November 22, 2013
From ashlandwi.com: “WITC gets high marks from report” — Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College’s results from the 2013 Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) indicates that an overwhelming majority of WITC students feel that personal connections they experience at the college are critical to their academic success.
“We participate in CCSSE to continually improve the quality of education we offer our students.” says Bob Meyer, president of WITC. “Quality is about the student experience — about what we do to engage our students, help them achieve their educational goals and ultimately improve the quality of their lives through education.”
CCSSE uses five benchmarks that allow colleges to monitor their performance in areas that are focused on teaching, learning and student success. These benchmarks encompass 38 engagement items on the survey that reflect a variety of aspects of students’ learning experiences.
Among the findings, 96 percent of survey respondents would recommend WITC to a friend or family member and 94 percent of students rated their educational experience at WITC as good or excellent.
“From my perspective of what the results say, WITC isn’t just a place to get a quality education, WITC is the place to be for connecting with fellow students, faculty and staff and provides services that help students accomplish their goals,” said Jennifer Kunselman, research and data coordinator at WITC. “Nearly three-fourths of CCSSE respondents have accomplished their goals at WITC or will return to WITC within the next 12 months.”
The study also found at WITC students report strong relationships; find instructors to be available, helpful and sympathetic; and that staff are helpful, considerate and flexible.
The CCSSE survey — administered directly to community college students at participating colleges —helps participating institutions assess quality in community college education, focus on good educational practice, and identify areas in which they can improve programs and services for students. Washington Monthly, an independent national magazine, utilizes CCSSE and IPEDS data to rank colleges and in 2013 they ranked WITC fourth in their listing of “America’s 50 Best Community Colleges.”
WITC will use the results in many ways, from improving and adding services to assist students, with marketing, to its quality review process, as well as strategic planning for the direction of the college.
Research shows that the more actively engaged students are — with college faculty and staff, with other students, and with the subject matter — the more likely they are to learn and to achieve their academic goals.
“Students that attend WITC build strong relationships with each other and college staff that not only help them succeed while learning, but also face the many challenges along the way,” Kunselman said. “The study shows that a large portion of our students face multiple responsibilities while they are attending WITC. Many have long commutes to the WITC campus they are attending, they have jobs in addition to taking classes and many have families that are dependent on their care. The relationships that students build at WITC help them face these challenges and play a big part in their succeess at WITC.”
October 23, 2013
From wrn.com: “Safer vehicles offset higher speed limit” – It’s not legal to drive 70 miles an hour, as the bill awaits Senate approval. The state Assembly has already given the green light to a 70 mph speed limit, but its fate is uncertain in the Senate as opponents lobby against the measure.
Brian Landers is a traffic law and traffic crash investigation instructor at Madison College. He doesn’t see a problem with the higher posted limit, saying surrounding states have equal or higher speed limits. ”I don’t think that the increase of 5 mph is going to see any large increase in fatal crashes in Wisconsin. I think that that’s easily offset not only through the advancements in technology in vehicles, but also through the education and enforcement of law enforcement.”
Landers points to higher vehicle safety standards, including better seat-belts, blind spot monitoring, air bags, breaking systems, and other improvements, as contributing factors in a reduction of fatal crashes nationally and statewide.
Green Bay-based Schneider National — the nation’s largest trucking company — has safety and fuel efficiency concerns. Landers says 70 is a maximum speed; it’s not mandatory. ”Depending upon your driving habits, and depending upon the road conditions and the weather conditions … you know, no one is forcing you to go 70 mph. So, if Schneider National or if any motorist out there feels like 65 is their safe limit, then they can still do 65 miles an hour.”
The bill’s author — state Representative Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) — says many motorists are already driving faster than the current 65 mph limit and it makes sense that the legal speed is adjusted accordingly.
Landers says whether a motorist is driving 10 miles an hour or 70, he needs to be sober, buckle up, and practice safe driving skills, which means regardless of the legal speed limit, a driver must slow down if conditions warrant.
October 15, 2013
From wisconsinrapidstribune.com: “State leaders encourage students to consider manufacturing jobs” – GRAND RAPIDS — State and local leaders are encouraging students across Wisconsin to consider manufacturing jobs when planning their academic future.
As a major part of the state’s workforce, manufacturing jobs play a key role in growing the economy, Gov. Scott Walker told students today as part of the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce’s Heavy Metal Bus Tour, which gave dozens of south Wood County middle and high school students the chance to tour local manufacturing plants and hear about the industry.
“I’d love to have it in every community, connected with every technical college and employers in every part of the state of Wisconsin, just because it’s a great opportunity to open the eyes of not only students, but really of parents, of guidance counselors and others to see there are great careers — not just jobs — but great careers in manufacturing,” Walker said during a lunchtime stop at Mid-State Technical College’s Wisconsin Rapids campus. “Getting these kids interested early on is key to this.”
The local event coincided with October Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin, which is designed to spur job creation through the promotion of manufacturing as a career. Nearly 75 seventh- through 10th-graders from across south Wood County participated in the bus tour, which took them to Domtar Corp., Corenso North America, Tweet Garot Mechanical and Mariani Packing Co., said Melissa Reichert, president of the Wisconsin Rapids-based chamber.
“They’re learning all kinds of things about the great careers that are here in central Wisconsin,” Reichert said. “These are good-paying jobs that average over $52,000 a year, and these companies are hiring.”
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson, state Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, and state Rep. Scott Krug, R-Rome, also participated in today’s event.
The state should financially support programs that make technical education more affordable and expose students to the importance of manufacturing — through hands-on learning and other activities — at an earlier age, Krug said.
“We’re looking to close that financial gap (and) make sure it’s accessible to everybody,” he said. “Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, those programs are important … (in) helping local employers fill those jobs they have open right now. It’s a no-lose situation, and it’s a small investment for the state to make.”
On a more local level, Mid-State Technical College continues to work with local employers and other agencies to help address the so-called “skills gap” — the difference between the qualifications company leaders are looking for and the skills potential workers possess, MSTC President Sue Budjac said.
“When we talk to employers in manufacturing, what they’re telling us is that in the very near future, they’re going to have retirements on a massive scale, and they are going to need skilled and qualified workers to fill in behind those retirees that are going to be leaving their industry,” Budjac said. “We are adjusting our curriculum — the content and our courses — in ways so that we make sure that we’re responsive and delivering the skill set that they need.”
Such local efforts — one of two programs in the state and three rural sites nationwide — can serve as a model for other parts of the state as a successful partnership between private-sector employers and post-secondary education and training institutions in order to help spur workforce development that meets employers’ needs, Walker said.
“The more frequent (the) communication, the more partnership there is, the more shared accountability there is; employers will step up and put money and time and resources and equipment, in many cases, behind technical colleges that are responding to the needs that they have with the jobs they have right now as well as those in the future.”
October 9, 2013
From ibmadison.com: “Who cares about online privacy?” – The holidays are coming, and that means millions of consumers will hunt for gifts online. Courtesy of the National Security Agency spying controversy, the 2013 holiday season will feature an added twist of uncertainty about Web privacy, and don’t think retailers aren’t worried about it.
Consumers are another story, according to Steve Noll, a marketing-social media professor in the School of Business and Applied Arts at Madison College. His background is in advertising and marketing sales, and he’s not convinced that consumers are bent out of shape about online privacy. He notes that we’re living in an age where consumers are okay with Facebook selling their information to advertisers but freak out about the notion of subscription-based online business models, which would offer more privacy.
With the National Retail Federation forecasting solid holiday sales, IB discussed online privacy with Noll.
IB: It’s been several months since the NSA controversy erupted. What’s your sense of how alarmed the public is about online privacy?
Noll: I’ve always felt that online privacy is something that most people are aware of, but the reality is most people actually don’t do much about it. Most people who use things like Facebook, if you go onto their site, they have not taken steps to secure their site against people who are not friends being able to have access to it. So it seems to me that every few months, some story comes out about online privacy, and it gets everybody hyped up, but then not a lot of people really do much about it. They think about it for a few months and they kind of forget about it until the next incident, and then they get all stirred up about it. It’s kind of like this recurring cycle of nothing.
Obviously, this NSA story was much bigger than the typical identity theft report that usually triggers these types of conversations, but by the time the Christmas shopping season gets here, people are not going to be considering that anymore. The whole NSA issue, among general consumers, is going to fade into the background. I don’t see this changing people’s online shopping behavior.
IB: Do you sense a high level of urgency among online merchants, especially since a lack of trust in data security could substantially curtail online shopping?
Noll: I’m sure they are worried about it because anybody would worry about anything that potentially could hurt them. If you look at how online retailing works, there is so much security in there already. This is the question that I ask in one of my classes: Who here does not shop online? At least one person raises their hand. And then I ask why don’t you shop online? And he says, ‘Well, I don’t trust it. I don’t trust my information getting out there.’ I follow that question up with, ‘Do you shop at the mall?’ He says, ‘Of course I do, that’s where I have to get all my stuff.’
And the reality is, when you go to a mall and you give somebody your credit card, and even if they scan the card into a cash register and give it back to you, they have still have the opportunity to kind of glance at that card and potentially memorize that information and quickly write it down as soon as you’re done with that transaction. That is infinitely more risky than going on Amazon, where it’s secured computers talking on an encrypted network. The people who are kind of afraid of it — I don’t think they understand how it actually works and how there are so many other things out there that are infinitely riskier that they have an actual comfort level with.
Some of the big companies like Amazon, it would not surprise me to see in some of their marketing campaigns that they emphasize that they are in a secure environment, but I think the general public does not understand what ‘secure’ means. You know when you have these little padlock symbols on your computer? A lot of people don’t know about those. I’d say about 50% of the people don’t even know to look for that to know they are on a secured website, or even looking at the http line. If it’s got the https, that means it’s a secured server. There are so many things that people are just kind of clueless about in terms of security. I don’t think they even realize that if companies spend money upping their security level even higher than it is, I don’t think that would affect people anyway. I think maybe saying shop at our secured site, just saying that in a copy line, would be the most impactful thing to do.
IB: Can more savvy online consumers take proactive steps to protect themselves before the holiday shopping season gets in full swing, or do the merchants basically do that for them, as you suggest?
Noll: One of the things, obviously, is looking for things, looking for the padlock, checking to make sure that you are on a secured server. So those are probably the two easiest things, especially the padlock. Just double-checking when you go on, especially if it’s an e-commerce website you’re not familiar with. If it’s not an Amazon or an eBay, making sure that they are acknowledging they are making this transaction securely. That would be the number one thing that people need to be aware of, is just the general, simple clues when you’re online that say you’re on a secure shopping site.
IB: Is there any promising technology or “app” that consumers can use to remain in control of the personal data that merchants have on them — if they have any qualms about how it’s used or shared?
Noll: Here’s the thing with apps. We’re starting to see some third-party apps that people are promoting as something that can be used for more security, but there have also been some stories that some of these companies are scams, that they are using people’s paranoia about the recent news stories to almost scam people to download their app and run it and we will make sure your data is secure. What they are actually doing is they are collecting information from people and using it maliciously. I would caution people against downloading or using some new technology from a company you never head of just because it promises you security.
Something like this security scare, which has gotten people so emotional, is exactly what con artists will prey on. That emotional freak-out is the recipe con artists look for to take advantage of people. Certainly, if you are using an app from Amazon and Amazon says we have this new version of an app and you can update this app for added security, well then you would definitely want to do that. If you’re going out to find something, I would do some research on the company before you pay them or use them. It’s just ripe for scams.
September 4, 2013
From leadertelegram.com: “Pepper, Purvis named Fuerstenberg Award winners” – Julie Pepper touched the life of a student who came to Chippewa Valley Technical College through a job retraining program after a career crisis.
That student appreciated Pepper enough to nominate her for CVTC’s top award for teachers. Mary Purvis, meanwhile, was nominated by an entire class of students who were impressed by her dedication and passion to teaching.
When the 2013-14 school term started at CVTC with instructor in-service sessions last week, Pepper and Purvis were named the winners of the 2013 Roy and Jan Fuerstenberg Teaching Excellence Awards.
The awards, given annually, recognize instructors for their professionalism, excellence in teaching and learning, and their positive student-teacher relationships. Faculty members are nominated for the prestigious award by their students, and those honored receive a cash honorarium of $1,500.
Pepper, a Medical Assistant program instructor, has been with CVTC since 2002, and was with Mayo Health Systems previously.
“Being treated with respect triggered a desire to not let my teacher down,” Maria Creer, who nominated Pepper, wrote. “Anyone can recite some material and test you on it. Only real teachers go out of their way to get back to you with a timely response, make themselves available to students at almost any time, answer your questions, and explain why you got things wrong.”
Pepper said she strives to help students discover how to find success, both academically and personally.
“We know that students come to our institution from all walks of life, and not every student comes with the confidence necessary to meet the rigors of all of our courses,” Pepper said. “By giving the students the tools necessary for solid problem-solving, they can achieve early success that will have an immediate effect on their confidence.”
One of Pepper’s former students, Julie Miller, recalled how Pepper helped her through a difficult time when she had a major medical procedure on the first day of school.
“My classmates and I really felt like we had someone in our corner when it came to having Julie as an instructor,” Miller wrote in nominating Pepper. “She made herself very approachable and accessible to all of us with office hours, as well as extra time from her own personal schedule.”
Student Deb Bresser also praised Pepper.
“At some educational institutions, a student is just a number, but at CVTC you are treated as a real person, and in Julie’s classes, we become a family,” Bresser wrote.
Physical and Life Science Instructor Mary Purvis has been at CVTC since 2004 and was honored in 2010 as the Wisconsin Association of Community and Technical Education Teacher of the Year. As a Menomonie High School teacher from 1983-94, she was named a 1990 state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching.
In nominating Purvis, her students mentioned her expertise and energy.
“Mary always has a positive attitude (along with her quirky energy) and makes each student feel welcomed and important. Her passion and excitement for her subject expertise, along with her slew of hands-on activities, helps make the material easier to grasp and solidifies the information. She also unfailingly relates the information to the real world,” a statement by students in her Physics 2 class reads.
Purvis said she works to prompt her students to ask questions.
“We human beings are naturally curious. As children we were always asking ‘why?’ We are filled with wonder about everything around us,” Purvis said. “My goal as a teacher is to open my students’ minds to again allow them to ask these questions, and to share the joy and wonder of the natural world in a fun and engaging way.”
Cherrie Bergandi, dean of General Education and Business at CVTC, noted how Purvis’ students tend to cluster around her desk before class begins, peppering her with questions and excited about the lesson.
“Mary is the science teacher I wish I had in high school and college,” Bergandi said.
Fuerstenberg Teaching Excellence Awards are made through CVTC Foundation, Inc., which enhances the mission and vision of CVTC by securing resources for student scholarships, staff initiatives, technology investments and other purposes. The award is named after Jan Fuerstenberg, a lifelong educator, and Roy Fuerstenberg, incoming president of CVTC Foundation Board of Directors.
August 22, 2013
From pricecountydaily.com: “Internet marketing expert to speak at Phillips Chamber of Commerce annual dinner” – John Carlson, marketing expert and instructor for Business & Industry Division of Northcentral Technical College’s Wausau campus, will be the featured speaker at the Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on Sunday, Aug. 25 at Club 13. Carlson will focus on small business marketing strategies with an emphasis on Internet marketing through the use of social media. Carlson’s appearance is being sponsored by the Phillips campus of Northcentral Technical College. Area Dean Bobbi Damrow will also speak to attendees about the college’s expansion and the opportunities and facilities that will be available to area businesses.
The Chamber will also honor 2013 Persons of the Year, the late Judi Boers and her husband, Tom, and Chris and Ron Kedziera of The Crazy Loon as 2013 Business of the Year.
All Chamber members are welcome to attend. Reservations are required by August 21. Call the Chamber at 715-339-4100 or email PACC@pctcnet.net.
In other Chamber news, planning for the 2013 Annual Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, Sept. 28 is underway. Prospective crafters and area organizations have been sent their applications to participate in the craft fair and Fall Taste of Phillips. Music will be provided by the Elk River String Bank and the Jim Pekol Polka Band, and other activities will be held. If you’d like to participate in the craft fair and didn’t receive an invitation, please contact the Chamber.
July 9, 2013
From todaystmj4.com: “Today’s TMJ4 goes inside elite arson investigator training” – WAUKESHA – It happens time and time again right here in southeast Wisconsin. Intentionally set fires destroying homes and businesses, putting firefighters in danger and neighborhoods at risk.
TODAY’S TMJ4’s cameras were invited for an exclusive look at an elite training program for arson investigators. Instructors carefully, deliberately set multiple fires in an old Hartford farmhouse before students arrived, turning it into a hands-on classroom.
“It’s a two-week, National Fire Academy course, a very prestigious course,” said Brian Dorow, Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College. “What we’re setting is seven different crime scenes. The students come through during the course. They have to determine the motive, the origin.”
This is all done under the careful supervision of the Hartford Fire and Rescue Department. Chief Paul Stephens had a message for those who see arson as a way out.
“It puts firefighters’ lives at risk,” Stephens said. “It puts citizens at risk and fire kills people.”
We first met the students as they watched a demonstration at the technical college campus. A living room scene had been set up inside a garage. The students watched the instructor spray a trail of lighter fluid along the floor, up to a couch cushion.
The instructor started the fire with a single match. It took less than two minutes for the fire to rage.
“We can talk about it through PowerPoint and lecture,” the instructor said. “We can show video of it. But, we want the students to be able come out and actually see how it evolves.”
Back at the old farmhouse, the students put that classroom arson training to the test. Instructors posed as witnesses, like the fire chief and the homeowner. One of the instructors is Wisconsin State Fire Marshal Michael Rindt.
“Every fire is a challenging scene,” Rindt said. “We try not to make these scenes as challenging as you’d see in the real world because we want these to be a learning experience for them.”
There are seven different fire mysteries within this house. Some are set up as accidental fires and others as arson fires. Students take their notes back to the classroom and try to determine the cause.
Students will take these skills back to their communities, better equipped to catch the criminals who start fires. The students are firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and police officers.
“I don’t know if we have a shortage of adequately trained fire investigators, but it certainly is a profession where you need to have continued training,” Rindt said.
WCTC said every one of the students passed the course and that the students correctly solved each of the seven mock cases.
The college did not allow TODAY’S TMJ4 to interview the students because of their active roles in law enforcement.
July 5, 2013
From htrnews.com: ” LTC instructor honored at state ag banquet” – CLEVELAND — Sheryl Nehls, Lakeshore Technical College Dairy Herd Management program instructor, is the state winner of the Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award.
The Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators presented the award on June 26 at the 95th Annual Professional Development Conference in Green Bay, according to a press release. During the three-day conference, Nehls also was recognized as one of 11 outstanding agricultural education teachers in the state for her outstanding educational qualities in instructional and experiential learning, student organizations, partnerships and marketing and professional growth.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected for this award,” said Nehls. “It’s really a tribute to all the wonderful students, farm owners and colleagues I have been fortunate enough to have worked with over the years. They are the ones who help make our program so successful.”
Nehls’ dedication to students and the farming community is why she has been selected as the 2013 Outstanding Post-secondary/Adult Ag Ed Program Award, according to the release. Nehls has been working with post-secondary students for the past 32 years. Nehls was recognized for adapting new curriculum by working with more than 60 dairy farm businesses each year.
The Lakeshore Post-secondary Agriculture Student organization has won numerous awards in Nehls’ tenure with the most recent being the first-place state Dairy Specialist Team. Her dedication to student organizations has landed her the role of being the 2013 host coordinator for the Midwest Dairy Challenge, the release stated. Nehls also works with Youth Options students and serves as a judge for many FFA and high school speaking contests.
June 3, 2013
From leadertelegram.com: “Instructor’s passion for manufacturing evident” – Tom Vanderloop’s enthusiasm is contagious. His students in manufacturing programs at Chippewa Valley Technical College feel it, and so do the members of the student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, for which he is chapter advisor.
“Tom has an extreme passion for everything he teaches, and for SME,” said Bob Grzegorek, chairman of the student chapter. “He got me more passionate about it to become chairman. We went from four student members to 22. We worked hard to do better.”
“The passion is very real in him,” said Jim Barbey, a May CVTC graduate who served as an SME student chapter officer. “It’s not just something he says or does; it’s real. That’s really why I joined SME.”
Vanderloop’s passion and service to SME dates to his first involvement in the organization in the 1970s. Now SME is recognizing his contributions, through the Faculty Advisor Professional Development Award, a national honor he is to receive at the SME annual meeting in Baltimore, Md., June 2-4. The award comes with a $500 stipend, which Vanderloop donated to the CVTC Foundation scholarship fund for the betterment of students in manufacturing programs.
Vanderloop has taught technical education for the past 38 years, including 28 at CVTC. He looks to his roots for inspiration.
“So much of what I do today came from my Christian father, mother and family. (My) attributes stem from a life within a healthy family environment,” he said.
The word “manufacture,” Vanderloop said, is derived from a French root meaning “made by hand.”
“It was the story I have always found from within my father’s work ethic. Manufacturing is a good and noble profession as a career for life,” he said. “My goal is simple: Love what you do and that passion will show up every day. Most students know I love my role as a teacher. It is manufacturing that guides my professional contributions.”
Vanderloop’s contributions to SME have occurred throughout his career. He first joined the organization in 1968 when he was a student at Fox Valley Technical Institute in Appleton. He remained involved as an undergraduate student at UW-Stout in the early ’70s, then as an assistant professor there in the early ’80s.
Vanderloop became the SME North Central Region chairman and served in various offices in the region. With the SME Indianhead Chapter in Eau Claire, he served at various times as chairman, bulletin editor, recruitment and retention committee official, student chapter liaison, faculty advisor, technical programming official and certification official.
In 2010 Vanderloop was named the SME’s President’s Circle with a gold-level status for having recruited more than 125 people to SME.
A measure of an educator’s success is in the level of their students’ achievement. The list of successful CVTC students Vanderloop has taught and led is a long one.
The founding SME student chapter chairman from 1985, Kevin Gottwalt, is now with Cardiac Pacemakers in St. Paul. In 1987, Chairman Mark Senti pushed the chapter to encourage students to seek SME certification as manufacturing technologists through a difficult test. SME recognized the chapter for its efforts when Chris Hurt was chairman in 2000-01; Hurt is metal fabrication CAD designer with Wisconsin Metal Fab in Chippewa Falls.
In all, more than 200 CVTC students have passed the test since 1985, a remarkable level of success, Vanderloop said.
Jill King, the 1997-98 SME chapter chairwoman, helped organize the first-ever Challengers and Choices program, designed to introduce middle school-age girls to career choices in manufacturing. The effort earned a national award of excellence.
“It’s a good marker not just for myself, but for the college,” Vanderloop said. “If I’ve got good students, they make me look good.”
May 28, 2013
From Gazettextra.com: “Blackhawk Tech faculty establish scholarship fund” — The union representing Blackhawk Technical College faculty announced a new scholarship program aimed at students struggling to stay in school because of a lack of money. The Blackhawk Technical Faculty Federation recently unveiled a $20,000 scholarship pool that will begin helping students in 2014. The fund is for full- and part-time students carrying a minimum 2.5 grade-point average.
The scholarships are expected to run between $500 and $750 each, depending on financial need. At least two scholarships per semester are expected to be available. The fund received an additional contribution of $500 from Douglas Tabbutt, a computer information systems instructor, during last Friday night’s graduation rehearsal program. BTC faculty and staff will be able to contribute to the fund through payroll deductions.
Faculty members have noticed too many students withdrawing from school because of a lack of money, according to a college news release. The BTC Foundation will administer the scholarship. The foundation committee reviews all applications and scores them on financial need, family circumstances, grades, neatness and completeness of the application and potential. Applications for the first scholarship award are due Oct. 1. Scholarship recipients will be notified in November and the funds will be applied to the semester beginning in January 2014.
From leadertelegram.com: “CVTC students learn house construction on the job” – CHIPPEWA FALLS — A group of Chippewa Valley Technical College students is getting hands-on experience building job skills for their futures while helping prospective home buyers at the same time.
For the past three years CVTC has partnered with the Chippewa County Housing Authority to provide homes for low- to moderate-income residents. CVTC students help build the homes, which are sold to people who may not otherwise be able to afford them.
The homes will be listed for sale at $165,000 apiece, said Ruth Rosenow, Chippewa County Housing Authority director. Purchasers of the homes built by CVTC students must earn at least $22,600 annually but cannot make more than $36,600, she said.
“This program helps CVTC students and, at the same time, the people buying these homes,” Rosenow said.
On Tuesday Matt Burke, a 20-year-old CVTC student from Chippewa Falls, worked on a deck of one of two homes he and 13 college students have built in Chippewa Falls along Stump Lake Road on the city’s east side.
Burke had never worked in construction before signing up for the class. He’s pleased with the finished product and the skills he has learned.
“It’s nice to see what you can accomplish,” Burke said. “I just like working outside. You’re in different places, and you are always doing something different.”
Joe Dahmer, 19, a CVTC student from Menomonie who has helped construct the homes, said he has worked construction jobs with his father since he was 13. He has even traveled to Mexico to build homes as part of church mission trips.
“I really enjoy construction,” Dahmer said. “I decided to go into the program because it’s hands-on, and you can’t do that anywhere else.”
Brian Barth has taught the CVTC residential construction program for the past nine years. He said his students are quick learners who enjoy their work.
“They get the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day,” he said of students building homes.
Students are putting their hands-on construction experience to good use. Of his 14 current students, 11 have construction jobs lined up for after they graduate, Barth said.
“The construction industry, there is going to be an extreme shortage of workers in the next few years,” he said, noting the sector is recovering after several slow years.
Rosenow said her organization purchased eight lots in a neighborhood on the east side of Chippewa Falls to be used as sites for homes built by CVTC students. The two 1,300-square-foot homes built this year have identical floor plans.
The housing authority financed the $235,000 project, with home sale proceeds to go toward the housing authority’s revolving loan fund. Neither of the two homes has been purchased yet, but they would be ready for someone to purchase by Friday, Rosenow said.
April 4, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Girl Scouts honor CVTC instructor Judi Anibas” – EAU CLAIRE – When Judi Anibas overheard an inappropriate comment during one of the classes she teaches at Chippewa Valley Technical College’s (CVTC) Law Enforcement Academy, she thought it was time for a quick real-world exercise.
The 25-year veteran of the Eau Claire Police Department had all of the students privately write down the names of four women who they loved and respected and were important in their lives. Then she asked the (mostly male) class if they would ever make such a comment to or about one of those women.
“There was dead silence,” Anibas says. She went on to insist that no such comments would be heard again in that class, and she didn’t need to know who made it. The students, like the law enforcement officers they aspire to become, are to be held to the highest standards of integrity, and sensitivity to the members of the public they serve.
Upholding standards in such a way is one of the reasons the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes honored Anibas at its annual Women of Courage, Confidence and Character banquet Monday evening, April 1. The award honors area women who demonstrate a commitment to serving their communities and embody the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character.
Anyone who knows Judi Anibas will agree that she has those qualities, and a look at her career shows her commitment to serving the community.
Originally from Milwaukee, the UW-Platteville criminal justice program graduate took the first law enforcement job offered to her, with the city of Eau Claire. She was put on a walking beat in the Water Street area, an area with taverns frequented by the local college crowd.
“You see more because you’re on foot,” she recalls. There were enough problems to deal with, including motorcycle gangs and drugs, but she also got to know the local residents and business owners and learned to listen to their concerns.
“Doing that really assisted me later when I had an inside job in crime prevention,” Anibas says.
In the following years, Anibas took on just about every duty that comes the way of a law enforcement officer. She was a patrol officer for nine years, spent four years as a detective and then went back to patrol. She learned to deal with child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence cases and so much more, both as an officer responding to calls and as a detective investigating them.
That role of being the one catching the bad guys held much satisfaction for her, but so did the other duties she took on over the years. She became a hostage negotiator, firearms instructor, evidence technician, community policing specialist and eventually law enforcement instructor.
Anibas says she particularly liked working with community organizations and neighborhood watch groups. She came to appreciate the value of listening, and learned that what people often wanted from their police force was different from what police themselves thought of their duties.
“Wherever I worked I enjoyed myself,” she says. “But it was great to meet people who really enjoyed their community and had respect for the police.
“The cool thing is I can use all of that today when I teach community policing,” she added.
Anibas joined CVTC in 1992 as an instructor and became full time in 2006. She became Dean of the Law Enforcement and other areas, is still working as an instructor in the program, and as a safety instructor for the Business and Industry team.
She has as much enthusiasm for teaching as she does for law enforcement. “It’s inspirational, knowing that with the experience I’ve had I can give back to students.”
Anibas has been generous with her time outside of work as well. Anibas served as president of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Association of Women Police, Eau Claire Police Benevolent Association, Eau Claire Police Local 9, and Eau Claire Police Supervisors Local 39. She has been involved with Indianhead Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is the current president of the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Wisconsin board of directors.
From gmtoday.com: “Growing a community of entrepreneurs” – PEWAUKEE – As a former small business owner, Russ Roberts knows what it’s like to navigate the rough waters of starting and building a business. So he’s excited to nurture entrepreneurs through Waukesha County Technical College’s Small Business Center.
Roberts, manager of the Small Business Center, said it is a unique program that is a lot like a community service for WCTC. A variety of courses are offered at low prices, such as Business Plan Development, QuickBooks Pro, Understanding Business Taxes and Law for Business Owners.
When WCTC started the center in 2001 and brought in Roberts, who had owned his own financial planning business, to develop and run it, the college had been supporting entrepreneurs for more than 40 years. The Small Business Center has gone from a few non-credited courses and some counseling in 2001 to at least 16 classes. The center also hosts networking events and offers free one-on-one counseling, the Success Mentor Program and Take a Professional to Lunch Program.
Waukesha County Chairman Paul Decker participates in the Take a Professional to Lunch program and teaches Marketing for Small Business, which will be offered April 10 to May 1.
Sharing practical information
The benefit of taking a business class at WCTC, Decker said, is that the instructors have true business experience and share lots of practical information. “It’s kind of a way to tap the brains of people who have been there,” he said.
As county chairman and the co-founder of Maverick Innovation Lab in Delafield, Decker is invested in Waukesha County’s economy, so he is pleased with how the Small Business Center contributes.
“The essence is that the more businesses that we can create that are viable and strong, and if they get going, hopefully they are going to hire people and you are going to make the economy strong,” he said.
Roberts has a similar view. He said if you get 1,000 entrepreneurs’ businesses off the ground, it’s the same as a company hiring 1,000 employees.
“Most states don’t have resources to put behind micro-entrepreneurs. Google was a couple of guys who started out of a dorm room. By the time they figured it out and were Google, (everyone) wanted to help them at that point. We never know where the next Google is going to come from,” Roberts said.
Rebecca Scarberry, owner of Becky’s Blissful Bakery, is also a believer in WCTC’s Small Business Center and started to teach How to Start a Food Business in 2012. The entrepreneur took Roberts’ FaSTart Workshop class, which is a four-hour informal workshop that provides step-by-step guidance, and received other advice and assistance from Roberts, which she said was a lifeline for her business.
The idea of teaching a class came about after her own business took off and people began to approach Scarberry seeking advice on how to start their own food businesses. Roberts suggested she teach a class, which now averages about 20 to 25 students each session.
“It’s real information,” she said of the Small Business Center. “It’s real assistance for our community for right now.”
Roberts said the center wants to “put support around” starting businesses. “Many times it’s lonely to start a business,” he said.
February 22, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “PDC’s Sisson has designs on improvement: CRE Guide – People in the News” – James Sisson joined PDC Midwest Inc. as a project architect bringing more than 16 years of experience in residential, institutional and commercial building projects in addition to specific expertise in information technology. He has taught courses in 3D modeling and is currently a part-time instructor at Waukesha County Technical College.
NEW POSITION: Project architect/CAD manager, PCD Midwest Inc., Hartland
EDUCATION: Architectural drafting and construction, Waukesha County Technical College, 1993
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO YOUR NEW OPPORTUNITY: “I’m excited about the growth at PDC Midwest. We have a very specific niche in our industry as an architect-led design/build firm. Clients are very loyal to the efficiencies of our delivery process and the high quality of our work. I’m thrilled to be part of a forward thinking firm.”
THOUGHTS ON YOUR POSITION: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to positively impact the firm through my architectural project involvement and by streamlining CAD processes. As CAD manager, I’ll be leading the charge for constant improvement.”
CAREER ADVICE: “Take every opportunity you can to try new things. Do what you can to become invaluable.”
FIRST JOB: Dishwasher at Country Inn hotel
PERSONAL HERO: Neil Armstrong
LAST BOOK READ: “The Hunger Games” trilogy
PERSON YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO MEET: Albert Einstein
FAMILY: “I’ve been married since 1995 and I have two sons and one daughter, ages 13, 10 and 6.”
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT: “Walt Disney World with the kids”
MOST MEANINGFUL ACCOMPLISHMENT: “Passing all nine (Architectural Registration) exams the first time”
FAVORITE FILM: “The Fugitive” (1993)
FAVORITE MILWAUKEE RESTAURANT: “Saz’s. There’s nothing like having a beer and eating mozzarella marinara down at Summerfest.”
LIKES ABOUT MILWAUKEE: “The Milwaukee Admirals, Summerfest and the fireworks at the lakefront”
WHAT YOU MOST LIKE DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME: “Spending time with family and friends, golfing, attending car shows and watching hockey”
February 8, 2013
From Wind Systems Magazine: “Innovations in Wind Energy Education” – Lakeshore Technical College, located in Cleveland, Wisconsin, offers a two-year associate’s degree program in Wind Energy Technology.
The program consists of 70 hours of coursework and training. Upon completion of the program, graduates are equipped with the education and training required by a number of wind energy careers: including: tower climber, installation technician and O&M technician.
Lakeshore’s program mixes classroom coursework with hands-on experience — including the opportunity to learn on the campus’s four operational wind turbines. Hands-on experience is also gained through a summer field internship or combination site analysis/lab, which are requirements of the program.
Sam Schwochert is in his second year in the Wind Energy Technology program, and is expected to graduate in May.
We spoke with him about his background and aspirations.
WIND SYSTEMS: What attracted you to the Wind industry? Why did you choose LTC?
SAM SCHWOCHERT: I enrolled at LTC to specifically be a part of their Wind Energy Technology program. I chose Wind because it is an interesting, developing field where I can learn a lot, travel, and make a good living. The technology changes quickly, and I like staying “up on it.” From the research that I did on schools that had renewable energy programs, LTC was one of the best, and it was also in my backyard, so this was an easy choice. My father has a long- standing interest in Wind turbines, and he’s always encouraged me to do something that’s both challenging and would allow me to make a living.
WS: What are your expectations post-graduation with your degree from LTC?
SS: After graduation this May, I would like to start by getting a job in “Big Wind” with any of the major players. Ideally I’ll begin on a turbine maintenance crew, because I think that is the fastest way to learn as much as possible. I’d like to move to Texas if possible, and my ultimate goal is to become a Mechanical Engineer and help to design Wind turbines.
WS: What is your prior experience?
SS: I was raised in Elkhart Lake, WI; a little town about an hour North of Milwaukee. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a love to anything that had some kind of mechanical function. I’m pretty sure this started by being around the family business, Rhine Auto, Inc. (a salvage yard), and working on my father and uncle’s stock car racing teams. We’ve won four out of the last six championships. Before starting school at LTC I worked as a landscaper and concrete laborer; I loved every minute of these jobs, but realized that that I wanted to get into something that had more of a mechanical bend to it, so here we are.
WS: Can you talk about last summer’s internship?
SS: During the summer of 2012 I interned as a Wind Turbine Tech with Kettle View Renewable Energy out of Random Lake, WI. LTC and my Wind teacher, Matt Boor, contacted us [students] weekly with internship opportunities. The boss at KVRE, Randy Faller, gave me every chance to learn everything I could, and I’m thankful for that. Other KVRE employees were also really helpful and eager to help me learn; I learned a lot about the nuts and bolts of maintenance, and LTC helped me quite a bit with the electrical side of things.
WS: Specifically, why do you like working on Wind turbines?
SS: From what I’ve experienced so far, the job is something different every day. There is so much to learn that I haven’t even touched yet, and this is really inspiring.
Lakeshore Wind Energy Technology instructor Matt Boor encourages employers, to contact him through the program should they have interests in employing LTC students and graduates, including Schwochert.
The enrollment deadline for the program is in early August. For more in- formation about Lakeshore Technical College’s Wind Energy Technology program, call 920-693-1127 or visit http://www.gotoltc.com/Programs/ windEnergy/.
January 25, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Newsmakers Q & A Fox Valley Technical College unveils new culinary arts theater” – Culinary arts instructors at Fox Valley Technical College have a new teaching tool: the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Theatre.
The theater is a tiered classroom with an industrial demonstration kitchen. It seats about 120 people and it’s loaded with the latest in technology and food service equipment.
Mike Ciske, FVTC’s food services director, spoke last week about the new theater on Newsmakers, The Post-Crescent’s online issues show. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview.
Can you go through some of the different cooking techniques you can practice in the theater?
We have everything from induction cooking to traditional broilers, griddles, gas stovetops, convection ovens, steamers — all industrial-grade, all restaurant-style cookware so that, when the students are in there or there are community-based events, they’ll be able to see things as they would happen in a traditional restaurant or hotel kitchen. So from that standpoint, they’ll be able to take the things they see and take them back into their labs, and be able to do them on the exact same type of equipment.
The theater does look like something off the Food Network. Can you describe the technology?
The 120 seats are tiered, and students have the advantage of three very large LED monitors that will show one of three camera feeds that are located above the cooking areas or in the back of the room. No matter where you’re seated, you’re going to get a good view. And the cameras can zoom in, so you can basically see the head of a pin on the monitors. From a cooking standpoint, you can see tails on a shrimp as if you were looking at a cookbook.
What kind of advantage will the theater give culinary arts students?
I think it does a couple of things. The popularity of the Food Network and cooking shows on TV are part of the reason we’ve had such a groundswell of new students in the culinary arts. This really brings that home for them, and engages the student who is four or five rows back and can see things and smell things. That theatricality really keeps students engaged in their education.
It also gives them the opportunity to jump behind the counter, jump behind the demo table and work on those skills — their people skills, their soft skills, their ability to share their knowledge, which is what their employers are looking for. They’re not only looking for skilled culinarians, they’re looking for people who can teach their skills as well. This is one way for them to learn that in a safe way, among their peers.
The new theater cost about $1.8 million to build, and was not part of the referendum at FVTC. How was this program funded? What part did Jones Dairy Farm have to play?
Jones is a very old, family-run business in Fort Atkinson. I had some ties with the farm, and we’ve had a long relationship with them. They were looking for a way to give back to the community — the restaurant community, the hospitality community. Through the course of two or three years, we just kept in touch and showed them what we do at Fox Valley Tech. Eventually, they came up with a challenge grant, then it was up to us to match that. That was the exciting part. It was challenging, but it allowed us to reach out to other industry partners, and get them on board with what we’re doing at the Tech.
It sounds like there was a lot of support from the restaurant industry in this area. When did they come forward?
We had over 30 donors of all different types, some of them quite large and some of them quite small. We got a tremendous amount of support from local restauranteurs, the lodging association, manufacturers. Wisconsin’s home to a ton of food and equipment manufacturers, and there were very few doors that Jeff (Igel, chair of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Department at FVTC) and myself knocked on that we weren’t met with a very positive response. It was something we thought the school needed. We thought the students could really use it and put it to good use. The restaurant and hospitality industry are very forward-thinking that way. They’re very community involved, so that when something like this comes up, they really jump at the chance to get involved.
Will FVTC use the theater for public cooking classes?
Yes, and those classes are in the works right now. I’d imagine that a few will be offered in the spring, and I’d imagine they could range from evenings, to weekends. The theater is pretty busy during the week, with cooking classes and other FVTC uses, but I can see it being available to the community quite a bit for classes, presentations, any type of event that would need a theater. It’s very multipurpose, and I think it’s limitless what we could see in there.
January 11, 2013
From sheboyganpress.com: “Ten questions everyone should ask when choosing a college” — By Mike Lanser, president Lakeshore Technical College - Choosing a college has always been an important decision and there are more options than ever before. Working adults may be adding a multitude of online learning choices to their consideration list, while high school seniors and their parents might be thinking about campus safety and student life.
These are important considerations, but I’d like to offer you a list of 10 questions to ask when choosing your college. The answers to these questions not only affect where you start college, but where you will end — which for most people is a successful and rewarding career.
1. Is the college accredited?
Accreditation ensures that the institution adheres to rigorous standards of quality, process improvement and excellence which must be evidenced through documentation and on-site visits by the accrediting body. Lakeshore Technical College is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission, which is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. To find out if the college you’re considering is accredited, visit ncahlc.org.
2. Is the education or credential you’re pursuing valued by potential employers? Ask for job placement rates.
You want to be sure your hard work and investment in college pays off. One indication that employers value the education you’re paying for is to find out about graduates’ job placement. LTC conducts a job placement survey of graduates each year. Last year, 4 out of 5 LTC grads were hired in 6 months or less following graduation.
3. What are the pass rates for students taking certification exams?
Many career-targeted programs promise that they will prepare you for licensure exams. Be sure to ask for pass rates from students who have taken the program previously. It can be good indicator of the program’s quality of instruction. At LTC, our students exceed the national average pass rates for certification exams by 15%.
4. What are the qualifications of the faculty, or better yet, can you meet them?
The quality of your learning experience is in your instructors’ hands. Do they have real-world experience in the area that they’re teaching. Are they certified instructors? Meeting your instructors is also a great way to enhance your understanding about the degree program you’re pursuing as well as your ultimate career goal. LTC instructors have worked in the fields they’re teaching and they welcome the opportunity to talk with students considering our college.
5. Is the program you’re considering offering college credit?
Many colleges offer both credit and non-credit offerings. Be sure to note whether you will earn college credit or not and whether your completion or credential earned will be recognized by potential employers.
6. What is the cost per credit?
Credits are a great way to compare apples to apples. If you’re paying $50 more for every credit, your college expense can really add up. Worse, if you’re not earning credit for the education you’re receiving you’ll want to consider how that could affect your future employment or education plans.
7. What kind of support will the college offer to help you succeed in meeting your educational and career goals?
You might have had areas in high school which challenged you, or maybe you’ve been out of school for a long time. Neither should be reasons for not pursuing your college degree, particularly if your college has services to help you be successful. LTC offers a wide range of free student success services ranging from peer tutors and support groups to academic counseling and career placement services.
8. Will you have the ability to build on your education to help you advance in your career?
Learning is life-long and many employers recognize this through employee tuition reimbursement programs. Keep this possibility in mind when you select a college because you may decide to continue your education after being on-the-job for a number of years. LTC has agreements with over 30 colleges and universities, including Silver Lake, Lakeland, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay so our graduates can continue to grow in their careers.
9. Is the college providing good value for your investment?
In addition to cost per credit comparisons, take a look at other expenses related to your education. Room & board if you’ll live on-campus, how many years it will take to complete your program, and the availability of financial aid and scholarships.
10. How long has the college been in operation?
You want your college degree, diploma or certificate to lead to job. While not a guarantee for your personal success, you can be assured a college has the commitment and resources to help you succeed when they have a proven history of doing so. LTC is proud to be celebrating a century of educating students for high-demand, local careers.
By answering these ten questions you’ll be armed with good information about the colleges you’re considering and ultimately which one will be the best fit for you to achieve your education and career goals.
November 6, 2012
From huffingtonpost.com: “Hurricane Sandy Damage Partly Caused by Climate Change Scientists Say” – CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Climate change likely made Hurricane Sandy much worse than it otherwise would have been, scientists said here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.
For one thing, rising sea levels set the stage for a more damaging storm surge, as Hurricane Sandy broke records with a 13.2-foot (4 meters) storm surge in New York City’s Battery Park, said Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann.
“At least 1 foot of those 13.2 feet was arguably due to sea-level rise,” he said. That’s because sea levels are 1 foot (30 centimeters) higher than they were a century ago, he continued.
Sea surface temperatures off the East Coast also contributed to the flooding. Giving rise to above-average levels of water vapor, they helped intensify the storm and produce more rain, he said.
Warmer-than-usual temperatures over Greenland also played a role, said George Stone, a researcher at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
A high-pressure system over the huge island helped to “block” the North Atlantic, pushing the hurricane toward the East Coast, according to researchers. Typically, scientists say, the jet stream instead carries hurricanes eastward into the Atlantic Ocean.
Temperatures in the Arctic have increased dramatically in recent years, scientists say. This summer, a record-breaking, Arctic sea-ice melt stretched across a larger area than any previously measured. Greenland also set records in August with massive melting of its glaciers.
“If [Sandy's] left turn was indeed due to re-distribution of air masses and position of the jet stream, and that in turn was due to Arctic warming, then we might attribute a large part of Sandy to climate change,” Stone said.
Of course, climate change did not create Hurricane Sandy, Mann said. Hurricanes and tropical storms would occur with or without global warming. But many climate models suggest that such storms will become more intense as the planet warms, he said.
Researchers at a special session on Sandy added that the effects of Hurricane Sandy may be felt for quite some time. Several researchers mentioned that the geography of New York made it more susceptible to storm surges. The long and narrow shape of the Long Island Sound, for example, helped to channel the storm surge and make it bigger. Additionally, areas like Battery Park were built from landfill and thus are low-lying and flat.
From sciencecodex.com: “Geological Society of America meeting jumps on Hurricane Sandy” – In response to the devastation caused last week by Hurricane Sandy, organizers of the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting technical sessions on rapid sea-level rise and its impacts have created a break-out discussion panel consisting of geoscience experts. The idea is to relate early findings and discuss how the changes caused by Hurricane Sandy to the U.S. East Coast tie into the scientific papers already scheduled for presentation.
Session organizers George T. Stone of Milwaukee Area Technical College, Michael E. Mann of The Pennsylvania State University, Stanley R. Riggs of East Carolina University, and Andrew M. Buddington of Spokane Community College recognized early the need to discuss the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The newly revised discussion panel will follow morning talks in room 219AB of the Charlotte Convention Center on Monday, 5 November.
Five GSA Divisions (GSA Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology; Environmental and Engineering Geology; Geology and Society; Hydrogeology; Sedimentary Geology) and GSA’s International Section have teamed up with the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers to bring a multidisciplinary perspective to the problem.
September 17, 2012
From wnflam.com: “Experts say insurance fraud is on the rise with struggling economy” – Experts say insurance fraud is on the rise – and most insurers have become much better at catching it.
It’s a hot topic, after authorities said an Argyle man tried to kill his family and burn down his house to get $156,000 in insurance money and a fresh start in life.
Martha Lester-Mittenzwei of Madison College says insurance fraud is more common due to the shaky economy, and the need for people to look for alternative ways of getting money.
The Wisconsin Radio Network says insurance fraud is the second-most popular white collar crime after tax evasion – and one of every five adults surveyed two years ago said it’s acceptable to defraud insurance companies.
Insurance fraud takes many forms. When gas started hitting $4.00, Lester-Mittenzwei said people came up with schemes to report their vehicles stolen to collect the insurance money. That because they couldn’t sell those gas-guzzlers.
Today, Lester-Mittenzwei says most insurers have special investigating adjusters who take over when fraudulent activity is suspected. She said getting behind on a mortgage is a red flag when checking out a fraud suspect.
August 28, 2012
From morainepark.edu: “Moraine Park students place in national electricity competition” – Max Paulus of Fredonia and Istvan Biro of West Bend had a powerful performance in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo. Each competing with about 25 other students, Paulus placed 8th and Istvan placed 12th in the Electrical Construction Wiring and Industrial Motor Control competitions, respectively.
“The students spent time preparing prior to the competition and both seemed very confident going into the competition,” said Mark Wamsley, electricity instructor at Moraine Park. “After experiencing the national competition, we all have ideas on how to improve for next time.”
From fdlreporter.com: “Moraine Park holds first annual Distance Challenge” – Ballistas, slingshots and trebuchets filled Moraine Park Technical College’s courtyard at the first annual Distance Challenge at the Fond du Lac campus.
Students from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, the Fond du Lac Home School Association, West Bend East and West High Schools and Slinger High School formed teams and built contraptions with the goal of launching a rubber ball the greatest distance.
“We wanted a competition that required students to design, build and troubleshoot,” said Tom Roehl, Moraine Park Process Engineering Technology instructor. “We’re hoping to grow this in the future because local employers are very concerned about the skilled labor shortage, and it’s young people like this that are the future of manufacturing.”
The Fond du Lac Home School Association had a team of two sets of brothers: Isaiah and Sam LaVanway and Noah and Josiah Poss. Their giraffe-like contraption used a counterweight and two hockey sticks to make a trebuchet design. The giraffe ended up launching the rubber ball 88 feet and 2 inches.
Dawn Poss, mother of Noah and Josiah, said it was an excellent learning experience for the team.
“Through the building process, they learned endurance and patience. They had to see what wasn’t working, analyze it and learn from it,” Poss said.
Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School came in first by launching their object 184 feet and 2 inches. Students Ethan Hau and Jordan Kissinger’s winning device was a slingshot design. The duo used surgical tubes, two-by-fours and canvas to create “Slingshot 5,000.”
Slinger High School’s Zach Rueckl came in second at 111 feet and 4 inches. Rueckl’s “Proto II” contraption used a ballista design. Rueckl’s distance goal was to break 100 feet, which he accomplished.
Coming in third at 111 feet was a team from West Bend East and West High Schools consisting of students Nathan Groth, Austin Pelzman, Isaac Theis and Samuel Nagrocki. Their “Second Chance” resistance slingshot got its name because they scrapped their first machine when they weren’t happy with the results.
Rob Bauer, who works at Waukesha Metal Products in the tool and die area, said the competition sparked both excitement and creativity.
“We are always looking for skilled workers, and this is a great way to get students thinking about careers early. If they have an interest in this type of field, we can get them to the right career path early on,” he said.
May 24, 2012
From wdio.com: “WITC students bring technology skills to Guatemala” – It’s a different country and a different culture, but the need for technology is the same. A school of about 70 students in Guatemala only had a few computers that weren’t exactly up to snuff, “Most of them were around ten years old. The computers were very infected with viruses,” recent WITC graduate Jacob Koval said.
So every morning for ten days, the tech savvy students fixed them up. They also donated twelve laptops, “It was a way for me to take the skills I just learned and actually put them into a real world application,” recent WITC graduate Carl Haughn said.
But their itinerary had room for fun too. During lunch, the five students took a break to see the sights, and play a few pick-up games of soccer with locals. Roles reversed in the afternoon. Students became teachers, demonstrating computer and software skills to staff. As they worked to close the digital divide, they also had to overcome a language barrier.
“We had already kind of figured out what to say to get them to do what we wanted to do when giving the lessons,” Haughn said.
And they were completely immersed, living with spanish-speaking host families, “It’s always ‘buenos dias’, or ‘buenos tardes’, they’re all very friendly,” Haughn said.
Students said it was a once in a lifetime experience, “I really enjoyed being able to use my skills to help other people out. That’s half the reason I wanted to do this program, I like helping people out,” Koval said.
And the people in Guatemala appreciated the help, and the company, “In addition to helping them with the computers, just interacting with people from somewhere else, I think they really enjoyed it,” WITC IT Network Specialist Instructor Paul Gordon said.
The students graduated just before the trip. Some are now looking for IT careers while others are looking to continue their education.