Donated microscopes making a difference for kids in Milwaukee Public Schools

Posted on March 10, 2017

The College’s Department of Biomedical Sciences (BMS) has donated 17 microscopes to Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). The department made the donation, which is equivalent to $1,700, this past fall.

Elizabeth Liedhegner, PhD, spearheaded the idea and helped to facilitate the donation. Liedhegner was initially inspired in 2014 when she visited the Frederick J. Gaenslen School in Milwaukee to talk to students about careers in the biomedical sciences.

“Upon entering the classroom,” Liedhegner related, “I saw how eager the students were to learn about career options related to biological sciences. There was a keen enthusiasm about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in general, and I was very happy to see specific interest in biology and biomedical topics.”

“It is my hope that these microscopes can be a tool to help provide a sustainable foundation to encourage students to continue with their interest in STEM disciplines, and help develop the scientists of tomorrow.”

Science equipment is notoriously expensive for school districts. As a laboratory manager for BMS, Liedhegner saw an opportunity to fill that need when the department upgraded its microscopes.

To coordinate the legal aspects of the donation, Liedhegner worked closely with Joe Maddelena, CFRE, director, UWM Foundation Relations and Jeri-Anne Lyons, PhD, CHS associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs and associate professor in BMS. From there, Rochelle Sandrin, science curriculum specialist for MPS, directed the microscopes to the school most in need.

Sandrin expressed her gratitude for the donation. “I want to personally thank Dr. Liedhegner and UWM for their gift. Our teachers are excited to have additional resources to use with students as they explore and learn in their science courses.”