MPS Students Get Glimpse of Future Possibilities at MATC

Sophomores in M³ (M-Cubed) program see and hear about career opportunities at college’s four campuses

Mark Feldmann,

March 15, 2024

M3 Explore
M3 Explore
M3 Explore
M3 Explore
M3 Explore
M3 Explore

We’re giving you the opportunity to start thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your lives."

Eva Martinez-Powless, Ph.D. MATCs Vice President for Enrollment and Retention

For most sophomores at Milwaukee public high schools, most days are fairly straightforward: Go to their classes, eat lunch with their friends, complete their homework. Repeat.

On Thursday, March 14, their day was more exciting: They got to glimpse their future.

Nearly 2,000 10th grade students from 20 MPS high schools visited Milwaukee Area Technical College’s four campuses to see and hear first-hand about the careers they could consider.

The event, called “Explore Your Future,” was organized by the M³ (M-Cubed) program, an innovative collaboration between MATC, MPS, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to ensure student success, meet the needs of the region’s business and industry, and improve the well-being of Wisconsin citizens, their families and communities.

See TV coverage of the event

“We’re giving you the opportunity to start thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your lives,” Eva Martinez Powless, MATC’s vice president for enrollment and retention, told students at MATC’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus. “We have so many people here to assist you and answer your questions, and we want you to ask a lot of questions. The opportunities here are endless.”

Students went to MATC’s campuses in Downtown Milwaukee, Mequon, Oak Creek and West Allis, and visited various classrooms and laboratories where instructors showed the college’s programs. 

See more photos of Explore Your Future Day

In the chemical technology lab at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus, food science instructor Marie Colmerauer told students about how she combined two passions into a career.  “I loved food and I also loved my chemistry,” she said. “I found a way to do both.”

Before coming to MATC, Colmerauer worked at Kraft Foods and helped design and perfect their macaroni and cheese offerings. “It was a great feeling knowing so many people were enjoying the product you helped create,” she said. “It really felt like you were doing something extra special.”

In the college’s Animation Lab, students saw computer programs used to create two dimensional and three dimensional images for movies and video games. “You can have fun and make some money,” said animation instructor Brian Mennenoh. “When my parents heard I wanted to go into art, they thought I would starve. But I’m not starving.”

In the Baking and Pastry Arts kitchen, students whipped frosting and decorated brownies. In the machine shop, instructor Terry Wezyk demonstrated a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. “Taking a piece of metal and cutting and shaping it with a piece of metal is astounding to me,” Wezyk said.  

In a short 20-minutes, MATC Culinary Arts lead faculty Paul Carrier gave students the hands-on experience of mixing, cooking and flipping pancakes, and dropping french fries in hot oil which they enjoyed eating on the spot and in to-go containers.

In the college’s Al Hurvis/PEAK Transportation Center, students heard about in-demand automotive careers that can pay up to $50 an hour.

“When you know how to repair cars, you can become the most popular person in the family,” MATC automotive instructor Scott Fisler told a group of students. “And you’ll probably get bigger Christmas presents.”

These tours gave students early exposure to the colleges’ diverse educational settings and career pathways, which empowered students to make informed decisions about their future, said Nutan Amrute, MATC Interim Director, Student Career, Employment & Transfer, and one of the event organizers.

In October and November 2023, more than 900 ninth grade students from 20 MPS high schools visited the UWM main campus. The students learned about UWM academics, student life, and resources that support success; discussed possible college majors and careers; heard from a panel of current UWM students and toured the UWM campus. 

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

About M³ (M-Cubed):  M³ seeks to transform the future of Milwaukee through education. Through collaboration, coordination and partnership, MPS, MATC, and UWM will increase the retention, graduation, and career success of our students and provide a prepared workforce and citizenry for the Wisconsin economy. M³ will also provide the education and resources to help drive an entrepreneurial mindset for all students to increase choices and opportunities for growth. Find out more at