The University of Wisconsin-Platteville celebrated a new milestone in its longtime partnership with Plexus Corp. at last week's naming celebration event and ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the Plexus Women in STEM Center. The new Plexus Women in STEM Center opened last fall and offers a supportive community to help women prosper at both UW-Platteville and in their careers.
“We’ve had an incredible first year in the new Plexus Women in STEM Center in Sesquicentennial Hall,” said Kim Sargent, senior program manager for the Women in STEM Program. “The Women in STEM Program is honored to partner with Plexus in our mission to recruit and retain more women in the STEM fields.”
The center is a hub of mentoring, outreach and success programs that engage UW-Platteville students and thousands of students in grades 5-12.
“The new location [in Sesquicentennial Hall] gives us the recognition and visibility to help us serve the 1,000-plus women in STEM majors on campus,” said Sargent. “What is most important is that we have a community through the center and many years to make memories going forward.”
Plexus’ partnership with UW-Platteville is critical to fulfilling its vision of helping create the products that build a better world, said Mike Running, Plexus senior vice president of Quality and Regulatory and Global Engineering Solutions.
“Part of who Plexus is and our culture of inclusion and diversity focuses on the idea that to solve the problems of today and tomorrow, we need to have different experiences and different backgrounds come together as a team to solve these complex challenges that are facing our customers,” said Running. “Key to that has been hiring more women and getting our engineering workforce more diversified in that manner. We continue to be 100% committed to hiring and empowering women within Plexus, but we want to do more than that – not just help Plexus, but help the broader community. There’s no better way than having great partners like we do with UW-Platteville.”
Nearly 90 UW-Platteville alumni – with a combined tenure of almost 800 years – currently work at the Neenah, Wisconsin-based company. Several of these alumni were in attendance at the ceremony, networking with faculty and current students.
Lindsay Horst, a 2016 UW-Platteville graduate, is now a senior project manager at Plexus. She recounted her experience as an upperclassman transfer student at UW-Platteville.
“I found myself as a gender-minority in a new school. It was intimidating and challenging to feel like I was making new connections and a part of the community,” said Horst. “But the Women in STEM Mentor Center is one of those pieces that allowed me to feel like I was a part of something.”
Shortly after joining Plexus, Horst became the company’s Campus Focus Team lead and was instrumental in fostering engagement opportunities and partnerships with UW-Platteville, ultimately leading to the sponsorship of the Plexus Women in STEM Center.
“The resources and staff available [at UW-Platteville] are unmatched and can change the lives of the students utilizing them,” said Horst. “I am so thrilled that my alma mater has something like this.”
Plexus further supports UW-Platteville through offering student internships, including more than 40 in the past five years. The conversion rate of interns to full-time employees at Plexus is among the highest in UW-Platteville’s programs.
Madeline Ritter, a senior from Arlington Heights, Illinois, completed an industrial engineering internship at Plexus’ Chicago office last summer. She credits Plexus’ engagement on campus for making it easy to connect with the company at the Career Fair to secure the internship. She also credits the Plexus Women in STEM Center, where she worked as a student assistant, for her successes on and off campus.
“I would not be standing here today if it were not for the Plexus Women in STEM Center,” said Ritter, who is currently a lead student assistant in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Student Success Programs. “It’s one of the reasons I’m so involved on campus. My public speaking and leadership skills have developed tremendously during my time here and one of the reasons is because of the center.”
Plexus also partners on Senior Design projects and supports career fairs and Women in STEM banquets. Last spring, Plexus was honored with the UW System Regents Business Partnership Award, which recognizes innovative collaborations between a university and a business.
For more information on the Plexus Women in STEM Center, visit www.uwplatt.edu/department/women-stem-program/plexus-women-stem-center.
About Plexus Corp.
Since 1979, Plexus has been partnering with companies to create the products that build a better world. They are a team of nearly 25,000 individuals who are dedicated to providing Design and Development, Supply Chain Solutions, New Product Introduction, Manufacturing and Sustaining Services. Plexus is a global leader that specializes in serving customers in industries with highly complex products and demanding regulatory environments. Plexus delivers customer service excellence to leading companies by providing innovative, comprehensive solutions throughout a product’s lifecycle. For more information about Plexus, visit the website at www.plexus.com.