Badge and a backpack: Adult learner in good company

David KonrathUW-Green Bay Adult Degree student David Konrath already has a top job and a lot of responsibility.

Among a host of other duties, Konrath is a captain with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department. As the department’s director of the professional standards division, is responsible for officer training, internal affairs, background investigations and the D.A.R.E. program.

But he wanted to do more. On nights and weekends, Konrath trades his badge for a backpack to pursue his Bachelor of Applied Studies Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Emergency Management emphasis) through UW-Green Bay’s Adult Degree Program.

“Without a doubt, returning to school was initially an uncomfortable situation,” Konrath said. “But, when I stepped foot into my first class, I quickly realized there were so many others who were in the same predicament. Along with the typical college-age students, there were many such as I, in their 30s, 40s, 50s and some older.”

Konrath says he has learned from both his UW-Green Bay professors and classmates.

“During sessions, we all share our experiences, both young and old, which gives you a well-rounded viewpoint on whatever the topic is,” he said. “I believe this a distinct advantage of the Adult Degree Program in that we understand the perspective of the current generation and they us.

“As an older student we would be foolish to discount the opinions of youth. They have so much to say and we still have so much to learn.”

With the experiences he’s had, Konrath, 48, has a lot to share with his classmates, both younger and older.

He began his law enforcement career in the United States Air Force as a law enforcement specialist before joining the Sheriff’s Department in 1985. He was instrumental in planning the building of the new Brown County Jail in 2000, for which he was later recognized as Jail Administrator of the Year by the American Jail Association.

Some of his other community and professional involvements include: president of the Brown County Sheriff’s Supervisory Association; past president for the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Executive Development Association; past president of the Brown County Sheriff’s Department Benevolent Association; board member of the Golden House Family Violence Center; graduate of the Criminal Justice Executive Development Institute; graduate of the 232nd class of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy; and member of the Freemasons, Washington Lodge #21.

Recently, Konrath has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Brian Laviolette Scholarship Foundation, which has presented more than 350 scholarships to deserving college-bound students all over the world since 1992.

He recently returned from China, where he studied ancient Chinese culture and worked with UW-Green Bay Prof. Hye-Kyung Kim to complete the summer course, Introduction to Asian Philosophy.

Konrath is closer to the end of his career in law enforcement than he is to its beginning. He plans to someday use his UW-Green Bay education to pursue new career opportunities.

“I found that opportunity in the Adult Degree Program and, more specifically, with the Emergency Management (EM) program,” he said. “The educators are very knowledgeable in the field, and all of them have had first-hand experiences working in both man-made and natural disasters. The EM program opens so many opportunities and I look forward to putting the knowledge into practice.”

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