A new program in the works will give students at Menomonie Middle School a college experience

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:26 PM CDT
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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) - Students at Menomonie Middle School will soon get the benefits of a college experience at UW-Stout.

Tamara Brantmeier said that is thanks in large part to the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

“They’ve recently expanded the Boys & Girls Club programming to middle schoolers,” said Brantmeier.

A grant of about $57,000 is making the program possible for middle school students to get a glimpse of a college classroom setting.

“The FabLab program is going to bring them right here to us,” said Brantmeier.

That program will have up to fifty middle schoolers work with UW-Stout students to learn more about the STEM field.

Working in the Fab Lab space with 3D printers and other equipment.

“So, we’ve got this applied learning focus, we’re very career focused and we’re really into collaboration. We jumped at this opportunity,” said Brantmeier.

She also said it is important to have the kids on the college campus.

“I think about those students who might not picture themselves as a college student, and think ‘oh my god, there’s a place for me in college, at a university,’” said Brantmeier.

Not to mention, getting middle school aged kids interesting in something can be difficult according to Ann Kaiser with the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

“And it’s a really critical time in their lives to be inspired by someone else. Middle school kids, you really want them to desire to be there,” said Kaiser. “So, to have these cool college students to work with, to have these innovative programs that really they can’t get anywhere else during the school day or in an after school program... it’s a perfect fit.”

Looking forward is the primary focus of this partnership.

“We’re all thinking about the future workforce. We’re all thinking about helping the youth reaching their full potential. Partnerships like this advance that incrementally,” said Kaiser.

Showing the middle school students a world of possibilities.

“And I think that sense of exposure and wonder and curiosity, that’s what we’re really hoping to tap into,” said Brantmeier.

The program is expected to start some time in the Spring.

The students also get to benefit from the Just Eat It! program. It will have UW-Stout students teach the middle school students about nutrition while introducing them to foods they may not be used to.