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Waukesha County Technical College to host STEM Forward Contrapt Wisconsin competition Friday, April 22

MS machine contest photo - 2019

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Monday, April 11, 2022) – Cutting a ribbon may seem simple and straightforward, but do to so in eight (or more) steps takes trial and error, creativity, planning and more. That’s where STEM Forward’s Contrapt Wisconsin middle school contraption competition comes into play.

Waukesha County Technical College will host one of two Contrapt Wisconsin events for middle school students on Friday, April 22, in the College’s Anthony J. Natalizio Center. A second event will be held at Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Kern Center on May 6.

Contrapt Wisconsin is STEM Forward’s engaging middle school “contraption” competition where students build a machine to accomplish a simple task in a fun, complicated and complex way. It gives students the chance to work on skills involving engineering, simple machines, trial and error, project planning, physics, teamwork and creativity.  WCTC has held similar competitions on campus in the past (pre-pandemic) and is eager to welcome middle schoolers back to campus to help them hone their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.

“WCTC is honored to partner with STEM Forward once again and host the Contrapt Wisconsin event.  Seeing students apply STEM concepts to construct and troubleshoot a hands-on project like this is extremely rewarding,” said Tim Alft, WCTC associate dean of Automation, Architecture and Apprenticeships.  “These skills are foundational for so many of the STEM-related careers that we provide training for at WCTC.  Getting these students on campus to learn more about our programs, while having fun, is really a win-win for all involved.”

Members of WCTC’s faculty will be among the professional engineer volunteer judges who will provide valuable feedback to students, and WCTC staff will lead campus tours to give participants a glimpse of STEM programs available at the College.

The event officially begins at 10 a.m., with three rounds of judging from 10:20 a.m. to noon. Student tours are planned from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. with an awards ceremony from 1:15 to 1:30 p.m.; specialty awards (including Best Design, sponsored by WCTC) will also be announced.

Schools/districts participating in the April 22 event at WCTC include:

  • Kiel Middle School (4 teams)
  • New Berlin Eisenhower Middle School (4 teams)
  • Waukesha STEM Academy – Saratoga Campus (8 teams)
  • Wheatland Center School - Burlington (4 teams)

Contrapt Wisconsin is made possible by several sponsors in addition to WCTC and MSOE. They include: Brauer Family, Rockwell Automation, GE Healthcare, Milwaukee Tool, Eaton Corp., A.O. Smith Foundation, Generac, Harley-Davidson, Badger Meter, J.F. Ahern Co., ASQ, Astronautics and Sentry Equipment.

To learn more about the contraption machine contests, visit

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 150 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeships and short-term certificate programs; customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit