The new Plexus Innovation Lab in Michigan Technological University’s Electrical Energy Resources Center is an electronics makerspace.
A desire to support learning and the engineering discipline, as well as the ability to engage further with Michigan Technological University students, led Plexus Corp. to sponsor a new laboratory in Michigan Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The 1,230-square-foot facility, located in the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC), is a makerspace focused on electronics.
The EERC makerspace is open to students across various disciplines, providing Tech students with hands-on experiences in designing and testing electronics through use of the lab’s equipment.
“I’m very pleased to see this strong investment in student learning by Plexus,” said Janet Callahan, dean of the College of Engineering. “The partnership of Plexus with Michigan Tech will be impactful to students and faculty for many years to come.”
The project was born out of a long-standing relationship between Michigan Tech and Plexus. Plexus, a Neenah, Wisconsin-based company, employs dozens of Huskies in applications ranging from mechanical to biomedical to electrical engineering. Plexus has many proud Tech alumni, who routinely return to their alma mater to participate in guest lectures, as well as recruit more Huskies during Michigan Tech’s career fairs.
Michigan Tech alumna Christina Jufliak wanted to benefit both her employer and the University. After earning a BS in Biomedical Engineering in 2013 and an MBA the following year, she started her career at Plexus as a product engineer and is currently a functional manager.
“As an MTU alum, I saw firsthand the school’s efforts to provide relevant and hands-on experiences for students to prepare them for their careers,” said Jufliak. “I am very excited and grateful that the Plexus Innovation Lab will continue supporting these efforts, preparing students to take on internships and full-time positions within their respective fields.”
Plexus, through its Plexus Charitable Foundation, supports institutions that promote technology-related educational programs.
“Plexus is proud to expand our partnership with Michigan Tech through our sponsorship of the Plexus Innovation Lab,” commented Mike Running, Plexus’ senior vice president of global engineering solutions and aftermarket services. “Our mission to help our customers create the products that build a better world requires an exceptionally talented engineering team. The investment in this lab creates a space for students to gain hands-on electronics experience and develop the problem-solving skills and innovative thinking necessary to aid in creating products that build a better world.”
Chris Middlebrook, professor of electrical and computer engineering, headed the laboratory project for Michigan Tech, ensuring the space and equipment met the needs of students.
“Thanks to this generous donation from Plexus, our students now have the incredible opportunity to enhance and expand their educational experience through the use of our new Plexus Innovation Lab,” said Middlebrook. “The Plexus team has been actively engaged in the planning and execution of the creation of an electronics makerspace, demonstrating their steadfast investment in the Michigan Tech community.”
The Plexus Innovation Lab is one of several mutually beneficial corporate partnerships on campus. To learn more, contact Cody Kangas, director of corporate relations.
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.