When it was time for their twin sons to review their college acceptance offers, Kevah and Michele Konner took each one aside. Not wanting Joshua or Seth to have regrets about where they pursued their education, the couple advised their sons to choose a university without consulting one another.
They both picked UW-Madison.
And the entire Konner family is grateful for the decision. Not only because the foursome from New York became dedicated Badgers, but also because they were able to forge independent paths at the university, and ultimately launch successful careers.
Both sons started out in different Lakeshore residence halls back in the fall of 2012, and embraced unique experiences at the University. Seth went on to live near State Street and major in Economics, with a certificate in Environmental Studies. He’s now an Associate Solutions Analyst for a financial software company in Chicago. Josh, meanwhile, moved closer to Camp Randall and double-majored in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology, with a certificate in Engineering for Energy Sustainability. He now works as a Business Development Analyst for a commercial solar energy developer in New York City.
The Konner family was impressed by the breadth and diversity of course offerings at the University, which allowed both Joshua and Seth to explore the many different career paths before committing to their majors.
When we heard about the Career Initiative, we thought, wow, this is something the College of Letters & Science really needs.
Kevah and Michele witnessed their sons’ journeys on many visits to Madison over the years. Inspired by what they were seeing, they wanted to give back to the university to help other students thrive. When they learned about the College of Letters & Science Career Initiative, they were moved by its practical yet powerful mission in teaching students to leverage their liberal arts educations into successful careers.
“When we heard about the Career Initiative, we thought, wow, this is something the College of Letters & Science really needs,” Kevah says.
The Konners knew the college had a great reputation, and that its graduates performed well in jobs across the country. “They’re great ambassadors wherever they go,” Kevah says.
Yet they also understood how difficult it can be for students to find internships, prepare themselves for interviews and land jobs — especially when L&S students have so many different ways they can apply their skills, knowledge and degrees.
To help, the family established the Konner Family Letters & Science Career Initiative Fund to support the program, which is funded entirely by alumni and donors. They’re particularly interested in ensuring the success of Taking Initiative, the signature career-prep course of the Career Initiative program that gives students the tools to explore career opportunities as well as the practical skills to guide them through internship and employment pursuits.
“We are so proud to be associated with the program,” says Michele.
The Konners consider their involvement an investment in the future, just as undergraduates who participate in the Career Initiative invest in their own. When students spend time preparing for the working world, they will likely get a better job right out of college, Kevah says, and they certainly pick up tactics and skills they can use throughout their careers.
“We all take great pride in supporting the Career Initiative with students gaining skills that are really important — not just for one job but for their entire lives,” Kevah says.
Invest in the L&S Career Initiative
To learn more about the Career Initiative and how you can offer support, visit ls.wisc.edu/about/lsci/alumni.