As an Honors College student, Thompson explored more of his interests. “There are plenty of enhancement events to explore a wide variety of topics and to work with faculty who are passionate about their subjects. With a faculty mentor, you can complete a project you’ve always wanted to do,” he added.
Thompson’s Honors College project was to design a mechanical engineering task for high school students entered in SkillsUSA Wisconsin, a regional competition held each February at UW-Stout. He and his mentor Associate Professor Devin Berg tasked students with building a structure using a variety of tools, including straws, craft sticks and tape, to model an elevated housing unit in a flood zone.
The event, however, was canceled because of a snowstorm, but “hopefully the materials can be used again next year,” Thompson said. “The project was meant to expose students to that realm of engineering, thinking about climate change and sustainability.”
Working with him on his honor’s contract, Berg found Thompson to be a “thoughtful leader who contributed his creativity to the design of an engineering team challenge for high school students.”
Volunteering and reaffirming students’ decisions
Volunteering is a big part of Thompson’s life. It was a highlight of his college experience, and he plans to continue to volunteer as a graduate.
“There are a great many ways a company can be involved in their area, like how UW-Stout is so involved in the Menomonie community,” he said. “I would like to continue to volunteer once I get my foot into the industry.”
He mentioned the industry partners, like Graco, Advanced Molding Technologies, OEM Fabricators and F&M Plastics, which sponsor capstone projects, as an example. “Industry partners offered up projects for students to complete, and then students can look to those professionals and connect with them, helping to steer them into the industry.”