STEM Forward
Press Release

STEM Forward Honors Milwaukee’s Finest Engineers and STEM Leaders

Ropella, Dean of the Opus College of Engineering at Marquette University, is named 2016 Engineer of the Year.

By - Mar 16th, 2017 01:31 pm
Kristina Ropella. Photo courtesy of STEM Forward.

Kristina Ropella. Photo courtesy of STEM Forward.

Milwaukee, WI — Feb. 7, 2017STEM Forward is pleased to name Dr. Kristina Ropella of Marquette University as 2016 Engineer of the Year, Jared Wendt of CH2M as 2016 Young Engineer of the Year, and Caterpillar, Inc. as the 2017 Spirit of STEM recipient.

“These awards honor the very best local engineers, who serve as experts, educators and mentors to others,” said Rich Merkel, Executive Director of STEM Forward. “They represent professionals — from both the corporate and academic worlds — who are making significant contributions in [science, technology, engineering and math] STEM and building a pipeline of talent.

Ropella, Dean of the Opus College of Engineering at Marquette University, is being named 2016 Engineer of the Year. After receiving her doctoral degrees, Ropella returned back to Marquette University, where she earned her undergraduate degree, and joined the biomedical engineering faculty in 1990. Ropella has focused her research and teaching career on biosignal processing, bioinstrumentation and medical imaging. Her lab is currently developing clinical applications of functional magnetic resonance imaging, including presurgical planning and evaluation of rehabilitative outcomes after injury or pathology. She has won numerous awards and serves on many boards supporting biomedical engineering.

Wendt, Transportation Engineer at CH2M, is being named 2016 Young Engineer of the Year. As an accomplished civil engineer, Wendt has been instrumental in designing highways and interchanges for projects in the state of Wisconsin, Ohio, Arkansas and Texas. Several projects he’s been assigned to have won multiple awards. In addition to being an expert engineer, Wendt is actively involved in promoting engineering in the community and mentoring others. He’s currently Vice President of the ASCE Wisconsin Section Southeast Branch.

Ropella and Wendt were selected from a pool of highly qualified nominees, committed to advancing the engineering profession and inspiring others. Evaluation and selection of the nominees was completed by an independent judging panel.

Caterpillar, Inc. is receiving the 2017 Spirit of STEM award for supporting STEM education in South Milwaukee and throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Caterpillar has provided STEM volunteers for STEM Forward’s Day of Engineering program, numerous area robotics teams and various events in the community.

STEM Forward’s Engineer of the Year has been a tradition since the 1950s. The award is given to a remarkable person in the Milwaukee 7 community who has made an extraordinary contribution to the engineering profession. The Young Engineer of the Year recognizes an exemplary engineer under 40. The Spirit of STEM award honors businesses committed to advancing STEM education and building talent in southeastern Wisconsin.

To learn more, visit our Website or Facebook page.

About STEM Forward

STEM Forward is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and metro Milwaukee’s leading STEM education and outreach provider. STEM Forward’s programs, events and activities inspire local youth to pursue STEM careers and provide a pipeline of talent to businesses in southeastern Wisconsin.

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Jared Wendt of CH2M Named 2016 Young Engineer of the Year by STEM Forward

Jared Wendt is an accomplished Transportation Engineer at CH2M.

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