Category Archives: News

Langston Receives NSF Grant on Mining History

Langston1Nancy Langston has received $270,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three year research project titled “Historical and Spatial Aspects of the Migration of Toxic Iron-Mining Contaminants into the Lake Superior Basin.”

Abstract:

This project investigates the mobilization of toxic mining contaminants in the Lake Superior basin. The investigator will conduct archival research and oral-history interviews, and she will develop a geo-spatial database. She plans to link her historical research with contemporary policy and regulation issues, and to engage with local communities, including Native Americans in the region.

The investigator is a well-known environmental historian whose previous work has drawn on multiple disciplines and generated significant media interest; she has a network of contacts that includes a documentary filmmaker and relevant stakeholder groups. The project will produce a narrative of environmental history with the potential for overlap with important questions of technology, culture, and society. It will be of interest to citizen scientists, a wide-array of scholars, and the general public. The most important broader impact of the project is that it might very well influence contemporary policy and law-making.

Students Win Award at Community Development Society Annual Meeting

CDS Community Capitals Poster Williams 2014 - CopyThis summer a group of students traveled with Professor Richelle Winkler to the Community Development Society 2014 Annual Meeting in Debuque, Iowa to share their research.  The Annual Meeting focuses on research and developments in the field of community development with members representing a variety of fields including: education, health care, social services, government, utilities, economic development practitioners, citizen groups, and more.

Students from Michigan Tech presented two posters on community development projects the Social Sciences department have been working on with the local town of Calumet.  The poster presented by Rhianna Williams, Lorri Oikarinen, Heather Simpson, and Dr. Winkler was on the effect First Friday’s art tours had on the community of Calumet and won an award for best presentation of content.

A poster on Mine Water Geothermal for Sustainable Community Development: Campus-Community Partnerships for Revitalization in Calumet, Michigan was presented by Travis Wakeham, Mayra Sanchez Gonzalez, and Dr. Richelle Winkler, and won runner up for best presentation of content.

In addition to poster presentations Dr. Winkler hosted a panel session on community-engaged scholarship and community development and Master’s Student Rhianna Williams gave a presentation based on her research on water use, allocation, and policy in the Gunnison River Basin, Colorado.

CDS Community Capitals 1500

Schelly published on “Crafting Collectivity”

9781612057453_p0_v1_s260x420Chelsea Schelly, assistant professor of sociology, has published Crafting Collectivity: American Rainbow Gatherings and Alternative Forms of Community with Paradigm Publishing.  It is now available from the publisher and usual book retail outlets.

From the Publisher:

Every summer, thousands of people assemble to live together to celebrate the Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family. Participants establish temporary systems of water distribution and filtration, sanitation, health care, and meals provided freely to all who gather, and they develop sharing and trading systems, recreational opportunities, and educational experiences distinct to this creative social world. The Rainbow Family has invented itself as a unique modern culture without formal organization, providing the necessities of life freely to all who attend. The Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family has been operating for more than forty years as an experiment in liberty that demonstrates how material organization, participation, and cultural connection can reshape social relationships and transform individual lives. Grounded in sociological theory and research, the book considers what kind of culture the material systems of “Babylon” reinforce and how society could facilitate the kind of social world and human welfare humans desire.

SS Talk: Barry Solomon on “Policies for the Sustainable Development of Biofuels in Pan America”

image65900-persProfessor Barry Solomon

“Policies for the Sustainable Development of Biofuels in Pan America: A Review and Synthesis of Five Countries”

12:00 noon Friday, September 26 in AOB 201.

Abstract: Rapid growth of biofuel production in the United States and Brazil has increased interest in replicating this success in other Pan American nations. However, the continued use of food-based feedstock is widely seen as unsustainable and is, in some cases, linked to deforestation and increased greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, many nations are exploring the production and use of cellulosic feedstock. This presentation reviews the North-South axis of biofuel production in Pan America and its linkage with the agricultural sectors in five countries in Pan America. Focus will be given to biofuel policy goals,their results, and consideration of sustainability criteria and certification of producers. I examine the two largest producers – the United States and Brazil and two smaller emerging producers – Argentina and Canada; and one stalledprogram – Mexico to explore if biofuel programs are effectively improving environmental quality and sustainable development.

PDF Flyer

 

Industrial Archaeology Students Dig for Answers Around Fort Wilkins

Image from the Holland Sentinel

From Tech Today:

The Holland Sentinel published a feature article on Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology    students’ analysis of early mining activity in the vicinity of Fort Wilkins State Park.

From the Abstract:

 To better document the fort’s history related to copper mining, a group of Michigan Technological University students — led by doctoral candidate Sean Gohman and Patrick Martin, Michigan Tech professor of industrial archaeology — is exploring land  that is now part of the state park, looking specifically for evidence of mining activity by  the Pittsburgh & Boston Mining Co., which operated in the region in 1844-48.

Click here to read the full article: Archaeology students seek answers to Fort Wilkins’ mining past

 

 

 

 

IA grad students come in all ‘types’

hamiltondiestamper04Daniel Schneider (M.S. graduate student in IA) was recently featured on the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum news blog for his work in recording one of their vintage pieces of machinery.  Schneider is doing his Master’s thesis on wood type manufacturing and skill as embodied by the workers at the Hamilton Manufacturing Company in Two Rivers, WI, which was the nation’s largest wooden type producer until it closed in the 1980s.

As part of that work Schneider is recording and rehabilitating an antique border-stamping machine (seen at left) in the museum. The machine was used to make the ornamental borders for newspaper advertisements and individual letterpress printers, and although the machine and some of its stamping dies remain in the museum along with samples of border it cut, there are no former operators who can explain the subtleties of the machine and its operations.  Later this fall, Schneider will get the machine working again, experiment with it, and then in the winter and spring give weekend demonstrations at the museum.  He expects to finish his thesis in summer 2015.

See the full Hamilton post at “Drawing a Machine

MacLennan Sugar Book Launch and Talk

Sovereign SugarFrom TechToday (4 Sept.)

Book and Academic Presentation on Hawaii’s Sugar Industry by Carol MacLennan

Carol MacLennan (SS) will offer remarks and slides on her recently published book, Sovereign Sugar: Industry and Environment in Hawai’i (Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 2014),  on Wednesday, Sept. 10 Tuesday Sept. 30 (note new date!), in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. The book unravels the tangled relationship between the sugar industry and Hawai’i’s cultural and natural landscapes. MacLennan’s publication is the first work to fully examine the complex tapestry of socioeconomic, political and environmental forces that shaped sugar’s role. Join us for Hawai’i-inspired refreshments at 4 p.m. with remarks to begin at 4:15 p.m.

This event is part of the library’s “Nexus: the Scholar and the Library” series. All faculty and academic staff are encouraged to be a part of this series. Contact Ellen Seidel (eseidel@mtu.edu) to discuss how you can share your on going research or scholarly achievements with the campus. 

Winkler Publishes on Solar Water Disinfection Method of Cleaning Water for Consumption

SODISRichelle Winkler (SS) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored “Evaluating the Geographic Viability of the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) Method by Decreasing Turbidity with NaCl: A Case Study of South Sudan,” published in the journal Applied Clay Science.

Globally, about one billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water.  One cheap and easy method of cleaning water for consumption is to put it into plastic water bottles and set it in the sun (SODIS), but this method doesn’t work when the water is muddy.  Pearce and his graduate students found that by adding simple table salt to water muddied with clay, the clay would settle the water enough to allow the SODIS method to work. Winkler worked with a graduate student at Princeton University on demographic analysis of the number of people who could potentially benefit from this salt+SODIS approach in Africa. The demographic team used a geographic information system (GIS) to identify geographic regions with the appropriate soil type, then overlaid that data with population estimates. They found that over a million people in South Sudan, a country where access to clean water is limited, could potentially benefit from this method.

Read the full article here.

Winkler Receives Funding for Geothermal Energy Feasibilty Guide

img. from Ohio DNR
img. from Ohio DNR

Richelle Winkler was recently awarded a Phase 1 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 (People, Prosperity, and Planet) program to supervise an interdisciplinary team of students to develop a guide that former mining communities can use to self-evaluate the feasibility of tapping into water in abandoned mines for geothermal energy. The student design team, led by Environmental and Energy Policy MS student Edward Louie, will present their guide at the Sustainable Design Expo in Washington DC in April 2015 and compete for a Phase 2 award of $90,000 to implement the project. Social science students are partnering with an Alternative Energy Enterprise team led by Jay Meldrum (Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center) on this project. The full team is also working closely with a community advisory board made up of leaders in the Calumet, MI community. It was Calumet community members partnering in Winkler’s community-engaged research with Main Street Calumet that started the idea for this project.