Tag Archives: Research

Meet Karin Wolken…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Karin Wolken believes that research is vitally important to understanding the altering circumstances Earth continues to undergo. She is honing her data analysis skills as she works on a project concerning the fate of carbon in forest residues, a study that could have implications for carbon cycling and climate change. Karin began working as a research assistant in the Forest Biometrics Lab shortly after beginning her education at Tech in 2014. A Forestry major, on par to graduate in just three years, her current project work involves assessing the fate of carbon present in logging residues. During the summer between her first and second year Karin worked as a crew leader in the field collecting samples from red pine and aspen all over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Since Fall 2015, Karin has been diligently working through processing the collected samples and analyzing and managing the data. Potentially, logging residues could be used as a source of biofuel, a prospect that would have significant impact on the energy industry. Karin presented her team’s findings at the Society of American Foresters National Convention in Madison, WI last fall. The time and commitment Karin has put into this research project has strengthened her ability to lead a team, as well as improved her communication skills, prowess that she will certainly use in future work.

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Karin lived in Seattle her entire life and came to Michigan Tech to experience something completely different from the urban Northwestern bubble she grew up in. The rugged, unlandscaped Upper Peninsula of Michigan seemed like a drastic but welcome change from the temperate rainforests of Northwestern Washington. Karin’s love of the outdoors and the hope that one day her research may contribute to reversing the effects of climate change is what drew her to Forestry.

“I want to be part of something that can help draw the line between coexisting and overusing the world around us. I want to explore what we don’t understand and help get the necessary information to not only survive in our changing world, but thrive.”

Shifting from recreationally enjoying the large trees of the Pacific Northwest to studying the fate of logging residues in the stands of UP forests seemed like a natural transition for Karin. Outside of what she does academically, Karin enjoys knitting, cooking and visiting the Copper Country Humane Society. Karin is currently playing flute in the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and tries to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors as she can.

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Being involved with the Pavlis Honors College has given Karin the opportunity to meet and work with people across departments and disciplines. Her focus is in forestry research, but the Honors College has allowed her to branch out and collaborate with similarly driven people of various majors and interests.

Karin’s Honors project is to improve the Forestry Learning Center (FLC) at Michigan Tech by shifting to a more peer-focused learning platform. The center, in comparison with other learning centers on campus, has lacked the proper attention, funding and support. Karin believes that peer tutoring is extremely effective to learning and understanding. An acting tutor herself, Karin coordinates the current tutoring system at the FLC and focuses on one-on-one and group sessions. Her goal is to identify ways for the center to become more effective in helping SFRES students and implement these practices for future undergraduate classes.


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.


The DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program

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sanpakit-tnThe Department of Homeland Security sponsors a 10-week summer internship for students majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

The program provides students with quality research experiences at federal research facilities located across the country and allows students the opportunity to establish connections with DHS professionals. The ultimate goals of the program are to engage a diverse, educated and skilled pool of scientists and engineers in HS-STEM areas and to promote long-term relationships between students, researchers, DHS and research facilities to enhance the HS-STEM workforce.

Undergraduate students receive a $6000 stipend plus travel expenses and graduate students receive $7000 plus travel expenses.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) administers this program through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ORISE is managed by ORAU for DOE. ORISE will be responsible for the application and review process, notification and implementation of the program. Deadline to apply is December 7th, 2016.


Michigan Tech Ranked #18 for Return on Investment

michigan-technological-universityReturn on investment or ROI compares the cost of a college education with what that graduate can expect to earn. Bestcolleges.com recently released a report on the 50 best colleges and universities in terms of ROI. With a 30-year net ROI of just under $1,000,000, Michigan Tech ranked 18th in the nation. This number is calculated by taking the average net earnings a graduate can expect to make over a 30 year period and subtracting the cost of their education.

Find out how the Pavlis Honors College can help make that number grow. Our Scholars and Leaders Programs prepare students for success after graduation. We address society’s need for graduates who possess both depth of knowledge in their chosen field and intellectual breadth obtained through interdisciplinary collaboration, experiential learning and deliberate reflection. Graduating with recognition from the Honors College provides students with what Frank Pavlis calls the “plus factors” that put them at a noticeable advantage above their peers when applying for jobs.

Read the full report from Bestcolleges.com.


ORISE Summer Fellowship Opportunity

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is offering summer research opportunities at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The appointment period is full time and will run for 10 weeks starting May 23, 2016. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years of age with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. Majors of study for applicable students include Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering, Nanotechnology, and Computer Science. The deadline to submit applications is February 19, 2016. Visit https://www.zintellect.com/Posting/details/1683 to apply.


Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program

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The Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) is now accepting applications for the 2016 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program. Sponsored by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, the program provides motivated undergraduate juniors and seniors as well as graduate students with the opportunity to conduct research on imperative Great Lakes topics. This year there are eight positions available. Underrepresented students in the aquatic sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.  The deadline to submit applications for this amazing opportunity is February 26th, 2016. To learn more about the Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program or to apply, visit http://ciler.snre.umich.edu/education/undergraduate-graduate-fellowships.