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Five Students Earn Engineering Degree at UWFox

WFRV TV5’s Paul Evanson (left) and
UWFox’s Carla Rabe (right) help
“Career Makeover” contest winner
Brad Kemp (center) hold up his “check.”

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Left to right: Ryan Rollins, Jacob Leeman,
Brian Polly, and Zachary Esterling

Five students are being awarded the Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering degree, through the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley and University of Wisconsin-Platteville collaborative engineering program, which is housed at the UWFox campus in Menasha. The five students finished their degree requirements in May 2009. Four of the five students are being presented with their degrees at the UWFox commencement ceremony held on May 21, at 7:00 p.m. in the UWFox Fieldhouse.

Four of the students are earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. They are Zachary Esterling (Green Bay), Jacob Leeman (Black Creek), Brian Polly (Menasha) and Ryan Rollins (De Pere).

The fifth student, Nick Wara, (Oshkosh) has the distinction of being the very first student to earn a B.S. in Electrical Engineering through the UWFox/UW-Platteville collaborative engineering program. He will not be attending the commencement ceremony.

Wara said, “It was extremely helpful to have an engineering program in the Fox Valley because it allowed me to work full time and complete my degree requirements. Without this program I would not have been able to pursue my engineering degree.”

Leeman agreed with Wara. “I was very pleased when I found out there was an engineering program offered at UWFox. I liked staying in the area and I probably would not have gone for my engineering degree if I would have had to move to some far-away campus. What I enjoyed most about the program was the small class sizes and all the one-on-one attention the teachers were able to provide.”

Rollins said, “This program was very helpful since moving to an alternative university would be difficult for my children, my wife and me. My kids have their friends and family near them and my wife has an excellent career.”

“The UW-Platteville professors are first rate,” said Polly. “I feel very fortunate to have been their student. I’ve developed a number of tools which I feel will help me reach my full potential. It was extremely helpful having this engineering program at UWFox. I didn’t want to relocate when I was working and without this program I may not have continued my education.”

Rollins credited three things that he felt were the best attributes of the engineering program at UWFox. “The student to teacher ratio allowed for detailed learning on many topics. The hours that the classes were scheduled [in the late afternoon and evening] allowed for full-time employment. And, the location…it’s great for businesses to hire co-op students and interns that have been with the company and for us – the students – to be able to stay near our homes and families.”

Wara, who was employed at Plexus as a Test Design Engineer while he was enrolled in the engineering program at UWFox, explained how he tried to balance his work, study and personal time while pursuing his degree. “For me, it was very difficult to balance my time, but work and school were my main responsibilities, so they took priority over my personal time. Now that I’m graduating, it will be nice to have more personal time.”

This is the seventh graduating class of mechanical engineers through the Fox Cities-based program with 36 students being awarded the mechanical engineering degree since the collaborative program began.

The UWFox/UW-Platteville collaborative engineering program began in 2002, and has had six graduating classes (December 2005, 2006, 2007 and May 2006, 2007, 2008) of mechanical engineers.

All 36 of the previous mechanical engineering graduates are currently employed in northeast Wisconsin, with at least 30 working in or near the Fox Cities. This year’s class of graduates has its eyes set on staying in northeast Wisconsin as well.

For more information about the Fox Valley Engineering program, please contact Jenny Jensen or Cathy Bronold, at 920-832-2854 or via email, jennifer.jensen@uwc.edu or cathleen.bronold@uwc.edu.

Posted 05/21/2009