UW-Platteville receives National Science Foundation grant for partnership with College of Menominee Nation and UW-Madison

December 17, 2010

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PLATTEVILLE- The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has partnered with UW-Madison and the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena to bring a grant from the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program to campus. This grant, funded through the National Science Foundation, helps to bring American Indian students to larger universities, and allows them to become more active in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs on campus.

CMN initiated a proposal to the National Science Foundation for the advocacy of bringing a grant from the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program to their campus. As part of this grant, CMN asked UW-Platteville and UW-Madison to be collaborative partners.

The grant's purpose is to structure a two-year program at CMN that gives students who want to pursue engineering an avenue to pre-engineering education before they decide to attend a larger college such as UW-Platteville. CMN will use the grant money to obtain more staff, equipment and build more laboratories to work in. UW-Platteville will use its portion of the money to help advise and support the students' development during and after completion of their program at CMN.

Many of the programs that are offered at UW-Platteville such as First Year Experience, Student Support Services and the STEM Scholars grant will support this new grant at UW-Platteville.

David Kunz, chair of the UW-Platteville Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, explained how UW-Platteville and CMN will work together with the new grant. "We will have a liaison in Keshena to begin to build relationships with the students, and we'll help them become familiar with the faculty and campus so that they are comfortable here." Kunz added that the liaison would help prepare students for new curriculum and campus life, helping them transition smoothly to UW-Platteville.

Students from CMN choosing to attend UW-Platteville are encouraged to attend the Explore Engineering Program offered in the summer by the engineering department. The program provides a one-credit course to high school students who later enroll at UW-Platteville. This program gives them hands-on experience with seven areas of UW-Platteville's engineering program and allows the students to experience what a college course would be like.

CMN students may also have the opportunity to receive scholarship funds from the grant, as well as participate in a co-operative experience. "Over half our students participate in co-ops, where they go out into the industry and work for nine months," said Kunz. "The industry supports them, guides them and treats them like engineers."

Kunz added that he feels that "improving diversity has always been a focal point at UW-Platteville. Our faculty is extremely interested in making a difference."

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