Michael & Tara Dykstra
Michael and Tara Dykstra met on a study abroad trip to London with the Mike Cotrell College of Business and began dating the following semester. Michael commissioned as an officer in the National Guard and graduated from North Georgia College and State University in December of 2012 before it became University of North Georgia. His wife, Tara graduated one semester later in May of 2013 when the school was officially UNG. They were married shortly after they graduated. They have a beautiful one-year-old daughter and are expecting their second child in October of 2017.
How did UNG benefit both of you in your Career?
Both graduates have been able to use their UNG network of friends and professors to make advancements in their civilian careers as well as opportunities for Michael’s military career because of this network. Having business backgrounds, Michael and Tara have pursued and exceled in the business world. Tara’s focus has been the hospitality industry where she worked for Hilton and later went on to be a wedding and event coordinator at a local wedding venue in Buford. While Tara has recently become a stay at home mom, she is able to use the concepts she learned while obtaining her marketing degree to find success in being a consultant for Pampered Chef. Michael has continued to make advancements in his career thanks to his Degree in Management and Minor in Leadership. Following his graduation, Michael started out working within bigger corporations, first FedEx and then The Hartford where he learned valuable skills and concepts. He quickly found his true passion to be in small business when he began investing time with a startup while holding the position of operations manager. He currently holds the position of Director of Operations with LiteFighter Systems LLC which he considers to be the “Dream Job”. At LiteFighter he gets to work with cutting edge technology and the DOD to outfit soldiers with the best gear.
Michael and Tara credit their accomplishments to hard work, determination, drive, and most importantly Jesus Christ. They acknowledge that their talents are gifts from God and their accomplishments are by God’s grace.
How do you stay involved as an Alumnus?
As Alumnus of UNG, Michael and Tara stay in close contact with several of their friends that they met in their 4 years spent in Dahlonega. They take family trips to visit the college and support it during Corps events and weeks like Gold Rush. Being a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, Tara attends alumni events hosted by the sorority and keeps in contact with several of her sisters.