A group of MSOE students in Dr. Candela Marini’s Honors class helped the United Community Center (UCC) celebrate its 50th anniversary by creating a timeline commemorating its history.

The UCC provides programs to Hispanics and near south side Milwaukee residents of all ages in the areas of education, cultural arts, recreation, community development, and health and human services. UCC helps people achieve their potential by focusing on cultural heritage as a means of strengthening personal development.

The group of students is comprised of Alan Van Dyke, computer science; Avery Tiegs, industrial engineering; Nicole Sedmak, electrical engineering; and Amber Rothe, biomedical engineering/computer engineering. After visiting the UCC in the fall with the Honors class, the group was blown away by the positive impact the UCC has on the community and wanted to help celebrate the center’s 50 years of service. That’s where the timeline project came in.

“The timeline project was one we had wanted to do for many years but did not have the staff time or resources required,” said Jennifer Steiner, marketing director of the UCC. “With the celebration of our 50th, it was definitely the right time and we are proud we can showcase the longitudinal impact UCC has had through the years while honoring all of those that contributed to our work through the years. It is a wonderful way to celebrate our history and our community.”

To start the timeline, the group set out to learn more about the UCC’s history by dividing the research amongst team members, each member focusing on a specific period in the UCC’s history. They used a combination of resources from the UCC, the internet, the Milwaukee Public Library and attended community events with the UCC. This served as one of the challenges for the students, who were used to researching and discovering everything they needed to know on the internet.

“We left the comfortable safety of our keyboards for real libraries, physical photo archives, print books, scrapbooks and other resources. We were challenged to figure out for ourselves what was important, how events fit together and what photos matched with events. With help from the UCC, we were able to fit the important events into a cohesive narrative,” said Rothe.

Once the information was finalized, the group developed a virtual timeline displayed on the UCC’s website as well as a physical timeline that will include five 24”x36” acrylic panels displayed at the UCC. The UCC greatly appreciates MSOE’s help with the project.

“The timeline will be a lasting record of our history and allows us to share with donors, staff and the community the many facets of our history, including recognizing all the amazing individuals and groups who contributed to the UCC throughout the years,” said Steiner.

The online timeline was launched on April 24, 2020 and the group plans to install the physical timeline once it is safe to do so. The UCC greatly appreciates the students’ work and is excited to showcase the timelines.

“We are grateful to the students for their time and dedication and especially thankful they have put the extra time in even after school is over to ensure our project is completed. They came to the project with wonderful enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication to get the job done right and to our satisfaction,” said Steiner.