Honoring our alumni in the armed forces
If you had asked Nicole (Crivello) Synowicz (TM ’98) as a freshman at Thomas More about her career goals, she would have told you she would end up in dance. Now 22 years into her military career, she credits her parents for nudging her in that direction. “I would say this is one of those times when my parents got it right; they knew me and they knew that this was the thing for me,” she said.
During her childhood, her father had spent many years serving at the 128th Air Refueling Wing before ending his career as the State Command Chief. Nicole became quite familiar with the 128th, and her father introduced her to a recruiter during her senior year. She joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard on June 6, 1998, her 18th birthday, shortly after her graduation from Thomas More.
In 1999, Nicole was called up for Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. Like her father, she served locally at the 128th, where she processed members who were deploying to and returning from the Balkans. In 2000, she was hired to a full-time position in the human resources department.
By 2004, she had moved into a recruiting role, eventually becoming supervisor of the recruiting office from 2010 to 2017. She is currently a Senior Master Sergeant, serving as the human resources superintendent, a post she has held since 2017. Along the way, she graduated from Cardinal Stritch University with a bachelor’s degree in human resources management.
Her dance ambitions did not disappear, however. After she returned from basic training in late 1998, Nicole was approached about becoming the new Thomas More Poms coach, a position she would hold until 2011. Of her time at Thomas More, she recalls the sense of community she experienced as a student and a coach.
“I wanted to still have that type of feeling in my life and being in the military has continued that for me. In fact, there are other TM graduates I see here at the 128th,” she explained.
Throughout her career, Nicole has followed the advice of her recruiter, who she also refers to as her mentor.
“Never let anything stop you from your goals. I was comfortable in my recruiting position and loved it, but I wanted to make the next rank and deploy at some point. I took a chance and got the superintendent position, and I’m deploying in 2022,” she said. “If I hadn’t gotten out of my comfort zone, I would have retired in recruiting.” She has recently re-enlisted for another six years so that she can experience deployment and pursue her goal of making chief when she returns.
Nicole is married to Keith Synowicz (TM ’98), and they have a 10-year-old son, Parker, in fifth grade, an eight-year-old son, Chace, in third grade, both at Divine Mercy, and a two-year-old daughter, Olivia.
With so much of her career spent in recruitment, she offers this advice to any student considering enlisting in the armed forces: “Look at all the branches. Find what works best for you and what you can see yourself growing in. Don’t go to something just because your family did this or your friend did that. Do your research, look at all branches, and find your fit.”
About the Author
Dan Steffes (TM ’03) is the Alumni Director and Events Coordinator at STM. He has worked at St. Thomas More since July 2007 and has been head track & field coach since 2009.