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Waupaca Foundry Provides Teacher Externship Opportunity

A part of the CESA 8 Career Academy Teacher Externship (CATE) Program, Waupaca Foundry in Marinette, Wisconsin mentored Cathy Smiley, a chemistry and environmental geology teacher from Marinette High School, for her summer externship.

Cathy Smiley, a chemistry and environmental geology teacher from Marinette High School

The purpose of the CATE Program is to have industry leaders work with teachers to connect education in the classroom to the skills needed in the workforce. Teachers can then relay their hands-on, out-of-classroom experience to students.

“Students are more engaged when they see a real-world example. They ask more questions, and they become better learners,” Smiley says.

Students are more engaged when they see a real-world example. They ask more questions, and they become better learners

On the first day of her externship, Smiley was given a tour and introduction of the melt, molding, and mill room departments, all by their respected trainer or supervisor. She learned about the current technology and tools used at the foundry and how they aid in manufacturing. She also saw the entire process of manufacturing a ductile iron casting and how different metallurgical processes used in the foundry relate to chemistry.

Marinette High School teacher Cathy Smiley (center) pictured with plant metallurgists Kassia Prystalski (left) and Kyle Myszka (right).

Smiley will take what she has learned from her externship and apply it in the classroom. She has added a new class, Chemistry in the Community, to her lessons this upcoming school year. Chemistry in the Community will connect her experiences to processes companies like Waupaca Foundry does every day. She also plans on hosting guest speakers.

“I think it is very important for my high school students to see what industries are in our community and what they offer. I want my students to be successful in college and their careers. It was nice to meet the people working at Waupaca Foundry and hear their recommendations for career success,” Smiley says.

I want my students to be successful in college and their careers.

Smiley is preparing her students for the needs of future employers and building relationships between students and local companies.

“The CATE program helps companies like Waupaca Foundry establish relationships with schools so they can collaborate and prepare interested students for a rewarding career in manufacturing. This, in turn, benefits the manufacturers by having more qualified candidates available; the students and schools by exposing students to real-life examples of manufacturing; and most importantly the community by retaining people in the area with good paying jobs,” Wauapca Foundry Human Resources Manager Phil Eatherton, says.