Jonathan Brogden is a senior architectural engineering major graduating in May of 2022. The non-traditional student, who is turning 33 soon, just recently welcomed his first child into the world a few weeks ago while juggling a 22-credit class load and internship.
Brogden originally grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He moved to Appleton, Wisconsin at age 12. Growing up, Brogden always wanted to be an architect but a recruiter from MSOE helped convince him that MSOE was the place to attend, and a trip he made down to campus for a high school competition also helped.
“In hindsight, it was Milwaukee that I had fallen in love with at a young age. So, after high school graduation, I attended MSOE but did not make it through a full year. At that time, I was a very immature individual who was more interested in partying and self-destruction than to pursue any sort of higher cause. I withdrew from MSOE early into my spring term of freshman year.”
Although he withdrew from MSOE, Brogden found his way back to the university in 2019 thanks to the help of a longtime friend, now fiancé.
“I spent my entire twenties living in a bottle of alcohol and eventually became a heroin and crack addict. I am an addict in every sense of the word. I spent over half my life trying to destroy myself with some form of drug. This is ultimately what pushed me out of MSOE all those years ago. Thankfully, I had an angel on my shoulder. That angel was my longest friend and now fiancé Missy Mancl. She told me back in the summer of 2017 that if I didn’t get help, we would never be friends or anything more. At that point I had nothing left. I was at the end of my rope, and I agreed to move back down to Alabama to make some changes. I found sobriety down there with the thanks of a proven program and amazing people. After a year, I moved back up here to follow my heart and start a relationship with Missy. Shortly after, she convinced me to return to MSOE to finish what I started.”
Since returning to MSOE, Brogden has been able to find success putting in late nights studying and having internships with EXP U.S. Services in Orlando during the summer of 2021 and with Faith Technologies based out of Menasha, Wisconsin to gain more real-world architectural engineering experience.
The support from the Alan and Susan Ruud Scholarship, which Brogden calls a “golden parachute,” has helped him be able to continue his success at MSOE.
“The Ruud’s donation and confidence in my abilities have given me even more drive to not only complete what I started over a decade ago, but to excel and right my past. I want the Ruud’s to know that they have been a part of allowing an individual with a riddled past to write a redemption story that they can be proud of. My experiences this time around have been some of the most rewarding and awe-inspiring of my entire life.”
Now as he is set to graduate in May, Brogden is excited to continue with Faith Technologies, a job which he believes is a great fit for him since he has great mentors and it challenges him as well.
“I returned to MSOE and came back to my old GPA of 2.5. Well after four years of sobriety and many late nights of studying, I am proud to say that I improved my GPA to 3.76 and am looking at graduating with high honors. These last three years have been more than I could have ever imagined. Coming back to MSOE and accomplishing what I have has given me a new confidence that I never thought possible.”
When he isn’t studying, working on his senior design project or at his internship, Brogden loves being a father to his new daughter, playing guitar, going on drives and watching his guilty pleasure TV shows “Married at First Sight” and “Sisterwives.”