High school students bring computer designs to life through Moraine Park's SURFCAM project

by admin9. June 2008 19:00

Imagine creating a three-dimensional design on a computer then watching a CNC (computer numerical control) machine bring it to life before your eyes.


That’s the high-tech world of manufacturing, and it’s what area high school students have been doing through the SURFCAM Project held in the Applied Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) at Moraine Park Technical College’s West Bend campus.


Developed by Surfware Inc., the SURFCAM computer-assisted drafting and computer-assisted machining (CAD/CAM) software enables users to design a product and tell a machine how to cut it in metal or other materials. Moraine Park also uses software like SolidWorks for tool and die design. 


During the first semester of the 2007-08 academic year, students from West Bend and Kewaskum high schools honed their high-tech skills in the AMTC, with Slinger students following suit during the second semester. Each group took three projects from computer design to finished product: a three-inch by three-inch maze, a tic-tac-toe peg game, and a cribbage board, all made from aluminum for quick machining.


“The skills the students learn through this include creating geometry on a CAD system and creating toolpaths using the CAM portion of the software,” said Jim Hokenson, Moraine Park CNC/Tool and Die Technologies instructor and a machine tool trade master. Hokenson said they also learn about bringing geometry into SURFCAM from other CAD systems; tool and workpiece dynamics, which covers set-up and cutting forces; and proper speed and feed calculation.

 Moraine Park instructor Jim Hokenson at a CNC machine control panel with a Slinger High student and instructor.

Classes are held at the participating high schools using curriculum and SURFCAM software provided by Moraine Park. After developing CAM drawings and machine tool operation code, three times each semester the students visit the AMTC to run the CAM programs on Moraine Park machining centers under the guidance of College staff. Participating high school students receive two credits for the SURFCAM course as well as valuable experience with high-tech equipment and processes used in the manufacturing industry.


“I’ve learned to use the SolidWorks software better and now I can draw almost any part or shape,” said Kurt Klink from the Town of Hartford, a senior at Slinger High School who was taking a Computer Integrated Manufacturing class taught by Technology and Engineering Instructor Russ Hermann. Klink used Solidworks to design the maze, tic-tac-toe and cribbage board, and SURFCAM to set the toolpath to make the products. He was accepted at UW Milwaukee and plans on going into architecture, where just about everything is done on computers.


Another Slinger High senior from Hermann’s class, Dan Steingraber of Slinger, has a family history in manufacturing and engineering. His grandfather was a machinist for 60 years and made parts for the Fox River locks system and the St. Lawrence Seaway. His father attended Moraine Park then transferred to Milwaukee School of Engineering to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Steingraber will follow in their footsteps this fall, first pursuing an associate of applied science degree in Mechanical Design Technology at Moraine Park then transferring to MSOE. In addition to the SURFCAM project, he also competed at Moraine Park’s annual Junkyard Challenge at the Beaver Dam campus May 7, in which his Slinger High team came in second.


Projects like SURFCAM and the Junkyard Challenge, Steingraber said, “show the teachers at Moraine Park what the students can do.” The SURFCAM program helps the students get a head start toward their postsecondary education, he added, and the credits transfer to Moraine Park. Steingraber is taking summer classes at Moraine Park to boost his head start even more.


Some of Hermann’s students are interested in manufacturing careers, according to the instructor. “There are lots of jobs in manufacturing in high-tech areas,” said Hermann. When school starts in the fall, Slinger High will have a CNC mill, which will increase the number of students who can be involved in the SURFCAM project and learn more about product design and machining. Hermann encourages his students to take a closer look at technical education. The more students choose technical careers, the more qualified employees local industries can find.


Hermann credits Hokenson with making the visits to Moraine Park go smoothly for his students, guiding them through the machining process. “He spends a lot of time setting up the machines with the files,” said Hermann. “Without him we’d be in trouble.”


For more information about Tool Design Engineering Technology, Mechanical Design Technology, CNC/Tool and Die Technologies and Engineering Technologist programs at Moraine Park, visit www.morainepark.edu and click on Academics.


Moraine Park to hold GED/HSED graduation ceremony June 19

by admin9. June 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College will hold its 17th annual General Educational Development (GED) and High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 19, at 7 p.m.


The ceremony will be held at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus in the Cyber Center cafeteria.


Erica Avila, the English Language Learning (ELL) coordinator for the Beaver Dam Unified School District, has been selected as the Basic Education Friend of the Year and will receive a plaque at the ceremony. Avila helped launch Moraine Park’s expanded ELL program in the Beaver Dam area and set up free child care for children while their parents attended ELL classes.


“I appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Moraine Park and offer services to families in our community,” said Avila.


Approximately 40 students are expected to participate in the event, which recognizes the accomplishments of GED/HSED graduates. According to Sandra Huenink, Moraine Park dean of basic education, 212 students completed the GED/HSED program at Moraine Park during the past year.


For more information about Moraine Park’s Basic Education programs, call 920-924-3130.


Moraine Park instructor named National League for Nursing Ambassador

by admin8. June 2008 19:00

Wendy M. Crary, MSN, RN, of Cambria, a Moraine Park Technical College nursing instructor, has been appointed by the National League for Nursing (NLN) to serve as an NLN Ambassador.


In her new role, Crary will help keep Moraine Park faculty and administration informed about the NLN’s initiatives, grant opportunities, conferences, publications, workshops and other benefits available to NLN members, including professional development programs, research grants, the annual Education Summit, the NLN's peer-reviewed journal Nursing Education Perspectives, committee and task group volunteer opportunities, award nominations and more.  


“We created this selective program to make it as easy as possible for nurse faculty and nursing programs at all levels of academia to understand what the NLN has to offer to enhance professional development and status,” explained NLN CEO Dr. Beverly Malone. “The Ambassadors are, in effect, the NLN’s ‘eyes and ears’ on campus.”


Crary has been a full-time faculty member at Moraine Park for the past two years. She holds a master’s degree in nursing education from Concordia University and has just begun her doctoral studies at Cardinal Stritch University. 


The National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The Ambassador Program was established in the fall of 2006 with members who teach in all types of nursing programs – practical nurse, associate degree, diploma, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral. Today there are 689 ambassadors representing schools of nursing in 48 states. New ones are appointed periodically to meet the goal of having at least one NLN Ambassador in every school of nursing.


For more information about Moraine Park’s nursing programs, visit www.morainepark.edu and click on Academics, or call     1-800-472-4554. Program videos can be viewed on the Web site.


Moraine Park holds Endurance Challenge 2008

by admin4. June 2008 19:00

The global pursuit of increased fuel efficiency was tackled by area high school students when Moraine Park Technical College recently hosted the fourth annual Endurance Challenge at its Fond du Lac campus. The event is sponsored by the College’s Engine Research and Development Technician program.


High school students were challenged to modify a Courage XT-7 4.5-horsepower lawnmower engine, manufactured and donated by Kohler Co., to get the best fuel efficiency and run the longest. The modified engines were then brought to Moraine Park to compete. Each team was given the same amount of gas and the engines were timed.


Fond du Lac High School came in first with a running time of 35 minutes and 12 seconds, followed by Sheboygan North (30:11), Plymouth (22:00), Princeton (17:40), Oshkosh West (16:20), West Bend West (15:50) and Sheboygan South (13:03). Unforeseen engine problems cause Campbellsport’s and Kewaskum’s engines to quit running earlier in the competition.


The teams were assisted by Moraine Park faculty, staff and students as well as employees of Mercury Marine and Kohler Co. The students shared the challenge of making successful modifications within a specific timeframe, coming up with ideas and figuring out what would work or not. Comparing the other engines provided them with new ideas and an increased understanding of engines.


The winning engine was modified by Fond du Lac seniors Jarred Henning, Ryan Hopp, Kenny Johnson, Cory Siedschlag and Derek Steffes. Their instructor, Cory Clark, said his students got to see what other teams came up with and what Moraine Park is about. 


Coming in second were Sheboygan North sophomores Ryan Grimm, Eric Vang and Kyle Wilmot and junior Derek Wyatt. Alan Rekowski, who teaches small-engine and automotive classes, said the Endurance Challenge provides his students with more about designing and engineering engines rather than just maintaining them.


“It was a phenomenal problem-solving experience with the students,” said Princeton High School Technical Education Instructor Scott Simacek, whose team of seniors Cory Prachel, Derek Mashada and Jake Braun came in fourth.


“I think coming here is an opportunity we don’t get in the classroom,” said Oshkosh West Technology and Engineering Instructor Bill Benson, whose students Brandon Hoeft, Jeremy Nygaard and Sam Sesing took fifth place. “It’s a goal to shoot for.”


Don Koloski, manager of customer education at Briggs & Stratton, filled in for West Bend West High School Instructor Jerry Williams and attended the competition with seniors Matt Koloski and Tony Piechowski, who took sixth. “The products produced today are not what our parents used,” said Koloski, adding that there is a shortage of technically skilled workers in the engine industry. “Not enough young individuals are getting into this field.”


Each member of the winning team will receive a $250 Moraine Park scholarship if they enroll at the College. Other prizes included Snap-On screwdrivers, hats, shirts, flash drives and Leatherman tools. Prizes were donated by Kohler Co., Mercury Marine, Briggs & Stratton, John Deere and Wacker Corporation, all of which have been strong supporters of Moraine Park’s Engine Research and Development program.


Fall 2008 enrollment for the Engine Research and Development Technician program is currently under way at Moraine Park. For more information about the program, including a program video, or the annual Endurance Challenge, contact Tom Denow, engine research and development program instructor and competition coordinator, at 920-924-3299 or tdenow@morainepark.edu.


Moraine Park to make Barber/Cosmetologist Apprenticeship available online

by admin1. June 2008 19:00

Beginning this August, students who are pursuing a career in cosmetology will have another option available to get the required training for state licensing. Moraine Park Technical College will be the first in Wisconsin to offer the Barber/Cosmetologist Apprenticeship program classroom instruction in a 100-percent online delivery format.


“There are many young men and women throughout our state who have a strong interest in pursuing a career in the cosmetology industry,” said Jon Waldhuetter, Moraine Park dean of apprenticeship. “For any number of reasons – travel, parenting, location – their ability to get the necessary training may be restricted. Online delivery of the classroom instruction in conjunction with the hands-on practical experience in a sponsoring salon from their area will open a door to these students that has not previously existed.”


Apprenticeship requires a student to be employed by a sponsoring shop or salon that agrees to train the student in preparation for the Wisconsin licensing exam. Employers pay the student to work in their establishment under the direction of a licensed manager, where the student learns the practical, hands-on component of their training. The student is also paid for the one day of classroom time each week.


“Cosmetology is one of the largest and fastest-growing apprenticeships in the state,” said Waldhuetter. “What makes apprenticeships unique is that students earn while they learn.”


Students can complete the online program in three academic semesters, taking theory instruction in their own homes.


“We are extremely excited about expanding our cosmetology program into an online delivery format,” said Amy Poshepny, Moraine Park Barber/Cosmetologist instructor. “Online apprenticeship, coupled with our face-to-face apprenticeship program and full-time diploma program held in our newly renovated facility in Fond du Lac, will allow us to serve the educational needs of a much broader student population.”


For more information about the online Barber/Cosmetologist Apprenticeship training, call Moraine Park at 262-335-5841 or 920-924-3258.


Moraine Park Technical College addresses construction industry needs

by admin1. June 2008 19:00

As Baby Boomers prepare to retire, it’s possible that more than half of the existing construction workforce will retire by 2012. What was initially a consideration kept in the back of one’s mind is now a major concern for the construction industry: Where can competent entry-level workers be found to fill the hole that will be left by retirees?


One answer can be found at Moraine Park Technical College. “The College has been listening to the concerns of area employers in the construction industry,” said Jon Waldhuetter, dean of apprenticeships.  “To address their needs, Moraine Park’s Building Trades/Construction Worker technical diploma program is being offered this fall when the semester starts Aug. 25.” The program is designed to provide the construction skill set that graduates and employers need. Students will attend classes five days a week for two 16-week semesters. Part-time enrollment is available for those who are unable to commit to a full-time instructional schedule.

 Moraine Park building trades students work on a house under construction.

Building Trades/Construction Worker courses include Safety Applications, Building Trades Fundamentals, Framing Construction, Basic Welding, Basic AutoCAD, Exterior Finish, Interior Finish, Building Trades Mechanical Systems and others.


“This program provides a very broad range of trade experience, which is key,” said Waldhuetter. “It is strong in hands-on work activities and exposes students to a wide range of trade career options. Students who complete this program will be able to transition smoothly into construction-related careers.”


Even with the current slowdown in new home construction, projections by the Southeast Construction Contractors and Trades Council indicate a 43-percent growth in employment in the construction industry over the next decade. Presently only 40 to 60 percent of positions created by retirement are being filled and the job outlook for the construction industry is strong in all of the skilled trades with employment growth between 14 and 25 percent. Wage scales will remain high, ranging from $15 to $35 an hour for skilled workers, with an average annual wage of roughly $42,500.  Moraine Park’s Building Trades/Construction Worker program opens the door to careers in the construction industry and continuing educational opportunities such as apprenticeship, supervision or specialized training.


Registrations are currently being accepted for this fall. To register for the Building Trades/Construction Worker program or for more information, call a Moraine Park admissions specialist at 1-800-472-4554 or call Waldhuetter at 262-335-5841.


Moraine Park instructor becomes state's first Machine Tool Trade Master

by admin29. May 2008 19:00

Jim Hokenson, a machining technician instructor at Moraine Park Technical College’s West Bend campus, is the state’s first Machine Tool Trade Master in the Machine Tool–Instructor/Trainer and Machine Tool–Technical/Specialty Skill Track.


Hokenson met the associate of applied science degree requirements and successfully completed 10,000 hours of post-journey level trade-related training to achieve the certification.


“To me it reflects being a pioneer in a new level of certification and recognition, enhancing the nationally recognized certification of Journeyman Tool and Die Maker and showing there is more beyond the journeyman's card,” said Hokenson. “I hope that as word of the Machine Tool Trade Master level spreads, more post-journey-level workers will pursue one of the three available disciplines of Instructor/Trainer, Technical/Specialty Skill or Management.”


“Just to keep pace with the increase in technology, efficiency and flexibility needed by Wisconsin manufacturers, employees need to keep learning so that they can stay ahead of the competition,” said Marcia Arndt, Moraine Park dean of manufacturing. “The Machine Tool Trade Masters Program was set up by the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards to encourage continuous learning within the profession. Jim Hokenson becoming the first person to complete the Trade Masters program is evidence of what Moraine Park instructors are doing to take a lead in the computer numerical control (CNC) and tool- and die-making market in Wisconsin.”


Hokenson also feels that his certification shows his students that instructors can be students too and that continuing education is not just preached but also practiced. Hokenson took night classes, carrying six to eight credits per semester over the course of about three years including summers. “In some of the classes I took, I sat side by side with our Moraine Park students and even my students,” he said.


In addition to encouraging students to keep learning, Hokenson’s Trade Master studies provided him with different ideas on how to deliver materials. “I took classes on every CAD (computer-assisted drafting) software that is offered on the West Bend campus and I believe this adds value to the students because not every student we have is using the same software in their workplace,” he said. “It helps me to better answer questions and demonstrate techniques to them that are specific to the software they are using.”


For more information about CNC/Tool and Die Technologies, Tool Design Engineering Technology, Tool and Die Technologies Apprenticeship and other programs at Moraine Park, visit www.morainepark.edu and click on Academics.


Mittelstadt resigns from Moraine Park Board

by admin29. May 2008 19:00

After nearly four years of dedication, Michael “Marty” Mittelstadt of rural Campbellsport has resigned from his position as vice chairperson on the Moraine Park Technical College District Board. Mittelstadt was appointed to the board on July 1, 2004, representing the eastern portion of the Moraine Park District as an employer member.


“I firmly believe that the College has a vital place in the community,” said Mittelstadt. “With the economic challenges faced by taxpayers it is increasingly critical that the College keeps to its mission of preparing and maintaining a competitive workforce. I want to thank the community for allowing me to serve over the past several years and I hope that I’ve been able to make a positive contribution.”


Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek presented Mittelstadt with a Resolution of Appreciation plaque on behalf of the board and thanked him for his contributions. “Marty has been a great contributor to our board and we appreciate his dedication to and support of Moraine Park,” said Dr. Hytrek.


In addition to serving as an employer member and vice chair, Mittelstadt attended Association of Community College Trustees legislative events and promoted vocational, technical and adult education in order to meet the educational and training needs of the district’s citizens.


Mittelstadt’s resignation took effect upon closure of the May 21 board meeting.


Moraine Park IT students help area nonprofits

by admin29. May 2008 19:00

Everyone loves a win-win situation, and that’s what Information Technology (IT) scholarships from the Fond du Lac Area Foundation have created for Moraine Park Technical College IT students and area nonprofit organizations.


The Information Technology Service-Based Learning Internship Scholarship Program proposal was created by Moraine Park in 2006 after a survey of Fond du Lac area nonprofits showed a significant need for technical assistance with computer hardware and software, networking and Web site development and maintenance. Moraine Park IT program instructors receive 10 to 30 requests for assistance from nonprofits each semester, so many that a waiting list was established. The scholarship proposal was approved by the Fond du Lac Area Foundation, with two scholarships being awarded in 2006-07 and eight in 2007-08.


“The Fond du Lac Area Foundation supported these scholarships for Moraine Park IT students because as a non-profit ourselves, we recognize how expensive IT needs can be and that most nonprofits cannot afford to pay for the costs of keeping their technology needs current,” said Sandi Roehrig, executive director of the Foundation. “We applaud Moraine Park for finding an innovative program which would provide their students with important IT experience and at the same time assist our local nonprofit community with valuable IT assistance.”


The Foundation scholarships provide an extra benefit for Moraine Park IT students who put their education to work in service to the community and are worth up to $150. Students also gain valuable real-world experience, dealing with everyday IT issues and fulfilling a class requirement.

 IT students with Moraine Park IT instructors and the director of Free SPIRIT Riders.

“It helped me prepare for challenges and responsibilities by using technologies in ways that provide successful and useful online experience,” said Moraine Park IT – Web Developer program student Susan Hageman of Ripon, who worked on a redesign of the Free SPIRIT Riders Web site in which she updated old content, made information easier to find and set up an online merchant service for donations and fees. “I gained business skills in the area,” she said. “I learned how to effectively communicate with the employer. It was very valuable because it prepared me for work on other Web sites, creating effective layouts and managing content, and I used almost all knowledge from the classes I took in the field.”


Even before the scholarship implementation, Moraine Park IT students volunteered with nonprofits. An IT – Web Developer program student created a Web site for Fond du Lac Festivals, and another student maintained it. An IT – Network Specialist student volunteered his time to help an organization with its desktop computer and networking needs. Another project involved the design and development of a Web site for Habitat for Humanity in Fond du Lac. After completing the project, the student offered to maintain the site on a volunteer basis.


Other nonprofit partnerships have included Crashin’ for the Cause, Fond du Lac Area United Way, Fond du Lac County Labor Council, Fond du Lac Soccer Association, Free SPIRIT Riders Inc., Ledge to Lakes District of Bay-Lakes Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Volunteer Center of Fond du Lac County Inc. and Whisper Hill Clydesdales Special Needs Foundation.


Like Hageman, Nikki Fink of Fond du Lac found working for a real organization to be beneficial. An IT – Web Developer and IT- Technical Support student, Fink learned a lot while maintaining the Fond du Lac County Labor Council’s Web site. “In a classroom setting you work with a ‘fake’ client, and the deadlines you set are always met,” she said. “When you have a real client you find out how easy it is to get behind schedule. I learned how to realistically set deadlines with a client.” She also enjoyed the opportunity to better the community by helping the nonprofit organization.


“This has been a wonderful opportunity for students and nonprofits in our community,” said Tammy Freund, Moraine Park IT – Web Developer program instructor. “Our students gain valuable experience while the non-profits gain much-needed services. After graduation, many of our interns continue to provide services to the nonprofits they worked with.”


For more information about Moraine Park’s Information Technology programs, visit www.morainepark.edu and click Academics.      


Moraine Park students can transfer credits to online bachelor degree

by admin28. May 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College students who are pursuing or have received an associate of applied science degree have a new option if they desire to extend their education. Through an articulation agreement with Chadron State College, a public four-year college in Nebraska, Moraine Park students can transfer 64 to 67 credits toward a bachelor of applied science degree with an option in Management or Management & Communication through fully online courses.


“Students can transfer the bulk of what they’ve already earned to Chadron State,” said Kirk Lacy, assistant to Chadron President Janie Park. “They will need only 61 credits to complete their bachelor degree.” Those credits can be completed through Chadron online courses or other transfer credits, with at least 30 of the 61 credits being earned from Chadron.


“We are very excited about this agreement,” said Dr. Gayle Hytrek, Moraine Park president. “It allows our students to continue their online degree. It is a great opportunity for them as well as for our staff.”

 Moraine Park and Chadron presidents with other executives from both colleges.

In addition to the credit transfer, another advantage for Moraine Park students is affordability, with all online courses offered at the same flat-rate tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students. Federal financial aid is available to qualifying students. And the flexibility of eLearning allows students to work at locations and times that are convenient for them. Working adults can take advantage of four-week (summer), eight-week and 16-week formats.


“This new transfer agreement with Chadron State College offers our graduates a wonderful opportunity to pursue lifelong learning past their associate degree from Moraine Park,” said Dan Ensalaco, Moraine Park vice president of academics and economic development. “In addition to the low tuition rate available at Chadron, students who have taken online or blended courses at Moraine Park will be very comfortable in taking this online bachelor program since Chadron uses the same eCollege online course platform as Moraine Park. The transition for our students will be very simple.”


Chadron also offers an online Master of Business Administration degree as well as a master of science degree in Organizational Management.


Moraine Park has program-to-program transfer agreements with private four-year colleges in which certain Moraine Park associate of applied science degree programs can be articulated toward a bachelor degree. Moraine Park also has program-to-program transfer agreements with 10 of the universities within the University of Wisconsin System, as well as general studies transfer agreements with UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh. General studies agreements also exist with four-year private colleges such as Marian College and Milwaukee School of Engineering, as well as out-of-state institutions and online universities.


For more information about Moraine Park’s credit transfer agreements, contact the admissions specialists at each Moraine Park campus: (920) 887-4425 in Beaver Dam; (920) 924-6398 in Fond du Lac; and (262) 335-5877 in
West Bend. Those in other areas may call (800) 472-4554.


For more information about Moraine Park’s programs, visit www.morainepark.edu.