The 2021 Honors & Achievement Recognition Ceremony was recently held at the UWM at Waukesha campus. Each year a Waukesha alumni is recognized as the outstanding alum for the year. This year, Matthew Groppi is the 2021 Outstanding Alum. During his speech at the ceremony, he reflected on how his interest in becoming a DNR Warden grew thanks to the beautiful UWM at Waukesha Field Station. He will also never forget the impact Waukesha professors had on him and still thanks them to this day. Here is some more on Matthew:
“Matthew Groppi is a Milwaukee native and graduated from Waukesha North High School in 2001. Groppi attended UW-Waukesha beginning in the fall of 2001 and enlisted in the US Army Reserves in 2002. Groppi was assigned to the 330th Military Police Detachment in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and deployed with the 330th to Mosul Iraq in 2004. During the deployment, Groppi was injured in a suicide vehicle bomb attack that also killed two soldiers in his unit. Groppi received a Purple Heart for his injuries and also received an Army Commendation Medal with Valor. Groppi was then able to continue his education after the deployment at UW-Waukesha where he graduated with an Associates of Arts and Sciences in 2005. Groppi then transferred to UW-Stevens Point in 2005 to pursue a bachelor degree in Natural Resource Management with the ultimate goal of getting hired as a Conservation Warden for the Wisconsin DNR.
Groppi attended UWSP from 2005-2007, and was hired as a Conservation Warden in 2008. Groppi was still in active service for the US Army Reserves and the unit was again called to active duty in 2008. The unit deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan this time and was responsible for law enforcement operations and customs enforcement at Bagram. These duties included education, enforcement, and training related to endangered species protection by enforcement of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). While in Afghanistan, Groppi was also able to partner with the New Zealand Army and was able to attend the dedication ceremony for Afghanistan’s First National Park.
Groppi returned home from Afghanistan in 2009 and completed his training as a Conservation Warden in 2010. Groppi was also honorably discharged from military service in 2010. Groppi went back to school in 2015 to pursue a graduate degree at Concordia University and graduated in 2017 with a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Administration. In 2020, Groppi revised his capstone paper related to law enforcement field training (Titled: Recruit conservation warden field training: A qualitative analysis of the San Jose Police Department Field Training Model applied to natural resource law enforcement) and this year it was published in the International Journal of Police Science and Management.
Groppi still works as a Conservation Warden and is assigned to the La Crosse office. As a conservation warden, Groppi is responsible for enforcing all the laws related to the environment, natural resources, fish and wildlife, and outdoor recreation including fishing, hunting, trapping, recreational vehicles (boats, snowmobiles, ATVs/UTVs). While there is no “typical day” as a conservation warden, Groppi regularly spends time patrolling the Mississippi River and the bluffs of La Crosse County.”