Human resources professional Denise Jankowski began her college career in her early thirties, an age considered to be nontraditional as a student. A 1986 graduate of Wolcott High School, she moved to Middletown in 1999.
After discovering the affordability of Middlesex Community College, Denise enrolled in one class and gradually returned for more courses. As a single mother, this was important to her. She chose to major in accounting and business, earning dual associate degrees with a 3.80 grade-point average in 2005. She also was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.
Looking back, Denise highlights math professor emerita Pamela Frost. “Pam was the most amazing math teacher. She really tried to make algebra fun. She would give out candy to the team of two students who were the first to finish a factoring exercise. I remember winning the whole bag!” said Denise.
To get better acclimated into going back to school, Denise took advantage of Middlesex’s tutoring services, especially in math and writing.
“I freaked out at taking math but ended up doing very well,” she recalled with an appreciative smile.
As an accounting student, Denise has good memories of Nancy Kelly, professor emerita. “Nancy took the time to make sure all her students understood the material. She had a gift in making accounting seem less difficult than it was,” Denise added.
Denise also worked in the financial aid office as a work-study student, learning even more about the college. Most importantly, she also received scholarships, which allowed her to complete her associate of science in accounting.
Overall, Denise credits Middlesex as a good college experience and enjoyed the student mix of ages during her evening classes.
She transferred easily to Eastern Connecticut State College, earning a bachelor’s in business administration in 2008. Denise then went on to complete an M.B.A. from Albertus Magnus College in 2010.
Denise began her career working in dual roles for human resources and accounting, primarily in the manufacturing field.
At Gilman Brothers Company, her duties involved a full spectrum of HR operations, from policies and procedures to benefits and training programs. In subsequent years, she worked her way through other HR roles with responsibilities in export compliance, employee coaching and mentoring, talent management, business partnerships, and in 2018, strategic initiatives as the regional HR manager with MW Industries, the largest and most diversified specialty spring and fastener manufacturer in the U.S.
“Since I was last here, the Middletown campus has a new and well-kept Pavilion area. Overall, you can tell Middlesex is still a nice and safe place to be,” she said after visiting Middlesex as an exhibitor in 2018.
In 2021, Denise began a new role as the human resources director for Tampa Microwave in Florida.
June 2018, updated 2023
Written by Thea Moritz