UWM Students Host Girls Engineering Camp

Pam Lechner

FEF students have many responsibilities during their academic careers, but one of the most important is to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the metalcasting industry. They do this through a variety of exciting and fun activities, ranging from taking Foundry-in-a-Box on the road and manning a department table at their university’s open house for future students to inviting the community to open foundry nights and hosting scouts and other young people at their foundry lab to create their own castings.

During the 2019 summer break, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students opened their facility to about 15 high school girls for the EnQuest Girls Engineering Camp. The event included a dinner where FEF alumni shared their stories of entering the industry. Each attendee also made their own casting, from designing to pouring to finishing.

“Hands-on projects that relate to real world endeavors motivate girls in STEM … it shows them that STEM can be for them,” said Christine Beimborn, the UWM STEM-outreach specialist and the camp’s organizer. “The casts they made will be a great reminder of the event.”

High schoolers were asked why they attended the event––some of their responses included: “to explore different types of engineering to know what field I might be interested in,” “to learn about the school and the engineering programs,” “to meet a community of women in engineering,” and

“Grandma said I should; thought it would be fun.”

Eight current UWM students helped with the event, along with four FEF alumni currently working in the industry. 

“I fell in love with metallurgy through a UWM summer camp like EnQuest, and industry members were a really important part of that experience,” said Emily Gerstein, one of the FEF alumni. “So, for me, volunteering a couple hours of my time is always worth it.” 

Gerstein is a metallurgist in the Cast Iron Division at Kohler Co. (Kohler, Wisconsin).

“I personally enjoy talking with students and opening up their eyes to the world of metalcasting and engineering and getting them excited about their future,” said Micca Belke, FEF alumni and metallurgical engineer at Mercury Marine (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin).

Young metalcasters sharing their experiences and enthusiasm with the future generation is the perfect recipe to ensure a steady stream of technically trained individuals filling the industry pipeline. Thank you to those alumni who are spreading the word.     

College Connection is a recurring feature that runs in Modern Casting highlighting the metalcasting programs and students at FEF schools.