Alex Mayer appointed Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor

mayerMichigan Tech has appointed Alex Mayer as the Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor. Mayer, who holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, is recognized for his outstanding efforts to bring water-related research, education and outreach to the forefront at Michigan Tech.

“Charlie and Pat were staunch supporters of Michigan Tech and spent a lifetime working with managers of natural resources,” said President Glenn Mroz. “Alex’s career accomplishments and appointment are a fitting tribute to their memory.”

Mayer holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Brown University and master’s and PhD degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the Michigan Tech faculty in 1992 and has been a full professor since 2001. Between 2005 and 2011, he also served as the director of the Center for Water and Society.

“Alex is one of the most active researchers on campus, an accomplished scholar, an outstanding teacher and caring adviser, and a highly valued University and department citizen. He is truly one of Michigan Tech’s best,” said Dave Hand, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

John Gierke, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, added, “Throughout my career here as a colleague of Alex’s, I have been so impressed by his record of scholarship and collaborative nature, especially his propensity to involve a diverse group of faculty in large research efforts. This appointment is both fitting and long overdue.”

As principal investigator, Mayer has secured $8.5 million in federal funding and $1.3 million from other sources during his time at Tech. His teaching interests include groundwater flow and transport and subsurface remediation. His current research projects include “A Research Coordination Network on Pan-American Biofuels and Bioenergy Sustainability”; “Environmental CyberCitizens: Engaging Citizen Scientists in Global Environmental Change through Crowdsensing and Visualization”; and “Virtual Water Accounting: A New Paradigm for the Adaptive Management of Great Lakes Water.”

In 2009, Mayer was recognized with the Rudolf Hering Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In the same year, he also received Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award. The Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation recognized him in 2010 with the Manierre Award.

Article in Tech Today by Max Seel, provost and vice president for academic affairs

Summer 2014 GSG Softball Champions

Congratulations to the geo/mining department’s softball team! They took home the traveling trophy by defeating the forestry department in the graduate student government’s (GSG) summer 2014 softball league. This is the first time since 1991 the team has captured the title.

GSG Summer 2014 Softball Champions
GSG Summer 2014 Softball Champions

Research News in GMES Department

Chad Deering (GMES) has received $83,622 from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a two-year research and development project titled “Collaborative Research: RUI: Probing Caldera-Forming Magmatism: Crystal Accumulation in Large, Upper Crustal Silicic Magma Chambers.”

PI Colleen Mouw (GMES) was awarded $256,946 from NASA for her research “Implications of Changing Sea-Ice on Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Biomass and Community Structure in the Bering Sea.”

PI Simon Carn (GMES) and Co-PI Verity Flower (GMES) were awarded $30,000 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for their project “Identification of Volcanic Cycles Using a Multi-Sensor Satellite Data Analysis Technique.”

PI Thomas Oommen and Co-Pis Rudigar Escobar Wolf and Greg Waite (GMES) have been awarded a $100,000 research grant from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Foundation for “Building Local Capacities for Monitoring Eruptive and Catastrophic Landslide Activity at Pacaya Volcano (Guatemala), through International Partnership and Collaboration.”

Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund Awards Announced: The Vice President for Research Office is pleased to announce the 2015 REF awards and would like to thank the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.
Infrastructure Enhancement Grants: John Gierke, GMES
Research Seed Grants: Chad Deering, GMES; Thomas Oommen, GMES

Robert Shuchman, co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute, has been reappointed to the North Slope Science Initiative Science Technical Advisory Panel. He has served on the interdisciplinary panel, which studies and makes recommendations for research and science policy on the North Slope of Alaska, since its inception in 2007.

Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ news website reported on three new Geoscientists Without Borders projects, including one in Guatemala led by assistant professor Thomas Oommen (GMES).

Simon Carn (GMES) has received a $16,772 grant for “Improving Constraints on Volcanic CO2 Emissions from the Vanuatu Arc” from the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Guy Meadows (GLRC) has received $25,000 for the first year of a potential two-year project from the University of Michigan for “Restoring, Retrofitting and Recoupling Michigan’s Great Lakes Shorelands in the Face of Global Climate Disruption.”

Colleen Mouw (GMES/GLRC) has been awarded a four-year, $82,739 research grant from the National Science Foundation for “Collaborative Research: Continuation and Enhancement of MPOWIR.”

Colleen Mouw (GMES) has received $228,117 for the first year of a three-year $667,117 research grant from NASA for “Parameterizing Spectral Characteristics of Optically Active Constituents in Inland Water for Improved Satellite Retrieval.” Continue reading