Applications Now Being Accepted for Gilman Scholarship

GilmanThe Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad.  This type of experience prepares U.S. students for an increasingly global economy. The Gilman Scholarship seeks students from a diverse range of private and public institutions all over the country across all 50 states. The selection process is highly competitive. Good news for Michigan Tech students, the Gilman panel looks for STEM majors!

Benjamin A. Gilman, retired New York congressman and the scholarship’s namesake, once said, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

If you are interested in applying, visit the website here for more information. The deadline to apply for Summer 2017 and Fall 2017-18 is March 7th.


Your Professional Network

By Joe Thompson

Regardless of your personal goals and aspirations, it is always a good idea to cultivate and maintain your professional network. This is a network of individuals you can call on when you need a letter of recommendation, a professional reference, or are otherwise looking to grow professionally. This network is unique to you, your experiences and professional interactions. You’ll know you have a strong network and whether you are associated with the right people if they look for professional benefit from you as well.

wordcloud-professional-networkingA professional network is about more than how many LinkedIn connections you’ve attained. A real professional network will include those you’ve had meaningful professional or academic interactions with, not just those you’ve met at a conference or latched onto via a mutual connection or algorithm recommendations. An inner circle of 10-15 people will be worth more to you in long run than 1,000 connections who periodically “like” a press release or article you share!

So where might a Michigan Tech student look when developing a real professional network? If you are like most Michigan Tech students, you are probably involved in a club, student organization, Enterprise Team, Sorority or Fraternity, etc. Maybe you volunteer with a local community non-profit or are an active member of a religious institution. Have you had a leadership role or have you participated on any committees, sub teams, project teams? There is probably someone you worked with who could speak to specifics about how you benefited the team/organization/project by being involved. Those specifics are what makes a real network connection!

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If you’ve had a positive Co-op or internship experience, your manager and those you worked with are real professional connections. Even if you don’t want to work for that company (or in that particular industry) in the future, maintaining a professional relationship with those you’ve had work experience with is important. If you establish yourself on a different career path, being able to show your professional adaptability by your success in a potentially unrelated sector can highlight universal leadership or technical ability.

It is never too early to start developing your real professional network. The experiences you have on campus and off campus during your time at Michigan Tech are valuable and will not only aid you now, but also as you move forward on whatever career path you choose!


Meet Randy Wilharm…

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By Amy Karaginannakis

Randy came from the suburbs of Chicago to Tech in the Fall of 2013. He was excited to move someplace different from the urban home he had grown accustomed to and looked forward to new experiences in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. His love of music led him to join the Superior Wind Symphony and the Michigan Tech Pep Band shortly after arriving to campus. Randy plays the clarinet and will graduate Tech this coming Spring with a Major in Chemistry and a Minor in Music. He spoke fondly of his time at Tech, but most memorably enjoys attending the hockey games. In addition to Randy’s passion for new experiences, it was Tech’s reputation as a cutting-edge research university that drew him to the Keweenaw.

wilharmAs a Research Pathway student in the Pavlis Honors College, Randy has been involved in various research projects across campus. During his second year on campus he conducted research with Dr. Bruce Lee and contributed to the article, “Modulating the movement of hydrogel actuator based on catechol-iron ion coordination chemistry” in the scientific journal, Sensors and Actuators B. Over this past summer, Randy worked alongside Dr. Rudy Luck, an Associate Professor for the Department of Chemistry, here at Tech. This experience served as Randy’s Immersion that would fulfill one of the key components of his Honors education. While working in the lab over the summer, Randy synthesized and tested different complexes to learn their properties and determine potential uses. Randy is currently working to produce a catalyst that will improve the process of electrolysis. The process is currently very energy intensive and the complexes him and his fellow researchers are working with may allow electrolysis to occur with just UV light. Randy continues to forge his legacy on campus and beyond.

 

1064226_10203173494759398_713905516_oRandy is always up for a challenge and has never been satisfied with just fulfilling the minimum requirements. That’s part of the reason he decided to apply to the Pavlis Honors College. Always motivated to be his best, no matter what the task, Randy does not accept mediocrity in his daily life. He also enjoys engaging in service projects that afford him the opportunity to help others. He continues to donate his time to service projects in the local community and travels to Florida for his Spring Break every year with Cru, a national Christian community of college students.

 

12719197_10153556594761365_8902995734081003632_oRandy wants to do something no one has ever done before and believes that should be the goal of every scientist. The Pavlis Honors College has fueled his passion for learning and continues to prepare him for graduate school and life after graduation. When asked about his experiences in the Honors College, Randy reflected, “The PHC has pushed me that extra step beyond my classwork to clarify and work to achieve my goals as an independent person. Because of this, I feel more confident and prepared to enter the world after college.” Following graduation this Spring from Michigan Tech, Randy plans to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in Chemistry.


New Entrepreneur Congressional Intern Program

The National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) has developed a new University Entrepreneur Congressional Intern Program to start in the Summer of 2017. This eight-week program places exceptional university and college students in Senate and House offices to work on issues dealing with entrepreneurship and startups. The Program also includes meetings with senior federal administration officials, serial entrepreneurs, startups, venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate venture groups to increase the student’s professional network during the internship and after, when they return to campus to share their experiences and networks with students, researchers, faculty and alumni. In the long term, it is expected that these students will provide entrepreneurship leadership in public service, academia, and the private sector throughout their careers.

More information about the program can be found at ncet2.org/interns. The deadline to apply is January 30, 2017.

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Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Workshop

The Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Program and the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will be hosting its next NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Workshop in January over a 4-week period, with the first session starting on Saturday, January 7th.

The I-Corps Site program is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science logo_nsf-icorpsFoundation (NSF) and successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The workshop provides an introduction to the Lean Start-up business development methodology which focuses on getting out of the lab and using the proven tools of Customer Discovery and the Business Model Canvas to evaluate the commercial potential of innovative technologies.

This is a great opportunity to work with an experienced team of workshop leaders to determine, document, and fully realize the commercial potential of your technology. Teams which successfully complete the program requirements are eligible for $2500 to advance their technology-focused start-up ideas through customer discovery and prototyping. Teams also become eligible for NSF’s National I-Corps program which includes $50,000 in funding.

Participants of I-Corps Site programs and NSF’s National I-Corps have demonstrated significantly higher funding rates from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs which offer Phase I awards up to $225,000 and Phase II awards up to $750,000. Past participants also report that the I-Corps program had a positive impact on their careers, as well as their approach to research, teaching and mentoring.

Apply today for this great experience! For more information on the Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Program or to apply to the January workshop, visit mtu.edu/honors/ice/icorps/. The deadline to submit your application is January 2, 2017.


Effectively Managing Time

By Paige Hackney

Being a successful and productive student is a combination of many factors and decisions all working in concert to culminate in a fulfilling academic career. To be a well-rounded and successful student requires selecting a major that fulfills your interests and future career plans, balancing academic requirements and pressures, finding time for relaxation and fun, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and making and enjoying friends. When I was a student in the late 70’s, a student’s main “job” was to go to class, study, do homework, perhaps work a few hours a week, and enjoy new friends. In short – be a student. It strikes me that much more is expected of today’s student than the student of my day. Most of today’s students appear to balance studies with more time-consuming and often multiple jobs, involvement in several organizations, and engaging in community service activities, all while setting aside time to spend with friends. This increased demand on the finite resource of time can lead to stress which in turn can lead to the ineffective use of that time.

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How can students develop effective time management skills that minimize stress and provide optimal results in the classroom and/or on the job coupled with a satisfying social life and a positive sense of self? While each student will bring a unique ability to manage time, based in part on personality (Type A versus Type B), there are strategies that any student can implement to improve their use of this all important finite resource that we each have in the course of a day. I would like to explore some simple strategies for effective time management that may help you make more efficient and productive use of your time that should decrease stress and increase performance in your studies and overall satisfaction with life.

The first and most intuitive step is to prioritize tasks. When considering multiple tasks, consider deadlines and magnitude of tasks that need to be accomplished. And by all means, do not procrastinate. Use and regularly check a calendaring system to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. I like to use the analogy of having multiple Saturday errands to run in a single trip. If I find that I need to go to the bank, pharmacy, grocery store, and drop off garbage, I always think about how best to manage my route and stops. Multiple factors will figure into my chosen route and sequence of chores based on immediate needs (Do I need cash from the bank to complete any of the other tasks on my list or am I getting cash for an upcoming trip in a few days), the season (do I want to avoid smelly garbage and melted ice cream in my car in summer) and ease of negotiating my chosen travel route through busy intersections (stop light placement, on what side of the street are my destinations located). In summer my route is often different than in winter based on logistics, priorities and conditions.

The second, and perhaps the most difficult strategy is: Don’t procrastinate. Few people actually perform better under pressure in a short period compared to a longer span of time. It is easy to fall into this trap especially when having to choose between taking on the task at hand rather than doing something more attractive and fun. Procrastination only leads to stress and leaves little, if any, time to learn from unanticipated results and make corrections to produce a better end product or start over.

sporkMy third suggestion is to avoid multitasking and focus on one assignment at a time and do it well. Studies show it usually takes longer to complete multiple tasks simultaneously than it does to complete several tasks singularly. This phenomenon is due to the additional time required to refocus when transitioning back and forth between tasks.

Don’t forget to take care of your basic needs when you have many things to accomplish. Getting adequate sleep does take time; however, sleep is a source of rejuvenation for the mind as well as the body. Sleep provides the resources to think more clearly, organize thoughts more efficiently and learn and retain information more easily. If you do find yourself stressing over a daunting to-do list, take time to relieve the added pressure by engaging in some form of exercise or meditation. Exercise is not only good for the heart and overall personal wellbeing and health, but also improves brain function to spark memory and general brain function. Engaging in a regular exercise regimen has scientifically-proven long-term benefits including longevity, improved memory and enhanced thinking skills.

On those busiest of days, don’t forget to take time to enjoy life with friends. Social engagement is as basic a human need as eating and sleeping and should be regularly worked into your schedule to foment success. Taking a break to enjoy dinner with friends may be all that is necessary on a hectic day to help you relax, redirect energies and ultimately refocus.

While these strategies seem simple and intuitive, they will require a conscious effort to implement for most people. However, the added benefit you will find in your personal and academic life will be significant.

 


The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship

Scoville Fellows work with one or more than two dozen participating public-interest organizations. They may undertake a variety of activities, including research, writing, public education and advocacy on a range of security issues, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, non-proliferation, missile defense, weapons trade, environmental and energy security, and peacekeeping, that support the goals of their host organization, and may attend coalition meetings, policy briefings and Congressional hearings. Fellows are supervised by senior level staff and often have the opportunity to publish articles, blogs, or reports. The program also arranges meetings for the fellows with policy experts. Many former Scoville Fellows have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in international relations and taken prominent positions in the field of peace and security with public interest organizations, the Federal Government, academia and media.

The 6-9 month fellowship in Washington D.C. is open to recent undergraduate and graduate alumni with an excellent academic record and a strong interest in issues of peace and security. Deadline to apply is January 6th, 2017. For more information visit scoville.org


Design Thinking and Makerspaces

By Mary Raber

If you’ve been hanging out around the Pavlis Honors College you’ve probably heard talk about Design Thinking and Makerspaces. And maybe you’re wondering, what are these things and why are they important?

As stated by Tom & David Kelley, co-founders of the product innovation company IDEO and authors of Creative Confidence, “Most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, draw blobs and call them dinosaurs. But over time, because of socialization and formal education, a lot of us start to stifle those impulses. We learn to be warier of judgment, more cautious, more analytical. The world seems to divide into “creatives” and “non-creatives,” and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.”

Last fall, the Pavlis Honors College announced the creation of a new Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE), and as part of our mission we want to help Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff reclaim their “creative confidence.” Design thinking and makerspaces are two great tools that can help.

“Design Thinking is defined as a methodology and a mindset that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity,” explains IDEO CEO, Tim Brown.

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It is an iterative process that starts with Empathy…understanding the needs and challenges of the people who might use the innovative ideas you are developing. By getting out and talking to people, you can learn a lot about their needs and challenges which can help ensure that you are focusing on the right problem. Then through ideation processes such as brainstorming, new ideas are generated. Simple prototypes of these ideas can be created with fast and inexpensive methods such as sketching, role playing, or building models using materials like post-it notes and pipe cleaners. These simple prototypes can then be used to gain valuable feedback by testing a physical model of your idea with prospective users. This allows you to determine whether you’re on the right track before you’ve invested too much time or money, or if you need to go back to a previous step to explore your idea further.

We now have a team of faculty and students (our University Innovation Fellows) who are trained in the design thinking process and are available to help others develop design-thinking skills through facilitated workshops and class sessions. The team has already been working hard to help infuse this process across campus and into the community.

You’ve probably also heard about our new makerspace, The Alley. Makerspaces are popping up all over the world and there are an estimated 400 makerspaces in the US alone. They are intended to be creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, collaborative, invent, tinker and learn using a variety of tools and materials. By all accounts, they are not just spaces, they are communities of people from all disciplines and backgrounds who enjoy making things. They encompass making in all forms, whether building with power tools, creating 3D printed prototypes, experimenting with cooking, or creating through more traditional art forms like sewing and painting.

Over the past year, a diverse team of students, faculty and staff have worked to convert the old bowling alley in the basement of the MUB to a really cool collaborative work space where members of the Michigan Tech community can bring their ideas to life.

In September, representatives of Milwaukee Tool came to campus to help facilitate a workbench building event. Milwaukee Tool is a strong supporter of The Alley and helped get the makerspace off the ground with a generous donation of tools. The Alley officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 25th, 2016.

The Alley is a student-led makerspace, with a team of Maker Coaches (student, faculty and staff volunteers) who staff the space, maintain the tools & equipment, train new users, and help to make it a safe place to work. It is open to the Michigan Tech community on Monday-Thursday from 3:00-9:00pm. For more info on the space, or how to get involved as a volunteer Maker Coach, check out The Alley’s website or Facebook page.

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Meet Neffertia Tyner…

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Neffertia Tyner (second from the right) is a student staff assistant for the Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

 

By Amy Karagiannakis

Neffertia Tyner transferred to Michigan Tech in 2014 from Wayne County Community College in Detroit, MI. She grew up in Detroit and identifies as an “inner-city kid.” Maybe not how some would perceive an inner-city kid though. Unfortunately, for many people the phrase inner-city kid brings to mind negative stereotypes. Neffertia wants to change the way people think, “I see inner-city kids as ambitious, head-strong and courageous. We should not be ashamed or embarrassed of where we came from or how we grew up.”

Neffertia is a Psychology major and is planning to graduate in the Fall of 2017. As a Custom Pathways student in the Pavlis Honors College, Neffertia has chosen to focus on service. She volunteers at Dial Help which she believes complements her minor in Diversity Studies. Dial Help is a crisis and helpline service that provides immediate assistance over the phone or via text that attempts to relieve the stress that a caller might be experiencing from a crisis or critical situation. Neffertia receives calls from a diverse number of community members that vary in age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, culture and socioeconomic background while volunteering at Dial Help. Being exposed to such a diverse group of individuals has helped her to better understand the issues and problems that face people that are different from her.

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DSC_0108DSC_0135Working as a student staff assistant for the Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion has inspired Neffertia to stand up for social justice within the campus community and beyond. Following the results of the presidential election, many on campus, particularly members of underrepresented communities, were feeling confused, hopeless and even scared. Within a week, Neffertia organized a silent march through campus and into town that was meant to offer support, comfort, and reassurance to those that needed it. Several hundred students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered at the Husky statue on the evening of Wednesday, November 16th to march together in solidarity to demonstrate that we will not accept hate on our campus or in our community.

Neffertia participated last April in an event organized by the new student organization, SAVE which stands for Sexual Assault and Violence Education. The purpose of this new student org is to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. Neffertia along with other volunteers, drove around campus in the SAVE “Cash” Cart giving away prizes such as brownies and candy to help raise awareness about the resources Tech and our community have for sexual assault victims. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The “It’s On Us” initiative took root in 2014 and has been gaining momentum across college campuses nationwide. The campaign is dedicated to making a concerted effort to raise awareness and put an end to campus sexual assault.

 

20161014_095322Neffertia is a Big Sister for the UP KIDS Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. This nonprofit organization matches children with caring adults in the Keweenaw who encourage them to reach their full potential. Many children involved in the program are already facing adversity in their very young lives. Big Brothers and Big Sisters provide support, friendship, and guidance to a child that may otherwise be lacking a strong role model in their lives. Neffertia has been with her Little for a year now and believes that having a role model that shares similar interests is important. “My Little and I talk about our aspirations in life and the issues we are going through. More importantly, we always support each other.”

This past summer Neffertia worked as an Activity Counselor for the Michigan Tech Summer Youth Program (SYP). She worked closely with the student participants engaging them in STEM-related activities and other camp events. Neffertia’s work with the CDI, Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, and the SYP along with her volunteer work has culminated into a growing interest in working with young people and providing them with the guidance and support they need to succeed. Whether this interest leads to a career in higher education or working with at-risk youths in Detroit area high schools, Neffertia is passionate about helping others reach their full potential. “We should not try to prove to others that we are not a stereotype, but strive to prove to ourselves that we are perfectly capable of being successful. We should work towards empowering and supporting one another. While I am standing on my pedestal of success, I am going to turn around, reach out my hand, and welcome the next in line to join me. Then I want them to turn around, reach their hand out, and welcome another inner-city kid to join us.” Neffertia Tyner is redefining what it means to be an “inner-city kid.” 

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Meet Shelby Marter…

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By Amy Karagiannakis

Shelby is passionate about breaking down complex ideas for a variety of audiences to understand. “I like being the necessary ‘middle-man’ between technically-minded people and everyday folks,” explains Shelby. She knows that communication, problem solving and creativity all play an important role in being able to accomplish this successfully, which is why she became interested in technical communication at Tech.

Hailing from a small farming community in Pinconning, MI, Shelby is now in the fourth year of her BS in Scientific and Technical Communication. As she prepares for graduation and the next chapter of her life, she reflects back on her experiences here in the Keweenaw as well as her travels.

“As I look for a career, I’ve realized how important travel is to me; I really want to incorporate it into a future profession, and I think the Pavlis Institute helped push me in the right direction.”

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Shelby, along with five other Tech students, traveled to Malta last summer with the Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership to carry out human-centered design projects with local community organizations and individuals. Through her team’s work, a research team from the University of Malta was able to connect with Michigan Tech students over solar water desalination units and their potential use in other Pavlis Institute project sites.

While in Malta, Shelby also worked with a local startup 3D printing company called Thought3D to develop a social media marketing plan as well as promotional ideas to help increase visibility throughout the community about their new product, Magigoo.

MagigooThis is similar to what Marter is now working on through her current technical writing internship for the Center for Technology and Training (CTT) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering here at Michigan Tech. Roadsoft, a GIS-based transportation-infrastructure mapping software, is used by local agencies and road commissions to collect, store and analyze data. Shelby works with civil engineers, software developers, and a team of technical writers to deliver this software product & make sure that documentation and tutorials meet the needs of their customers. Through strategic marketing, promotional material production, and logo design, Shelby is putting her technical writing and communication skills to work before graduation.

27115281955_6cdd78ba86_hShelby has been the Business Analyst of the ITOxygen (ITO) Enterprise since Fall 2016. Housed within the Pavlis Honors College, Enterprise is student-driven, multidisciplinary teams that work like companies on real-world client projects, whether the deliverable is an innovative product, a pioneering solution, or a much-needed service. The hallmark of the Enterprise Program is the experiential education it provides to students. Currently, Shelby is working with her ITO team and the Work Life Committee at Michigan Tech to create a “Snow Day” app that will connect Michigan Tech faculty with local babysitters in the event that schools close due to snow. As the Business Analyst, Marter acts as the “bridge” between technical experts and the clients to make sure that the solutions ITOXygen develop truly help meet the client’s need.

In addition to her academic commitments, Shelby also works and volunteers in the community. Thanks to Shelby’s work with Canterbury House Campus Ministry, they won a United Thank Offering (UTO) grant from the Episcopal Church to further develop the organization’s English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring program. Through her volunteer work at the Michigan Tech Multiliteracies Center as a writing coach, Shelby was able to help students prepare essays, presentations and other writing materials by providing supportive feedback. “This experience really helped me develop stronger editing skills, as well as learning how to deliver critical feedback to people who might be sensitive about my response.”

After Shelby’s five-week immersion experience in Malta with the Pavlis Institute came to an end, she spent an additional 7 weeks backpacking across Northern Europe exploring Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. Shelby spent many sleepless nights on trains and buses navigating unfamiliar places and meeting new people. She stayed at Airbnbs and hostels which she found to be a very rewarding way to interact with locals and to learn insights about historic places that you can’t get from a guidebook.

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“It wasn’t really a vacation but traveling with a purpose; I was challenging myself to learn, absorb, and experience. The most important takeaway was that I became comfortable being uncomfortable,” reflected Shelby.

PorcupineIMG_1627While in the Keweenaw, Shelby enjoys running, hiking, watercolor painting, cheering on the Huskies at hockey games, and exploring the natural beauty of the U.P. Some of her favorite spots around the area include Bare Bluffs, Montreal Falls, and Redridge Dam.

Shelby was one of two students who traveled with Dean Meadows this past weekend to meet with PHC benefactor, Frank Pavlis in person. Dean Meadows, along with Shelby and Brad Turner paid a visit to Mr. Pavlis’ home in Allentown, PA.