College Joins GE, Riverside High to Introduce Students to Engineering Careers

On Nov. 9, 78 upperclassmen—primarily AP students— from Riverside High School visited GE Healthcare for an up-close look at high-tech, engineering careers. Next stop: the labs and foundry at UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science.

If at day’s end some students visualized careers in engineering, and UWM as the place to earn their engineering degrees, then this initiative between UWM, GE and Riverside High School was a success.

“Most of the students have interests related to STEM but not that many are thinking specifically about engineering, partly because they don’t fully understand what it entails or why it is a good career choice,” says Dean Brett Peters. And while most are considering colleges, UWM is not on all their lists, he says. “This is the first time on campus for many of them.”

At Riverside High School, Ramona Phillips, the school’s AP coordinator and member of this initiative’s steering committee, tells students that STEM-related careers offer challenging opportunities and the chance to work with cutting-edge technology.

From her point of view, the day was a success. “The students loved it,” Phillips said. “They enjoyed the engineers’ presentations at GE, then seeing the academic path that could lead to such careers at the College of Engineering & Applied Science.”

While on campus, Peters welcomed students to UWM and the college; the admissions and financial aid offices provided information on applying to UWM and financial support options; Ashlie Schaffner, Academic Advisor, gave an overview of engineering; and the students met with representatives from several student organizations.

Peters hopes future STEM initiatives with Riverside will include lowerclassmen. “It would be ideal to give them consistent exposure to UWM and to engineering throughout their high school years,” he said.