Six Students Earn Mechanical Engineering Degree at UWFox
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Six students were recently awarded the Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, 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 six students finished their degree requirements this past December, at the end of the fall 2007 semester.
The new mechanical engineers are Stacy Ackerman (Oshkosh), Eric Berg (Appleton), Daniel Birr (Appleton), Jeffrey Ewald (Appleton), Michael Gehrke (Weyauwega), and Derek Murphy (Menasha).
Several of the recent graduates reflected on their experiences as students in the in the Fox Valley Engineering Program. “The UWFox location is excellent in that there are many employers in the area that are willing to work with students as interns,” said Birr, who is employed by Voith Paper, Inc. “For most of us those internships turned into full-time jobs even before graduation.”
“Being in the middle of a very industrial region created the opportunity to get real world experience, and the night classes allowed for a full work day,” said Gehrke, who also works for Voith Paper, Inc. “I started my ME program in Platteville and would have stayed there if this program had not been available.”
Murphy, who works for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, said that having the engineering program at UWFox “provided me with the opportunity to maintain and progress in my full-time career while attending classes. My company’s tuition reimbursement policy covered nearly all of my expenses.”
Birr added, “The UWFox campus has great faculty and small class sizes. The program is set up for night classes which gave the ability to all students to work during the day and take classes at night.” He observed that, “This is a great degree to have and it will help me with more than just my career. The Fox Cities area is in need of mechanical engineers with many unfilled positions.”
Gehrke felt that he was “able to save a lot of money in tuition and housing costs and I was able to stay closer to home, which is important to me. I can’t remember what it’s like to have free time. It should be interesting to find out again.”
Birr and Gehrke earned their M.E. degrees in four and half years. Murphy said that it took him, “Thirteen semesters, several summers, and one ‘winterim,’ equaling seven and a half glorious years. I had to balance the time I was away from classes while maintaining flexibility and availability for my employer. There were usually sacrifices on each side, but I seemed to find a way to satisfy school and work needs successfully.”
Ackerman is employed by GE Oil & Gas; Ewald is also with Voith Paper, Inc; and Berg works for Industrial Ventilation, Inc.
The UWFox/UW-Platteville collaborative engineering program began in 2002, and has had five graduating classes (December 2005, 2006, 2007 and May 2006, 2007) with a total of 26 students awarded their mechanical engineering degree.
All 26 of the mechanical engineering graduates are currently employed in northeast Wisconsin, and 23 working in or near the Fox Cities.