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Graduate with double major plans to keep playing music

Le, band member who plays four instruments, will be packaging engineer in N.J.

MENOMONIE, Wis. (December 18, 2019) – For University of Wisconsin-Stout graduate William Le, creating music is a joy.

From playing the double bass, tuba, trombone and accordion, Le, who graduated Saturday, Dec. 14, with a double major in packaging and business administration, music is a way to express himself.

“Music tells a story,” said Le, of Mosinee. “It can make you feel emotions. Just playing music feels good.”

Le, who is graduated magna cum laude, will start his career in January as a packaging engineer at Ameripack in Robbinsville, N.J. Ameripack is a manufacturer and distributor of carrying, shipping, rack-mount and panel-mount hard cases.

The company services accounts worldwide in a diverse marketplace including the military, medical diagnostics, occupational health and safety, oil and gas analytical instrumentation, avionics and government agencies.

“I have an interest in aerospace and military goods,” Le said. “The products are pretty cool. There is tech involved. I want to be working on the cutting edge.”

While at UW-Stout, Le had a packaging engineer co-op internship through Career Services at Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense Co. in Simsbury, Conn., in spring 2018. The company works in aerospace and defense. Last summer Le had a co-op internship at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Chippewa Falls, the global edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company that helps organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere.

Le chose UW-Stout because of the laptop program, in which students are issued laptop computers loaded with programs they need for college. “I thought the laptop would help me succeed in my classes,” Le said. “I first was interested in industrial design and mechanical engineering, but I wanted a blend of the two,” Le said.

“I tried packaging. I like that it’s involved in everything. Everything is going somewhere and needs packaging.”

Le started playing the double bass in middle school and continued through Wausau West High School. He also picked up the tuba his senior year in high school, which allowed him to continue in band at UW-Stout. He also plays trombone and the accordion, which is similar to a piano, an instrument he played in elementary school for about two years.

“We were just always encouraged to play music in school,” Le said.

His favorite instrument is the trombone. “It’s the most portable instrument,” he said. “The slide encompasses things I learned in orchestra.”

Although he doesn’t own one, Le plans to buy a trombone so he can continue to play. He owns an accordion and plans to continue playing that too.

“I kind of like tango music,” Le said. “You can do that with the accordion. Even before I played it in the band, it seemed like a cool instrument to have.”

Aaron Durst, UW-Stout’s director of instrumental music and Symphonic Band, said what he has enjoyed about Le is his great attitude and personality and sincerity.

“One of my favorite contributions of his to the band has been his accordion playing,” Durst said. “We did an accordion feature a few years ago – a piece called ‘Pantomime’ – that he did a really nice job as soloist with the Symphonic Band.

“This past semester there was a piece for jazz band, ‘Tonight, We Tango,’ that featured a duet for tenor saxophone played by Matt Bentley and William on accordion. We had been waiting to do that piece for at least a year, and it finally came together this fall and it was absolutely worth it. The band really had a good time with the piece, and I’m pretty sure the audience liked it as well,” Durst said.

One of Le’s greatest college memories is his study abroad experience when he traveled to China his second year at UW-Stout. “We were able to travel to a number of different Chinese universities and play western-styled music and share some of our culture with them. In turn, we learned about the music they played and other parts of their culture as well.”

Le speaks Spanish, Chinese and some Vietnamese.

Durst said Le was a great student to have involved in the trip to China. “He was always ready to try new food, see something different and of course contributed to all our performances,” Durst said. “He has been a wonderful individual to get to know and a great asset to music-making here at Stout.”

UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.

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William Le, who graduated Saturday, Dec. 14, plays four instruments and loves the stories music tells. / UW-Stout photo by Chris Cooper.

William Le playing accordion at a concert.