By Lauren Breunig
Born and raised in Detroit, Marc Young moved to Stevens Point for college, which was a major culture shock. Realizing there weren’t many people in the admissions department who looked like him, Young became a campus tour guide. He hoped to connect with prospective students of color and show them a little of the life he had built at UW-Stevens Point.
After graduation, he pursued a career in higher education and found his purpose in it.
“I got into and have stayed in higher ed because of the philosophy that it can be a transformative experience for prospective students, specifically, for students like me that come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Young, who now leads recruitment and admissions at UW-Milwaukee. “My ultimate goal is to continue to expand access, and propel students further than where I am.”
This drive to foster an inclusive environment continued after he graduated, so Young took on a full-time job in admissions at UWStevens Point, working his way up in the department. By the end of his tenure, he was the director of admissions and recruitment.
In October 2021, Young was ready to take on a new role — executive director of recruitment, marketing and admissions at UW-Milwaukee. He saw something in Milwaukee that reminded him of home — and a large, diverse community he could help.
“I understand the power of a college education, and how it can inform plans and strategies moving forward,” Young said. “I’m a huge proponent of post-secondary education, because I know that it has the potential to change lives and change generations as it has for me.”
Increasing access to higher education requires knocking down long-standing barriers, Young said. That’s something UWM is attacking by streamlining the application process, removing application fees and setting aside funds to help more students obtain the full college experience.
There is also a lot of collaboration with the surrounding Milwaukee community. Young works closely with M3 — an educational collective of Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Area Technical College and UWM — to help high school students access and navigate the college admissions process. This includes creating opportunities for students to earn college credit while still in high school, which in turn reduces the cost of college.
UWM’s emphasis on making higher education more accessible, especially to the surrounding community, is one of the things that drew Young to the university.
Part of Young’s job is to help guide first-year and transfer students through the enrollment process and support them through their time at UWM. Since he started last year, the undergraduate admissions office has been re-imagining its workplace culture to better help it achieve its goals.
This includes creating a welcoming and inviting space that encourages employees to grow, Young said.
Young plans to continue removing barriers to help more students enroll and remain in college. To him, he’s not just helping prospective students earn a degree, he is helping change lives.
“This work is important to me, because that’s my way of contributing to social justice,” Young said. “Higher education is an opportunity to reposition one’s trajectory, from earning income to a professional growth standpoint.”