Scholar, mentor, champion: Project Management alumna lends a helping hand

Autumn Fisher

During her time with UW-Platteville, Autumn Fisher has played many different roles—including one she still performs since graduating in the spring of 2017.

After obtaining her Master of Science in Project Management degree, Fisher started her current position as a regional director for CLEARAS Water Recovery, where she oversees multiple wastewater treatment projects throughout the Great Lakes area. The position is a good fit for Fisher, given that CLEARAS’s process involves using algae to clean and recover nutrients from contaminated water, resulting in someone needing to be versed in both managerial and biochemical knowledge to oversee project delivery—which, thanks to an undergraduate degree in chemistry, Fisher has.

This valuable knowledge not only helps Fisher succeed at work, but also translates to her role as an NSF STEM Career Champion—a position associated with the NSF STEM Scholar Master program offered at UW-Platteville. As part of being a Career Champion, Fisher imparts her real-world experience and advice to fellow scholars enrolled in the scholarship program, acting as both a mentor and career guidance counselor when needed. It’s a feature of the program that Fisher appreciated when she herself was enrolled as a STEM Scholar while pursuing her project management degree, serving as part of the scholarship’s first cohort of recipients when the program kicked off in fall 2015.

“The NSF STEM scholarship program was a great networking opportunity for me,” Fisher said. “After more than 10 years of being out of college, it was good to know that I wasn’t alone when diving back into school. There were many people willing to help, and I used them as a resource.”

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“The NSF STEM scholarship program was a great networking opportunity for me,” Fisher said. “After more than 10 years of being out of college, it was good to know that I wasn’t alone when diving back into school. There were many people willing to help, and I used them as a resource.”

With a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s in project management, Fisher knows it’s not always easy to have a clear career path, and partly focuses her efforts as a Career Champion in helping others overcome their own roadblocks or reservations.

“I know a few people who in some cases are transitioning into a new career while pursuing their degree, and that can be hard,” said Fisher. “So I encourage them and offer ideas for finding the right opportunities needed to transition into their chosen field.”

The road to Fisher’s own chosen field wasn’t without difficulty as well, but through perseverance and making the most out of the opportunities afforded to her, she is now where she wants to be: leading a successful career and aiding those currently working to improve or build their own.

“Never be scared or nervous to take the opportunity,” said Fisher. “Sometimes it’s not until you look back on it all that you discover just how valuable the whole experience has been.”

Outside of work, Fisher lives in Pont du Lac, Wisconsin, together with her husband and two kids.