Connecting Education and Industry: Rock County Teachers Gain Hands-On Experience

June 21, 2024


Front row (left to right): Amanda Sellen, Sheridan Michels, Amy Wargowsky, Kimberly Schwantes, Leeanna Schultz, Brooke Ruston, Shelly Learned; Back row (left to right): Breja Fink, Sarah Schwarm, Brian Denu, Mark Schildt, Brian Michels, Jim Hansel, Julie Horvath; Not pictured: Stephanie Aasen

Fifteen educators from around Rock County gathered at Blackhawk Technical College on Friday to conclude their experience in the Rock Externship Program. This initiative immerses teachers in various business environments, allowing them to shadow specific occupations or disciplines for a week to gain insights they can bring back to their classrooms.

This year, participants came from Beloit Turner High School, Beloit Memorial High School, The Lincoln Academy, Craig High School, and the Beloit Learning Academy. The externs were placed at companies including Alliant Energy, JP Cullen, Seneca Foods Corporation, Corporate Contractors Inc., Shine Technologies, IKI Manufacturing, Scot Forge and Rock County Public Health.

The workshop at Blackhawk provided educators an opportunity to share their experiences and collaborate on integrating their new knowledge into their teaching. They gathered at the college’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning for a day focused on teamwork and curriculum development.

Now in its third year, the Rock Externship Program is supported by Blackhawk Technical College and Rock County 5.0.


  • Stephanie Aasen, Beloit Turner – JP Cullen
  • Brian Michels, Beloit Memorial – CCI
  • James Hansel, Beloit Memorial – Scot Forge
  • Sarah Schwarm, Beloit Memorial – Rock County Public Health
  • Amanda Sellen, Beloit Memorial – IKI
  • Leeanna Schultz, The Lincoln Academy – Seneca Foods
  • Brook Ruston, Beloit Memorial – Shine  
  • Julie Horvath, Beloit Memorial – Alliant Energy
  • Sheridan Michels, Beloit Memorial – Alliant Energy
  • Breja Fink, Beloit Memorial – Alliant Energy
  • Brian Denu, Beloit Memorial – Alliant Energy
  • Kimberly Schwantes, Beloit Learning Academy – Alliant Energy
  • Shelly Learned, Craig – Alliant Energy
  • Amy Wargowsky, Beloit Memorial – Alliant Energy
  • Mark Schildt, Beloit Memorial – Alliant Energy

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