Gossens to speak at graduation

Sara Adams, Staff Writer

On graduation day, Kassandra Gossens will complete the degree she began in 2008.

Gossens, 30, began taking classes at Madison College’s Portage campus eleven years ago, but left after a semester. She returned in 2018, this time in Madison, and says coming back to school changed her life in unexpected ways, and helped her discover her passion for leadership and volunteering. 

“I didn’t know how many people would really inspire me to be a better person myself, because I don’t have that much to work against. It’s really amazing what people are capable of around here,” she said. 

Gossens says she left school because of mental health and financial reasons, and because she struggled to navigate many aspects of college, like financial aid. 

“I didn’t have a good foundation set for myself, a lot of that comes from being a first-generation college student, so all the typical reasons why first generation students drop out, I’m like a textbook,” she said. “I didn’t have financial support, stuff like financial aid confused me so much, it all overwhelmed me.”

She said the current political climate motivated her to come back to school. 

“The political scene sort of let me know that there’s a lot of uneducated, angry people, and it kind of let me know that there’s larger conversations that I want to be a part of,” she said. 

Gossens said taking English 2 as a peer tutor changed the trajectory of her college career. Students who take English 2 as a peer tutor are trained to be tutors in the Writing Center. 

“All of a sudden I felt really engaged, I felt really empowered to help other students, and their abilities to comprehend their learning materials and I really recognize the value of when you help people with writing. You give them a chance to enter the conversation,” she said. 

In addition to her involvement with the Writing Center, Gossens is very involved in the Volunteer Center, where she’s the Volunteer Coordinator for the Service Learning Academy.  She says being involved in the Writing Center, the Volunteer Center, and Student Life contributed a lot to her success.

Gossen also earned a Leadership Certificate and owns her own photography business. 

Gossens says the most challenging part of her time at Madison College was balancing all of her responsibilities. 

“I have a lot of roles that I carry now that I’m a student. I’m a business owner, I’m a wife and I’m an employee. That’s been a lot to juggle,” she said. 

After graduating, Gossens plans to complete an undergraduate degree in psychology at UW-Madison. She wants to eventually work in counseling or educational leadership.

Gossens also said she really values the diversity at Madison College. 

“I’m going to miss the diversity of people around me. I’ve never in my life been in such a diverse environment, between people of different ages, people of different cultural backgrounds and that’s been the most pivotal decision for me in deciding where to go next,” she said.