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Collab Lab 43: Prototyping and Testing Ideas

Thursday November 11, 2021 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

What if students saw prototypes not as just a model of their solution, but as a way to understand the problem they are trying to solve?

Too often we see students fixate on a single solution without taking the time to embrace the problem they are taking on. How might they use prototypes or other tools early and often in the design cycle to test their understanding of the problem and the ways in might be addressed? Could that promote a shift in mindset from a fear of failure to a desire to understand the limits of potential solutions? Could that spark the kind of thinking and experimentation we want to see in students?

Join us to connect with K-12 colleagues from across the area, as well as community partners from higher ed, industry, and non-profits to share ideas and explore options where collaborative efforts could help move things along.

Featured Participants

Ian Corrao, Michael Klug, Brandon Bakken — Northwestern Mutual

Ian Corrao has been with Northwestern Mutual for over 15 years. His background in art and design which led to his role as a User Experience designer on the Innovation Team. He worked on and led many different efforts, including building out the company’s Cream City Labs’ Makerspace. He now manages the Northwestern Mutual K12 Outreach program, hi, Tech, at Northwestern Mutual.

Michael Klug is a technology veteran with most recent roles in Product Management & UX Design leadership within Innovation teams at great Milwaukee companies. His career is built on a solid 20+ years of experience delivering digital products in areas like retail, e-commerce & fintech. Visual storytelling is a key component to his toolset to communicate new ideas in compelling and engaging ways that resonate with partners and leadership.

Brandon Bakken is a Senior Digital Asset Designer at Northwestern Mutual. Using his background in animation and design, Brandon creates videos and training modules for Northwestern Mutual’s financial representatives. He has 7+ years working in both the corporate and freelance world creating everything from logos and letterheads to packaging design and beer labels.


Will Gorecki— Electrical Engineer, Milwaukee Tool

Will is a 24 year old electrical engineer and inventor. He was born in Russia in 1996 and was adopted and brought to America in 1998. He graduated from UW Madison with a degree in electrical engineering in May of 2020 and he currently works as an electrical engineer for Milwaukee Electric Tool. Over the last 16 months he has been working in his free time on designing and building his own personal jet engine powered suit with the goal of being able to fly, and he is getting really close.


Dr. Nadya Shalamova— Professor, Humanities, Social Sciences and Communication Department at MSOE; Program Director User Experience (UX)

Dr. Shalamova earned her M.A. in teaching English and German as a foreign language from Tomsk State Pedagogical University, and her M.Phil in descriptive linguistics from Mari State University. She worked for several years in the Laboratory of Siberian Indigenous Language at Tomsk Polytechnic University where she conducted linguistic and anthropological research on one of the endangered (now extinct) native Siberian dialects. At the same time, she taught linguistics and ESL to engineering students. In 2001, she received a Carnegie Fellowship that brought her to the United States. That’s when she first learned about technical communication. She decided to pursue her Ph.D. from New Mexico State University where she was heavily involved in the Freshman Integrated Learning Community Project at the College of Engineering. Dr. Shalamova joined MSOE in 2008. She teaches UX and humanities courses including Social Science, UX Practicum, Freshman Studies, Linguistics: Study of Language, and Foundations of UX. She is an advisor to MSOE’s University Innovation Fellows and is a CREATE Faculty Fellow.


5:30 – 6:00 Grab something to eat and drink, say hello

6:00 – 6:30 Introductions

6:30- 8:30 Let’s work through some ideas

Food and beverage will be provided. There is no charge for participation but space is limited!


Pre-Lab Popup

4:30 to 5:30

STEAM Milwaukee’s Lend a Lab Program seeks to provide joyful, hands-on learning opportunities in the domains of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics for every student, every day.  Access to high-quality materials and curriculum can prove challenging due to high costs and large time inputs needed to gather materials.  Middle school educators are invited to join in at MSOE’s WE Energies STEM Center from 4:30-5:30 p.m. for a pre-session to explore some materials available for check out through the Lend a Lab Program. Develop your own skills and take home lesson ideas that you may use as you integrate materials within your classroom or youth program.


Thursday November 11, 2021
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Learn Deep


We Engergies STEM Center at MSOE
1444 N Water St
Milwaukee, WI 53202 United States
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(414) 277-7238