Program Description

The School of Freshwater Sciences has developed a partnership with the Water Council and local technical colleges to recruit students interested in water science. Students interested in transferring to UWM receive mentoring prior to arrival on campus, and opportunities aimed at progressing toward their bachelor’s degree. UWM works closely with the UW-System office to replicate the project at additional UW campuses. Students participating in the program are recruited from Milwaukee Area Technical College, Waukesha County Technical College, and Gateway Technical College.

UWM Report: Water Program Links Students to Careers

The WATER SYS-STEM program is made possible through a collaboration with the Business and Higher Education Forum (BHEF). BHEF developed an Undergraduate STEM Interventions with Industry (USI2) program through a National Science Foundation grant. USI2 recruited 5 regional academic member sites with strong local business partners to implement evidence-based interventions. These were designed to increase student persistence and completion in STEM disciplines, producing a diverse, highly skilled talent pool equipped with workplace competencies required by businesses. The consortium will work to both raise the number of community college transfer students to four-year institutions, and to provide the support and guidance needed to ensure their completion of an undergraduate degree in a STEM discipline.

BHEF academic member sites and their business partners include:

  • The Miami Dade College and NextEra Energy
  • The Northeastern University and IBM / Raytheon
  • The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and The Water Council
  • The University of Missouri-St. Louis/Washington University in St. Louis and Boeing Company
  • The City University of New York and IBM




Program Features:

  • Paid summer internship in a water related industry
  • Research experiences with School of Freshwater Sciences research scientists
  • Support for students transferring to UWM to complete a 4 year degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) major
  • Professional seminars and workshops
  • UWM Faculty and industry mentors

Benefits to Student Interns

  • Develop working, experiential knowledge of future career requirements
  • Support students during summer to remain enrolled in fall and to graduation
  • Work closely, and hands-on, with both University scientists and Industry employees
  • Both practical and academic involvement with water technology companies and the University

Why are Companies Getting Involved?

Benefits of Participating in the WATER SYS-STEM Program:

  • Summer assistance on a project
  • Support upcoming students
  • Find potential future employees
  • Improve leadership skills in current employees
  • Gain new energy and perspective for your company
  • Open collaborations with UWM-SFS and other UWM Technology expert scientists
  • Pay It Forward to the Community
Characteristics of Program Interns:

  • Have completed at least 1 year of technical college in a water related career
  • From a low income, first generation college students, or underrepresented background
  • Professional skills training
  • Research experience and support from the School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS)