Michigan Tech Receives $5 Million from Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to Reform Middle-School Science Education

Young children are naturally curious about everything around them. They want to know how and why things work. Then, around middle school age, many of them lose that natural attraction to science and engineering.

A team of university and public school educators in Michigan say they know what’s wrong with middle school science education. And, with a $5 million, three-year grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, they intend to develop and test some solutions.

“In Michigan and most of the nation’s schools, STEM instruction consists of a series of seemingly unrelated courses that require students to memorize large numbers of facts but fail to engage them in the practice of using science as a tool to address real-world problems,” says Jacqueline Huntoon, a geology professor, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School at Michigan Tech.

The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, based in Midland, Mich., has funded the Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform (Mi-STAR) program to develop a model for reforming middle-school STEM education that will include a new curriculum supported by updated teacher education and teacher professional development strategies.

The program focuses on integrating the sciences, using a problem-based approach, cutting across the traditional disciplines of biology, physics, chemistry and earth science to emphasize core ideas and show how science can be used to address society’s needs. For the full story, see Michigan Tech News.

STAR Announcement LIBS Sensor for Water Quality

Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) this posting seeks motivated, post-graduates (MS and PhD) interested in research as part of the geologic and environmental sciences focus area research team at NETL.  The optical sensing team within the Material Characterization Division of NETL is looking for a candidate to perform continuing research on the development of a laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) sensor for water quality measurements.  NETL’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) conducts research to advance the clean production and efficient utilization of domestic energy resources.

 

For more information, please visit http://www.orau.gov/netl/open-projects/projects.html.

DOE’s Science Graduate Student Research Program Accepting Applicants

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is currently accepting applications for its 2014 solicitation. The SCGSR program provides the opportunity for U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist for a period of three to twelve consecutive months with the goal of preparing graduate students for scientific and technical careers.

The program is now open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions. The supplemental award provides for additional costs of living and travel expenses directly associated with the SCGSR research project during the award period. Applications are due 5:00pm EDT on Wednesday, September 24 and the Office of Science expects to issue approximately 100 awards for project periods anytime between January and September 2015.  ​

The DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications!

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science is pleased to announce that the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications for the 2014 solicitation.  Applications are due 5:00pm ET on Wednesday September 24, 2014.

The SCGSR program supports supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist for a period of 3 to 12 consecutive months—with the goal of preparing graduate students for scientific and technical careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission.

The SCGSR program is open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions, who are conducting their graduate thesis research in targeted areas of importance to the DOE Office of Science. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories. The supplemental award provides for additional, incremental costs for living and travel expenses directly associated with conducting the SCGSR research project at the DOE host laboratory during the award period.

The Office of Science expects to make approximately 100 awards in 2014, for project periods beginning anytime between January and September 2015.

Detailed information about the program, including eligibility requirements and access to the online application system, can be found at: http://science.energy.gov/wdts/scgsr/.

The SCGSR program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), in collaboration with the six Office of Science research programs offices and the DOE national laboratories, and the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE).

For any questions, please contact the SCGSR Program Manager, Dr. Ping Ge, at sc.scgsr@science.doe.gov.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science

ASEE Ranks Michigan Tech 10th in Nation for Engineering Doctorates Earned by Women

In its latest Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology Colleges, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) ranked Michigan Tech 10th in the nation in the percentage of engineering doctoral degrees awarded to women. Engineering doctorates earned by women at Michigan Tech totaled 31.9 percent of all engineering doctoral degrees awarded in 2013.

To be ranked, a school had to award a minimum of 25 doctoral degrees in engineering. A total of 117 engineering schools qualified for ranking.

See at ASEE Papers and Publications, page 13.

Graduate Student’s VISTA Broadens as She Earns a Degree Through Volunteer Service

A graduate student at Michigan Tech, Rhianna Williams, is earning a master’s degree far from the ivory tower of the classroom. She’s working as a volunteer with the US Office of Surface Mining VISTA program, helping residents of the Uncompahgre Watershed learn about protecting their water resources.

“I joined for the opportunity to practice what I’d learned in the class out in the field,” she says.

Williams conducts watershed education programs in the schools and monthly water sampling for Riverwatch, a group that monitors the river’s conditions along a 10-mile stretch of the Upper Uncompahgre River.

“I’ve enjoyed working with kids,” she says. “We work with local third-grade teachers to take the class out water sampling every month. They were really excited to know that the data they collected would be used to make decisions about their river.”

VISTA, originally Volunteers in Service to America, was founded in 1965 as a national service program designed to fight poverty in the US. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs.

The OSM/VISTA and Peace Corps Coverdell programs offer graduate students the opportunity to combine academic study with supervised, practical field experience and research. Michigan Tech has partnered with OSM/VISTA programs since 2012

For the full story, see Michigan Tech News.

Graduate Student Government Travel Grant Award Winners for Summer 2014

Travel Grants for Summer 2014 have been awarded. The full list of Graduate recipients can be seen at Travel Grant Results.

Travel grants are awards that help subsidize cost of attending and presenting at conferences. These awards are sponsored by the Graduate Student Government (GSG) and the Graduate School. For more information on Travel Grants, please see Graduate School Travel Grants.

Should you have any questions, contact the GSG Treasure–Jennifer Winnikus at jawiniku@mtu.edu.

Graduate School Announces Award Recipients

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that the following students have earned:

Doctoral Finishing Fellowships:

Jun Ma, PhD candidate in Computer Science
Evgeniy Kulakov, PhD candidate in Geology
Colin Gurganus, PhD candidate in Atmospheric Sciences
Suntara Fueangfung, PhD candidate in Chemistry
Fang Chen, PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering
Xiaohui Wang, PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering
Jennifer Riehl, PhD candidate in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
Stephanie Ogren, PhD candidate in Biological Sciences
Tayloria Adams, PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering

Dean’s Fellowships:

Bonnie Zwissler, PhD candidate in Civil Engineering
Matthew Brege, PhD candidate in Chemistry
Bryan Steinhoff, PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

DeVlieg Foundation Fellowships:

Howard Haselhuhn, PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering
John Henderson, PhD candidate in Forest Science

King-Ch`avez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowships:

Zoe Miller, MS candidate in Environmental Engineering
Darnishia Slade, PhD candidate in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors
Ronesha Strozier, MS candidate in Environmental Policy

Photographs and details of awards and fellowships coordinated by the Graduate School can be found online:

www.mtu.edu/gradschool/administration/academics/awards-fellowships/

Facilitators Sought for Fall Graduate School Orientation

Facilitators are an important part of the Graduate School’s orientation. They lead discussion at a table with seven new graduate students, and help to answer their questions. Faculty, staff, and graduate students are invited to participate this fall and help mentor the next group of scholars at Michigan Tech.

New facilitators will attend a training session on either August 21, 10 a.m.-noon, or August 25, 1-3 p.m. The training will ensure everyone is comfortable and confident with the material being presented.

All facilitators will participate in orientation, 1-4:30 p.m. on August 27. Please note that this is a time change from previous years, designed to accommodate students’ requests for an afternoon start.

To participate, please register online so we can include you in reminders and important notices as we get closer to the day.

Do you have questions? Contact Deb Charlesworth (ddc@mtu.edu) or Kristi Isaacson (kris@mtu.edu) for more information.

ICAD 2014 ThinkTank (Doctoral Consortium) Scholars

PhD students Maryam Fakhr Hosseini and Steven Landry, both in the Mind Music Machine Lab, applied cognitive science and human factors graduate program, have been selected as ICAD 2014 ThinkTank (Doctoral Consortium) Scholars. They will present their research at a special pre-ICAD 2014 ThinkTank Symposium with leading scholars in the field of auditory display and sonification. The students will receive generous travel support for the conference from the National Science Foundation.