News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: April 11, 2022

Senator Baldwin visits Southwest Tech

Fennimore -
Group of faculty, staff, students with the senator in front of blue signage.

(L-R) Heath Ahnen, Executive Director of Information Technology Services; Krista Weber, Chief HR Officer; Christena Bowers, Disability & Support Services Manager; Chantel Hampton, DEI Coordinator; U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin; Em Thompson, President, LGBTQIA+ Student Organization; Mike Steffel, Web Analyst/Programmer; Giulio Reyes, Multicultural Success Coach; Autumn Werner, IT-Network Specialist Program Student; and Ashley Schmitt-Bright, University Transfer – Liberal Arts Program Student.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) was on the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College campus today. The senator met with college administration, instructors, students and staff, learning about various programs and initiatives, including Charger Tech 360; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Universal Design; non-occupational student clubs, and more.

Senator Baldwin speaks with two female students.

Ashley Schmitt-Bright (left) and Autumn Werner speak with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Charger Tech 360, which played a vital role in virtual instruction the last two-plus years, includes the addition of more wi-fi connectivity on campus, a student laptop program, student technical support, and more. “The creativity that went into this from the faculty side and the student response was amazing,” said Katie Garrity, chief academic officer and executive dean of Business Programs and General Education.

Students and staff shared their thoughts on how Charger Tech 360 has brought equity into the student experience and how the program has been utilized. “I did have a laptop (before Charger Tech 360), but it was not in good condition,” said Ashley Schmitt-Bright, a student in the University Transfer – Liberal Arts program, from Montfort, Wisconsin. “I am not sure it would have gotten me through, at least through my two years here. Having this, knowing where I can find resources if I’ve having issues with it is very helpful and very beneficial.”

Em Thompson speaks during today’s roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Em Thompson, president of the LGBTQIA+ student organization, shared her experience of starting the campus club, which has grown to more than 30 members. “This is a major deal for our area,” she told the senator. “One of the things that we really wanted to do was to be a voice for individuals who really didn’t feel comfortable.”

The LGBTQIA+ club was the first non-occupational club on campus. That list has now expanded to include the Veterans Club and Olas (Organization of Latin American Students).

Following the roundtable discussion, Baldwin toured the Health Science Center, visiting lab areas and heard first-hand accounts from nursing students. She was also able to get a hands-on demonstration of the anatomage table, which is used for a variety of educational purposes.

Brian Molini (right), Biology Instructor, describes the anatomage table as U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Nursing students Scott Abbott and Sierra Sanger, look on.

Baldwin finished her visit by meeting with Dr. Jason Wood, Southwest Tech president. “Thank you to Senator Baldwin for visiting today,” said Wood. “It’s always a pleasure to show off the great things happening throughout our campus community. I am grateful for the senator’s work to help secure funding from the American Rescue Act Plan, which assisted us in addressing critical needs here on campus.”

Earlier in the day, Baldwin had the opportunity to tour other locations on campus while visiting with the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.

“I saw such incredibly timely things,” said Baldwin. “Through the pandemic we have had a lot of struggles. We know a lot of people aren’t returning into the workforce because of the availability of quality, affordable child care, so learning about the program here is just amazing. And to see greater success than what I would have guessed beforehand of recruiting new students into the field. And then, in nursing and other health technical fields, the pandemic sort of devastated that workforce also, in part, burnout, and we can’t keep up in getting nurses back out in the field, so again, very relevant, very timely, so it’s great to see Southwest Tech on top of it.”


| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |


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