APPLETON, Wis. (Feb. 21, 2013) — Miller Electric Mfg. Co. is pleased to announce an initiative to promote engineering and robotics education in the Fox Valley area. The initiative includes $40,000 in scholarships to students attending the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley (UWFox) and employee mentors for these students. In an effort to attract more students in Northeast Wisconsin to careers in engineering and science, Miller and UWFox have also established new robotics competition teams at the Appleton Boys & Girls Club.
Beginning with the fall 2013 semester, scholarships will be granted for two school years, with $20,000 a year going to provide financial assistance to UWFox engineering and robotics students enrolled through the Fox Valley engineering program. The scholarships are offered through the ITW Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Miller parent company, Illinois Tool Works (ITW), in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley Foundation, Inc.
“Developing an excellent relationship with Miller, an engineering partner who recognizes the value of locally educated and employed graduates, directly led to these scholarships being awarded,” said Dr. Martin Rudd, campus executive officer and dean at UWFox, as well as a board member of the UW-Fox Valley Foundation. “The Fox Valley engineering program is highly regarded in this region and this commitment to the students at all levels of their education demonstrates our joint desire to further increase capacity in this critical collaboration.”
In addition to the scholarships, Miller and UWFox have established three local robotics teams with the Boys & Girls Club of Appleton. With the help of eight Miller employee mentors, the teams will build robots to compete in regional VEX Robotics Competitions, a robotics program for middle- and high-school students with more than 300 tournaments worldwide. The competition is hosted by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, and is part of a larger movement to encourage young people to pursue an education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Our mission is to help young people reach their full potential, which requires an array of opportunities we can only provide with the community's support,” said Greg Lemke-Rochon, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley. “Our partnership with Miller is exciting because it gives our members a formative experience in both engineering and team building that could lead to a brighter future. This is among the best learning experiences we've been able to provide for our members, made even more special because of the generosity and foresight of Miller.“
Miller employee mentors provide technical assistance and coach participating Boys & Girls Club kids on a weekly basis in the design and construction of the robots to prepare them for the regional tournaments. In addition to the team sponsorships, Miller and the ITW Foundation recently sponsored the St. Mary Central tournament held at St. Mary Central High School in Neenah, Wis., where 24 teams competed.
The three Boys & Girls Clubs teams recently competed in a 52-team tournament, held on February 16 at Xavier High School in Appleton. Teams will also display robots at UWFox at the Mind Trekkers event April 19 and 20.
“We have historically supported robotics teams and tournaments but we have certainly increased our focus and are extremely proud to be partnering with the Boys & Girls Club and UWFox to develop local talent and encourage youth down a path to rewarding careers in engineering,” said Bruce Albrecht, vice president of global innovation and technology for ITW Welding companies, including Miller. “Not only will these programs give meaningful guidance to local kids at critical development stages, but it’s our belief that over time, efforts like these will strengthen the workforce and provide more value to skill position needs of employers in the Fox Valley.”