Student Profile: Toni Johnson

Western Technical College is proud to present another social profile of a Western student. Today, we feature Business Analyst student Toni Johnson! Fun fact: her daughter graduated from Western this past spring! How cool!

-Where did you grow up? Where did you graduate from high school?

My name is Toni Johnson. I grew up in Black River Falls and in Tomah, both small towns here in west-central Wisconsin.  I graduated from high school in Tomah.

-What is your program, and why did you choose it? 

I am in the Business Analyst program and will begin my second year of the program this fall.  I graduated high school 24 years ago and took one year of general coursework at Western, which was then Western Wisconsin Technical College, right after graduation.  Then life kind of took over. I had a baby, needed to work full time, etc.  I continued on that path, expanded my family, and grew my career through work experience.  I always felt that I should have continued my education, but it was not really an option with all of my other responsibilities and competing priorities.  I checked occasionally to see what options I could find online, but the only option I could find was supervisory/management and that was not the program for me.  My husband actually graduated from that program at Western about ten years ago!  In early 2017, an evaluation with my supervisor had me seriously thinking about my development, my goals, and where I wanted my career to lead.  That conversation had me looking online again to see what online programs were now available and I found the Business Analyst program.  It was exactly what I was looking for, a program that would equip me with knowledge and technical skills to gather and analyze data and information for organizational improvement activities and for making business decisions.  I met with a counselor, took the steps to apply, and here I am!

-Who has been your favorite instructor at Western?

You can’t make me choose favorites and then post it on social media!  I have learned so much from all of my instructors; real, practical, technical, able-to-be-immediately-applied knowledge and skills.  I truly am blown away by the quality of education I am receiving.

My first class was taught by Mary McLaughlin.  It was my first online class ever and my first class since 1995.  She made it easy to jump right in and be back in school.  The course was Oral/Interpersonal Communication and what really added value for me was that she truly gave great feedback.  It was obvious she put a lot of thought into her review of my work and gave me expert advice/feedback on how to improve.  At the end of the course I was able to meet her in person while I was giving a speech in front of another class.  It was their last day of class and it was obvious she had a great connection with all of her students, not just me.

I have now taken 11 courses since starting the program and I have had Jamie Hammond for five of them.  She is the director of the Business Analyst program and although we are working online, I feel that we have a great connection through videos, feedback, discussions, etc.   She always knows when I need that little bit of extra encouragement to boost my confidence in the skills I am learning.  I really need that!

-What do you like about Western?

I like Western because I am able to focus on learning the specific technical skills I will need in my career and the program is able to be completed in just 2 years.  I also like the location in western Wisconsin and of course the online options.  Additionally, I am pleased that several of the courses I took when I was fresh out of high school were still able to be applied to my current program.

-Future career goals?

I plan to stay in western Wisconsin and hope to continue and finish my career with the Tomah VA Medical Center as an analyst.

-Advice for future students?

Well, don’t wait as long as I did to enroll!  Believe it when you’re told that online courses require a lot of time. They are able to be flexible, but they still require the hours of work and effort so be disciplined with your time management.  I highly recommend the Business Analyst program!


What a great story, Toni. Thank you for sharing your story. Stay tuned to our online News Center for more social profiles!