Category: Awards

Student Spotlight: 4.0 GPA Athletes

Excerpted from Michigant Technological Universty Student Affairs and
Advancement Connection Summer 2013

Melanie Hoffman and Brad Stebner are two of the nine
Michigan Tech student-athletes who hold 4.0 grade point
averages while participating in intercollegiate athletics. How
do they do it?

“Organization and communication,” said Hoffman, an
Academic All-American on the soccer team this past fall.
“Time management is important. I make sure I give myself
time to have fun, but when it’s time to work, I work hard.”

Hoffman, who owns the school record in the heptathlon,
helped the soccer team to its first conference title in 2012.
She is majoring in exercise science and biological sciences
and plans to attend dental school following graduation.

According to Stebner, the keys to success are “dedication
and balance. Being a student and an athlete are full-time
commitments on their own. Doing them together requires
a lot of effort, perseverance, and time management.”

Stebner, a hockey player, maintains his 4.0 GPA in
biological sciences with a minor in psychology.
He is a twotime winner of the WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award. With four
goals and 16 assists in 95 career games, the defenseman
hopes to pursue a professional career in hockey. He
ultimately plans to attend medical school back in his home
province of Alberta.

—Suzanne Sanregret

Biology and Exercise Science athletes earn academic honors

Picture of Michelle Gaedke, All Academic Excellence

Sophomore, Biological Sciences

by Ian Marks, assistant director of athletic communications

Michigan Tech had 18 student-athletes named to the 2012-13 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Winter All-Academic and All-Academic Excellence Teams recently.

All-Academic Teams are comprised of those student-athletes who meet the criteria and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0-3.49. All-Academic Excellence Teams are comprised of student-athletes who have a cumulative GPA of 3.50-4.0.

Men’s Basketball

* Anthony Katona, Senior, Exercise Science, Negaunee, Mich.
* Ali Haidar, Senior, Electrical Engineering, Windsor, Ont.

All-Academic Excellence
* Kyle Stankowski, First Year, Electrical Engineering, Mosinee, Wis.
* Alex Culy, Junior, Chemical Engineering, Rice Lake, Wis.
* Troy Hecht, Junior, Finance, Vassar, Mich.
* Ben Stelzer, Sophomore, Finance, Manitowoc, Wis.
* Austin Armga, Junior, Exercise Science, Waupun, Wis.

Women’s Basketball

* Paige Albi, Junior, Exercise Science, Sun Prairie, Wis.
Kate Glodowski, Junior, Exercise Science, Amherst, Wis.
* Heather Kessler, Junior, Sports and Fitness Management, Antigo, Wis.
Emily Harrison, Sophomore, Chemical Engineering, Elk Mound, Wis.
Kelcey Traynoff, Junior, Civil Engineering, Wilmette, Ill.

All-Academic Excellence
Taylor Stippel, Junior, Liberal Arts, Stillwater, Mich.
* Emma Veach, Senior, Psychology, Grand Haven, Mich.
* Samantha Hoyt, Senior, Mathematics, Durand, Wis.
Kerry Gardner, First Year, Exercise Science, Middleton, Wis.
Jillian Ritchie, Sophomore, Scientific and Technical Communication, De Pere, Wis.
* Michelle Gaedke, Sophomore, Biological Sciences, Dearborn, Mich.

Onder, Werner Receive Distinguished Teaching Awards

by Travis Gendron, student intern, Tech Today, June 3, 2013

Success is all in the planning–just ask the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award recipients.

For assistant professor of genetics and developmental biology Thomas Werner, who won the award in the assistant professor/professor of practice/lecturer category, each semester starts an entire year in advance. “People think I’m crazy to start planning my courses so early, but I like to check all of the material to ensure that it’s accurate,” he said. “I spend about twelve hours preparing for each fifty-minute lecture.”

Nilufer Onder, associate professor of computer science, won the award in the professor/associate professor category. She also tries to plan her courses far in advance.

“I always look at the semester as a whole so I can avoid surprises and navigate the busy points more easily. It’s a matter of looking for patterns and trying to evenly distribute the workload for students,” she said.

Onder came to Michigan Tech in 1999, after receiving her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in the same year. The former Middle East Technical University systems programmer teaches Formal Models of Computation and Artificial Intelligence courses, and advises the Women in Computer Science and Upsilon Pi Epsilon computing sciences honor society.

Students in her Formal Models class wrote, “Dr. Onder really cares about her students. She frequently asks for student input during class to make sure we truly understand what she is trying to teach us”; “She promotes online and offline learning and gives every student great opportunities to succeed. You can tell she truly puts her heart into the course and wants everyone to succeed”; “She is far and away the best teacher I’ve had in my five years at Tech. She consistently goes above and beyond.”

What earns her such acclaim? “I always try to be accessible,” she said. “Sometimes that means acting like I have all the time in the world even when I’m rushing.” She also makes a great effort to challenge students without overwhelming them. “People need to get stuck in order to learn, so I try to avoid spoon-feeding students the answers. That being said, I always make it clear that I’m there to help them through any problems.”

Onder’s favorite part about teaching is working with so many dynamic and motivated students. “Our motto here at Michigan Tech is create the future, and I get to teach the people who are going to do that,” she said. “Everything relies on computers, and it’s my job to enable my students to produce the most reliable, secure, and quality software that they can.”

“My students are a motivated and diverse group of people,” Onder added. “They all want to contribute to society in one way or another. It’s my job as a teacher to help them do that.”

* * * *

Werner came to Michigan Tech in 2010, after serving as a postdoc in molecular biology University of Wisconsin Madison and completing his PhD at the Umeå Center for Molecular Pathogenesis. He teaches Genetics, Immunology, and Genetic Techniques.

His favorite thing about teaching is the energy that comes from working with the students. “I’ve found that in research you can give 100% and only get 10% out. With teaching, if you give your students 100%, they’ll return the favor,” he said.

It appears his efforts pay off. Students in his Genetics course wrote, “Despite the large class size, he creates a comfortable atmosphere where I am never nervous to ask a question”; “He can joke, but at the same time teach. He is a gifted instructor”; “He can make a student go from hating a subject–like genetics–to genuinely enjoying it”; “He is by far the best professor that I have had in my three years at Tech. He is funny, kind, and very passionate about the subject that he teaches, and he is always ready to help students learn.”

Trying to make learning fun not only helps his students, but also motivates him to be an even better instructor. “Once I notice that students like what I’m doing and are engaged, I really get fired up and try to surprise them by being even better,” he said.

“My teaching style is that I’m an entertainer,” he added. “I’m there to teach them, but more importantly to hold their attention and to make them want to learn.” Werner has a slightly unconventional–yet effective–way of measuring his success. “My goal is to have students laugh one time in each class, otherwise I’ve failed,” he said.

To ensure that students are getting the most out his classes, Werner consistently seeks feedback from his students and tries to adjust his teaching to meet students’ needs. “After the first week or two of the semester, I routinely pass out feedback forms to see what students are thinking. I sort and group all of the comments and send out an email to the class summarizing what’s working and what isn’t,” he said. “When I do that, they know I’m paying attention to their expectations and can hopefully see that I’m trying to meet or exceed them.”

Putting forth so much effort to be in tune with his students’ needs stems from Werner’s teaching philosophy. “People don’t always remember what you say, but they never forget how you make them feel,” he said. “My goal isn’t to have students look back ten years from now and recite my lecture. I want them to think about my class and how it made them feel good about genetics.”

A course covering such a complex topic can turn many students off, but Werner has a strategy for dealing with the often-confusing content. “I admit that the topics are complicated right up front. Then I try to break it down with the students and let them know that it’s ok if they don’t understand it all right away,” he said.

He doesn’t want his students to view genetics as strictly business. “It’s important to let students have some fun because it helps them learn,” he said. “They need to enjoy the material in order to really want to engage with it. I treat my classes with a sort of ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality,” he added.

Biological Science and KIP students receive BRC travel grants

The Biotechnology Research Center announced its Spring 2013 Travel Grants. Recipients include:

Post-doctoral Research Scientist Presentation:
*Kaela Leonard (ChE) Advances in Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (podium)

Graduate Student Presentations:
*Patrick Bowen (MSE) 2013 Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Meeting (podium)
*Katrina Bugielski (Chem) 245th ACS National Meeting and Exposition (poster)
*Weilue He (Bio Med) Gordon Research Conference-Nitric Oxide (poster)
*Na Hu (Chem) American Geophysical Union 2012 (poster)
*Robert Larson (KIP) Experimental Biology (poster)
*Yiping Mao (Bio Sci) Keystone Symposia on Molecular & Cellular Biology (poster)
*Sandra Owusu (SFRES) ASPB: 2013 Midwestern Section Annual Meeting (poster)
*Alison Regal (KIP) North American Society for the Psychology of Sport & Physical Activity (poster)
*Rafi Shaik (Bio Sci) Plant and Animal Genome XXI (poster)
*Ashley Shortz (CLS) IEE Annual Conference and Expo (podium)
*Amy Sieloff (ChE) AIChE 2012 Annual Meeting (poster)
*Srinivasa Rao Sripathi (Bio Sci) Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (poster)
*Huan Yang (KIP) Experimental Biology (poster)
*Nazmiye Yapici (Chem) 245th ACS National Meeting and Exposition (podium)

Undergraduate Student Presentations:
* Michael Bobian (Bio Sci) C. elegans Development, Cell Biology and Gene Expression 2012 (poster)
* Hal Holmes (Bio Med) Materials Research Society Annual Conference (podium)
*Angelea Young (Bio Sci) Experimental Biology 2013 (poster)

Congratulations to the Bioathlon winners A.D. Johnston, Hancock and Houghton High Schools

The team winning FIRST PLACE was A.D. Johnston High School from Bessemer, MI

Instructor:       David Rowe
Molly Wieringa
Valerie Rowe
Jess Mazzon
Zack Mazurek

The team winning SECOND PLACE was Hancock High School from Hancock, MI:

Instructor:       Kristin Raisanen Schourek
Andrew Bess
Kaylor Holmstrom
Matthew Sanregret
Aspen Stroud

The team winning the THIRD PLACE was Houghton High School from Houghton, MI

Instructor  Alex Gerborkoff
Brittany Coombs
Kyra Neufeld
Julia Menzel-Smith
Isaac Stone

TV10 video

Daily Mining Gazette article

Each team was composed of four students who have not had formal class work in biology beyond the traditional sophomore high school general biology course.  All teams tackled the same four problems:

Dissection: designed by Biological Sciences undergraduate students Shannon Twomey and Travis Wakeham with input from Dr. John Durocher and assisted by Komal Bollepogu

Molecular Biology: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Emily Geiger, assisted by Aparupa Sengupta.

Field Identification: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Ashley Coble assisted by Ramana Pidatala and Jamie Olson.

Medical Laboratory  Science: Designed and proctored by Medical Laboratory Science undergraduate students, Claire Meneguzzo, Christjana Nichols, Brooke Bedore, Kelly Hanes and Misty Brouilette with input from Senior Lecturer Alice Soldan and Professor of Practice Karyn Fay.

Through these exercises, students needed to demonstrate organizational skills, knowledge of facts and concepts, laboratory skills and creativity.

Each member of the first, second and third team will receive a small cash award along with a plaque.  Each student participating in the competition will also receive a certificate of participation and a Bioathlon T-shirt.

The teacher activity was:

What’s up with the Weather? Climate Change and Aquatic Life in the Great Lakes. This was an interactive workshop developed and taught by Stacy Cotey, Academic Advisor of Biological Sciences.

In the morning, they toured the newly opened Great Lakes Research Center. The center is an interdisciplinary facility that studies the processes, function, and issues of the Great Lakes. They discussed how climate change may alter this dynamic ecosystem. In the afternoon, they conducted activities suitable for the classroom that explored the effects of a changing climate on aquatic organisms in the Great Lakes.  They collected and analyzed water samples from the dock at the Great Lakes Center and at Prince’s Point.

Funding was provided by MTU Admissions, the Department of Biological Sciences, the Michigan Tech Fund, MTU Alumni Mark Cowan, M.D., Robert C. and Kathryn DellAngelo, M.D., Olive Kimball, D.Ed., Ph.D., Nancy Auer, Ph.D. and Janice Glime, Ph.D.

Zielinski co-winner in Creative Canvas Course Contest

The Center for Teaching and Learning’s first Creative Canvas Course Contest (C-4) saw students nominate more than 100 different courses from almost every department. The results are in. The nine winners (listed below) have graciously agreed to provide short“video course tours” so that others can see and learn from the design features of their well-received Canvas courses.

ESC/BRC Student Research Poster Forum Winners Announced

Congratulation on the great showing and wins

from the Dept. of Biological Sciences!

ESC/BRC Student Research Poster Forum Winners Announced

The Ecosystem Science Center and the Biotechnology Research Center announce award recipients of the Ninth Annual ESC/BRC Student Research Forum, held March 27, 2013.
For the graduate students, two Grand Prize Awards, six Merit Awards were presented. They were selected from among the 59 posters and abstracts submitted by graduate students conducting research related to ecology, the environment and biotechnology at Michigan Tech.
Each center also awarded a Grand Prize to an undergraduate researcher in a separate division of 17 undergraduate student submissions this year.
Posters will continue to be on display in the atrium of the Forestry building through April 12th.
Graduate Research:
$500 Grand Prizes

Biotechnology Research Center
Ramkumar Mohan (Biological Sciences) for “miR-483, a Novel MicroRNA Expressed in Pancreatic Beta Cells but not in Alpha Cells”, Advisor: Xiaoqing Tang lab.
Ecosystem Science Center
Adam Coble (SFRES) for “Comparison  of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Leaf Morphology in a Closed-canopy and Canopy Gap”, Adviser: Molly Cavaleri
$100 Merit Awards

Biotechnology Research Center

Komal K. Bollepogu Raja (Biological Sciences) for ” The Role of Toolkit Genes in the Evolution of Complex Wing, Thorax, and Abdominal Color Patterns in Drosophila guttifera “, Advisor: Thomas Werner

Maria Tafur (Chemical Engineering) for “Reduction of Porcine Parvovirus Infectivity in the Presence of Protecting Osmolytes “, Advisor: Caryn Heldt
Ecosystem Science Center

Brian Danhoff (Biological Sciences) for “Manistee River Tributaries as Potential Arctic Grayling Habitat”, Advisor: Casey Huckins

Anthony Matthys (Biological Sciences) for “Estimating Physical Habitat Characteristics and Fish Habitat Preference within Streams: A Tool for Restoration Monitoring”, Advisor: Casey Huckins

James Olson (Biological Sciences) for “Evaluating the Impact of Culvert Designs on Hydrologic Connectivity and Nutrient Uptake in Northern Wisconsin Streams”, Advisor: Amy Marcarelli

Julie Padilla (Civil & Environ. Eng) for “An Evaluation of the Proposed MDEQ Water Quality Standard for Copper in the Upper Peninsula Using Two Multimetric Approaches “, Advisor: Noel Urban
Undergraduate Research:
$150 Grand Prizes

Biotechnology Research Center

Morgan Owen-Cruise (Biomed Engineering) for “Synthesis and Characterization of Dopamine and Nitrodopamine Modified Poly(ethylene glycol)”, Advisor: Bruce Lee
Ecosystem Science Center

Jade Oritz (Biological Sciences) for “Sand Accumulation in the Salmon Trout River Changes Gross Primary Production and Respiration Rates by Biofilms”, Advisor: Amy Marcarelli

Undergrad Merit

Keegan Yates (Biomed Engineering)for ” Divalent Ion Removal Improves Stability and Mechanical Properties of Gelatin Hydrogel “, Advisors: Megan Frost and Feng Zhao
Thank you to the participants, the judges, and all who helped with another successful ESC/BRC Student Research Forum.

Dr. Thomas Werner and Karyn Fay are Teaching Award Finalists

CTL Annual Distinguished Teaching Award Finalists
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University.

Based on over 51,000 student rating-of-instruction forms, eleven finalists have been identified for the 2013 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty, and alumni to aid in its deliberation process.

The finalists for the two awards include:

Associate Professor/Professor Category
Professor Andrew Burton (School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science)
Associate Professor Guy Hembroff (School of Technology)
Professor Bruce Mork (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Associate Professor Nilufer Onder (Computer Science)
Associate Professor Christopher Plummer (Visual and Performing Arts)

Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice Category
Assistant Professor Jared Anderson (Visual and Performing Arts)
Assistant Professor Frank Christiana (Aerospace Studies)
Professor of Practice Karyn Fay (Biological Sciences)
Assistant Professor Scott Miers (Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics)
Assistant Professor Kazuya Tajiri (Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics)
Assistant Professor Thomas Werner (Biological Sciences)

Comments on the nominees are due by Saturday, March 30.

The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their classes. The selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients. The recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award will be formally announced in May 2013.

For more information, contact Nancy Seely at 7-2046 or .