vets 4 Vets student organization that provided a social network for veterans like Mark to re-connect with others.
“As difficult as it was transitioning, it was necessary for my future success,” Mark says. “UWGB provided me an outlet and something to focus on and work towards, a critical component to any veteran’s successful transition. I went in not know what exactly it was I wanted to do in the civilian world and came out with a mission. The best memory is having the satisfaction of seeing through the completion a life goal of earning a college education. UWGB made it possible.”
Name: Mark A. Ard Jr.
Grad Year: 2012
Major: Political Science
Minor: Global Studies
Photo provided by: Mark Ard Jr.
We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.