MSOE students participated in a six-part Master Class series with the design architect and development manager for the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons. The class engaged more than 80 local architecture, interior design, engineering and real estate students from six area colleges in various elements of the company’s downtown Milwaukee expansion. The project and construction site became a real-world, working “laboratory”.

The topics covered in the class included real estate, technology and sustainability which were then organized around programming, schematic design, design development, and construction and documentation. The group of students who participated in the program consisted of different majors from MSOE, Marquette University, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Mount Mary University, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison.

On May 4 the MSOE students who participated in the Master Class received their diplomas. Robert Lemke, MSOE associate professor, was the faculty advisor for Holly Denfeld, Derek Hummel, Chad Kraus, Kailey Lietzke, Greg Lisowski, Marina Sharp, Travis Smith, Gretchen Toshach, Marlena Trier and Jill Vande Boom. The class was offered December 2013 to May 2015.

Many of the students said they had the opportunity to gain real world experience that cannot be met in the normal classroom experience as well as discover the endless career opportunities that are possible in the construction industry. They also had the chance to interact with students of different majors which gave them perspectives outside of their own majors.