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Kovach named WITC-Ashland Distinguished Alumni

Since graduation from WITC's microcomputer electronics technician program (MET) in 2000, Dan Kovach has an impressive list of professional and educational accomplishments.

(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 career endeavors.

“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 been ignited.

“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.