Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Garry Moïse
Through his work with Upward Bound, FVTC Quality Management grad encourages first-gen students to pursue education
In 1998, Garry Moïse was a first-generation college student from Haiti when he arrived at Fox Valley Technical College as part of a study abroad program. He graduated in 2000 with a degree in Quality Management (now called Quality Engineering Technology) and returned to his home country to apply the skills he learned.
He returned to Wisconsin a few years later, enrolled at Marian University in Fond du Lac and has since earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marian. He now serves as the university’s director of the Upward Bound Math & Science program as well as teaching International Business.
Garry was recently honored by his employer as the recipient of the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Award for his dedication to serving others.
His roots at FVTC are strong. The time he spent here provided the foundation for his career, nurtured his love of learning and encouraging others, and helped him fall in love with Wisconsin.
What did you enjoy most about your time at FVTC?
The people. The staff in the Global Studies office were genuinely caring individuals, and everyone at FVTC was so supportive and helpful. I also really enjoyed being exposed to the area; it was a good opportunity to get to know Wisconsin. I love Appleton, it’s still one of my favorite places in Wisconsin.
There's so much technology involved in what's going on at Fox Valley Tech. It's amazing. I'm proud that I was a student there.
How did FVTC provide you with the foundation for your career?
Many of the skills I learned at Fox Valley Tech I still use to this day. My degree opened my eyes to the concept of quality and leadership. There was also a lot of emphasis on serving, particularly customer service. And I realized then that what I was learning there, I could apply that in different professional settings and beyond. I continue to apply it in my different lines of work.
Tell us more about your role with Marian University.
I’m the director of the Upward Bound Math and Science Program. It’s part of the federally funded TRIO grant providing college and career preparation for students who would be first in their families to pursue a college degree, and many of them are from families with limited income.
We serve a population that may not think certain things are for them, particularly the pursuit of a college degree. Many of them don't think that's for them because nobody in the family has been there, and their families don’t know how to help them. That’s how we help.
What is your best advice to young people just starting out in their careers?
I encourage students to be intellectually curious about their career choices. If you are not sure about what to pursue as a career, look it up. Get to know what it is about. Connect with someone. Start connecting even when you are in high school. Start exploring the careers that you are thinking about and it's okay if you change your mind, because it's through exploring that you might either discover something else you might be more interested in, or reinforce your desire to pursue that particular career path.
Learning is not just in the classroom. Learning happens everywhere. Just like my late father would say, you have an opportunity to learn every day at the School of Life.
You are the recipient of Marian University's 2023 MLK Spirit Award. How are you living out Dr. King’s legacy?
Martin Luther King was fighting a much different fight, much larger and many more issues. I focus on personal development through my work in education and through my work in serving the community. My dream is to provide the smallest contribution that I can, in whatever capacity to help others fulfill their own dream. I’m in a position to help others transform themselves; to connect them with the resources they need grow and flourish. Through Fox Valley Tech and other opportunities in my life, I've benefited from what others have done for me, and I just want to continue to do that for others.