With Mom and Dad as UW-Green Bay alumni sharing the same degree, Patrick Brodhagen feels that his path forward in life was charted before he was even born.
The environmental science and geoscience major — just like his parents — sees a future building on the days of hard work with the family farm.
“I’ve had to learn how to make work fun. I had to work — it was part of the family business. It is what we did,” says Brodhagen, the valedictorian of his high school graduating class. “Initially, I was thinking of taking over the family farm back before my grandfather transitioned it into being a tree farm.”
Brodhagen has his sights set on a master’s degree and a future in agronomy, doing research to improve crop success. He’s well on his way, spending his time away from the classroom working at a crop consulting company and tending to the family’s 275 acres of forested land.
Receiving scholarships has been key to positioning Brodhagen for the career he’s dreamed of even before completing college.
“If I had not received scholarships, I’d be working more hours than I’m working now and I’d probably need to find different jobs,” he says.
“To get your foot in the door of the career you want, you sometimes need to take a lower paying job. … When you’re financially secure, you’re able to step into the career you want right away with those internships, whether they’re paid or unpaid, and then you work your way up.”
Graduating debt free is a frequent topic between Brodhagen and his parents, and he says, it is possible for students who work hard and are active in their community.
“With as many scholarships that I’ve gotten, I’m very thankful,” he says. “I wouldn’t be where I am without them,
I want to thank all of the donors for that. A lot of people have helped me along the way and I owe them a lot.”