By Ken Mika, P.E., M. ASCE, WISE YMG President & Jesse Jefferson, P.E., M. ASCE, WISE YMG Vice-President
The Wisconsin Section, Southeast Branch (WISE) Younger Member Group (YMG) is located in the largely urban region of Southeast Wisconsin centered around the Milwaukee metropolitan area. The success of WISE YMG has been well recognized on a regional and national level over the years. Many of this comes from a successful base of young members in the profession, young individuals with an exceptional sense of leadership and organization, great representation of the different focuses in Civil Engineering, sound investment of major infrastructure in the Milwaukee Region and greater Wisconsin and three major engineering programs located in Milwaukee; University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Marquette University and Milwaukee School of Engineering.
The past year has been has been an exceptional year for WISE YMG. In addition to the full-slate of popular monthly events, WISE YMG planned and organized the first STEM Expo in September and hosted the ASCE Central Region Young Member Council (CRYMC) in January.
The most successful event in the past year was the STEM Expo. The planning organization for the CRYMC, which consisted of WISE YMG members Bridget Schuh, Allan Pacada, Ken Mika and Jesse Jefferson, was trying to figure out a way to raise money to host the conference in January 2013. The planning committee wanted to hold a fundraiser that exemplified their passion for outreach in the community. The committee decided to hold an all-day event that reached out to the community to show students in grades K through 12 that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) were fun and exciting fields for students to pursue. The biggest challenge for the committee was to determine how to raise money to pay for STEM Expo and raise the capital needed to host the 2013 Central Region Younger Member Council.
The committee worked with the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), which has always been a great partner in STEM, to allow the committee to host the Expo at their facility. In exchange, they got a chance to show off their university to parents as a potential school for their children to attend in the near future. In addition, the committee reached out to local civil engineering firms and STEM-related companies to participate in the Expo. Those companies were asked to sponsor a table which had an interactive activity such as building and racing a rubber band car, toy chemistry, traffic trivia, Lego tower building, and much more. In addition to help raise money, the committee hosted a silent auction. To get the information out to the community within the Southeast Branch, the committee sent flyers to schools, local clubs, youth outreach groups, and contacted local community news groups.
The STEM Expo was a resounding success. Over 150 parents and students attended the event, which was hosted by over 120 volunteers. In the end, STEM Expo helped raise over $10,000 for the 2013 Central Region Younger Member Council. The knowledge and expertise gained by hosting such an event will allow WISE YMG to add the STEM Expo to the annual offerings for 2013-14. The positive feedback from the community will ensure WISE YMG receives the drive to host an even better annual STEM Expo event in the future!