Two students set by an electronic board as they figure out calculations in one of the engineering labs inside the new STEM Center for UW-Green Bay's Mechanical Engineering Program.

Video: UW-Green Bay’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Craig Brecheisen knew most of his life that he wanted to become a mechanical engineering because of his love of race cars and always trying to figure out how things work. If you love to design or dig into machinery—take things apart, put things back together, and figure out how and why they work—you have it in you to become a mechanical engineer. UW-Green Bay’s Mechanical Engineering Program is the only one of its kind in Northeast Wisconsin and provides you with state-of-the-art technology and hands-on experiences in the brand-new Brown County STEM Innovation Center’s engineering labs on the Green Bay Campus. See the website for more.

Video Transcript: When you realize that you are smart enough and the whole time you were smart enough and you just needed to learn how to work. That’s where the benefit came from. I remember that aha moment that I had when I was at the tech school. Realizing that you had it in you the whole time, you just needed to do the work.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, gave me a chance to earn my Mechanical Engineering degree without having to leave Green Bay. Wow, moment I had, it’s the first time that I ever stepped foot into the new STEM building. Technology is state-of-the-art, top-notch, and brand new. Thermodynamics would be one of my favorite classes. The other class that I really enjoyed was Finite Element Analysis. In this class, you get to create different projects i.e., front-end geometry for race cars. And then put different forces on it to see how it acts. To see if it will hold up, what your design in your head, put in a computer with real-life forces on it, will it last. You actually get something physical to see.

I feel like my instructors are more of mentors than they are the traditional professor to students. The ratio of a student to professor is really low, which allows you to build a rapport with them. They’re always willing to help you and if you’re willing to put in your time, they will help you achieve what you’re looking to achieve.

This campus will always be a huge part of me because this is the beginning of the second half of my life. Like another chapter, where I started from scratch, grew up, learned things, and then went out into the world to apply them. This university gave me a chance to achieve one of my greatest lifetime goals and that’s being a Mechanical Engineer.

A student in Students in Quantity Food Production and Service class slices Bell peppers for the Jamaican Philly sandwiches in the Food Lab at the STEM Center.

Photos: Quantity Foods Practicum in Food Lab

Students in Quantity Food Production and Service class prepare a meal featuring Jamaican Inspired Philly sandwiches, roasted sweet potato fries, and pineapple vanilla parfaits in the Food Lab at the STEM Center on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

UW-Green Bay Quantity Foods Practicum in Food Lab

– Photos by Sue Pischke, Marketing and University Communication.

Jamaican Inspired Philly Sandwich (Yield – 2 servings)
1lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 TBS avocado oil
1 TBS unsalted butter
1-2 TBS Jerk chicken seasoning (more will increase the heat)
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tsp brown sugar
1 crushed chicken bouillon cube
1 sliced red pepper
1 sliced white onion
1 lime
2 TBS mayo
4 slices Provolone cheese
2 Hoagie rolls

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries (Yield – 4 servings)
2 sweet potatoes
1 TBS olive or avacado oil
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp black pepper
2 cloves of garlic (minced or fresh)
6 minutes in convection over 400°F

Pineapple Vanilla Parfait (Yield – 4 servings)
1 ½ c honey graham crackers crushed (1 sleeve of crackers)
¼ c unsalted butter
2 ½ c frozen pineapple chunks
1 c vanilla ice cream
½ c pineapple juice

Brown County STEM Innovation Center wins award for design

Congratulations to Kirsten Martin and the Somerville team for winning an IIDA-WI (International Interior Design Association) Celebrate In Design Award of Excellence for the Brown County STEM Innovation Center for an Educational Space under 100,000 SF. These awards honor innovative solutions and outstanding interior design! See the Facebook post for more details.

Electrical Engineering campaign image - A woman of color interacts with a transparent digital interface

UW-Green Bay now enrolling in Electrical Engineering program

Supercharging the Future by Growing Our Own

GREEN BAY—There comes a time when you just need to grow your own. Such is the case with providing engineering talent in Northeast Wisconsin and UW-Green Bay’s efforts to meet the region’s needs. What started in 2015 with Engineering Technology degrees (mechanical, electrical and environmental) expanded to Mechanical Engineering in fall 2018. This fall, another piece of the puzzle falls into place when the University begins enrolling new freshman into its new Electrical Engineering program.

John Katers, Ph.D.
John Katers, Dean of Science, Engineering and Technology

“UW-Green Bay is meeting the demand for engineers due to the manufacturing growth in the Green Bay area and the NEW North region,” said UW-Green Bay’s Dean of Science, Engineering and Technology, John Katers. “As the economy continues to shift toward one of innovation and technology—even in historically important manufacturing sectors like the paper industry—electrical engineers are in high demand. Because we have such a strong employer base in the area who can offer internships and other hands-on experiences, we can grow that kind of talent right here. It’s very exciting to be able to meet this demand.”

The region’s need for more engineers has been well documented. According to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the need for the next generation of engineers is not being met by the current schools and programs in the UW System. That report indicates the need for electrical engineers in Wisconsin and in the New North in particular, where electrical engineers are imported from other states. (1)  The New North region in particular demonstrates need for several types of engineers, especially electrical engineers, while lacking the educational programs to develop them locally. The Greater Green Bay Chamber Economic Development Strategic Plan (2) also emphasized the need for more engineers in the region and called for the expansion of engineering education programs, specifically at UW-Green Bay.  National projections for growth in electrical engineering also remain strong at 8.6% through 2026. (3)  In Wisconsin, growth in electrical engineering is projected to be 24%. (4)

According to Katers, the high demand for engineering talent presents a great opportunity for both high school graduates and adults considering a degree in electrical engineering. “Our engineering technology graduates see almost 100% job placement after graduation. The jobs are definitely out there in manufacturing, utility companies, research and development, and communication technologies.”

UW-Green Bay engineering students are able to test their skills in the 63,00 square foot, $15-million, state-of-the-art Brown County STEM Innovation Center at UW-Green Bay which houses the Resch School of Engineering, The Einstein Project, Brown County Extension and Brown County Land & Water Conservation. In addition, lab designs have been approved for a $5.7 million renovation of space to meet specific needs of Electrical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Technology. Completion of this hands-on instructional space is expected by January 2022. For more, see the electrical engineering facilities page.

Bill Lynch, vice president of Engineering at Faith Technologies, a growing, nationally recognized electrical design-build construction firm, believes in growing the talent the region needs right here. “We believe the program at UW-Green Bay will enable prospective students who are unwilling or unable to attend universities outside of the area to obtain an engineering degree that would otherwise be unavailable to them,” Lynch shared. “We also believe enabling students to obtain advanced degrees from a University close in proximity encourages them to remain in the local communities of Northeast Wisconsin.” Faith employs in excess of 100 electrical engineers to support design-build electrical projects.

New freshman can enroll immediately in the four-year Electrical Engineering degree starting this fall.  The program includes required courses on electrical circuits, electronic devices, signals and systems, and energy conversion. Elective courses can include subject areas on advanced programmable logic controllers and automation, electrical power systems, and communications. For more information: www.uwgb.edu/electrical-engineering/

Resch School of Engineering

The Resch School of Engineering is the fastest growing school at UW-Green Bay, enrolling students across the following programs: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Technology (electrical, environmental, mechanical), Mathematics and Science, and Mechanical Engineering. UW-Green Bay named its expanded School of Engineering after Richard J. Resch, following his $5 million lead gift in 2018 to help build the Brown County STEM Innovation Center at UW-Green Bay.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving 8,970 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students and 79,604 continuing education enrollees each year across all campus locations. We educate students from pre-college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2020, UW-Green Bay was the fastest growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

References

  1. National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), “Baccalaureate and Master’s Engineering Degree Supply and Demand in Wisconsin” submitted to the University of Wisconsin System (2015).
  2. Greater Green Bay Chamber, “Economic Development Strategic Plan” (May 2017).
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections.
  4. U.S. Department of Labor, Career Onestop, Projected Employment for Electrical Engineers in Wisconsin.

Determined leader: Dean Katers is recognized for regional efforts in science and sustainability

He is a determined leader and a UW-Green Bay alumnus who continues to inspire.

Dean of UW-Green Bay’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology, John Katers, was recognized by two major organizations this fall for his dedication to science, engineering, and sustainability.

Katers persistence and leadership in the drive for engineering degrees and the long-awaited Resch School of Engineering at UW-Green Bay, and his unwavering commitment toward the establishment of the Brown County STEM Innovation Center on the Green Bay Campus, has no doubt added to his legacy.

In late August, Katers received word that the Central States Water Environment Association (CSWEA), named him the three-state organization’s 2020 William C. Boyle Educator of the Year Award. The award recognizes accomplishments in the education and development of future water environment professionals by educators at all levels, from primary grades through graduate students. Katers believes his long history with NEW Water, a government utility that reclaims waters and promote pollution prevention and water conservation, may have led to the nomination. Many of his former students work at the organization.

John Katers

Under normal circumstances, the award would have been presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting in August. His award will also be announced in the next publication of Central States Water, and Katers will be recognized at CSWEA’s 2021 Annual Meeting.

“A big congratulations to you on your well-deserved award and for all your essential work in keeping our waters clean and sustainable for generations to come,” said Jane Carlson, second president of CSWEA. “Your ongoing commitment to the protection of our water environment is greatly appreciated.”

And just last week (Friday, Sept. 18), Katers was presented the 2020 Wisconsin Section American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Engineer in Education Individual Merit Award. The list of award winners through the years included Dr. Al Zanoni (1998) and Dr. Tom Wenzel (1996), two of Katers’ former faculty members and mentors at Marquette University where he completed his Ph.D.

“Dr. Zanoni was my major professor at Marquette and I believe I am the only Ph. D. student of his that finished, while Dr. Wenzel was the Chair of Engineering,” Katers said. “I am not sure that I am entirely deserving of the award, as we have a great team of people at UWGB and in CSET that do remarkable work with our students each and every day, but I am very proud to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Zanoni who I greatly respected as an educatorbecause of his passion and dedication to training the next generation of engineers.”

The Engineer in Education Individual Merit Award is given to those who contribute to civil engineering through actions that serve to advance the art, science or technology of civil engineering.

Katers currently chairs the Brown County Solid Waste Board and has done extensive research on solid waste management and recycling, agricultural waste management and treatment, and pollution control and waste minimization.

In the featured photo, Katers welcomes the Green Bay Packers to the Tiny Earth kick-off (a search for antibiotics) press conference at the STEM Innovation Center in Sept. 2019.

$1.5 million in equipment arrives at Brown County STEM Center on the UW-Green Bay Campus | Insight on Business

“At a community event Thursday, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay celebrated the debut of $1.5 million in equipment that was recently delivered to the Brown County STEM Innovation Center. The new resources will help prepare the next generation of engineers and others headed into STEM careers.” Read more via $1.5 million in equipment arrives at Brown County STEM Center | Insight on Business.

As demand for engineering program exceeds expectations, UW-Green Bay installs $1.5 million worth of equipment | Green Bay Press Gazette

“The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay opened its new STEM Innovation Center to the public last week to showcase $1.5 million of new equipment for its engineering students.” Read more via ‘Kids love it’: As demand for engineering program exceeds expectations, UW-Green Bay installs $1.5 million worth of equipment | Green Bay Press Gazette. 

All are invited to celebrate the arrival of new equipment to the STEM Center, Feb. 20

Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member of UW-Green Bay, local media or just a curious community member, everyone is invited to come celebrate the exciting arrival of new equipment to the Brown County STEM Innovation Center on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The $1.5 million of equipment comes from LAB Midwest and has made the journey from Germany to Green Bay in the past months.

A media event will begin at 12:15 p.m., with tours and equipment demonstrations to showcase the importance of this arrival to Northeast Wis.

In addition, there will be an Open House from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. which includes building tours, STEM related activities with Brown County, UW-Extension and 4-H, Einstein Project Open House and equipment demonstrations with Engineering faculty.

Questions about the event can be directed to Director of Development Jacob Depas at depasj@uwgb.edu.

Brown County STEM Innovation Center grand opening

It’s Full STEAM Ahead with New STEM Innovation Center

There’s something truly special about this place. The brand-new 63,000-square-foot Brown County STEM Innovation Center on the UW-Green Bay campus faces south from the brow of a low hill just west of UW-Green Bay’s Laboratory Sciences building. Its horizontal stance is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style design and is surrounded by open spaces and natural vegetation.

The glass-and-steel frame suggests a modern facility with an industrial flair, open to the world, focused on the future. And that’s exactly what its inhabitants plan to deliver.

STEM Center grand opening
Brown County STEM Innovation Center Grand Opening

Inside, the lobby is sun-filled and colorful, with geometric designs on the walls and a vaulted ceiling that opens to second-floor classrooms and offices. A donor recognition wall dominates the west wall, and letters on an overhead bridge welcome you to the Richard J. Resch School of Engineering, with all of its promises.

“We see this facility as a catalyst for STEM education and business partnerships in Northeast Wisconsin,” said John Katers, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “We want to make this region competitive with other parts of the state and the nation in terms of innovation and sustainability. This facility has the potential to attract the faculty, students and business partners to support that vision.

“This is a $15-million facility,” he continued, “with $5 million in funding each coming from the State of Wisconsin, Brown County and private donors. “We broke ground in September 2018 and opened the doors in September 2019. That’s a really quick accomplishment for agencies like ours, and I don’t think it could have happened without the right partners.”

Co-location creates many synergistic relationships. The University of Wisconsin-Extension Brown County program shares the first floor with Brown County’s Land & Water Conservation department. These agencies often interact with the public and provide complementary programming, so having their offices close to each other enhances public access.

East of the lobby and sharing its wall of windows is a large classroom space with partitionable walls. With the walls in place, the space configures into four classrooms. Without partitions, the space can accommodate up to 120 people for collaboration, symposiums and receptions. Just around the corner marks the entrance to the offices of the Einstein Project, which provides educational curriculum and hands-on materials for teachers and students, with a focus on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The Einstein Project area includes a warehouse for the hundreds of instructional materials they distribute to school districts across the state and a “makerspace”—a place where people (including engineering students) collaborate to share tools, materials and expertise on all sorts of creative and technical endeavors.

At the east end of the second floor, overlooking the main lobby, are three dedicated laboratory classrooms, one each for fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and instrumentation and controls.

STEM-Center-Aerial-1

Heading west across the bridge from the engineering labs, a door leads to a small, outdoor patio on the south side of the building. The patio is surrounded by a “green roof” of groundcover-like plants. UW-Extension will maintain the green roof, and participants in its Master Gardener program will maintain the gardens surrounding the building, including   the Jim and Doris Madigan Rose Garden. Also, on the second floor, there are faculty offices and small gathering spaces for faculty-student and student-student collaboration.

Another collaborative area is an instructional kitchen shared by the extension staff and the University. The extension staff prepares food samples they take to public schools as part of their FoodShare education program, and the University conducts classes as part of its Nutritional Science and Dietetics program.

“None of us could have afforded an instructional facility of this quality by ourselves,” said Katers. “Together, though, we were able to do it. You can already see the benefits for UW-Extension, our University programs, and students from the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay also receive instruction here. Eventually, this space will support our new Masters of Nutrition and Wellness program, expected to be in place by 2021.”

Even as Katers and his partners are racing to get the facility up to full speed, they are looking to the future.

“If you noticed, the sign near the donor wall in the lobby references ‘Phoenix Innovation Park,’” said Katers. “We have another 60-plus acres of land in this area for potential use. We don’t necessarily want to develop all of it, and we don’t have a timetable in mind, but now that we’ve made this partnership work, we’re open to other long-term aspirational partners who might want to develop their research and innovation operations here.”

If you can’t visit the Brown County STEM Innovation Center in person, take advantage of an online opportunity by searching “Brown County STEM Center Virtual Tour.”

–Story by freelance writer Jim Streed ’05

See also: