NEWaukeean: Nate Conroy
What is your job and its responsibilities?
I’m the teacherpreneur behind STEMhero. I collaborate with middle school teachers around the country to empower their students as authentic scientists and engineers, running data-driven experiments leveraging the water, gas, and electric meters already in their homes and schools. I oversee all aspects of our curriculum development to ensure it integrates with our cloud-based software, is aligned to standards, makes building career readiness engaging, cuts family’s utility bills, and eliminates unnecessary consumption.
How long have you lived in Milwaukee & what brought you here?
My wife and I lived in Portland Oregon before volunteering in Honduras for two years alongside a girl from Elm Grove, WI. With great persistence she convinced us to apply to graduate school at Marquette. Generous fellowships from the University sealed our move to Milwaukee, but it’s the real-world impact being made at City Year and the Global Water Center that have kept us here after graduation.
What is the one thing you’d like to change about Milwaukee?
In other cities I feel far safer walking and biking, vis-a-vis cars, especially with my young son. In Milwaukee, I rarely see cars stop for someone about to enter a crosswalk (I’d like see statistics on how often local police enforce this law). Likewise, here it actually seems as though drivers are expected to swerve into bike lanes or through intersections to go around slow or left-turning traffic. These are a sharp contrast from the driver norms I’ve seen elsewhere. I’m convinced that a key part of getting our neighbors and families to exercise more and support more local businesses is to make our streets less intimidating.
Favorite little known fact/secret/hidden gem in Milwaukee?
As a dad and nature guy, I have to say that the relatively new Rotary Centennial Arboretum next to the Urban Ecology Center on the East Side is really something special. It’s been fascinating to watch it change from a no man’s land industrial lot, into a fun hilly maze of paths. Every time I go back it’s grown increasing lush with native plantings and is full of birds. The view from the top, across the Milwaukee river of only trees and the St. Casimir steeple, is an evening favorite.
What is your favorite Milwaukee beer?
Lakefront’s Wisconsinite. The taste is right and the bold red label makes me feel like a proud native even if I grew up elsewhere.