Category: Awards

Human biology students win top awards at Michigan Tech

It is rare that a student in one department wins major end-of-year awards at Michigan Tech. So imagine how excited we were to have two! Congratulations to our outstanding award-winners in the biological sciences department who are also part of our pre-health program. 

Christian Johnson wins the Provost’s Award for Scholarship

First to Christian Johnson, winner of the Provost’s Award for Scholarship. The Provost’s Award for Scholarship is given “to a senior who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent, not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research, scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills.”

Image of Christian Johnson, the Provost's Award for Scholarship winner
Christian Johnson, the Provost’s Award for Scholarship winner

“I am thrilled to see that Christian was selected for the Provost Award for Scholarship.  I have had the honor to work with Christian over the past 3 years as his Pre-Med Advisor,” says Nicole Seigneurie, director of pre-health professions and instructor of biological sciences. “I can’t say enough how outstanding a student Christian is. He has always impressed me with his passion, commitment to community service, work ethic, and servant leadership. On top of that, he is a very kind and compassionate individual who I know is destined for great things. This award was well-deserved!” 

Stephanie Carpenter, assistant professor of creative writing describes Christian as “an inventive, dynamic writer and an engaged, generous participant in discussions of published and student works” who is “a stand-out in our department and at Michigan Tech.” Christian added the English major, a move that he feels will help him to be a more empathetic physician and to develop the critical thinking and writing skills he will need to be successful in medical school.

And Travis Wakeham, lecturer and undergraduate academic advisor in biological sciences adds, “It has been an absolute pleasure watching Christian grow into an empathetic leader through his involvement in a wide variety of activities. Few students can balance conducting research in cardiovascular physiology, pursuing various artistic endeavors (including actively working on two novels), assisting people through a crisis as a volunteer at Dial Help, while finding time to play through a Dungeons and Dragons campaign between all of his schoolwork. He truly represents some of the best scholarship at Michigan Tech.
Pursuing a double major in English and human biology with a pre-health professions minor, Christian’s diverse passions and accomplishments led to his selection as the Departmental Scholar for both Humanities and the Pavlis Honors College. We thank Christian for his scholarship and academic accomplishments, as well as his tireless commitment in serving the Michigan Tech community.

Bella Menzel-Smith wins William and Josephine Balconi Community Service Award

And congratulations to Bella Menzel-Smith for winning the 2022 William and Josephine Balconi Community Service Award! The William and Josephine Balconi Community Service Award is “presented to a student who demonstrates community service with lasting and meaningful impact during their time at Michigan Tech, regardless of background or area of study.”

Image of Bella Menzel-Smith William and Josephine Balconi Community Service Award winner at Michigan Tech
Bella Menzel-Smith, the William and Josephine Balconi Community Service Award winner

Dr. David and Marie Blum initiated this endowment in memory of Marie’s parents, Josephine and William Balconi. David and Marie remember Marie’s parents as “kind, gracious, warm, and always helpful. They were always involved in helping others.” Marie’s parents lived in the Houghton area.

“I was so honored to be able to nominate Bella for the Willman and Josephine Balconi Community Service Award,” says Nicole. “Bella embodies everything this award stands for. She has a real passion for helping others through service and she’s left such an incredible impact on both the Tech and Houghton community. I am excited to see where the future takes her as she embarks on her next chapter, Physician Assistant School. I am confident Bella will continue to have a positive impact on her future patients and the communities that she will serve in the future.” 

Travis adds, “Bella energizes any room that she walks into with her positive attitude and dedication to serve others. She has made a tremendous impact within our community through her initiatives, including creating a pre-health mentoring program to connect new students with upperclassmen. Her work has helped empower others and bettered their well-being. I have no doubt that she will excel in the Physician Assistant program at Marquette University next and continue to serve others as a healthcare professional.”Bella is a pre-physician assistant student who is majoring in human biology. You can read more about her pathway to Physician Assistant School. We thank Bella for her tireless commitment to community service and passion for helping underserved communities.

Students Earn Honorable Mention in 2020 Virtual Michigan Physiological Society Annual Conference

The first ever Michigan Physiological Society Virtual Conference just wrapped up! It was a great collection of speakers with impressive work. Several of our students and faculty participated, including two students from Dr. John J. Durocher’s research group that earned awards for their presentations!

Thomas Basala (Undergraduate Student, Biological Sciences) earned an honorable mention for his presentation: “Applied Human Physiology Fitness Trail Project: Benefits for Local Residents and Undergraduate Students.”

Aditi Vyas (PhD Student, Biological Sciences) also earned an honorable mention for her presentation: “Effects of 8-Week Active Mindfulness and Stress Management on Anxiety and Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

Congratulations, Thomas and Aditi!

Zoom meeting screenshot of participants.

Thomas Basala research poster

Aditi Vyas research poster

Distinguished Teaching Award Finalists Announced

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University. Based on more than 50,000 student ratings of instruction responses, ten finalists have been identified for the two 2020 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty and alumni to aid in deliberation.

This year’s finalists in each of two categories are:

Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice Category

  • Nancy Barr (MEEM)
  • Mike Hyslop (CFRES)
  • Heather Knewtson (COB)
  • Sheila Milligan (COB)
  • Ulrich Schmelze (COB)

Associate Professor/Professor Category

  • Melissa Baird (SS)
  • Mike Christianson (VPA)
  • John Durocher (BioSci)
  • Julie King (ChE)
  • Amy Marcarelli (BioSci)

Comments on the nominees are due by Friday, April 3 and can be completed online. The process for determining the two Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from each list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their spring classes. A selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients in early May with the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Awards formally announced in late May.

For more information, contact Margaret Landsparger at 7-1001.

Graduate School Announces Fall 2018 Award Recipients

We are happy to announce Yogesh Kumar Ahlawat (Biological Sciences), Rashmi Adhikari (BMB), and Roba Bdeir (BMB) are among the winners for the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award. Congratulations!

Finishing Fellowships provide support to PhD candidates who are close to completing their degrees. These fellowships are available through the generosity of alumni and friends of the University. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees and are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in The Michigan Tech Plan.

6th Annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting

Ten graduate students, seven undergraduate students, four faculty members, and two recent alumni from Michigan Tech recently participated in the 6th annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting held on the campus of Central Michigan University on June 27-28.

John Durocher (BIO) served as the president of the society and Ian Greenlund (KIP) served as the trainee committee chair. Four MTU graduate students completed oral presentations, with Jeremy Bigalke (KIP) winning one of the top oral presentation awards.

Another thirteen MTU students were active in poster presentations, with Sarah LewAllen (BIO) winning one of the top poster presentation awards. Finally, two graduate students served as moderators for oral presentations.
In conjunction with the annual meeting, the 3rd annual Michigan Physiology Quiz competition was held. Michigan Tech competed against six other teams from around the state. Team members included Jana Hendrickson (KIP), Sarah LewAllen (BIO), Jill Poliskey (BIO), and Colleen Toorongian (KIP).

The Michigan Tech team was very competitive through four rounds but missed making the final round between the top three teams by a single question. All team members did a great job with the intense questions.

Michigan Tech was one of only three universities from around the state to achieve Diamond-Level Sponsorship! This was possible thanks to the College of Sciences and Arts, Michigan Tech Graduate School, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, and Department of Biological Sciences. Additional faculty and staff members from Michigan Tech also made individual awards that contributed to the cash prizes for the quiz competition, oral presentations, and poster presentations.

4 Biological Sciences Faculty Announced as Distinguished Teaching Award Finalists

The Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award is presented annually. Since 1982, an award has been given in each category: 1. Associate Professor or Professor and 2. Lecturer, Professor of Practice, or Assistant Professor.  Based on more than 50,000 student rating of instruction responses, 12 finalists have been identified for the 2018 awards. Out of the 12 finalists, 4 of them are from the Department of Biological Sciences!

This year’s finalists are:

Assistant Professor / Lecturer / Professor of Practice Category

  • Andrew Barnard (MEEM), Assistant Professor
  • Lisa Johnson de Gordillo (VPA), Assistant Professor
  • Heather Knewtson (SBE), Assistant Professor
  • Brigitte Morin (Bio Sci), Senior Lecturer
  • Stephen Techtmann (Bio Sci), Assistant Professor
  • Ebenezer Tumban (Bio Sci), Assistant Professor
  • Jeffrey Wall (SBE), Assistant Professor

Associate Professor / Professor Category

  • Andrew Burton (SFRES), Professor
  • Ann Maclean (SFRES), Professor
  • Amy Marcarelli (Bio Sci), Associate Professor
  • Christopher Webster (SFRES), Professor
  • Richelle Winkler (Soc Sci), Associate Professor

This is the second year in a row that Brigitte Morin has been nominated for the award. She instructs foundation courses in our Medical Laboratory Science program and has also created a popular new course on the practice and science of yoga. Stephen Techtmann teaches environmental and advanced microbiology courses. Ebenezer Tumban teaches our general microbiology and virology courses. Amy Marcarelli teaches a variety of ecology courses and created a new professional development course for graduate students in science.

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning seeks input for the finalists. Comments on the nominees are due by Monday, March 26, and can be completed online. The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their spring classes.

The selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients. The 2018 Distinguished Teaching Awards will be formally announced in May.

Professor Emerita, Janice Glime, honored by International Association of Bryologists.

Image22The International Association of Bryologists dedicated its most recent issue of Bryophyte Diversity and Evolution to Janice Glime, professor emerita of biological sciences.

Bryophytes, seedless plants without specialized water-conducting tissues, include mosses, liverworts and hornworts.

In making the dedication, the IAB wrote, “The Association and the contributing authors wish to recognize the significant contributions you have made to bryophyte biology, through your exemplary service and dedication to developing an online discussion medium, and also your exemplary scholarly contributions, in particular your book on bryophyte ecology.”

In addition, two new species are named for Glime in the issue. Read the issue here. The book is also available through Digital Commons through the Michigan Tech library.

Local Students Win Portage Health Foundation Making a Difference Scholarships to Michigan Tech

1491240303Four students who are entering Michigan Tech this fall to pursue health-related careers have received $8,000 Making a Difference scholarships from the Portage Health Foundation. Another 10 entering first-year students received $1,000 awards.

 

The $8,000 scholarships went to:

  • Peter Alger, Houghton, computer engineering
  • Alexa Destrampe, Lake Linden, exercise science
  • Hannah Kariniemi, Calumet, biological sciences
  • Karmyn Polakowski, Houghton, biological sciences

Receiving $1,000 scholarships were:

  • Blake Dupuis, Lake Linden, exercise science
  • Lauren Gabe, L’Anse, biological sciences
  • Austin Goudge, Houghton, medical laboratory science
  • Bella Nutini, Hancock, exercise science
  • Celia Peterson, Calumet, biomedical engineering
  • Anna Pietila, L’Anse, biological sciences
  • Lindsay Sandell, Houghton, biomedical engineering
  • Brooke Tienhaara, Calumet, biological sciences
  • Nicholas Walli, Finlandia University, biological sciences
  • Sloane Zenner, Houghton, mechanical engineering

The students are from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga or Ontonagon counties.

The 14 recipients of the 2017 awards have an average GPA of 3.81. Their interests reflect a broad spectrum of majors including biological sciences, exercise science, biomedical engineering, computer engineering, medical laboratory science and mechanical engineering. The scholarship winners flip Michigan Tech’s male to female ratio of 3:1, with 10 female and 4 male recipients.

The scholarships are part of a Michigan Tech-Portage Health Foundation partnership established in 2015 to support health-related research and education, jobs and community health. The scholarships were first awarded in 2016.

“The awards reflect the high-caliber student talent we have locally, thanks to exceptional schools, outreach programming and parent support,” says Jodi Lehman, director of foundations at Michigan Tech. “We know that student talent is key in supporting the success of college peers and inspiring K-12 students to pursue health science and engineering pathways.

The Portage Health Foundation and Michigan Tech share the long-term goal of retaining or recruiting back local workforce talent — whether that be orthodontists, doctors, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, biomedical engineers or professionals in the field of medical informatics. Scholarships ultimately play a critical role in helping to grow our local economy while fostering healthy communities.”

At a dinner for finalists, the scholarship recipients heard from current students also supported by the Portage Health Foundation through the Undergraduate Research Internship Program (URIP). Both speakers shared their internship experiences and career goals.

Read the full story.

Michigan Space Grant Consortium Award Recipients Announced

K NevorskiBiology student Kevin Nevorski received $5,000 in funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the 2017-18 funding cycle. Nevorski worked with Amy Marcarelli on this project, “Nitrogen in Space: An Examination of How Nitrogen Cycle Processes are Related in Streams and How Those Processes are Influenced at Multiple Special Scales”. Kevin earned his MS and BS from Central Michigan University before joining the Marcarelli lab in 2016 as a PhD student as part of the NSF CAREER project.

NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico.

As an affiliate of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for approximately 20 years. MSGC funding is administered through Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College.

For more information, contact Paige Hackney in the Pavlis Honors College at 7-4371 or visit the MSGC website.

Morin finalist Distinguished Teaching Awards

image77518-persThe William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University.

Based on more than 50,000 student ratings of instruction responses, ten finalists have been identified for the 2017 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty and alumni to aid in deliberation.

Brigitte Morin is a finalist in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice Category