Category Archives: Notables


Richelle Winkler Wins 2017 Faculty Distinguished Service Award

Richelle Winkler
Richelle Winkler

Richelle Winkler, an associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences, is the recipient of the 2017 Faculty Distinguished Service Award.

The award is intended to complement the Distinguished Teaching and the Distinguished Research Awards already established at the University. It recognizes service to the University community that has significantly improved the quality of some aspect of campus life.

University Provost Jacqueline Huntoon says, “The faculty Distinguished Service Award Committee maintains very high standards and are only willing to make awards to individuals whose actions are particularly meritorious. Dr. Winkler exemplifies the characteristics that the award is intended to honor. She is an outstanding scholar whose efforts benefit the University and our community.”

Read the full story.


Winkler Awarded Faculty Distinguished Service Award

Richelle Winkler
Richelle Winkler

Congratulations to Richelle Winkler for being awarded Michigan Tech’s 2017 Faculty Distinguished Service Award due to her contributions to HEET, Main Street Calumet, the International Associate for Society and Natural Resources, the Keweenaw Land Trust, and Copper Country Recycling.  An honor well deserved.


Congratulations Erin Pischke and Will Lytle – Student Leadership Awards

Will Lytle
Will Lytle
Erin Pischke
Erin Pischke

The 23rd Annual Student Leadership Awards were held Friday in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

President’s Award for Leadership was presented to Stuart Liburd, Jr., while Tyler Leverton was given the Provost’s Award for Scholarship.

The Vice President’s for Student Affairs Award for Service was won by Erin Richie.

The other individual and organization award winners were:

  • Exceptional Community Service Project – “Kemin Fena, Your Story, Our Story”
  • Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader – Martine Loevaas
  • Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance – William Lytle
  • Exceptional Program of the Year – Language Program, International Club
  • Most Improved Student Organization – Leaders in Continuous Improvement
  • Rising Star of the Year – Natalie McGrath
  • Student Employee of the Year – Eric Smith
  • Student Organization of the Year – Huskies Pep Band
  • Student Organization Advisor of the Year –  Michael Christianson (VPA)
  • Clair M. Donovan Award- Bradley Turner
  • Outstanding Future Alumni Award- Mackenzy Shega-Fox
  • Sorority Woman of the Year – Julie Karl
  • Fraternity Man of the Year – Joe Hurford
  • Sorority of the Year – Alpha Gamma Delta
  • Fraternity of the Year – Sigma Tau Gamma
  • Exceptional Graduate Student Leader – Erin Pischke
  • Exceptional Graduate Student Scholar – Wei Wei
  • Exceptional Graduate Mentor – Jessie Knowlton
  • Exceptional Staff Member– Jill Fisher
  • Percy Julian – Jimmie Cannon, Jr.

Langston and Gupta Radio Interview on DAPL Wins Best Feature Programming Award

Best Feature Programming Award.
Best Feature Programming Award.

A radio interview featuring Latika Gupta (SBE) and Nancy Langston (SS) won the Michigan Association of Broadcasting Award for Best Feature Programming. The Copper Country Today Segment discussed the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy and initially aired on Dec. 18, 2016.

Gupta had provided her expertise as an energy economist and Langston had focused on sovereignty and environmental justice issues. The entire interview can be found on the Copper Country Today website.


Deans’ Teaching Showcase: Don Lafreniere

Bruce Seely and Don Lafreniere
Bruce Seely and Don Lafreniere

This week, the Deans’ Teaching Showcase returns to the College of Sciences and Arts, where Dean Bruce Seely has selected Don Lafreniere, an assistant professor in the Social Sciences Department.

Seely says that he nominated Lafreniere partly to highlight the area in which he is teaching — geographic information systems (GIS).

According to Seely, “Much of Don’s teaching helps students grasp the importance of geography generally and geospatial thinking specifically. This is what he cares about, and his enthusiasm and energy show in every discussion on this topic.”

But Seely says his primary reason for recognizing Lafreniere in this year’s Teaching Showcase comes back to his approach to student learning.

“In all my classes,” Lafreniere notes, “I strive to provide an environment in which students are comfortable questioning themselves and each other while facing the discomfort of challenging their accepted viewpoints. In small classes, I arrange the students in a circle, allowing for more intimate discussions and debates. I sit with my students, asking provocative questions and telling stories that push them to question their assumptions and inquire about how things are interconnected.”

Seely was intrigued by Lafreniere’s way of introducing the topic of homelessness. After assembling in the classroom, he told students to take off their coats and “follow me outside on a February morning. We stand in the snow, shivering, as I briefly outline the origins of homelessness in cities. We return to the warmth of the classroom to watch a short documentary in which homeless people share their experiences, then conclude with a discussion of the complexities of this social issue.”

This approach surely makes homelessness a more real situation to college students. For similar reasons, Lafreniere creates field experiences in every class, such as sending students to local grocery stores to “investigate the origins of fresh produce and to record all the manufacturers of a category of products, such as soup or cereal.”

This information informs a required report on how changes in the global food system are observed locally.

Lafreniere’s classroom effort also recognizes that “today’s university students live technologically-saturated lives.” Therefore he “embraces the use of technology to engage them.”

Lafreniere uses both Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere, two response systems that allows students to answer questions via their laptops or cellphones. The results are displayed in real-time on a PowerPoint slide and help gauge student comprehension.

Frequently Lafreniere brings online digital exhibits into courses. For example, he “illustrated the process of socially-constructed places with PhilaPlace, an interactive archive which allows residents of Philadelphia to map their own stories of places in their neighborhood.”

While Lafreniere spends much of his time helping students master the computer-based technology of GIS, he presents that tool as only a technique for continuing to question themselves about the natural and built environment that surrounds them.  His enthusiasm for that task is why he is part of this year’s Deans Teaching Showcase.

Lafreniere will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large-class teaching, innovative or outside-the-classroom  teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.


Pischke Receives Graduate Student Leader Award and Graduate Student Service Award

PischkeAward3
Erin Pischke, Jessie Knowlton, and Jill Fisher.

Erin Pischke (EEP) received two graduate student awards at the Graduate Research Colloquium Banquet held on February 16, 2017.  Pischke won a Graduate Student Government merit award for Exceptional Graduate Student Leader and the Graduate Student Service Award.

Congratulations Erin!

Read more and watch the video at ABC10 UP, by Rick Allen.

Complete list of winners:

Oral Presentation Competition

  1. 1st Place: Kevin Sunderland, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  2. 2nd Place: Teresa Wilson, Department of Physics
  3. 3rd Place: Andrew Chapp, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
  4. Most Attended: Muraleekrishnan Menon, Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
  5. Most Attended: Niranjan Miganakallu, Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics

Poster Presentation Competition

  1. 1st Place: Matthew Kilgas, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
  2. 2nd Place: Brian Page, Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
  3. 3rd Place: Zichen Qian, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  4. People’s Choice: Mugdha Priyadarshini, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Graduate Student Service Awards

  1. Gorkem Asilioglu, Department of Computer Science
  2. Hossein Tavakoli, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  3. Kate Glodowski, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
  4. Erin Pischke, Department of Social Sciences

The GRC is held each year by the Graduate Student Government at Michigan Tech.




Gohman Awarded Vogel Prize

Gohman1Sean M. Gohman, PhD candidate in the Department of Social Sciences’ Industrial Heritage and Archaeology Program, was awarded the 2016 Vogel Prize during the meeting of the Society for Industrial Archeology’s annual conference in Kansas City, MO.

Each year the Society for Industrial Archeology recognizes outstanding scholarship in the field of industrial archaeology with the Robert M. Vogel Prize. Named for the founding and distinguished member Robert Vogel, the award honors the author of the best article to appear in the society’s journal IA within the past three years.

Gohman’s awarded article, “It’s Not Time to Be Wasted: Identifying, Evaluating, and Appreciating Mine Wastes in Michigan’s Copper Country,” describes work Gohman did for the Keweenaw National Historical Park’s Advisory Commission to survey and evaluate extant mining waste deposits on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Though perhaps not aesthetically pleasing, these wastes have stories to tell about operational scale and environmental impact that structures may not as easily convey and these stories should therefore not be overlooked.

From Tech Today.