Daniel and Liza Skinkis with their three year old son, Julien.

There is never a dull moment in the Skinkis household, but Liza and Daniel know that the chaos will all be worth it. The pair balances their fulltime course loads, student organization involvement and internships with reading bedtime stories to their three year old son, Julian, and they do it all without missing a beat.

Liza, from Puerto Rico, and Daniel, a Wisconsin native, are nontraditional College of Business students.

Before coming to UW Oshkosh they both attended other universities and each served four years in the military. After a year of school in Miami, Liza decided to join the Marine Corps in 2005 and was based in Arizona. A year later, Daniel enlisted in the Marine Corps and met Liza. Though their love took a while to blossom, Liza couldn’t resist Daniel’s sincere charm and thoughtfulness when he showed up at her house with a jogging stroller ready to help her get back into shape after having her son.

The pair got married on April 24, 2009, right before Daniel got deployed for his second tour of duty. While Daniel was in Afghanistan, Liza completed her time in the Marine Corp and moved to Wisconsin with Julian. During the time that Daniel was gone, Liza was able to find support from Daniel’s family and attended classes at UW Green Bay.

After Daniel completed his tour of duty, the couple settled down in Oshkosh and enrolled at UW Oshkosh. Their background in the military and individual standards of excellence has fostered a competitive nature between the two and they motivate each other. Daniel said, “If I do well, she needs to do just as well.”

Liza, an accounting major, is an active member of the accounting club. Daniel, finance major, is the president of the finance club and also serves on an advisory committee for the Dean.  In addition to maintaining outstanding grades and fulltime course loads, they are also members of the College of Business honor society Beta Gamma Sigma and were accepted into the COB Ambassadors program for this fall

Their hard work and achievements have already begun to pay off. Through networking at a COB club meeting, Liza was able to land an internship with Oshkosh Corp. and has been there since November of last year. She works about 17 hours a week with inventory and cost assessment. Her husband sits just a few cubes away. Daniel has also been working for Oshkosh Corp. as a pricing analyst intern since April of this year. He works about 23 hours a week during the school year and both work fulltime hours during the summer. They both really enjoy working for Oshkosh Corp. and the experience that they are getting.

Combining a full course loads, with various clubs and internships keeps the pair very busy. Because of this, they make it a point to stagger their responsibilities. Their club meetings are on different nights and they arrange their class and work schedules so that they are still both able to spend quality time with Julian.

Constantly pushing 100 percent can be exhausting and often leads to little sleep, but as Daniel said, it’s all about putting everything into perspective and staying focused on their goals. “Have the end in mind. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind and is what you are doing right now going to get you there?”

Both Liza and Daniel are well on their way to achieving the goals they have set for their education and family. If all goes as planned, Daniel will graduate in December 2012 and Liza will graduate in May 2013. Their cooperative approach allows them both to be successful and work towards their goals. Liza said, “We are a team and I’ll support him in all of his dreams.”

In the future, the couple hopes to stay in the area and add to their family. Daniel would also like to enroll in a Masters program. For other nontraditional students who also have children or are married, the couple offered some clear advice. “Find someone that you can look up to and who motivates you.”