Corporate engagement: New era, new approach

Contact: Margaret von Steinen
July 6, 2021

Boost your organization’s recovery in the post-pandemic world by partnering with the University via a new, streamlined approach. Our student and faculty talent are equipped to incubate ideas, stimulate innovation, create new products and solve specific organizational challenges. 

Whether you are a business looking to collaborate with our faculty—the region's best scientific and engineering minds—to accelerate research on new products, a nonprofit seeking to engage student interns or volunteers, or an organization interested in exploring opportunities with our nationally recognized academic programs, a new website and team of WMU Corporate Engagement representatives are ready to assist you.  

The website is your one-stop resource to request assistance with recruiting and internships, opportunities for research and entrepreneurship, professional development training, technology commercialization and philanthropy. Our team is organized into six broad University areas with a dedicated corporate engagement representative to help you quickly connect with the appropriate WMU people and resources: 


The healing power of University collaboration

One focus of our new approach is helping industries easily connect with faculty conducting research in related fields to collaborate on product development that improves the human experience. A recent example is the development of Senlore™, a patented boot device designed to improve healing rates and limit amputations for people suffering from diabetic foot ulcers.

As a practicing physical therapist for many years, Dr. Daryl Lawson, associate professor of physical therapy, treated people with diabetes and chronic, nonhealing wounds or ulcers on the bottom of their feet. At WMU, he’s focused his research on developing a boot that has a cutout to relieve pressure on the wound and deliver electrical stimulation and safe heat to expedite healing and prevent amputation.

A student holds up a sensor that sits in the bottom of a boot.

Students work on SenLore sensor technology in Dr. Massood Atashbar's lab.

Lawson became the co-founder of Adlore, Inc. with a small group of local entrepreneurs to commercialize his work. He subsequently teamed up with Dr. Massood Atashbar, professor of electrical and computer engineering, to develop nonadhesive electrodes and sensors for the device that will help monitor and treat nonhealing wounds.

Eli Thomssen, Adlore president and CEO, said the company anticipates completing all development work for the boot to enter the market in 2024.

“Daryl’s work has the potential to accelerate healing rates that will improve the quality of life for patients and reduce health care costs,” says Thomssen.

“Massood is doing cutting-edge research to develop 3D printed nonadhesive electrodes and sensors that will be incorporated into a future product. It is important to continually make improvements in technology. These improvements will benefit patients and keep our company competitive.”

  • “These improvements will benefit patients and keep our company competitive.”

    Eli Thomssen, Adlore president and CEO


Bringing faculty expertise to your board 

When a pandemic strikes the first week you’re serving as the executive director of a countywide early childhood nonprofit, it certainly piles on the challenges and heightens the value of an organization’s board, says Kristyn Buhl-Lepisto. 

Within days of her March 13, 2020, start date as executive director at Kalamazoo County Ready 4s, Buhl-Lepisto was facing pandemic-related decisions on top of getting up to speed on the organization’s current and future needs. She met board member Dr. Regena Fails Nelson, a WMU professor and chair of early childhood education, who quickly became a key mentor and adviser. 

“Regena is an expert on early childhood education as a field, developing trends and responding to challenges,” says Buhl-Lepisto. “I was looking to work closely with someone who is a great advocate not only for children but also for the educators and the entire field. Regena brings that full perspective to our board. She is excellent at building relationships, and I trust her very much.” 

Nelson is also a member of the organization’s executive committee and chairs the program committee, which brings together early childhood education professionals. Buhl-Lepisto said Nelson recently helped select an evaluative tool focused on adult-child interactions in the classroom that meets the “gold standard” for early childhood education research.  

“This research will help us better coach our pre-kindergarten teachers throughout the county and positively impact what’s been identified as the single most important factor in early childhood education—the adult-child interactions,” says Buhl-Lepisto. “Regena’s input has been invaluable to me and to the entire Kalamazoo County Ready 4s’ program.”

Dr. Regena Fails Nelson

  • “Regena’s input has been invaluable to me and to the entire Kalamazoo County Ready 4s’ program.” —Kristyn Buhl-Lepisto, executive director of Kalamazoo County Ready 4s

Pre-professionals ready to serve

WMU students have the talent, grit and training to step into your organization as an intern and become a contributing member of your team. 

Interns bring fresh knowledge and perspectives to the table and give you a keen opportunity to mentor a future professional in your industry. Students benefit by gaining real-world experience and the chance to explore different career paths and specializations that suit their individual interests. You can read more about the mutual benefits of the employer and student intern experience online. 

How can we help your organization prosper? We welcome your general and specific inquiries at