A young woman rides an electric scooter through town

Wheels of Changemakers

Broncos are strategizing to help keep young talent in Kalamazoo.

  • Dear friends and colleagues,

We’re excited to spotlight in this edition of W Magazine some of the transformative experience-driven learning opportunities that abound at Western Michigan University. What students gain through internships, field work or undergraduate research equips them to thrive both academically and professionally—and provides a means for Broncos to impact the world around them in real ways even as students.

Companies and the community reap the benefits of having skilled leadership and business strategy students develop ideas that industry clients and entrepreneurs in Kalamazoo can employ to retain their young and talented professionals. This initiative is helping Western lead in talent retention, which also is a top priority for the state of Michigan. We’re proud Broncos are at the forefront.

A portrait of WMU President Edward Montgomery.Other students this past academic year applied their learning to revitalizing the beloved northern Michigan lake community Idlewild. Their efforts helping to refresh this historic African American resort town enhance this community’s vibrancy for residents and visitors alike. This is just one of nearly two dozen faculty projects to immerse students in experience-driven learning opportunities through our new grant program.

Another cohort of our students is exploring the potential of robotics to revolutionize social interactions and digital interfaces, recognizing the significance of technology we increasingly rely on in our ever- evolving world.

The practice of proactive engagement also extends to volunteerism, as the University community has not only embraced but become a leader in community service. Our students, faculty and staff devote countless hours to essential causes, making a tangible difference in the lives of many in the community. This dedication to serving others enriches and instills a profound sense of purpose and leadership in our students.

So, as you dive into this spring/summer issue, you will be impressed by the remarkable ways the Western community is effecting change. We are fostering an environment where learning is leveraged in and beyond the classroom, where student success is in our DNA, and where passions are not merely imagined but pursued and accomplished. The dividends for our Broncos comes in the form of meaningful careers and fulfilled lives. ■


Edward Montgomery, PhD

Students stand around a lab table dissecting cow brains.

Leveling up experience-driven learning opportunities

The classroom is growing for students participating in nearly two dozen faculty-led projects to get career-ready before graduation. A new grant funded by the University is bolstering experience-driven learning opportunities for students in nearly every college.


Experience-driven learning celebration highlights Broncos' best

The inaugural recipients of the Experience-Driven Learning Venture Grants were honored in April for their new and accelerating project to support student experiential learning. There were 22 faculty-led projects on display the event that highlight new and growing programs to enhance students' educational experience and help them further cultivate the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to help lead our world after graduation. Among the projects featured were student work to revitalize the historic Idlewild community (left), the Bronco Blitz Digital Career Activation Program (middle) and the Cold Case Program with Michigan State Police (right).

  • Alike Edmonds stands at the podium.
  • Members of the Bronco Blitz Digital Career Activation Program
  • Members of the Cold Case Program with Michigan State Police

Career ap-peel

I feel like I've grown a ton just in every aspect of my career path.

Skyler Thompson, BBA '24

University News

  • A resounding success

    With $964,972 total new gifts and pledges from 2,763 total donors, Giving Day 2024 was an experience to remember! Bronco nation made a huge impact in just one day—but it doesn't have to end there.

    See how you can still support Western

WMU gymnasts hug each other in celebration.

On the rise

Women’s sports are now dominating the national conversation, and our Western teams are shining just as bright! Bronco gymnastics celebrated their Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament championship win this spring—a first for head coach Penny Jernigan—following a fierce battle for the win. Other Bronco conference championships this academic year include women's soccer winning the 2023 MAC regular season and women's volleyball winning the 2023 MAC regular season and tournament.

A person wearing a hard hat stands next to a water pipe

Expert Insights: Working to say 'goodbye' to forever chemicals

We haven’t found a PFAS yet that doesn’t cause adverse health impacts. Some require higher concentrations than others to cause adverse health impacts. Some are more acutely toxic than others. But as far as I know, a single PFAS that is safe has yet to be identified.

Dr. Matt Reeves, associate professor of hydrogeology

Alumni Profile

A family portrait of the Elshafeis under a bridge.

Why I Give

WMU is a huge reason why I feel I’ve succeeded, and I want to see future generations have the same opportunity.

Ramsey Elshafei, BS '15