Kovach named WITC-Ashland Distinguished Alumni
(4/28/11): For Dan Kovach of
Washburn, education is a never ending process. That’s just one of the reasons
the graduate of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College was selected as the 2011
WITC-Ashland Distinguished Alumni.
“When selecting our
distinguished alumni, we look for individuals who have shown distinction in
their chosen career field, as well as a dedication to lifelong learning and
service to the community,” said College Advancement Associate Deb Ellefson. “And
Dan certainly fit the bill. He’s achieved much since he graduated and has been
an asset to WITC and the community.”
Since graduation from the
microcomputer electronics technician program (MET) in 2000, Kovach has an
impressive list of professional and educational accomplishments.
After graduation, Kovach
worked at WITC-Ashland part-time as a network technician for a year, until a
position opened at Ashland High School. He’s also been running a computer
networking company from his home office for the past seven years.
During that time, Kovach has
continued his education. When the MET program, then a technical diploma,
underwent a modification to become an associate degree, Kovach returned to WITC
to earn the new computer networking technician degree. He also earned his
bachelor’s degree in administration from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and
now has his sights on a master’s degree from Stout, thanks to one of his current
“I’d like to pursue a career
in technical education,” Kovach said, having caught the teaching bug this spring
when he started lecturing at University of Wisconsin Superior. “I found I really
enjoyed teaching. It’s been a blast teaching at UW Superior, and that’s helped
me make my decision as far as my next education move.”
Kovach found that UWS used
the same text book as WITC, but the majority of the students enrolled in his
class were not computer science majors.
“I was looking through the
book and the analogy I use is trying to teach brain surgery to EMTs. It was kind
of shooting over their heads,” Kovach said. With the department’s blessing, he
rewrote the curriculum to be more hands-on. And thus, the spark for teaching had
“It’s been a lot of fun, and
I could definitely see myself doing more,” Kovach said.
Kovach has continued to play
a role in the education of students at WITC as well. Since graduating, Kovach
has been an active member of the advisory board for WITC’s information
technology programs. He’s also employed 10 WITC interns over the years.
Whether it’s through
supervising interns, teaching UWS students or mentoring high school students
through a club he initiated, Kovach is learning just as much as his students do.
And it all started with an absolute beginner course at WITC in spring 1998. He
enrolled in the MET program the following fall.
“Without a doubt, WITC has
been a foundation for everything I do,” Kovach said. “So it’s very humbling for
me to be chosen as the distinguished alumni; it’s such an honor.”
Kovach will be presenting
the commencement address at WITC-Ashland’s graduation ceremony. The commencement
ceremony will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 13 at the Ashland High School
Gymnasium. A reception will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at WITC-Ashland Student
Lounge. The public is invited to attend.