Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Winglass, ‘13

This week’s Alumni Spotlight shines on Jonathan Winglass, a 2013 UMM graduate with a degree in Recreation and Tourism Management. From New Hampshire, Jonathan now lives in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and works for the U.S. Department of Defense. His position is executive administration assistant for the 1st Battalion Warrior Transition Brigade US Army,  and project control analyst for Sierra 7 Inc.


Tell us what you are doing now:

Currently, I am the Project Control Analyst for a Government Contract, under the Department of Defense, for the Warrior Transition Brigade, (1st Battalion).  I hold the Executive Admin Assistant to the Battalion Commander and Battalion Sergeant Major.  Both these positions are highly visible jobs where I am interacting with Soldiers who are recovering from injury and receiving top line care here at Fort Belvoir.  This job personally manages the calendar for the WTB, and has a lot of oversight and responsibilities.   As the Project Control Analyst, I run numbers in the evening for our Government Contract, dealing mostly with HR issues, benefits packages and all other issues that can arise with our Contract, and deal directly with multiple DoD POC’s on a managerial level.

In the Marine Corp, I am a Fire Team Leader, for 1st Platoon, 1st Squad, 3rd Fire Team Leader. We are an organic light infantry unit, who this year took place in an overseas infantry training exercise, located south of Agadir, Morocco.  This operation, known as Operation African Lion, a joint bilateral training exercise, was about training with one of the U.S’s oldest allies, and solidifying our friendships and learning new weapons systems.  Currently, I am planning on moving to a LAR (Light Armored Reconnaissance) Unit in Maryland, which is closer to home for us.

What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?

The most valuable item I learned at UMM was getting your hands into everything!!  Meet as many people as you can, and try to make a difference in the short time you are there.  Take risks, try something new and set yourself up for success.  I learned I was lucky enough to choose a college, which transformed into a family.  I learned definitely not to judge a book by its cover.  This school offers and wants to see every student succeed, and in learning this and letting your teachers, peers and student resources in, you WILL succeed.  On a broader perspective, and translating that into my life after college, I have tried to live with an open ears and mind and not to judge anyone.  The person you turn away, could play a key factor to your success just keep that in mind! Every decision has a reaction!

Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?

Have fun.  Enjoy your time as it is super short, but buy into the idea behind UMM, and in turn you will receive the best hands on education the North East has to offer.  Join the Outing Club too, or any club and get out and meet new people! Make sure to get on every ski trip, carry on the hockey program, and be the wildest UMAINE fans in the books! Study hard, help each other succeed and make UMM a better place for the next round of Clippers! Keep your contacts and always build them!  And always make sure to reach out to your contacts.  Try as best as you can to talk to friends, teachers or mentors as much as you can, even if it is for a quick hello.

How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?

Working primarily for the Military and the DoD just outside of DC can be very stressful.  Machias prepared me in many ways.  I remember the days where multiple papers were due, online posts, homework, research and then running programs in the evening…and those days were busy.  Do they compare to what I am doing now?  In some ways… yes.  I had to be disciplined to get all my work done especially my senior year where I took 26 credits to pass to receive my degree on time.  I found a group of the best friends a kid could have, and we all got through it together.  UMM does so much for you, that you don’t realize until you step away and realize all the skills your take at your time at UMM.  Now, any tasker thrown onto my desk I know I can accomplish!

How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?

The people I have met, the classes and times I had made my 4 years spent at UMM the best time of my life.  This is the hardest question for me, as I could write on and on… The University of Maine at Machias will positively impact your life that is a guarantee…  My experiences are my own, and we all did the best to make UMM a better place… Now it’s your turn!!