By Mark A. Mone
Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
When we were kids, many of us dreamed of becoming explorers, curing a loved one’s disease, or inventing the first car that could fly. I used to dream about being a search-and-rescue pilot who could help people who were in trouble. The great thing about being at a university is that we help dreams become realities.
At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, our students learn right away how research leads to discoveries and solving problems. UWM is one of the nation’s top 115 research universities, and we are the state’s only public, urban, research university. As a public university, we are unique in that we have a dual research and access mission, offering the greatest possible educational opportunities and support for all students – not just those with resources. Why does this matter?
As our city, state and nation face crippling societal issues and an urgent need to be more inventive, UWM students from all walks of life are working together with scientists, researchers and organizations to create solutions. This diversity of backgrounds, thinking and life experiences brings out ideas that change people’s lives.
There are many remarkable examples of how research and the people of UWM are opening doors to possibilities. You can read about them in our new UWM Research magazine at uwm.edu/uwmresearch, and I’ll share a few stories with you here.
Undergraduate student Nisrit Pandey remembers frequent power outages in his childhood home in Nepal. His family wanted to try solar panels but learned that buying them would eat up almost 60 percent of the household income. A desire to solve this problem is what inspired Nisrit to work toward an engineering degree that would teach him how to identify reasonably priced alternative energy solutions for people who live in developing countries.
A group of faculty, staff and students is working on how virtual reality can transform education, and one of their projects helps you better understand astronomy. Their Dark Side of the Moon virtual reality simulation helps explain the highly complex physics behind the different phases of the moon. The simulation virtually puts people into space and lets them move the moon around. Controlling the mechanics in this way makes the topic far easier to understand.
Chia Youyee Vang was a Hmong refugee from Laos who came to the United States with her family when she was 9 years old. Today, she is a senior UWM administrator and a professor of history who, through her research, is among the world’s leading experts on Hmong refugees. Chia’s personal refugee experience made her want to learn more about the lives of displaced Hmong people worldwide. Her research sheds light on ways that people manage to survive and rebuild their lives after being forced from their homes and countries.
Eugene Cherry, an undergraduate student, is researching how to better diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes that affects the eyes and can cause blindness. He works directly with a professor who is among the College of Nursing’s community-engaged health research scientists. This is a great partnership for Eugene, who wants to further his research so that it helps inner-city populations.
I encourage you to visit us, either in person or online at uwm.edu, to learn more about what your personal discovery can be. There are extraordinary things happening at UW-Milwaukee, and our dedicated faculty and staff can help you identify and achieve your dreams.