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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.


ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Documenting impacts of the pandemic on you.

As we start to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, it is important to acknowledge that the effects will last for many years. In discussions of these effects, a recurring theme emerges: documenting impacts. This is not a one-time task: the lingering effects of the pandemic should be identified and reflected on annually and their impact on job performance and evaluation revisited. 

Today’s edition of the ADVANCE weekly roundup features a short article from the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence at Purdue University. Although it focuses on documenting impacts on faculty, it provides insights that are applicable to everyone. Importantly, it suggests that the list is indicative but not exhaustive – an acknowledgement that the pandemic has impacted everyone differently and that some of the impacts may not yet be recognized.

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.
The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Programs to Diversify Role Models in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine)

An engineer friend once told my wife that my daughter, who was considering majors in college, was not the right type to be an engineer. Too often, we develop preconceived ideas of what a scientist, engineer, or artist is expected to look like. We use such stereotypes to simplify the complex world around us. This practice becomes harmful when it projects narrow preconceived expectations on others. Teachers and professors who consciously or unconsciously expect different competencies from different genders or races not only constrain their own ability to think creatively and originally in the classroom but they do real harm to the ambitions of students.

Today’s Weekly Roundup focuses on two articles from Science that describe programs that work to widen our expectations and images of what a professional in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine) looks like. And for my engineering friend and the record, my daughter earned a computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan and is in the last year of her PhD in computer science at MIT.  

The first article, “Women innovators become STEM ambassadors for girls,” describes an AAAS program called IF/THEN. It focuses on ambassadors who are selected to become high-profile role models for middle-school girls. One goal is to break down narrow exclusionary ideas of what a scientist or engineer looks like and does. When we show that engineers can be dancers and artists and that scientists can be poets and athletes, we allow young people to see greater opportunity for themselves in STEMM.

The second article describes the contributions of Shirley Malcom who has led the Sea (STEMM Equity Achievement) Change Program, which is supported by AAAS and helps academic institutions identify how they can better serve diverse students and faculty. Sea Change grew out of the 2005 Athena SWAN Charter which was developed to promote greater participation of women in science in the United Kingdom. Malcom adapted and broadened this program to include other underrepresented groups.

Today’s feature was shared with us by David Flaspohler. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


A&A Session for Chairs/Unit Leaders

During Academic Forum on Wednesday, it was mentioned that the ombudsperson talks to ~2 faculty per week.  This rate is consistent with results from Michigan Tech’s Work, Live, Learn Survey which found that 31.6% of women disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that they felt supported and mentored during the tenure-track years or the 22.4% who don’t feel valued by their department chair/school dean.  I know each of you care about your faculty so these findings are disturbing.  


Crafting positive climates so that everyone is valued and feels part of a supportive team relies upon broad engagement of all faculty in a unit and the chair can help influence this.  That is why ADVANCE has adapted the Advocates & Allies program to offer a learning environment led by peers.  As a Department Chair, have you been concerned about your unit’s community and cohesiveness over the last year?  Have you wondered about interactions between your faculty in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion? or related to the University Senate’s Proposal 41-21?  


Research has revealed that retention of faculty is closely coupled with how included individuals feel and that attracting new faculty is closely coupled with how well systems ensure equity is embraced within a unit.  Our diversity counts illustrate that Michigan Tech is one of the least diverse campuses in the nation (second resource here).  All of this can be intimidating, but the NSF ADVANCE effort on campus would like to help with a one-hour educational session from the Advocates & Allies (A&A) program.   A&A sessions provide the data and research, starting from the beginning, that enables individuals to gain perspectives and help them become allies for the success and inclusion of non-majority individuals. 


THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED. Through a department chairs only session, we’d like you to preview this program and consider inviting us to present to your department.  This session will be presented by our Advocates Team in coordination with the ADVANCE Academy for Responsive Leadership.  Please RSVP  and join us on Wednesday, March 31st from 4 to 5.

THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED. When: Mar 31, 2021 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Register in advance for this meeting:https://michigantech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvdumqqj8jEtKTYYe0ArOPrzgqPUpuUOuE  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


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.


March 12, 2021 Weekly Roundup: 8 Practical, Sustainable Steps to a Diverse Faculty

A strategic and sustainable approach to realizing a more diverse faculty is both overdue and critical to the future of higher education. Two university deans offer timely advice for enacting such an approach. They recommend introducing BIPOC faculty to the university’s unique features and facilities through invited presentations, postdocs, or conferences in order to create positive impressions and connections even before a hire is possible. Proactive recruitment beyond the “post and hope” method is necessary but takes care and both individual and collective effort. Apart from the start-up package, robust systems of support for faculty development should be available, utilized, and affirmed by academic leaders. Such strategies are “neither mysterious nor terrifically expensive.”

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.
The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


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 mtu.edu/news and follow the conversation with @mturesearch on Twitter.


March 5, 2021 Weekly Roundup: Focus on culture to overcome imposter syndrome

Today’s edition of the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup features an article from Harvard Business Review on ways an organization can support individuals to reduce imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome, coined in 1978, describes the feeling of doubting one’s abilities, second guessing one’s accomplishments, and having mild-anxiety about work success. Imposter syndrome places the blame for feeling this way on the individual rather than considering how the organization’s historical and cultural context sends signals to women, particularly women of color, about their professional contributions. Rather than seeking to correct the individual, the answer lies in creating organizations that position racial, ethnic, and gender diversity as the norm. Addressing systemic bias and toxic cultures can reduce experiences that lead to imposter syndrome and maximize the net productivity of all members of the community.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the Advocates and Allies Advisory Board. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


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


AccessADVANCE Community of Practice: Advancing women with disabilities in academic STEM careers

You are invited to participate in discussions and learn of opportunities to promote the increased participation of women with disabilities in STEM faculty careers.

A collaboration between North Dakota State University and the University of Washington funded by the National Science Foundation, AccessADVANCE aims to increase the participation and advancement of women with disabilities in academic STEM careers.

In the AccessADVANCE Community of Practice (CoP) participants share ideas and assist in the creation and dissemination of resources to encourage others to support women with disabilities. CoP members

  • plan, attend, and recruit others to attend project training and capacity-building opportunities;
  • ensure women with disabilities are invited to events that promote their pursuit of and support in academic STEM career positions;
  • share strategies for making departments more welcoming and accessible to women with disabilities;
  • discuss ways to build productive relationships with disability service offices that serve faculty;
  • recruit women faculty and senior graduate students with disabilities to the e-mentoring community; and
  • share resources.

You and your colleagues can join AccessADVANCE CoP by sending the following information to doit@uw.edu:

  • Name
  • Position/ Job Title
  • Institution
  • Postal Address
  • Email Address