Bill Mildenberger receives Dottie Welch Student Enrichment Award

A machinist who goes above and beyond to help students with their design projects was recognized by the Hajim School student body with an award for exemplary staff members. The 2023 Dottie Welch Student Enrichment Award went to Bill Mildenberger, the Taylor Hall head machinist.

The award, which was established in 2013, is given each year to a Hajim School staff member whose performance and dedication enriches the student experience. Through the nomination process, students commended Mildenberger for his patience, approachability, and willingness to help with any project presented, both curricular and co-curricular.

One student commented, “His commitment to maintaining a tidy shop while supporting student involvement has been invaluable in improving the quality of educational opportunities and exemplifying the best of what a machinist and engineer can be.”

The Taylor Hall Student Shop provides machines and shop amenities for unlimited, unsupervised use by certified students. Mildenberger maintains the shop and provides orientation for students who want access.

The University’s Baja SAE Team, which travels the country to participate in intercollegiate competitions called Mildenberger an invaluable resource. A student from the team said, “He has shown enormous dedication in helping students and faculty with any project they present to him and is a constant source of support, encouragement, and advice for the members of the Baja Team.”

While Mildenberger assists students with countless projects, he leaves a lasting impression on those he helps. Another student recalled, “One experience that stands out to me is when I was assigned to make a flywheel out of pewter. The first time I attempted it, the mold came out burnt due to air pockets. Bill walked me through the steps to finish the workpiece, but I wasn’t satisfied with the final product, so I decided to redo the whole flywheel. Bill was more than happy to guide me through the process again, and this time I felt like I had more control over my work. He was like a bike riding coach who gradually let go as I gained more confidence in my abilities.”