Stephanie Hupp says she is finally doing what she was meant to do – and it took a second chance at college and enrolling at Gateway to give her the skills and start to get there.
Hupp, a technical writer for Briggs & Stratton Corporation, has settled into a career she says she feels comfortable in and will enjoy for many years to come. Helped by Gateway Technical College’s industry-savvy instructors and flexible class scheduling, Hupp entered a field where she says she’s found her comfort level and her future.
“There is no second-guessing – this was what I was meant to be,” says Hupp, who is responsible for producing installation, operator and repair manuals for stand-by generators. “I look forward to going to work. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
Hupp earned a degree in Gateway’s currently-named Professional Communications program and has since been promoted twice since entering her position at Briggs & Stratton. She says the hands-on learning provided at Gateway is the aspect that benefited her most then – and now.
“I really appreciate the fact that we were trained to know the job from Day One,” says Hupp. “There was the theory of technical writing, but it was the practical application of it, the hands-on learning, that I still use on a daily basis.”
Hupp is responsible for all aspects of creating and producing the manuals, doing all the writing, desktop publishing and illustrations contained in them.
“I looked at UW-Parkside, Carthage and Gateway,” says Hupp. “When I saw Technical Communication (now Professional Communication) at Gateway, a big old light bulb went off in my head – this is what I want to do and this is what I want to be.”
Hupp enrolled at Gateway while a manager at an area Burger King. While she says Burger King was “bringing in good money,” the last few years were a drain – but she felt she wasn’t qualified for another position or one that would pay a similar wage. She had attended college briefly after high school, and always had it in her mind to return. Then her mom put voice to those thoughts.
“My mother said quit and go back to college – so I did,” says Hupp. “I was 36, a single mother of a 12-year-old child, and I quit and went back to school. To this day, I am thankful and fortunate that I took that step.”
Hupp had some misgivings about returning to the classroom after 16 years away, but says Gateway helped her in several ways to transition back into it. The diversity of the student body also made her feel at home, she says, noting that many were her age or older.
Hupp says Gateway was the perfect fit for her – small class sizes and real-world, hands-on career education. She says instructors were attentive and provided her with pragmatic advice and education she took with her to the working world.
Says Hupp: “They brought the real world to us.”