Featured Participants

We get some pretty interesting people joining us at Collab Labs as our featured participants. Here’s who we’ve had so far:

Collab Lab 31: Student run enterprises

Que El-Amin – Co founder Young Enterprising Society

Que and his brother Kalif founded the Young Enterprising Society (YES) in 2011 to mobilize people, information, resources and capital for the greater good of its members and society at large. YES provides opportunities for K-12 students and young adults that include STEAM programming, hack-a-thons, apprenticeships, and business incubation.  All are infused with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Claire Friona — Co-founder of Agricycle Global

As a mechanical engineering student at MSOE, Claire helped turn class project at MSOE to design solar powered dehydrators for a non-profit organization into an ongoing business. Agricyle works with rural communities in Uganda to turn agricultural products which might go to waste to exports which can support the local economy.  She’s been on the team for two years and has held several roles including engineering and business development. She’s traveled to three countries, building her business and working on the ground with partner communities.

Jill Hughes — Senior Business Academy instructor, Menomonee Falls High School

Menomonee Falls High School is an academy high school, currently hosting 5 academies: Business, Healthcare, STEM, Creative/DCM (Design Communication & Media) and Education. Jill believes the best learning takes place through open-ended project-based learning.  2019-202 marks Jill’s 31st year teaching high school business. Her students run the school’s student store.  The dream for Falls Fan Gear began 4 years ago when MFHS was under renovation. The principal of MFHS, Mr. Robert Vitale, had a vision of opening a full walk in apparel store and having the seniors in Business Academy Capstone use their skills to run a business. An unused classroom in the lobby of the high school was soon converted as part of the construction and FFG opened in August 2017.

Owen Raisch — Associate Director, Student-Run Business Program at Marquette University

Owen is founding Associate Director for the Student-Run Business Program at Marquette University and serves as CEO of the affiliated student-run organization Blue and Gold Ventures (“B&G”). Owen brings diverse experience in founding various nonprofit and for-profit startups and, and as founding President of the Student-Run Business Association (“SRBA”) – a globally-reaching organization including members from Harvard, Georgetown, Northwestern and more – he continues 10-years in commitment to innovating in education.

Collab Lab 30: Green Infrastructure

Justin Hegarty — Executive Director
Lisa Neeb — Green Schools Project Manager
Reflo – Sustainable Water Solutions

Reflo runs a robust Green & Healthy Schools Program. In 2018 alone, they helped shepherd construction of green infrastructure projects at two Milwaukee Public Schools, supported coalition efforts to raise $1.2 million for greening schoolyards, designed five conceptual plans for green schoolyard redevelopment, and conducted the third annual Green Schools Conference featuring over 260 participants.

Justin is an environmental engineer and co-founder of Reflo. He has worked as an environmental consultant for 10 years working on green infrastructure, alternative energy, and brownfield remediation projects. Lisa has shared her passion for animals and the environment working as a science educator in museums, zoos, and traditional classrooms in Wisconsin and Michigan. She uses hands-on learning and inquiry to encourage students to be curious, creative, and critical thinkers while they take risks and learn by experiencing the world around them.

Kara Koch — Senior Project Engineer,  Stormwater Solutions Engineering

Kara specializes in green infrastructure design, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, and construction management. Her project experiences involve conceptual site planning, full site design, modeling, permitting, community engagement, construction documentation, and oversight. Kara’s passion for water harvesting and sustainable stormwater management has led her to be involved with various volunteering activities with Milwaukee community organizations to educate the community and young students about water conservation.

Linda Reid — Principal,  Water 365

Linda works with individuals and organizations to support freshwater sustainability and resilience efforts through capacity development, technical consulting, and coaching. She formed and led the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Institute for Water Business — the first of its kind in the United States — created to develop water business acumen and capacity through education, research, and multi-stakeholder collaboration. Linda has more than 10 years experience with industry, government and academic organizations in the freshwater space, focusing mainly on policy and legal issues as well as helping water technology companies bring their products and services to market.

Erick Shambarger — Director of Environmental Sustainability, City of Milwaukee

Erick leads the Environmental Collaboration Office. The Environmental Collaboration Office was created to develop practical solutions that benefit Milwaukee’s environment and economy. This includes the City’s Green Infrastructure Plan published in June. Prior to his current role, he served as Deputy Director for 5 years, and as City Economist before that. Erick oversaw implementation of the Milwaukee Energy Efficiency (Me2) program and the Milwaukee Better Buildings Challenge, chaired the City’s Energy Reduction Team to reduce energy use across City operations, and promotes innovative storm water management practices and green infrastructure.

Rosheen Styczinski — Principal/Landscape Architect, New Eden Landscape Architecture
New Eden creates eco-friendly havens also help improve environmental sustainability and encourage social interaction and healing. Rosheen brings more than 30 years of experience and insights to her innovative work. She’s a national leader in the field, and her award-winning projects can be found across the Milwaukee metro and beyond. Her specialties include green infrastructure design, including green roofs and urban sustainable site design; construction management; healing and therapeutic gardens.

James Wasley — Professor, UWM School of Architecture & Urban Planning

James is a director of the Institute for Ecological Design within the School of Architecture. He is the Past-President of both the Society of Building Science Educators and the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance; now USGBC Wisconsin. He was a founding member of
WGBA in 1997. Professor Wasley’s current research is in the creation of ecological urban waterscapes. He has produced stormwater masterplans and designed and built stormwater demonstration projects on the UWM campus and around the UWM School of Freshwater
Sciences since 2005. Most recently, he has organized an NSF funded workshop on ‘Reimagining Water: Linking Sustainable Urban Water Systems in the Great Lakes Basin.’ This work on the future of waterfront cities is ongoing

Collab Lab 29: Building skilled trades talent

Peter Graven – Earth Science/ Life Science/ Robotics, Deer Creek Intermediate School (St Francis)

Craig Griffie – Technology Education, Brown Deer High School

Tracey Griffith – HR Outreach Manager, Walbec Group

Crystal Marmolejo – Project Engineer, CG Schmidt

Reginald Reed – Founder/CEO, Mindful Staffing  Solutions

Josh Rudolf – Scheduling Manager, Mortenson

Joe Schmidt – Sr. Project Developer, Trane Co.

Kilby Williamson – Prototype Composites, Woodgreen Advisors

Collab Lab 26: Storytelling as a point of engagement

Karen Ambrosh — Teacher, Audubon Technology and Communication High School

Karen has been teaching English, Media, and Communication courses for 23 years in Milwaukee Public Schools. She is President of The National Telemedia Council and an editorial board member of The Journal of Media Literacy.

Adam Carr

Adam is an independent based in Milwaukee, who works at the intersection of community and communication. Carr’s work ranges from writing to media, public art to in-depth tours.

He is the Deputy Editor at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and has been on staff since 2012. He was co-chair for the Coordinating Committee of March On Milwaukee 50th, which commemorated Milwaukee’s Open Housing Marches with a 200 Nights of Freedom in 2017-2018. In 2016, he authored the children’s book Explore MKE: Your Neighborhood, Our City, working with five 3rd grade classrooms throughout Milwaukee and SHARP Literacy. He has collaborated on neighborhood-based public art projects in Milwaukee, including Listening to Mitchell in 2014 with artist Sonja Thomsen and TypeFace in 2013 with artist Reginald Baylor. Carr has collaborated with filmmaker Wes Tank to produce two short films featured in the Milwaukee Film Festival and was the producer at 88Nine RadioMilwaukee from 2008-2011.

Emily Scheider Berens — Program Coordinator, UWM’s ArtsECO

Emily is a faculty member within the areas of First Year Program and Digital Studio Practice at UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts; she also serves as a contributing faculty member within UWM’s Immersive Media Lab, and as Program Coordinator for Milwaukee Visionaries Project (MVP), an after-school filmmaking program for middle/high school students from throughout the City of Milwaukee.

Emily’s research focuses on designing accessible, digital literacy-driven programming. She has delivered community-focused workshops regionally and internationally, serving artists hailing from a diverse variety of backgrounds. Throughout these experiences, Emily looks to help artists discover new techniques for archiving inspiration, re-mixing found materials, and crafting rich narratives through digital storytelling.

Wendy Harrop — STEM/Library Integrator, Summit Elementary School (Oconomowoc)

Wendy runs the school’s makerspace and teaches STEM classes to all students K-4. This past spring she received a grant from the Oconomowoc Public Education Foundation to develop STEM and Storytelling programming at Summit. This programming involves two main components. The first is focusing on problem based design in the makerspace by integrating literature – identifying the problem in a story and using the design process to create a possible solution for the characters. The other component is using coding as a means to tell a story – using coding programs and/or robots, students are creating characters, plots and settings and then animating them through coding.

Dominic Inouye — Founder and Director, ZIP MKE

Dominic is a former teacher of 22 years at Marquette University, Pius XI High School, and The Prairie School in Racine. In October 2016 he founded  ZIP MKE, which has collected over 2,000 photographs celebrating and connecting faces, places, and experiences from all 28 ZIP Codes in the city of Milwaukee. He is also the lead City Organizer for Jane’s Walk MKE, which celebrates the legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs by organizing free, citizen-led neighborhood explorations and building community connections through observation and dialogue, education and storytelling, and collectively reimagining and changing the places in which Milwaukeeans live, work, and play. He writes a monthly column for Milwaukee Independent, telling the stories of change-makers throughout the city, and recently began work as an educational consultant at Vel R. Phillips School at the Juvenile Detention Center, where he is helping teachers collaborate with students on individualized, interdisciplinary research that will likely involve submitting podcasts to NPR. He is looking forward to learning from all of you.

Megan McGee — Co-founder and Executive Director, Ex Fabula

Ex Fabula is a nonprofit that strengthens community bonds through the art of true, personal storytelling. Since its grassroots inception in 2009, the org has engaged over 29000 teens and adults at 400+ workshops and StorySlams held all over the Milwaukee metro area. Especially powerful stories are shared with an even broader audience via Ex Fabula Radio on 89.7 WUWM, which attracts additional thousands of listeners each week.

Megan is bilingual and has an MA in Literature in Spanish; spending a year living in Mexico inspired countless stories. She also has a degree in Theatre, which she uses while writing, performing and directing in the all-female sketch comedy group broadminded. She leverages both scholarly research (neuroscience of storytelling; learning zone model of pedagogy; vulnerability) and feedback from community members in order to create live storytelling events that connect individuals, foster empathy, and amplify underrepresented voices and stories. In 2018, she received the Public Allies Changemaker Award for her efforts to build a more just and equitable society.

Dr. Cara Ogburn — Programming & Education Director, Milwaukee Film

Milwaukee Film hosts the Milwaukee Film Festival, a 15-day festival boasting annual attendance around 80,000 for over 300 films (shorts, features and VR shorts), and operates the historic Oriental Theatre year-round. While Cara’s role at Milwaukee Film has evolved to include more than just Education, those programs (serving young people in and out of school contexts as well as their educators) continue to be her happy place!

Collab Lab 25: Water

Brenda Coley – Co-Executive Director, Milwaukee Water Commons (MWC)

Milwaukee Water Commons is a cross-city network that fosters connection, collaboration and broad community leadership on behalf of our waters. MWC promotes stewardship of, equitable access to and shared decision-making for our common waters.

Brenda brings to MWC her philosophy on being a servant leader. She is committed to exploring the influences of one’s own culture or cultures and understanding ways in which groups of people have been and are treated in society, using that knowledge to develop strategies to effectively engage diverse groups of people in important community issues.

Jake Fincher – Stormwater Program Manager, Sweet Water

Sweet Water is committed to restoring the Greater Milwaukee watersheds to conditions that are healthy for swimming and fishing. They bring diverse partners together and provide the leadership and innovation necessary to protect and restore our shared water resources. Jake manages Sweet Water’s stormwater program which includes initiatives like the Respect Our Waters outreach campaign, the Adopt-A-Storm Drain program, and a coast-wide communications strategy. Each of these focus to inform and educate community members about stormwater pollution prevention. He holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Integrated Science/Business, with an emphasis on water.

Tony Giron – Community Engagement Manager, Harbor District Milwaukee

The Harbor District has been at the center of our region’s prosperity for hundreds of years – first as a rice marsh with plentiful fish and game, then as an economic hub that served industries throughout the State. Now, much of its land sits abandoned or in disrepair, its waterways are polluted – but its potential is immense.

The Harbor District Initiative brings together local, state, and federal government efforts, private sector interests, and community enthusiasm to transform this area into a vibrant and productive waterfront that strengthens our community and regional economy.

Tony is responsible for building relationships and implementing programs that create or reinforce community connections to the Harbor District. His projects include organizing Harbor Fest, coordinating tours of the area, and seeking opportunities to collaborate with local partners.

Justin Hegarty, P.E., LEED A.P., Executive Director, Reflo

Justin has over 14 years of engineering experience including managing several diverse teams and water resource projects. He co-founded Reflo to work with community stakeholders in the Milwaukee-area to design and build creative and meaningful green infrastructure. Shortly after organizing the nonprofit it became evident that a strong local movement was necessary to advance green schools initiatives in the area, and Reflo began organizing the Green Schools Consortium of Milwaukee. Reflo has supported many exciting community-based green infrastructure initiatives including rainwater harvesting for urban agriculture, organizing and funding the first Green Schools Conference in Milwaukee, developing an interactive app to explore local water projects, and organizing a mapping user’s group to share community data with the intent of increasing communication and resource sharing across organizations.

Kelly Ibarra – Teacher Success Lead, STEMhero

STEMhero offers a curriculum geared towards educating students about water and utility usage through real time, individualized data collection. Previously, Kelly served at two different Urban Milwaukee schools as a middle school ELA teacher and most recently, as a “Master Teacher” and instructional coach. She resides in Bayview with her husband and three lovely children.

Cate Rahmlow – Director of Sector Strategy Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Kate serves as project strategist and developer for targeted investments in Wisconsin’s food, energy, and water sectors. For each of these sectors, Cate works with industry leaders, economic development partners, universities and other schools to advance economic cluster strategies that strengthen public/private partnerships and help companies better innovate and compete in the global marketplace. Among noteworthy projects,Cate has been involved with the cluster development strategy of The Water Council—which has been recognized as a model for successful cluster development by entities including the Brookings Institution and CoreNet Global.

Rochelle Sandrin – Science Curriculum Specialist, Milwaukee Public Schools

Rochelle leads science curriculum development and design for Milwaukee Public Schools in grades K-12. Responsibilities include leading professional development for school and district administrators, writing and supporting science-related grants, updating curriculum and resources to align with the Next Generation Science Standards, and managing a small team of science teacher leaders as they work directly with teachers in the schools around the district. Our current work includes a focus on equity of access to science education for all students, and culturally relevant curriculum, resources, and teaching practices in our classrooms.

Liz Sutton, Outreach Manager, UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences

The School of Freshwater Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the largest water focused academic research institute on the Great Lakes and the only North American school of higher education solely dedicated to freshwater issues. The School trains the next generation of freshwater professionals and advances strategic science to inform policy, improve management, and promote the health and sustainability of the Great Lakes and freshwater systems worldwide. Liz has spent her career working to engage and inspire young people through STEM and environmental science education. In 2008 she transitioned into higher education, working as the Assistant Director and STEM Specialist for UWM College for Kids before developing a formal outreach department within the School of Freshwater Sciences with her at the helm.

Collab Lab 24: Maps as a Point of Engagement

Emily Champagne – GIS Supervisor, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD)

Emily has worked at MMSD since 2011, managing staff and maintaining spatial data, maps, and drawings of facilities and assets (not just sewer pipes – MMSD also has jurisdiction over local streams, rivers, green infrastructure projects and two wastewater reclamation facilities). Emily leads a team that develops applications and solutions as well as GIS maps.

Emily earned a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from the University of Minnesota and a GIS Master’s Certificate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She has had a career in geospatial information and land records for 20 years working in a variety of jobs that include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Dane County Regional Planning Commission, City of Muskego, and AECOM (Engineering firm).

Emily earned GIS Professional certification in 2009. She is an active member of the local GIS community including Wisconsin GeoMentors, Esri Wisconsin User Group, and the Wisconsin Land Information Association, which she is currently serving as Past President on the Board of Directors.

Donna Genzmer, GISP – Director, Cartography & GIS Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Donna is a Higher Education Professional and campus leader in GIS implementation in academic research and instruction, outreach, and collaboration, specializing in cartography and geospatial analysis.  She is a recognized leader in facilitating collaboration with campus and community partners to achieve positive outcomes. Donna has been at the forefront of initiatives to get GIS into Wisconsin K-12 schools.

Auriana Gilliland-Lloyd – Conservation Assistant, Bonobo & Congo Biodiversity Initiative, Zoological Society of Milwaukee

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s field conservation program, the Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative (BCBI), is a multifaceted conservation program that strives to ensure the survival of the bonobo and forest elephant. BCBI operates in the Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Salonga is Africa’s largest rain-forested park, and harbors >40% of the world’s bonobo population. BCBI’s key program areas include 1) support for ICCN anti-poaching patrols and guard training, 2) bonobo and elephant population monitoring and ecological research, and 3) community outreach and support.

Training park guards is BCBI’s number one investment in safeguarding the Salonga. We train park guards in navigation and GPS use, biomonitoring, and data entry. For guards who lack basic reading and writing skills, BCBI provides literacy instruction at Etate. In coordination with our conservation partners, we use GIS to provide baseline ecological data (species distribution), and to pinpoint poaching hotspots in the park, which in turn inform strategic anti-poaching patrols. Auriana assists the BCBI program in data management, and also helps to coordinate the Bonobo Species Survival Plan that is based at the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.

Lawrence Hoffman – GIS Program Manager, Groundwork Milwaukee

As a conservation land trust focused on issues of environmental and economic justice, Groundwork Milwaukee’s work is inherently spatial. This realization led to the founding of the Groundwork GIS program in 2017. Groundwork GIS aspires to leverage geographic information systems (GIS) to enhance existing Groundwork programming. By providing technical training, tools for data collection and analysis, and production of thought provoking maps and web products, Groundwork GIS supports all other Groundwork Milwaukee programming, allowing the organization to understand their work from new perspectives.

Lawrence mangages GIS programming for Groundwork’s initiatives. This has included a commercial property survey using Loveland Technologies for the Brew City Match.Throughout the spring of 2018 Groundwork’s Green Team (5-10 high school aged youth workers) conducted property surveys of 8 Milwaukee BIDs for a forthcoming program called the Brew City Match which is intended to match vacant commercial properties with aspiring entrepreneurs. Teens were provided mobile devices and led on survey outings and asked to take pictures of and fill out a short survey on each property. Loveland uploads this data to a nation-wide parcel layer where it can be styled and analysed using a set of basic tools. Students were exposed to the utility of GIS field tools and challenged to think about the history that led to the current economic conditions encountered in the BIDs. Groundwork’s Green Team is also working with Mapillary and ESRI’s collector app to collect imagery and site inventories of Groundwork gardens.

Beth Haskovec – Program Officer, LISC Milwaukee

At LISC Milwaukee, Beth oversees commercial corridor revitalization and creative placemaking strategies that resist displacement and utilize equitable economic development practices to ensure that economic growth is inclusive of people and neighborhoods who have traditionally faced barriers to economic mobility. Beth brings over 15 years of experience to her role working at the intersection of the arts and economic development. LISC utilizes the Loveland property data tool to inform land use decisions at the neighborhood level, and shape priorities within LISC’s commercial corridor revitalization strategy.

Prior to joining LISC Beth served as Executive Director of Artists Working in Education, where she strategically grew organizational impact through aligning arts and culture programming with neighborhood development goals. Beth received her BA from the University of Northern Iowa, and is an alumna of Peace Corps and Americorps VISTA. She has served on the board of the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, the Milwaukee County Arts Fund, Womankind Worldwide, and the Milwaukee Forum.

Kate Madison – Policy Analyst, UWM’s Center for Economic Development

Kate is a policy analyst at the Center. She has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and certificate in GIS from UW-Milwaukee, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Anthropology and Geology from the University of Pittsburgh. Kate’s work focuses on urban redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization, transit issues and job connectivity, affordable housing, environmental/water issues, and the spatial dynamics of cities and neighborhoods. Kate provides assistance to community partners on market analysis, project feasibility studies, socio-economic assessments, creative placemaking, and GIS and spatial data needs. Kate is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the American Planning Association, and the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Dr. Aleksandra Snowden Ph.D. – Assistant Professor Social & Cultural Sciences, Marquette University

Aleksandra is a big proponent of community engaged learning, so her students work with residents and community organizations to examine spatial issues related to crime, alcohol availability and other neighborhood characteristics. In collaboration with her Marquette University colleagues, she was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to design and implement a three-day workshop on spatial analysis that trained Marquette’s students in using spatial analytics to explore a variety of topics, including crime patterns, water resource management, and computational geometry algorithms.

Michael Timm – Reflo

Michael Timm manages the Milwaukee Community Map as part of the nonprofit Reflo – Sustainable Water Solutions’ Milwaukee Water Stories program. The Milwaukee Community Map is a free interactive map using Google Earth to share, explore, and create Milwaukee’s community water stories. The map hosts Water Stories, featuring local groups making a difference in our city’s collective water story; Basemaps, featuring geographic areas like watersheds, the sewer service area, and historic waterways; and Deeper Dives, featuring animated thematic tours.

The MCM is curated by the Milwaukee nonprofit Reflo – Sustainable Water Solutions and supported by grants from Brico Fund and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

Michael is a Freelance Writer, Game Designer, Public Engagement Specialist, and Science Communicator. With over seven years as a journalist and a master’s degree from the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, Michael is passionate about innovative ways to share Milwaukee’s hidden water stories.

Collab Lab 23: The Innovators Next Door

88Nine Labs

88Nine Labs was born from an idea from Radio Milwaukee’s digital director, Tarik Moody, after spearheading a hackathon in the fall of 2017. 88Nine Labs aims to gather people of all backgrounds, ages and professions who have a shared interest in tech to further the understanding of ways we can bridge creativity and technology. To that end, 88Nine Labs runs an ongoing series of hackathons and tech talks.

Brinn Labs

Established in 2013, the Maker Initiatives have helped the Museum become a national leader in the Maker Movement, and Brinn Labs will be home to these and other programs, projects and events:

The Google Making Spaces Hub program – as one of fifteen Google Making Spaces Hub institutions nationwide, Brinn Labs maker-educators works directly with a number of area schools to help them develop makerspaces, including staff training, space design and development, crowdfunding and ongoing programming support.

Maker-Educator Training – with funding from the federal Department of Education and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, Brinn Labs has collaborated with the New York Hall of Science and other institutions to develop national training models for K-12 teachers and after-school program staff.

The Be A Maker Teacher Studio – this partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education’s Departments of Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction is dedicated to sharing best practices in maker education.

The Commons

The Commons is a collaboration between a growing network of southeast Wisconsin colleges and universities, our local business community and the region’s entrepreneurs. The program blends student startup ventures with corporate innovation and layers on over 500 mentoring professionals to give students a truly unique, real-world experience.

The Commons is an opportunity for motivated and talented students in Wisconsin to get firmly planted in the region’s growing innovation economy. It’s a chance to apply skills on real-world projects, build professional networks and connect with the community. We run a variety of programming throughout the year and work with students of any school, any year and any degree.

Islands of Brilliance

Islands of Brilliance (IOB) is a learning experience developed specifically for children and young adults on the autism spectrum. Islands of Brilliance utilizes project-based learning which allows students to grow their intrinsic capabilities and practice communication, increasing their likelihood of independence as adults. IOB design workshops create a space for students to explore creativity through the use of technology, during which they learn technical skills and grow confidence in critical social and peer-to-peer interactions. Students are matched one-to-one with mentors—design field professionals—which not only changes public perception of this disability, it also paves the way for future higher education and employment opportunities. An experienced, licensed special education teacher, with paraprofessional support, oversees all workshops.

Kohl’s Innovation Center

The Customer Experience innovation team explores internal and customer facing opportunities to enhance the day to day work Kohl’s does and make for easier, more inspiring experience for our customers. Their approach follows a design thinking methodology that evaluates the problem space from the human perspective first and technology second.

The team crafts future experiences based on research, direct feedback from customers and informed speculation that comes from hands on exploration of technology and the building of testable prototypes. This approach allows Kohl’s to craft a narrative that reflects an accurate portrayal of the customer experience including the interaction model, the customer journey and the emotional state of our subjects.

MIAD Openlab

The openlab is MIAD’s center for emerging technology. It is a place where MIAD students, staff and faculty engage with technologies as they are develop. The purpose of the openlab is to help students learn how to learn to use technology to support their creative practice . All students have full access to the lab, regardless of course of study or discipline. The lab supports 3 types of digital making:

  • Rapid Prototyping is the used of computer controlled machines to make three dimensional objects.
  • Immersive Technology uses Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to create compelling user experiences through digital display. The openlab has all three of the major VR platforms present in the lab, as well as Microsoft Hololens, ambisonic microphones and 360 degree video cameras with stitching software.
  • Physical Computing is the discipline of making interactive and dynamic physical objects using small computers.

UWM’s Immersive Media Lab

The Immersive Media Lab focuses on the technologies and mediums of the future. They’re looking at the emerging field of Extended Reality in connection with other academic disciplines. The lab is an interdisciplinary research space with a mindset that creativity is the denominator between the arts and sciences. Researchers from all over UWM can explore how these new options augment their research through the embodiment of their data, dynamic interactions with the information the data yields, and enhances their efforts through networked collaborative learning.

Collab Lab 22: Greenhouses/Aquaponics

Charles Uihlein Teens Grow Greens
Teens Grow Greens is a nine-month paid internship for teenagers.  During the internship Teens develop life-skills through hands-on experience in healthy living, leadership and entrepreneurship. The group owns and manages Weber’s Greenhouses which not only provide fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers for the community, but employ graduates of Teens Grow Greens, provide a hone base for the organizations innovative programming, and serve as a community hub.

Joe Jenna, Special Education Teacher, Waukesha West High School
For the last 22 years Joe has specialize in teaching math in self contained, intervention, and team taught regular education environments. His passion, and labor of love, is teaching a special education science class to students with Intellectual Disabilities based out of the greenhouse and the 1500 gallon aquaponics system at West as well as composting scraps from the cafeteria daily. Joe has been running the “Aquatic Roots” greenhouse at West for six years. He enjoys being a student all over again studying other systems and learning from mistakes and growing in his professional practice each year. The Aquatic Roots program has partnered with the community donating fish to the Waukesha Food Pantry and being a recipient of several financial donations from the Spring City Garden Club. Joe has made it a goal to secure the funding to build a new 1,500 square foot greenhouse to provide more classroom space and turn Aquatic Roots into a District wide (K-12) program allowing over 13,000 students the opportunity to learn about aquaponics and composting.

Sam Rikkers – Executive Director, Tiny Earth
Tiny Earth is a network of instructors and students focused on crowdsourcing antibiotic discovery from soil. The mission of the program is two-fold: First, it seeks to inspire students to pursue careers in science through original laboratory and field research conducted in introductory courses with the potential for global impact. Second, it aims to address a worldwide health threat—the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics—by tapping into the collective power of many student researchers concurrently tackling the same challenge, living up to its motto “studentsourcing antibiotic discovery.”

Matt Ray – Teacher & Greenhouse Guy, Fernwood Montessori (MPS)
Matt has a BS in Psychology and MEd Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on Montessori. He’s been teaching for 28 years, covering grades 1-8, currently teaching at the at middle school level.  Matt is an Educational Designer and practitioner focused on experiential education, working in Sustainability Education since 2009.  He has been involved in the design, operation, instruction, and consulting for aquaponic systems since 2007.

Collab Lab 21: Building Computer Science Talent

Ryan Bennett — Senior Consultant,  SafeNet Consulting
Ryan is a software engineer with a decade of experience at various corporations including running a Portland-based start-up from his bedroom for 2 years. Ryan is the Program director of Code the Way. As a self taught developer who was fortunate enough to be mentored early on, he interested in bringing this learning opportunity to as many students as possible.

Dennis Brylow — Associate Professor, Computer Science, Marquette University
Dennis’ work centers on building tools to help those who design, build, or teach complex systems, with particular focus on Embedded, Real-time, and Interrupt-Driven Systems, Programming Languages and Software Engineering. He has been the principal investigator on just over $3 million of extramural grant funding from the National Science Foundation, Cisco, Google, Intel and others. His ongoing projects include:

  • Embedded XINU, a culmination of both his research and teaching interests;
  • NSF-funded REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) site, “Computation Across the Disciplines”; and
  • The PUMP-CS Project, which is working to increase the number of qualified high school computer science teachers in the upper Midwest and metropolitan Milwaukee in particular.

Karen Green — Computer Science Coach, Milwaukee Public Schools

Karen is a retired MPS science teacher who currently serves as the Computer Science Coach for the district. Prior to teaching, Karen worked as a computer programmer. She is part of the MPS district-wide effort to enhance computer science education for students in all grades. She also supports classroom teachers as they implement computer science instruction. In addition, Karen serves as a liaison for the PUMP-CS grant, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and administered by Dennis Brylow.

Ryan Osterberg — Computer Science Teacher, Brookfield Central High School
Ryan has been teaching computer science for 22 years. Throughout his career he has worked to provide his students with the best computer science learning opportunities. He’s recently begun to bring in current work place practices into my classes in an effort to create real-world learning experiences. Working as part of the Code the Way team, he has brought real-world computer science learning and application to over 50 students.

Mark Zacher — Milwaukee Regional Manager, TEALS
TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is a Microsoft Philanthropy that supports high schools in offering computer science classes. TEALS pairs teachers that are not yet trained and/or confident enough to teach computer science and match them with volunteers from the industry that can co-teach the class with them. There are three models of volunteer support and four different curricula TEALS offer depending on the needs of the particular teacher or district. School recruitment for the next school year happens in the Fall and volunteer recruitment happens in the Spring. The goal: computer science in every high school.

Collab Lab 20: High School STEM Internships

Tamera Coleman–  Internship Coordinator, Milwaukee Public Schools

Tamera is responsible for the development and implementation of a viable internship program at the district level. Tamera spends time facilitating student learning by assisting students to secure appropriate internships to enhance overall academic experience while learning essential skills. Tamera also initiates and builds partnerships with employers to develop student opportunities for endeavors locally. Tamera is also a proud MPS alumni, a mother of 2 young children, a wife of an educator and a Milwaukee native truly committed to youth empowerment.

Matthew Hunt– College & Career Readiness Specialist, New Berlin High School

Matt previously worked as an Account Manager in the Professional Services Division of Aerotek, the largest staffing firm in the country, where he worked with businesses across multiple industries to help them find talent in Accounting/Finance, Supply Chain, Marketing, Customer Service, and Administrative Support. He later served as a School Counselor at New Berlin West for 3 years and took a leadership role with the district’s Career and Service Based Learning Program. During the 2017-18 school year, Matt transitioned into a newly created role as the District’s College and Career Readiness Specialist and now manages Youth Apprenticeship and Internship programs at both New Berlin West and New Berlin Eisenhower high schools.

Ariana Radowicz– University Relations, Rockwell Automation

Ariana leads recruitment for Rockwell Automation’s high school internship programs as well as their scholarship/specialty programs. She also participates in ADVANCE, the company’s young professionals employee resource group and works to build a diverse pipeline of students for Rockwell’s early career programs.

Molly Schuld– Science Teacher, Ronald Reagan High School

Molly is a science teacher and a personal & professional skills teacher at Ronald Reagan High School. She came to Milwaukee through Teach For America and has now been teaching in Milwaukee Public Schools for four years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Education in Educational Policy and Leadership.

Molly also serves as the Ronald Reagan High School’s NAF Director for the Academy of Health Sciences, which involves connecting students to career-based learning experiences in the community. She secures STEM internship opportunities for Reagan’s upperclassmen in Milwaukee-area. Molly has also developed and continues to lead several programs including Reagan’s International Travel Program, SMART Team, and Girls In Technology Program.

Laura Schmidt, Strategic Advisor to the Superintendent – School District of New Berlin

Laura has an MBA (Leadership Studies) from Marquette University. She worked for 15 years for Northwestern Mutual and was responsible for enterprise software, usability testing, and technology research.  She served as the Executive Director of an Education Foundation for 4 years before joining the School District of New Berlin as a consultant.  She represents the Superintendent in local, regional and state efforts designed to support a strong talent pipeline for the benefit of students as well as the state’s economy. She holds a Scaled Agilist certification to inform strategic planning and implementation efforts.

Erica Steele– Manager, Workforce Development,  Froedtert Health

Erica Steele is the Manager of Workforce Development at Froedtert Health focused on driving innovative workforce strategies internally and externally to grow and diversify the healthcare talent pipeline to meet current and future industry needs. This includes collaborating and partnering with educational institutions, workforce agencies, community based organizations,  internal stakeholders, and others to identify, engage, train and create pathways for talent to enter and advance in the healthcare field. She provides subject matter expertise on the topics of workforce development, education/training, program development and management, volunteer management, public speaking and fund development.

Collab Lab 19: Building Community Partners

Dr. Dan Bergen  – Executive Director, Marquette Office of Community Engagement

Dr. Bergen is the founding, and executive director of the Office of Community Engagement at Marquette University where he is responsible for the promotion and support of community engagement in research, community-based teaching, and service.  He is the co-chair of the Housing Working Team for the Near West Side Partners, a member of the Regional Community Engagement Steering Committee, and one of the goal stewards for Marquette University’s “Social Responsibility through Community Engagement” strategic initiative.

Fr. Bill Johnson, SJ – Vice President of Strategic Growth, Cristo Rey Jesuit Milwaukee

Fr. Bill Johnson, Vice President of Strategic Growth, is native to Milwaukee. He was a co-founder of Nativity Jesuit Middle School, was on the founding leadership team of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Twin Cities, Before returning to Milwaukee, Fr. Bill spent three years in the Dominican Republic as the pastoral director of Creighton University’s Institute of Latin American Concern. At Cristo Rey Jesuit Milwaukee, Fr. Bill helps to recruit students and staff members, raise funds, locate corporate partners, and is responsible for Cristo Rey’s Mission and Identity.

Thomas Kiely –  Director of Institute for Catholic Leadership, Marquette University

Thomas Kiely directs the Institute for Catholic Leadership at Marquette University. The ICL helps to develop the mission effectiveness, leadership practices, and innovative structures of Catholic schools and teachers as well as future Catholic School leaders. In this capacity he interacts with community partners on local and national levels so Catholic schools can engage their communities in ways promoting social justice and community solidarity.

Katie Sparks – Director of Development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee

Katie Sparks focuses on building partnerships with corporations and other philanthropists.  Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee is the largest youth-serving agency in the city They provide safety and support during critical hours of the day as well as meals, strong role models, organized athletics and access to the arts.  The organization’s vision is to build the community’s social and economic fabric by  providing impactful programs that strengthen academic performance, build character, encourage healthy lifestyles, and meet the basic needs of Milwaukee’s youth.

Collab Lab 15: Healthcare Connections

Christopher J Simenz, PhD, NSCA CSCS*D- Clinical Professor,
Department of Physical Therapy- Programs in Exercise Science, Marquette University

Dr. Simenz currently works in a collaborative research team using community engaged research (CEnR) to study wellness, health systems navigation, obesity reduction/prevention, food security, systems change and physical activity focused primarily on under-served populations in Milwaukee’s central city. Currently, he is an administrative team member in the Healthy Wisconsin Partnership Programs Response to Intervention (RtI) grant, programming physical activity interventions for students with obesity and related comorbidities in central city schools. Additionally, he is researching the effects of fall prevention programming on wellness variables and balance in central-city Hmong and SE Asian seniors. Previously, Dr. Simenz served on the administrative team of the Milwaukee Childhood Obesity Prevention Project (MCOPP) (www.uncom-milw.org/mcopp ), engaged in addressing policy change in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, land use, and education to reduce the incidence of obesity and related comorbidities in the Milwaukee area.

Jennifer Tarcin – Menomonee Falls High School Healthcare Academy Coordinator; Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Community Memorial Hospital Healthcare Career Academy Faculty Liaison

Jennifer and her team created the Healthcare Academy in 2011 to bring the industry to life for students at Menomonee Falls High School. They created a small learning community bringing together students from a variety of backgrounds to foster relationships based upon their common career interest in healthcare. Well-crafted essential questions provide the framework for curricular integration while community partnerships enhance and personalize student learning.

In just a few short years, the program has grown from 30 students to over 150 students and has earned national certification from the National Career Academy Coalition.

Jonathan Wertz — Director of Clinical Risk Management, Medical College of Wisconsin

Jon’s work involves helping Medical College physicians, nurses and advanced practice providers provide care to their patients in a safe and effective way. He helps providers work through the different types of challenges that can arise as they do their work. Before joining the Medical College, Jon worked as a litigation attorney at the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a registered nurse in the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit at Aurora-Sinai Medical Center in downtown Milwaukee.

Jon has become more and more interested in education as he’s watched his son and two daughters grow up and work in various educational settings. His oldest daughter currently attends a boarding school, his younger daughter is home-schooled and his son attends the neighborhood public school. Jon has been working with Escuela Verde for about a year and a half, setting up opportunities for students to learn about health professions and healthcare in an academic medical center. These opportunities involve introducing students to providers and allowing them to hear what these professionals do and what motivated them to become educated in healthcare. The interactions are most successful when the students can see and understand how the professionals put their knowledge into use to solve real-life challenges. He’s interested in finding ways to spark the interest of young people with diverse backgrounds who might not know what opportunities are available in healthcare or who might not see higher education as an option.

Kristina Kaljo, PhD — Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

Kristina Kaljo, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director for the Third-Year Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Student Clerkship at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW).

Prior to beginning at the MCW, Dr. Kaljo was a member of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and a middle school classroom teacher. During this period, she established a professional practice deep-rooted in culturally responsive pedagogy, which assures that every learner, regardless of age, class, gender, or background receives the most culturally responsive learning experience.

Currently at MCW, Dr. Kaljo has bridged her expertise of curriculum development and evaluation with educational and community engaged research to the field of medical education. Dr. Kaljo has also created and facilitated a sexual and behavioral wellness curriculum with a local urban high school to address unintended pregnancies and high rates of sexually transmitted infections as they relate to reduced risk-taking behavior and improved health outcomes.

Collab Lab 14: Effective Partnerships for Career Based Learning Experiences

Susan Koehn, Director of the Milwaukee7 Regional Talent Partnership

Susan Koehn is Director of the Milwaukee7 Regional Talent Partnership, which connects employers in Southeast Wisconsin with the right talent supply chain partners to fuel business growth. Susan served as Innovation Fund manager for the Milwaukee7 region’s WIRED Initiative in 2008-09. Through the Department of Labor’s WIRED Initiative, regions integrated economic and workforce development activities to demonstrate that talent can drive economic transformation. From there, Susan moved into a role with the Southeast WI Workforce Development Board, coordinating Workforce Development Board activities in Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties, before returning to Milwaukee7 and the work of regional economic and workforce alignment. Under Susan’s leadership, Milwaukee7 launched the GROW HERE Campaign, an effort to develop and retain young people in Southeast Wisconsin and fuel the critical talent needs of industry. She enjoys working with local partners to connect employers to their future talent pipeline and scale opportunities for career-based learning across the region.

Stacey Duchrow, Business & Education Partnerships Manager — Milwaukee7 Regional Talent Partnership

Stacy most recently served as STEM and District Assessment Coordinator for Union Grove School District in Racine County. There, she launched Union Grove’s first Career Academies – three STEM pathways in Biomedical, IT, and Manufacturing/Engineering including dual credit and work-based learning experiences. Stacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology and spent 5 years at Abbott Labs as a Senior Quality Technician before seeking licensure as a teacher and an eventual Master of Educational Leadership Degree from Carthage College. She taught Biology and Physics in Kenosha Unified School District and was selected in 2010 as 1st runner up – Kenosha County Teacher of the Year.

Allan Erickson, Curriculum Specialist – Career and Technical Education — Milwaukee Public Schools

Al Erickson has been the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Curriculum Specialist in the Department of College and Career Readiness at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) for almost two years. Prior to joining MPS in 2016, he was a civil and environmental engineer for 32 years. After (finally) graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1980’s, Al joined CH2M HILL (a civil and environmental engineering consulting firm) where he worked on infrastructure improvement and environmental cleanup projects for clients across the United States. In his various roles over that portion of his career he enjoyed the opportunity to help society through projects to make water cleaner, transportation safer, and the environment healthier. As an engineer based in Milwaukee, he had the pleasure of working as a team member on a number of local projects including removal of contaminated sediments from Milwaukee’s Rivers, redesign and construction of Milwaukee’s freeway interchanges, and construction of Milwaukee’s deep tunnels and wastewater treatment plant improvements.

In his role with MPS since January 2016, Al currently supports CTE teachers and encourages them to engage students in more career based learning experiences. His perspective on this issue is somewhat different than his colleagues because while with CH2M HILL he hosted a Wisconsin Youth Apprentice, conducted multiple in-school and in-office career based learning experiences for students (presentations and job shadows). He also led two professional development Job Shadow sessions for MPS teachers to help them understand what civil engineers do.

DeAnna Leitzke, Milwaukee School of Engineering

DeAnna is a professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering where she also serves as Chair for Servant-Leadership. In her role as chair, she provides students with opportunities to engage the community by leading service-learning projects throughout the Greater Milwaukee Area and beyond.

Laura Schmidt, Strategic Advisor to the Superintendent – School District of New Berlin

Laura has an MBA (Leadership Studies) from Marquette University. She worked for 15 years for Northwestern Mutual and was responsible for enterprise software, usability testing, and technology research.  She served as the Executive Director of an Education Foundation for 4 years before joining the School District of New Berlin as a consultant.  She represents the Superintendent in local, regional and state efforts designed to support a strong talent pipeline for the benefit of students as well as the state’s economy. She holds a Scaled Agilist certification to inform strategic planning and implementation efforts.

Collab Lab 13: Problem Finding

Brian King
Brain King

Educator/Maker/Skill Acquirer
Former Head of School and Director of Innovation at Milwaukee Jewish Day School

A lawyer, educator and maker, Brian recently spearheaded the educational transformation at Milwaukee Jewish Day School from a traditional school to one focused on student-owned learning, learning through inquiry and making. The transformation included building a new Innovation Hub to complement the school’s approach to teaching and learning.

Cynthia Short

Cynthia ShortCynthia is an experience researcher, strategist and designer. Evolving from her background in User Experience, and her work in and across a variety of industries, in recent years Cindi has worked to push the evolution of Experience Design and its application and practice not only in the business sector, but into unsuspecting processes and areas, including entrepreneurship, social system design education and community development.

Dale Truding

Dale Truding

A designer, a collaborator and an initiator, Dr. Dale Truding is a future-focused leader who has worked in eight different states and designed two schools that have been recognized nationally. She has worked in collaboration with educational scholars throughout the world who support student-owned learning and help to create educational models that support students finding problems, seeking solutions and taking action to improve the quality of life both locally and globally.

Dr. Truding has her doctoral degree in gaming and second language acquisition. She has spent forty-eight years of her career mentoring teachers and school leaders to become lead learners and model the skills, habits and attitudes needed for all students to be prepared for the world of today and tomorrow.

Paula Kaiser
Paula Kaiser

Founder and Director of Coaching at Activate Pathways
Director of Development at Norris Academy
Director of Coaching at Epiphany Learning

Paula has taught in classrooms, led schools through the implementation of personalized learning as an Instructional Coach, and witnessed district-wide change as a Personalized Learning Coordinator. Paula’s first hand experience of the power of student-centric learning allows her to guide schools and districts through successful implementation and mindset change. At Norris Academy, she is responsible for the strategic development of the Academy utilizing design theory to research, prototype, implement and evaluate innovative approaches to learning.

Collab Lab 12: Middle School Math – What should we be trying?

Dr. Kevin McLeod, Associate Professor – Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dr. McLeod is a research mathematician and an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Dr. McLeod has long had an interest in good mathematics teaching. He was a co-PI for the Milwaukee Mathematics Partnership grant, and has worked extensively with MPS teachers for several years, taking an active role in planning the mathematical content for the coursework for MPS Mathematics Teacher Leaders, and assisting with the development and alignment to standards of district-developed classroom assessments.

Shannon Olson – UCC Acosta Middle School

Shannon Olson with UCC Accosta’s student built boat

UCC Acosta Middle School is a technology and skilled-trades focused charter school that offers its students Project Lead the Way Pre-Engineering curriculum, blended learning methods, including project based learning, and a Genius Hours where students are able to follow their passions. This spring, Shannon’s students built and a launched a boat in collaboration with All Hands Boatworks.

Collab Lab 11: Creating a Culture of Innovation

Jane Barr – Regional Vice President, North America Sales, Services & Solutions, Rockwell Automation

Jane provides leadership and strategic direction for the sales force in the North America Eastern region. She is responsible for developing and executing the business strategy positioning Rockwell Automation products and services to best support Rockwell’s customers in achieving their business objectives.

Jan Haven – Director, Department of Innovation, Milwaukee Public Schools
The Innovation Office directs the research, promotion, development and implementation of innovative educational programs and practices and manages the interface of the innovation function with other central service offices and schools. The office also works to build capacity of district and school staff through strategic partnerships.

Jason Montague – Senior Vice President, Baird
Jason is Senior Vice President for Baird, a privately held, employee-owned financial services firm (currently #4 on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work list!). Jason is responsible for multiple functions at Baird, including software development, architecture, and data management. Before joining Baird, he held leadership positions at Wells Fargo; MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates; and US Bank. Jason is on the board of a number of community groups, and helped found Milwaukee Agile, an industry group dedicated to growth in technology leadership. He has also been a very active proponent of Innovation in many forms, including Systems Thinking and Lean Startup.

Dave Neuman – Global Product Manager, Software Identification Solutions, Brady Corporation
For the past 20 years, Dave has been developing and promoting new technology solutions & services, building world-class software engineering & IT organizations, and coaching the next generation of technical leaders & agile practitioners.

Today, Dave is leading global product engineering teams at Brady Corporation in the development of new cloud products and mobile apps, driving commercialization and growth of software and solutions as a global product manager, and scouting emerging technologies that could help customers better identify and protect people, products, and places.

Tim Poppert – Assistant Director of Digital Innovation – Northwestern Mutual
Tim Poppert is a Wisconsin native and has spent over 15 years at Northwestern Mutual working in Application Development & Support, IT Architecture and Digital Innovation. In 2014, Tim was asked to help create and lead the strategy of digital innovation at Northwestern Mutual, which includes the implementation of the Digital Innovation team. In this role, Tim oversees, creates and maintains the vision for Digital Innovation and how to continuously foster a dynamic culture of innovation. He works to develop and maintain self-empowered teams to drive innovation, from design thinking to ideation to the execution of digital solution prototype’s and MVP’s.

Collab Lab 10: Building Resilience

REDgen – Brooke Talbot,Vice President/Director Schools; Barbara Moser, Board Member; Bill Henkle, Director Schools

REDgen is an advocate for mental health and well being of all youth. REDgen was formed out of a duty of care. They foster active community conversations around what it means to live a balanced life with healthy definitions of success.

REDgen’s Schools Group consists of professionals from schools that serve students and families within metro Milwaukee. School administrators, psychologists, nurses, social workers and teachers from public, private and parochial schools serve within the group. Their meetings create a forum to discuss the needs and strengths of our schools in supporting the emotional development of students. Their mission is to support school staff to promote balance and resiliency in the lives of students and families through training, education, and building relationships within the school community.

Donald Byrne –  4th and 5th grade Social Studies, Science, and Health teacher at Humboldt Park School.

Humboldt Park is an MPS K8 School that is home to a student body with close to 20 different primary languages.  Their participation in a United Nations School of International Learning grant. provided an opportunity for students to gain a better under standing of the backgrounds for many of their peers.

Humboldt Park fourth graders researched the UN member countries of the Caribbean and South America, including various aspects of their assigned country’s people, history, geography, cultures, etc. The students also wrote to their country’s United Nations ambassador seeking information about the country and the UN’s roles there. The students then created a large scale display of their learning. At a recent “World’s Fair” culminating event, students from all the UNSIL schools presented their displays.

Sixth grade students focused on in-depth research on issues the UN is addressing in the member countries. Some examples are; clean water, public health, peacekeeping initiatives, human rights, etc. HPS students used a systems thinking approach to look at their country under the direction of middle school social studies teacher Betsy Markwardt.

Susan Lubar Solvang – Growing Minds

Susan Lubar Solvang is President and Founder of Growing Minds, whose mission is to create safe and trusting relationships in the classroom and within the school community, setting the stage for better learning, using SEL tools, primarily mindful awareness practices. Growing Minds currently is focusing on Professional Development such that educators might learn to increase self-awareness of their emotional patterns, choose their responses intentionally, and learn to quiet the emotional ripples of moment-to- moment classroom life rather than creating more waves.

Collab Lab 9: Makerspaces/FabLabs III – Evaluating Success

Armen Hadjinian – Milwaukee Area Technical College Entrepreneurship Center

Armen established and teaches in the Milwaukee Area Technical College Entrepreneurship Center which is opening a new makerspace on 8th Street & National Ave in Milwaukee. He authored The Entrepreneur’s Launch Guide (Kendall-Hunt 2012) and Entrepreneurship Drills (Kendall-Hunt 2017). He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Alverno ollege MBA program, teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He also was part of the leadership team on one of the first mobile payments apps, Talipayments.

Emily Schindler -University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education

Emily is currently a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education. She studies Curriculum and Instruction, and her specific interests focus on digital tools, interest-driven learning, STEAM, and innovative teacher learning. She is a former K-12 public school Literacy Specialist and English teacher, and her favorite grades to teach were 7th and 8th grade. In her teaching, she explored the uses of project-based learning, multi-modal tools, and student-led curricular models.

Greg Herker – Fab Lab Manager Gateway Technical College
Greg is the architect of a variety of programs through the Gateway Fab Lab that support students, the community, and local industry. Greg currently serves on the Board of the United States Fab Lab Network (USFLN), has consulted on Fab Lab development through the National Science Foundation (NSF), and assisted numerous educational programs from K12 thru post-secondary in their Fab Lab programs. He is also heavily engaged with NC3 in developing training & curriculum for educators to leverage in the Fab Lab.

Jim Guy — Properties Director, Milwaukee Repertory Theater; President, Society of Properties Artisan Managers

Jim has been a props professional since shortly after he joined the resident company of The Cleveland Play House almost 40 years ago, following brief stints elsewhere as a librarian and stage manager. Since then his work has appeared on and Off-Broadway, on tour, in print, on television, in museums and on the stages of theaters, opera and ballet companies across the country.  For seven years he served as director of the MFA program in Properties Design and Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Before that he ran his own freelance company, The Prop Guys, designing and producing props for industrial shows, photography, print, film, video, museums and the performing arts.  At the top of the 1998-99 season he was once again seduced by the glamour of regional theater props, and joined Milwaukee Repertory Theater as their Properties Director, where he and his five-person team prop from twelve to fourteen shows in nine months.  In what time is left, he still teaches, consults, serves as President of the professional not for profit prop masters’ association, the Society of Properties Artisan Managers (SPAM), and takes in a little freelance work. For many years he has been presenting seminars and master classes to educational and professional groups across the country on Firearms Use and Safety On Stage and on Props in the Production Process.   He lives in Milwaukee with his longsuffering wife, artist and soft props artisan Margaret Hasek-Guy, their kids and a bunch of cats.

Mark and Linda Keane – co-founders, STUDIO 1032; co-creators, NEXT.cc

Mark is Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Initiative; awarded the national AIAS Young Faculty of the Year in 2011 and honored at the Guggenheim, NYC, for his work with HABS and students at Taliesin East, WI, he teaches drawing as place-based engagement.

Linda is Professor of Architecture and Environmental Design at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she initiated the development of a third accredited architecture program for Chicago, directed the City of Chicago Green Roof Website and works with thesis students in developing their final dissertations to contribute new knowledge to the built environment professions.

NEXT.cc is a STEAM by Design eLearning resource and non-profit that reaches people in fifty states and over 150 countries.

Steve Vande Zande – Bay View High School

Bay View High School is MPS’s School of Creativity and Innovation with a STEAM focus. It holds a wing dedicated to design thinking complete with a makers space for students, shared artist and designer studio, and professional gallery. Bay View High School also offers a NAF academy that supports the building of Formula 1 race cars and a skateboard engineering project.

The majority of Steve’s time is spent in a school setting as a Program Implementer for Milwaukee Public Schools. Having worked as an education programmer for the Milwaukee Art Museum creating teen programs, and an educator of teacher training at Marquette University, Steve finds these experiences with students spanning early-childhood through adulthood as the impetus that continues to build his fascination with capturing moments in human development that are hard to put into words.

Steve received a B.A. in art education from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and an M.S. degree in the area of leadership with an emphasis in the arts from Bank Street College of Education in conjunction with the Parsons New School for Design.  In 2003 he was the recipient of the Outstanding Educator of the Year award from the Wisconsin Art Education Association, and Excellence in Education by Milwaukee Public Schools in 2004. In 2009, Steve was awarded “Outstanding Faculty Lecturer for Educational Policy and Leadership” from the Marquette University College of Education. In 2012 he was named mentor of the year by the Southern Graphics council, In 2014 he was the honored as a Friend of Art from the Milwaukee Arts Board.

Collab Lab 8: The Arts Across Disciplines

Dr. Nancy Stanford Blair – Professor Emerita of Leadership Studies at Cardinal Stritch University – artsHUBmke

Laura Yale – Program Development Specialist & Instructional Coach – arts@larg

artsHUBmke​ is an innovative collaboration between Cardinal Stritch University, Arts @ Large and Milwaukee Public Schools. artsHUBmke builds the skills of pre-service student teachers, new and veteran classroom teachers, arts specialists, community artist educators, and university faculty to design and implement arts integrated teaching strategies that engage students in dynamic learning experiences.

Kid Curators PD 2016 from Linda D’Acquisto on Vimeo.

Nancy Blair currently consults in the areas of leadership formation, effectiveness and sustainability, organizational development and culture building, and the creation of learning organizations. She has taught at the Master’s and Doctoral level and consults locally, nationally and internationally with schools, non-profits and business. Nancy has co-authored several books on leadership: Connecting Leadership to the Brain, Leading with The Brain in Mind, and Mindful Leadership published by Corwin Press.

Nancy’s research interests lie in the area of leadership formation, sustainability and coherent leadership behavior that aligns core values, high impact performance and capacity building in others. Her latest book, summarizing her research findings, is Leading Coherently: Reflections from Leaders Around the World published by Sage. Nancy currently is focusing her leadership study and teaching in the area of servant leadership, transformational change and social justice. Over the last few years she has continued to interview a diverse array of servant leaders from the United States, Africa, India and Europe to discover lessons they have to teach about their transformation to extraordinary leaders who serve. Her fifth book, in progress is titled Your Life is Your Message.

Elise Georgeson – Marketing & Development Manager – Artists Working in Education

Reanna Ottoson – Program Director – Truck Studio

AWE’s mission is to provide youth in the Milwaukee area with arts enrichment programs to enhance human potential, advance learning and cultivate community. Their programs include:

A.W.E.’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program provides opportunities to engage youth in making decisions about land use, public space, and neighborhood revitalization through the creation of public art within their neighborhoods. Thriving neighborhoods are those where people have a sense of agency to make real change. Together, we create inclusive & collaborative public art projects that align youth driven planning with broader community goals. Projects may create neighborhood infrastructure, contribute to neighborhood beautification, or tell a story about a pertinent community issue through public art.

The Truck Studio provides meaningful, drop-in art-based enrichment activities free of charge to youth ages 4 –14, with a focus on working with youth who aren’t engaged in structured programming. The Truck Studio activates parks and playgrounds during the summer months and partners with Milwaukee Public Library during the school year. We help young people become more inquisitive, creative, flexible, imaginative and confident; while fostering a sense of community among children, artists and neighborhoods. Truck Studio program consists of a fleet of four brightly painted vans and a dedicated team of artists and interns with experience in youth development, arts education and fine art.

Erica Breitbarth – Reagan International Baccalaureate School
Erica Breitbarth is an active music educator, choral conductor and vocalist in the Milwaukee area. She holds degrees in music education from the Wheaton Conservatory of Music (BMEd) and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music (MMEd). Currently, Erica serves as choir director, musical theater director and chair of the music department at Reagan International Baccalaureate (IB) School in the Milwaukee Public Schools. Erica and her colleagues built the music program at Reagan High School from 50 students to over 400, garnering local, state and national recognition for excellence in music education instruction to urban youth.

Erica is an active soprano soloist throughout the greater Milwaukee area, performing such works as Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Lotti’s Dixit Dominus and Haydn’s Creation, Missa in Angustiis and Missa in tempore belli. Additionally, she was selected as finalist in the Wisconsin Civic Music Association Competition and the Illinois and Chicago Chapter NATS auditions and was the winner of the Wheaton Conservatory Vocal Concerto Competition. A strong advocate for music education, Erica worked with BuildaBridge International in Philadelphia to develop a comprehensive teaching model for artists working with at-risk students in the United States and around the world. Erica is an active church musician and council member at Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee and serves on the board of directors for the Bel Canto Chorus. She received two Tommy Awards for Outstanding Musical Theater Direction and was named the Civic Music Association’s Choral Music Educator of the Year in 2013.

And by the way, she was also a finalist for a Grammy this year (Music Educator).

Kristen Fledderjohn – Program Manager, ArtWorks for Milwaukee
As a self proclaimed social scientist, Kristen’s curiosity has taken her through a myriad of life experiences and brings those intersections, cross roads, and parallels into each new endeavor. ArtWorks for Milwaukee hires teenagers for art-based, paid internships to develop career skills. Each program focuses on building 21st Century skills through different arts and mediums. ArtWorks has expanded its capacity over the years delving into schools and creating an alumni program.

Lisa Loomis – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School
Lisa is an early Childhood School support teacher with 14 years at Milwaukee Public Schools. She has her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School offers families an African-American Immersion program that focuses on the history and culture of African-Americans, drawing upon the strengths of our pupils. It is one of four schools within MPS particpating in the Turnaround Arts program.

Collab Lab 7: Systems Thinking/Driving Engagement

Sheri Marlin – Chief Learning Officer, Waters Foundation
Sheri Marlin writes, speaks and collaborates with others to apply systems thinking in real-world contexts. She has taught preschool through graduate school and has worked as a building principal and district curriculum specialist. Sheri finds tremendous satisfaction in facilitating teams of people as they develop shared vision and achieve desired results. By providing resources and sparking curiosity, Sheri keeps learning at the center of everything she does. She believes that when people understand and apply the tools and habits of systems thinking, they are more likely to engage in meaningful, life-long learning and innovation. Sheri is co-author of the Habit-forming Guide to Becoming a Systems Thinker.

Beth Fetterley Heller – Senior Director of Education and Strategic Planning, Urban Ecology Center

Beth has dedicated the past 17 of her 24 years in education to the growth of urban environmental education programs in Milwaukee. She directs education and activities of the Urban Ecology Center’s 3 branches and 2 state-of-the-art green buildings that provide more that 150,000 learning opportunities for people of all ages each year.  Programs include the Neighborhood Environmental Education Project for 63 urban schools, a job training program for high school students, and an inter-generational research program where adults and children participate undergraduate and graduate field research projects led by over 20 colleges, universities and institutions.  Beth has her undergraduate degree in biology and education, an MBA from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and is a fellow of the Academy for Systems Change.

Betsy Markwardt – Middle School Teacher, Humboldt Park K-8 School

After 20 years as an accountant, Betsy Markwardt shifted gears. For the past 17 years she has been a middle school teacher, and loving it, with Milwaukee Public Schools. Betsy has a Masters in Curriculum design and finds that Systems Thinking has made learning and teaching more of an inquiry of the subject at hand. She is gratified to see middle school students truly grappling over an issue as Systems Thinking guides her students to look deeper.

Ellen Grasley – 1st Grade Teacher, Humboldt Park K-8 School

Ellen Grasley is an early childhood educator with 30+ years at Milwaukee Public Schools.  She has her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from UW Milwaukee and has used Systems Thinking tools with her students for the past several years.

Marissa Jablonski – Associate Researcher & Lecturer for UWM’s Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding; Mentor & Advisor Engineers Without Borders
Dr. Marissa Jablonski is a development engineer and educator who works with communities wrestling with complex concerns. She strives to help people gain access to education to meet their needs. Marissa collaborates and cooperates with transdisciplinary groups worldwide and excels in communicating across boundaries.

Marissa is a mentor to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, advising on the design and implementation of water distribution projects in Guatemala. She also serves as International Coordinator of a Guatemalan-led and run NGO that builds infrastructure to meet indigenous communities’ needs.

Marissa is a faculty member of the Master’s of Sustainable Peacebuilding program at UWM, where she develops and institutes courses focused on community engagement in international development. Marissa is an advocate for minorities and women in STEM fields, and served as program coordinator for UWM’s NSF FORTE program from 2009-2015. During that time, she designed an internationally recognized project that continues to engage with informal dye industries in rural India to affordably clean their wastewater. This work earned her a PhD in Civil/Environmental Engineering from UWM in 2015. Marissa is rooted in the urban Milwaukee community and serves as a natural sciences instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Collab Lab 6: Makerspaces/FabLabs II

Ben Dembroski – Manager Emerging Technology, MIAD
Ben Dembroski is a visual artist and technologist based in Milwaukee, Wi. He received his BFA in Sculpture from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2001. In 2002, he moved to Scotland to complete his MFA from the Glasgow School of Art (2004). He stayed there for nearly a decade working as an internationally exhibiting artist and software developer. He returned to Milwaukee in 2011 with a wife and two children in tow. In 2014, he returned to MIAD as the Sculpture Lab Technician. In 2015 he spearheaded the formation of MIAD’s openlab – a new space that explores how emerging technologies can be used in Art and Design.

Ben is comfortable working in a variety of sculptural methods, computer programming, physical computing, and lens-based image making. He’s primarily interested in how digital information works as material, and how it interfaces with the physical world. He tends to make robotic installations that address the topics of labor, intellectual property, and how society is affected by our use of digital technologies.

If you let him touch your computer, he may try to break it.

David Kaplan – Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

David’s research is concerned with multi-wavelength observations of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes, with strong representations of undergraduate and high school students. He is working to develop “tactile astronomy” modules that help students – especially those who are blind/visually impaired – improve astronomy comprehension and explore concepts in time-domain astrophysics. You may have met him at Maker Faire 2016 with his 3D prints of data.

Bill Pariso – Makerspace Program Developer, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

Collab Lab 5: Community Partners

Tom Hermann & Stacey Duchrow – Union Grove High School
Tom Herman is the principal of Union Grove Union High School and Stacey Duchrow is the Career and Academies Coordinator. Both have created deep relationships with business partners after being charged by the school board to create academies and pathways for students in IT, Healthcare, and Engineering/Manufacturing. Through this process and listening to the needs of the business community, the school culture was changed to shift the focus on increasing student college and career readiness while helping to fill in the skills gap in their community. They have created unique experiences utilizing their 100 business partners such as the Bronco Business and Career Expo, teacher externships, and business partners breakfasts.

Sylvia N. Wilson – MKEGrind
Sylvia N. Wilson, PhD is the CEO and Co-founder of MKEGrind, a youth-focused career development company. She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in the School of Education; regularly teaching courses in leadership, organizational change, non-profit management, adult education theory & practice, and youth-service work. Being rooted in both the community and academia, Sylvia believes that it is her duty to build and to be a bridge between the two; assisting in the creation of critically sound and contextually effective programming practices. Her research includes inquiry of life transformative processes; from which she developed a model for urban African American males who desire to transform out of a life of street violence.

Collab Lab 4: Making Room for Innovation

JJ Heesch – Pewaukee High School
JJ is the Director of Pewaukee’s Insight program — a cross disciplinary program that gives students hands-on, real world experiences immersed in a professional setting. The program started as an experiment within JJ’s Business Management class and now offers three separate strands which students may focus: Global Business, Innovation, and Pathways to Teaching. They are also planning to launch two additional strands next school year: Healthcare and Journalism.

Mike Kornacki – User Experience Director at Johnson Controls

Mike is a user experience leader who has successfully built User Experience (UX)/design teams from the ground up in three separate companies. He defined the UX discipline for Johnson Controls, building a culture that nurtures creativity and a user-centered approach in engineering-centric company–no small feat. In 2010, Mike co-founded mkeUX to get the user experience conversation going in Milwaukee. They now have 450+ members and have hosted presentations from local and national UX professionals.

Jump to minute 19:00 to hear Mike’s advice on how to make room for innovation:

Collab Lab 3: Makerspaces/FabLabs

Adam Pautsch – GE Healthcare
Adam was the founder of, and currently manages, the GE Healthcare Makerspace, a lab for conceptual development and prototyping which tests new technologies and ideas to add value and innovation to products. He received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UW-Madison, with a minor in Medical Physics.

Tuan Tran – Design Fugitives
Tuan has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee. He brings a high level of design experience and project management expertise to DF. In addition to design activities, Tuan is the in-house expert on Digital Fabrication, Parametric Modeling and manages New Product Development.

Erik Wolbach – South Milwaukee High School
South Milwaukee High School is researching a new Fabrication Lab as an extension of their existing shop facilities. They have new partners in architecture, aquaponics, and urban agriculture. Students have created a scale model of their existing space and are researching a building expansion to house a new green energy fab lab is ongoing.

2023-24 Collab Labs

Skip to content
Verified by MonsterInsights