Mackenzie Peterson –

The plastics engineering program is launching eight new $1,500 scholarships for incoming freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Stout starting fall 2019.

These scholarships include the Advanced Molding Technologies Scholarships, the Andersen Corporation Scholarship, the EVCO Scholarship, the Nolato Contour Scholarship, the Phillips-Medisize Scholarship, the RTP Scholarship and the Scientific Molding Corporation Scholarship.

Jake Halling, a senior majoring in plastics engineering said, “The new scholarships are big for the plastics engineering program. They are a good way to help give financial support to students in the program, while recognizing all of the hard work that they have put in.”

According to Halling, offering new scholarships for the program is a great way to motivate incoming freshman to do their best work, knowing that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed.

Halling explained that with the plastics engineering field being in such high demand in the industry, it is always good to have more students enrolled in the program.

He said, “The more minds that you have in the program, the more potential there is for new ideas, innovations, lab expansion, program funding, etc.”

Halling also mentioned that plastic waste, a major global issue, could potentially be reduced when there are more people educated on the topic. He explained that with more knowledge on the matter, people are able to use their expertise to create alternative solutions to the problem.  

Wei Zheng, the plastics engineering program director said, “Having more students coming to this program helps to maintain the health of the program in general.”

Zheng explained that the new scholarships help the health of the program and students. Even though the scholarships are only for incoming freshman, Zheng said, “They will help the seniors and juniors plan and organize many plastics-related activities, feed into the lab assistant program we have and even socialize with them.”

Assistant professor in the engineering and technology department, Alex Jordan, said that there are excellent third and fourth year students currently enrolled in the plastics engineering program that will not be eligible to receive the new scholarships. However, he explained that they will still benefit from them.

Jordan said, “As we continue to grow enrollment in the plastics engineering major and place more and more graduates in industrial positions (we currently have 100 percent employment upon graduation), recognition of the strength of our program will continue to grow, making an already valuable degree more valuable in the eyes of employers.”

Jordan said, “These industrially sponsored scholarships are just one form of industry support for our UW-Stout plastics engineering program.” He noted that companies have donated equipment, hired students for co-ops and internships and opened their doors for guest lectures and tours to the students.

Below is a list of the current plastics engineering advisory board members and their company.

Chris Bendel, STEMM College Assoc. Dean; Joel Beskar, SMC Ltd; Charles Bomar, STEMM College Dean; Joseph Elmquist, Kleiss Gears, Inc; Jeremy Fossum, Andersen Corporation; Paul Gramann, The Madison Group; Karl Hoppe, RTP Company; Charlie Jansen, 3M; Chuck Johnson, Philips-Medsize; Dave Johnson, Advanced Molding Technologies; Alex Jordan, Engineering & Technology Dept; Pete Koenig, Nolato Contour; Adam Kramschuster, Engineering & Technology Dept; Tom Lacksonen, Engineering & Technology Dept. Chair; Steve Maki, RTP Company; Eric Malmgren, SMC; Laryssa Meyer, UW-Stout Plastics Engineering Student; Gindy Neidermyer, STEMM College Assoc. Dean; Todd Owens, Donatelle; Roger Pavlis, 3M, Retired; Steve Piltz, Five Star Plastics; Heidi Rabeneck, Discovery Center – Outreach Program Manager; Matt Ray, Chemistry & Physics Department; Stacha Reed, Andersen Corporation; Dan Sawyer, NatureWorks LLC; John Schultz, Engineering & Technology Dept; Scott Smith, Nordson Extrusion Dies Industries; Mark Stephenson, 3M; Raghu Vadlamudi, Donatelle; Bill Welch, Phillips Medisize, LCC; Wei Zheng; and Plastics Engineering Program Director.