Author: Patricia Sotirin

Sarah Schulte Named a Notable Woman in Law

Posted in Tech Today, April 20, 2021

Sarah Schulte, Michigan Tech’s General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, has been named one of the “Notable Women in Law 2021” by Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine.

In the issue published Monday, Crain’s notes Schulte “educates on legal issues, helps assess risk and helps develop strategies to reach University goals.”

The magazine also noted Schulte’s role as chair of the University’s pandemic response team. The magazine quoted University President Rick Koubek saying Schulte’s “innate ability to lead teams and engage with University stakeholders through the lens of her legal training has been central to MTU’s successful pandemic response.”

On receiving the honor, Schulte called it a privilege to work with an “incredibly skilled and dedicated group of people at Michigan Tech.” She said the collaborative and collegial environment at Michigan Tech allows the effective and efficient sharing of information to connect with those with the greatest expertise in the relevant area.

“The accomplishments of this institution are remarkable — launching satellites, standing up a COVID-19 lab, and establishing a varsity Esports team to name just a few. As a team, when focused on the common purpose of our institutional mission and connected by the trust that working together brings, this university will continue to leave its mark through the extraordinary achievements of students and faculty,” Schulte said. 

The Honorees of this year’s Notable Women in Law were selected by a team of Crain’s Detroit Business editors based on their career accomplishments, track record of success in the field and mentorship of others. 

A Michigan native, Schulte received her bachelor’s in political science from Western Michigan University and her law degree from the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, she served in the University of Washington Division of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. In private practice, she primarily engaged in civil defense litigation with a specific emphasis on school law, public entity defense, employment law, complex litigation and commercial defense.

Presentation Winners: Graduate Research Colloquium 2021

by Graduate Student Government

This year’s Graduate Research Colloquium organized by the Graduate Student Government was hosted virtually due to COVID restrictions. There were in total 48 presentations — 17 poster presenters and 31 oral presenters.

Poster presentations took place in a pre-recorded video style and the oral sessions were hosted live via Zoom. You can watch all the poster videos and recordings for the oral sessions here. Each presentation was scored by two judges from the same field of research.

Participants were able to gain valuable feedback from these judges before presenting their research at an actual conference. It was stiff competition amongst all presenters. Following are the winners for each of these sessions.

Poster Session

  • First place was won by Utkarsh Chaudhari from the Department of Chemical Engineering for his presentation titled “Systems Analysis Approach to PET and Olefin Plastics Supply Chains in the Circular Economy.”
  • Second place was shared by Katherine Schneider from the College of Forest Resources & Environmental Science for her presentation titled “Revealing Silphid Stomach Contents Using Novel iDNA Methods” and Seth Kriz from the Department of Chemical Engineering for his presentation titled “Purifying viral vaccines by two-stage aqueous extraction.”
  • Betsy Lehman from the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences was awarded third place for her presentation titled “What’s Going On? Sensemaking in Informational and Social Situations.”

Oral Presentations

  • First place was awarded to Neerav Kaushal from the Physics department for his presentation titled “Simulating the Universe with Convolutional Neural Networks.”
  • Ninad Mohale from the Materials Science & Engineering department took second place for his presentation titled “Effects of Eta Phase on the High Temperature Creep Behavior of Nimonic 263”
  • Third place was shared by Priyanka Dipak Kadav from the Chemistry Department for her presentation titled “Capture and Release (CaRe): A novel protein purification technique” and Isaac John Wedig from the Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology department for his presentation titled “Exercise is Medicine: Promoting Physical Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

A hearty congratulations to all the winners at this year’s Colloquium. The Graduate Student Government would like to thank everyone: presenters, judges, volunteers, and GSG supporters, for making this a great event despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Equal Pay Day 2021 Marks Progress, Challenges

by Faith Morrison, Tech Today, March 23, 2021

Women earn less than men do, on average. This difference, the gender wage gap, is approximately 18 % across all workers. The gap is even larger for women of color.

The problem is present even just one year from graduation. Just one year from college graduation, women make seven percent less than men, even after accounting for college major, occupation, economic sector, hours worked, marital status, GPA, type of undergraduate institution, institutional selectivity, age, geographic region and months unemployed since graduation (“The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, AAUW, 2018).

Tomorrow (March 24) is Equal Pay Day (averaged for all women), a day that symbolizes the extra days women must work to catch up to what the average man earned the previous year. In 2020 Equal Pay Day was March 31, and in 2019 it was April 2, indicating that incremental progress is occurring.

Red is worn on this day as a symbol of how far women and minorities are “in the red.” Join the Copper Country League of Women Voters and other supporters for a “Red Out” to recognize Equal Pay Day.

Due to COVID-19 considerations, our usual cookies and literature event will not take place this year. We can all safely wear red, however.

Find out what you can do to help close the gap.

Mothers Rebuild: Solutions to Overcome COVID-19 Challenges

by Allison Mills, University Marketing and Communications

Over the summer and fall, paper after paper revealed that mothers are one of the demographics hardest hit by the pandemic. From layoffs and leaving careers to do caretaking, to submission rate decreases and additional service projects, the data were clear, but the follow up less so. Many of the problems are not new and will remain after the pandemic. But a new paper, published this week in PLOS Biology, outlines methods to help solve them.

“In the spirit of the well-worn adage ‘never let a good crisis go to waste,’ we propose using these unprecedented times as a springboard for necessary, substantive and lasting change,” write the paper’s 13 co-authors, including Amy Marcarelli (Bio Sci), who helped lead the paper’s section addressing professional societies. She sees the work through her lens as an ecosystem ecologist.

“Some of my most recent work has been around cascading and indirect effects and how effects viewed on short time scales may have very different outcomes at long time scales,” Marcarelli said. “What I’ve learned from that research is that you can’t abstract a single characteristic of an organism and expect that to explain its ecological role. And [in academia] we try so often to treat ourselves as researchers — and not as mothers and partners and daughters and leaders — and that’s to the detriment of all of us. It’s to the detriment of us as individuals but it’s also to the detriment of our academic system because if we don’t treat people as whole people then we fail them.”

Marcarelli joined researchers who are also parents to outline ways to help mothers recover and rebuild academic careers during and after the pandemic. Read their solutions on and follow the conversation with @mturesearch on Twitter.

Nancy Langston awarded Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Environmental History

Nancy Langston (SS/CFRES) has been awarded the 2021 Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Environmental History. This award is given to one individual each year who has contributed significantly to environmental history scholarship and recognizes exceptional lifetime achievement in the field.

Langston has published five books and more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, and she has been awarded more than a million dollars in competitive external funding. Her current research, on woodland caribou and other migratory wildlife of the north, is supported with a Fulbright Research Chair, a Mellon Fellowship, a Mandel Award in the Humanities, and an NSF research grant in Science and Technology Studies.

Source: Tech Today, February 26, 2021

Sun Named to Lou and Herbert Wacker Professorship in Mechanical Engineering

Ye “Sarah” Sun (ME-EM) has accepted the Lou and Herbert Wacker Professorship in Mechanical Engineering, which was created to retain and attract high-quality faculty who are at the top of their profession, can excite students to think beyond the classroom material, and knows how to integrate their research into the classroom.

Sun was chosen for this position as she is recognized as a rising star and outstanding researcher in the area of wearable sensors, systems, and robotics and a respected member of the smart health community.

Among her research honors is the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Research Award on “System-on-Cloth: A Cloud Manufacturing Framework for Embroidered Wearable Electronics.”

In recognition of her innovative research in wearable sensors, Sun’s NSF CAREER award was selected for presentation to congressional offices in April 2019.

She is also the director of the Cyber-Physical System Center and associate director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems at Michigan Tech.

Sun will use this recognition and support to enhance her research in wearable and soft robotics. Her goal is to develop flexible textile robotics by leveraging the physical understanding and modeling of textile materials and dynamics and the recent advances of morphological computing.

Textile robotics are not only able to enhance human capabilities via wearable design but also achieve autonomous locomotion. The controllable structures of textiles directly provide a unified platform that is capable of integrating sensing and actuating into textile robotics itself. The positioning support will be used to recruit graduate students and to set up the manufacturing platform.

This post appeared in Tech Today, Dec. 16, 2020. Posted by Office of the Provost & Senior VP for Academic Affairs

Gretchin Hein Receives Award from SWE

Gretchen Hein (MMET) is the recipient of a major award from the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology.

During ceremonies held online earlier this month, Hein was honored by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), with the SWE Outstanding Advisor Award. 

Hein is a senior lecturer in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology and has served as SWE’s Academic Advisor for many years. In March 2019, Hein attended SWE’s Congressional Outreach Days in Washington, DC where she discussed STEM education and inclusion of underrepresented groups with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman. 

This is not the first honor bestowed on Hein. In February, she was awarded a Faculty Award at MTU’s 2020 Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards Ceremony. She has been recognized by advising an eCYBERMISSION national winning team by the National Science Teachers Association and in 2017 was named a Positive Female Role Model by Michigan Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

Tech Today, posted by the College of Engineering

Erika Hersch-Green Wins CAREER Award for Biodiversity Research

by Kelley Christensen, University Marketing and Communications

Erika Hersch-Green (BioSci) has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award to investigate how increased nitrogen and phosphorus availability across different temperature and water regimes alters the primary productivity of some plants, while reducing the growth of others.

Hersch-Green will examine how nutrient availability selects for plants with specific genome attributes. She will investigate these changes to specific plant transcriptomes and functional traits, but also how these changes affect the species that interact with those plants, such as other plants, herbivores and pollinators, and lead to changing patterns of community biodiversity.

Every CAREER award features an education component. Hersch-Green’s approach features multiple methods to enhance scientific literacy for middle schoolers, high schoolers and undergraduates. At Hersch-Green’s Ford Center site, she is working with a STEM educator to formulate different science communication and botany modules based on photosynthesis research conducted by Hersch-Green and graduate students in her lab. She is also collaborating with Erin Smith (HU), director of the Humanities Digital Media Zone and faculty advisor to Cin/Optic Communication and Media Enterprise students, to create a series of educational modules.

Read more at about Hersch-Green’s CAREER Award.

Fournier Wins BioOne Ambassador Award

Tech Today, April 29, 2020

Michigan Tech alumna Auriel (Van Der Laar) Fournier (Wildlife Ecology and Management ’11) is one of the winners of the 2020 BioOne Ambassador Award.

The award honors early career authors who best communicate the importance and impact of their specialized research to the public. Six individuals from five publications were selected from a large pool of nominees put forth by BioOne’s publishing community.

Fournier was nominated by the Waterbirds Society based on her paper about the impacts of wetland management on two groups of migratory wetland birds, published in Waterbirds.

BioOne invited nominees to submit a 250-word, plain-language summary answering the question: What are the broader implications of your work, and how does your work impact the public at large?

Fournier’s winning entry is featured on the BioOne Ambassador Award web page.

Chadde Receives Award from Michigan Science Teachers Association

Joan Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, has received a prestigious award from the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA).

Chadde accepted the 2020 Informal Science Teacher of the Year Award at the MSTA’s annual conference held March 6-7 in Lansing.

The Board of the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) announced in December that Chadde was chosen for her unique and extraordinary accomplishments, active leadership, scholarly contributions, and direct and substantial contributions to the improvement of non-school based science education over a significant period of time.