Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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What our alumni are saying about the program...
"SCUBA was a really important aspect of college for me and it wouldn't have been the same without the program. I was thrilled to receive 5 different offers (unfortunately, none for full careers but beggar's cant be choosers). Each and every one of my interviewers mentioned my SCUBA minor, and even though it didn't apply to every job, I believe it opened the gates of communication and made me stand out JUST that bit more.... So, thanks again for EVERYTHING you do."
Jackie Folak '12, Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration & Law Enforcement & Justice Admknistration (double major)
"Hope everything has been going good with you. I just wanted to shoot you an email to tell you about what I’ve been doing this summer and really to tell you thanks. I’m doing my internship this summer with Diveheart. The main reason I got this internship is because of my SCUBA minor. As Jim has explained it, the disabled divers aren’t the ones who have to be high speed, we do. You’ve seen our divers compared to other people out there. By the time we get out of the 408 class, we can dive circles around most people.
With Diveheart, I’ve been able to be in the water a lot and work with people with disabilities. I never really thought this is what I’d be doing for a job, but hey, I love it. I just got back from Cozumel, Mexico with a group of Diveheart participants. We had a few vets down there, we were down over Memorial Day, and since my brother is over in Afghanistan, it really kind of hit home what I was doing. I work full time and then some, around 60 hours a week, but I get to change lives and I get to do it diving. Here is a link to a video clip of a documentary that is being made about Diveheart. All of this footage is from the trip I just got back from to Cozumel, Mexico.
Today, I just got assigned to put a trip together to head down to Mermet Springs. My boss was trying to explain to me what it was, and I had to stop her when she said she had never been there before. Thanks to the WIU trips, I know that place like the back of my hand. I blew them away today when I showed them a little informational PowerPoint thing I made today. I just tried to do something like we did in 208, for the trip plan, but this just needed to be a little more informational.
I’m planning on coming down to WIU during fall semester a couple times and I’d really like to come in and talk to the 408 classes about what I do and the other possible career options I have because of this. I have met SO many people in the industry because of this; John Chatterton, Richie Kohler, Celine Cousteau, and Ernie Brooks just to name a few. There are more trips to go on yet and more people to meet. Who knows where I’ll end up? And it’s all because I got to minor in SCUBA in college. So thank you, and who knows, maybe we’ll be working together someday?"
Ryan Bromberek '07 Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration major
"While I was at Western Illinois University I was a part of the scuba diving program. I got certified in basic scuba, advanced scuba, rescue diving, and dry suit diving. After I graduated from Western I moved up to Port Washington, WI where I was able to use the skills I have learned from the Western Illinois Dive Program to get a job with the Port Washington Dive Rescue Team.
I am a paid on-call rescue diver for the team. For our practice we do two dives a month in different scenario-based dives. We do dives for search patterns, deep dives, recovering evidence, limited visibility, and fun dives. All of these scenarios we do I have had experience in from the dive program at Western Illinois.
I appreciate everything that Dan has done with the dive program at Western, since it gets a lot of people jobs after graduation. All the experience we get can not be matched by other programs in the Midwest. My dive team leader was really impressed from the skills that I have brought from Western. Everything we learn at Western we are able to bring out into the real world and it helps everyone get a good start in the career that they want to start in... may it be with a rescue dive team or working on a dive boat."
Jeremy Bilskey '06 Law Enforcement & Justice Administration major
"I spent a couple of years doing odd jobs before discovering the aquarium at the Rain Forest Café in downtown Chicago. The Rain Forest was advertising for divers to help keep the tanks clean.I walked in, presented my credentials and started the next week. I am now the assistant curator of aquatic life support at the Café."
Ed Theil '02 Biology major
"Learning to dive had two major effects on my life. First it gave me confidence. Being able to say you know how to do something unique, and do it well, is a very big confidence boost. Second, scuba club gave me an opportunity to be a leader. During Discover Scuba nights when certified divers were paired up with a new person we had a lot of responsibility. Talk about the ultimate PE class! It was nice to be able to go into my career knowing that I had helped teach people how to do something from the ground up. By no means do I take credit for any of the actual teaching (that was all you) but it was neat to be able to put "cues" into use and go through a task presentation.
These are things I still do today ...and I got my first taste of them in a very unique environment. I even got a chance to learn how to evaluate some of your 108 students during their skill tests, you better believe I do that on a daily basis these days. I think I learned a lot of what I know about how to teach by helping out with your classes."
Melissa (McGrath) Pekar '07 Physical Education major
Jacob Boyer, '12
Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration major, Scuba minor