Category: Awards and Accolades

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 mtu.edu/news 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.


Kelly Steelman Selected HFES Science Policy Fellow

Kelly Steelman (CLS) has been selected from a competitive pool of applicants to participate in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Science Policy Fellowship program.

The HFES Science Policy Fellows (SPF) program provides a valuable opportunity for HFES members to learn how to successfully advocate for human factors and ergonomics on the national stage. SPF Participants will receive extensive training in public affairs, advocacy and outreach to be provided by Lewis-Burke Associates and the HFES Government Relations Committee during the HFES Annual Meeting. They will also participate in an annual spring Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C., including a Hill visit training session and a policy-related speaker prior to the visit day. They will be invited to attend monthly conference calls with Lewis-Burke and the HFES Government Relations Committee covering ongoing events and opportunities for HFES to engage in policy decisions.

Following an initial one-year term in the SPF program, each program graduate will commit to two years of service in an outreach capacity. They will create a customized plan that may include continued participation in the Capitol Hill day and interactions with policymakers in Washington, DC, working at the local/state level, serving on the GRC or a subcommittee, and other forms of outreach developed by each participant. HFES SPF participants and graduates will form the basis of a future brain trust with expertise in outreach creating a pipeline of politically engaged and knowledgeable members within HFES.

Washington, DC, working at the local/state level, serving on the GRC or a subcommittee, and other forms of outreach developed by each participant. HFES SPF participants and graduates will form the basis of a future brain trust with expertise in outreach creating a pipeline of politically engaged and knowledgeable members within HFES.

Posted by the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences June 17, 2019


Shari Stockero Named Executive Director of the AMTE

Shari Stockero (CLS/Math) has been selected to serve as the fourth Executive Director of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) and will begin her term of service in February 2020.

She has served AMTE in a variety of ways, including as Associate Vice-President for the Emerging Issues Committee, as a member of the Conference Program Committee, and on the Editorial Panel of the seventh AMTE monograph. She also led the group that formed the Michigan AMTE affiliate (MI-AMTE) and has served as chair of the PME-NA Steering Committee. Her collaborative NSF-funded research project (Building on MOSTs: Investigating Productive Use of High-Leverage Student Mathematical Thinking) focuses on understanding what it looks like to productively use high-potential instances of student mathematical thinking during a lesson to support student learning. She is also co-PI on an NSF Noyce project (Michigan Middle School Master Teacher Fellows Program) that focuses on developing middle school science teacher leaders in Michigan. Read the full article.

Posted by Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences June 17, 2019


Gagnon, Huntoon, and Zhao Recognized as Notable Women in STEM

Three Michigan Tech women are among the “Notable Women in Stem” named by Crain’s Detroit Business editors.

Valoree Gagnon, Director of University-Indigenous Community Partnerships, Great Lakes Research Center

Jacqueline Huntoon, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Feng Zhao, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

According to Crain’s (5/28/2019): The women featured in this Notable Women in STEM report were selected by a team of Crain’s Detroit Business editors based on their career accomplishments, track record of success in the field, contributions to their community and mentorship of others, as outlined in a detailed nomination form.

Congratulations for this well-deserved recognition!

See: https://www.crainsdetroit.com/awards/notable-women-stem?utm_source=crain-s-special-report&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190528&utm_content=article1-readmore


2019 University and Distinguished Professors Announced

The Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs announces this year’s University Professors and Distinguished Professors recognizing outstanding faculty.

The Distinguished Professor title recognizes outstanding faculty members who have made substantial contributions to the University as well as their discipline but are not presently recognized through an endowed position or faculty fellowship. Distinguished Professors will not exceed 10% of the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty in a specific college or school at any time. Recipients selected this year as Distinguished Professors are: Dr. Jennifer Slack, Professor, Department of Humanities; Dr. John Vucetich, Professor, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science; and Dr. Zhanping You, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

The University Professor title recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the University and their discipline over a substantial period of time. University Professors will not exceed 2% of the total number of tenured and tenure-track faculty at Michigan Tech. This year, two professors have been awarded the title of University Professors. Dr. Kathleen Halvorsen, Professor of Natural Resource Policy in the Department of Social Sciences and Dr. Timothy Schulz, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year and recipients for each award are notified in mid-May. Additional details regarding the award and selection procedures can be found on the provost’s website.


Langston Fellowship Awards

Nancy Langston has been awarded two fellowships for her upcoming sabbatical leave. In the fall, she will be the Mellon Visiting Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the Center for Environmental Futures, University of Oregon. In the spring, she will be the Fulbright  Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Sustainability Solutions at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Canada.  Before heading out to Oregon, she will spend a month in China and Mongolia, where she will give a keynote lecture at Renmin University’s Center for Ecological History, and then do research with colleagues from the Smithsonian on nomadic reindeer herders in Mongolia’s taiga. Her sabbatical research explores the ways northern migratory species and peoples are adapting to climate change in the Anthropocene.

Sorby Elected President of ASEE

Professor Emerita Sheryl Sorby (ME-EM) has been elected president of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

The ASEE recently elected eight officers to its Board of Directors. The board members will begin their terms at our annual conference in June in Tampa. The following is a list of the elected officers.

Sorby, professor of Engineering Education, University of Cinncinati, was elected president-elect, a term she will hold one year before assuming the presidency in 2020.

Posted in Tech Today, April 18, 2019


Morrison Selected for Dean’s Teaching Showcase

Dean Janet Callahan, College of Engineering, has selected Faith Morrison, Professor of Chemical Engineering and associate dean, for the Dean’s Teaching Showcase.

Callahan chose Morrison not only for her excellent and innovative teaching, but also for extensive historical involvement in academic advising and planning for assessment, especially for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET).

Callahan’s words, “Professor Morrison has been focused on improving the Chemical Engineering undergraduate program throughout her career.  She has been heavily involved in academic advising, assessment activities, and implementing new pedagogy to enrich her students’ learning experience. Dr. Morrison’s continuous drive to improve student learning is an inspiration to us all.”

In his nominating letter, Chemical Engineering Chair Pradeep Agrawal focused mostly on Morrison’s unique and deeply-considered teaching philosophy. He especially emphasized her willingness to continually be “flexible in developing her teaching approach to match the learning style of a younger generation.”

One such contribution that has clearly been well received is a series of YouTube videos published by Morrison on rheology and momentum transport, several of which have more than 100,000 views.

Morrison believes her fundamental purpose is to teach students how to learn, and that keeping them active in the classroom is important to this end. In her words, she gives students a chance to “attempt solutions and see how their ideas work — I allow them to lead the problem‐solving, since I believe they benefit from following where their ideas lead.”

This does not mean she allows them complete freedom. Morrison carefully chooses activities and scaffolds discussions, taking “great care to identify and organize classroom topics and to keep the conversation going.”

Agrawal also emphasized this active and carefully customized approach, which Morrison applies even in larger classes. “Faith finds ways to engage students regardless of the class size. Her approach encourages all students to achieve a minimum level of proficiency in order to pass her course, but she also provides “stretch” assignments to students aspiring to earn top grades. These “stretch” assignments are harder problems, designed to challenge the top performing students. Her unorthodox approach allows the students to work at a level commensurate with their aspirations, but also ensures a minimum level of preparedness of the subject matter. ”

Finally, Morrison was selected because, according to Agrawal, she “earns the respect of her students, in spite of maintaining a rigorous work load and standards.” Faith carefully balances the ability to “meet students where they are” and setting a high -— but still appropriate — level of challenge. In her words, she has “found that when I set expectations where I need them to be, the students are able to rise to the occasion.”

Morrison will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 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.

Originally posted in Tech Today, March 22 by Michael R. Meyer, Director William G. Jackson CTL