Katie Bautista is thankful for what Blackhawk Technical College has meant to her and her family’s life. Now is her time to give back.
Bautista is Blackhawk’s Student Ambassador for the 2016-17 school year, a honor recently feted with her peers from the 15 other Wisconsin Technical College System schools at an awards dinner in Madison.
“It is such a honor to represent Blackhawk Technical College and have the chance to demonstrate so many of the skills I’ve learned here,’’ she said.
Bautista, 26, isn’t exactly your typical student activist, but active she is.
In the classroom, she already has completed her associate degree in Business Management and is continuing her studies in business at Upper Iowa University. If that isn’t enough to keep her busy, she will embark on her second year in BTC’s Nursing program next fall. Outside the classroom, she is a prime mover in student government activities, an intern in the Student Success Center and a well-known presence in a wide variety of school activities and events.
When she isn’t running from one end of the Central Campus to the other, she is employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Recover Health of Janesville, where she resides with her husband, Ernesto.
“I want people to know that this is a honor that anyone in this school can work toward,’’ she said.
Confident and outgoing, Bautista radiates role model in her daily activities at BTC. Perhaps that’s why she emphasized her mentoring skills in her student ambassador presentation at Blackhawk.
“I want to be a great role model,’’ she said. “I want to be able to set a standard, to let people know how Blackhawk has helped me build up my confidence to the point where I can be the role model I want to be.’’
Bautista’s journey to Blackhawk took a roundabout route. She grew up in Orange County, Calif., and eventually moved to Illinois with her family. After completing high school, she moved to the Orlando, Fla., area where she worked at Disney World. While there, her family moved to Janesville, where it hooked up with Blackhawk.
When she moved back home, it was almost a foregone conclusion that she would end up at Blackhawk. “My family recognized what Blackhawk has to offer,’’ she said, noting how her brother and sister also attend BTC.
Now it’s time for Bautista to reciprocate. She is active in student orientation activities. She is ready for public speaking duties on behalf of BTC. Her time at the Student Success Center has put her in contact with area community and business leaders whom she will continue to urge to hire BTC students.
“I want to be able to encourage them and all our students that we are working each day to develop the skills to be ready to join the workforce,’’ she said.
Yet, one advantage to being a student ambassador is personal and goes far beyond the borders of the BTC campus.
“When we met in Madison, I realized that you can get so focused on BTC,’’ she explained. “But in the few days I spent with the other ambassadors, I realized that Wisconsin doesn’t seem so big anymore because you know of that commitment the ambassadors around the state have.’’