Category: News

Felicia Nip Named Winter Carnival Queen

What does it take to come to Michigan Tech? For me it took begging, nagging, complaining, and the occasional case of the Teary Eye Syndrome. It all started when I came to the U.P. for the first time, attending the SYP Women in Engineering Program. It was love at first, “Oh yah troll, don’t chyah know about dem pasties?” I am uncertain as to whether it was the gorgeous weather, the natural scenery, or the camp counselors that caught my attention and put Michigan Tech at the top of my list of colleges. My admiration for the campus only increased the next time I visited the campus for the Leading Scholars Competition. There is nothing quite like being in a room of 40 talented students who have the will and the potential to make a difference. Michigan Tech made the top of my college list by a landslide!

My parents disliked the idea of going 600 miles away to a “tiny, engineering school.” They just didn’t know the magic of being a Husky—the adventure, the innovation, the ability to find something you love, do it, and be recognized as an individual. So, of course, I was signed up to attend orientation at U of M. I already had a roommate, and a full schedule of classes (This is where the crying part came in). I wasn’t upset simply because I didn’t get what I want, or because I feared I wouldn’t accomplish anything there, but there was no beating-heart-full-of-excitement rush to go there. Perhaps there doesn’t need to be this kind of enthusiasm when picking out a college, but since there was, it was something I could not let go. At this point I knew the friendships that I made both times visiting Michigan Tech would last a lifetime and that my heart was at Tech. Thankfully I got my way! We subsequently packed the car to the brim for my long journey ahead of me, and it turned out that the journey has been far longer than a 10 hour car ride north.

By embodying myself with passion and immersing myself in campus involvement, I have become a part of something much greater than I could have imagined. Before the first day of classes, I already found a place for me—the electron microscope facility! I had taken a course in the subject and after following one of the workers around every week, they decided to just hire me. My job is more of an opportunity than a task as I have the privilege of preparing and examining samples from every single department on campus. The time I spend training countless graduate students, post-docs, other undergraduates, and even professors has enhanced my maturity, responsibility, and curiosity. The best part about my job is getting to interact and learn about the details of projects and labs that I would not have even heard about, had it not been for this experience. If this alone didn’t drive my interest for research, I don’t know what did. I was lucky enough to stay on campus for the past two summers, working, doing a summer research fellowship and taking classes.

Aside from undergraduate research, I love to volunteer! My parents thought that Michigan Tech was the last place I should go as a pre-medical student. It hasn’t been hard to prove them wrong. Once a week I go to Portage Health to volunteer in the dialysis unit and shadow a physician. This is the absolute best day of my week! Moreover, I also get to help people firsthand as a medical first responder on the Michigan Tech EMS team. Both of these experiences have opened my eyes to rural medicine and further driven my passion and goals in becoming a physician. Lastly, I am honored to also be involved with the Executive Board of the Honors Institute, the Pre-Health Association at Tech, and the Phi Sigma Biological Honors Society.

The magic is everywhere; everybody knows the feeling of being far away from Tech and seeing someone wearing Michigan Tech apparel, seeing a Husky license plate, or overhearing somebody talking about this wonderful place. It doesn’t happen every day, but each time it happens to me, I feel a surge of Husky Spirit! I start telling each and every person about my experiences. It is this spirit that the Huskies have, especially for WINTER CARNIVAL! Watch out, because superheroes, villains, and the like are going to take over campus, and I cannot wait to see what this year’s Winter Carnival has in store for all of us here at snowy MTU! Although this is my last Winter Carnival as a student, it will certainly not be my last Winter Carnival as a Husky. It is, without a doubt, a privilege to represent the Air Force ROTC as their 2013 Queens Candidate. I would also like to give a special thanks to the Blue Key Honors Society for hosting Winter Carnival and to Wells Fargo for being my merchant sponsor. Bring on the powers in these frozen hours!

The Biotechnology Research Center Announces the Recipients of Its Fall 2012 Travel Grants

Recipients of $500 BRC Travel Awards include:

Graduate Student Presentations

* Tayloria Adams (ChE); 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting (poster)
* Felix Adom (ChE); 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting (podium)
* Zainab I. Alshoug (ChE); 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting (poster)
* Ran An (ChE); 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting (poster)
* Xiaochu Ding (Chemistry); POLY-ACS 9th Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Symposium (poster)
* Stephanie Hamilton (KIP); American Society of Biomechanics Annual Meeting (poster)
* Sean Hopkins (Biomed); BMES 2012 Annual Conference (poster)
* Robert Larson (KIP); SLEEP 2012 26th Annual Meeting (poster)
* Venkataramana R. Pidatala (Biology); ASA, CSSA and SSSA Annual Meetings (poster)
* Aparupa Sengupta (Biology); Society for Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology (poster)

* Maria Tafur (ChE); 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting (podium)
* K Saagar Vijayaragavan (ChE); 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting (podium)
* Shuaicheng Wang (Math); The Genetic Analysis Workshops (podium and poster)
* Xu Xiang (Chemistry); 245th ACS National Meeting (poster)
* Chungja Yang (ChE); 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting (poster)
* Huan Yang (KIP); SLEEP 2012 26th Annual Meeting (poster)
* Jingtuo Zhang (Chemistry); 244th ACS National Meeting (poster)

Go West, Young Microbiologist

“Yuritzi went out of her comfort zone when she joined my chemical engineering research lab, even though she is a biological science major,” Caryn Heldt says. “My lab is biochemistry focused, so her expertise fit well. She has added depth to my lab, and I have enjoyed working with her.”

“I am really excited that Yuritzi was able to present her research results at SACNAS,” Sue Bagley added. “This is a premier venue. Hopefully other Michigan Tech students will be inspired to the same in the future.”

Read more at Tech Today, by Dennis Walikainen.

Tackling the Last Taboo

Photo by Stacey Frankenstein-Markon
Photo by Stacey Frankenstein-Markon

Article by Jennifer Donovan

How a Peace Corps volunteer from Michigan Tech helped women in Uganda take charge of their periods and control of their lives

They use what?” Stacey Frankenstein-Markon gasped. A graduate student in Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Master’s International program in applied science education, she had just arrived in Uganda as a Peace Corps volunteer. And she’d just found out that girls in her African village of Bukedea used rags, old socks, or wads of newspaper to do the job of sanitary napkins.

[ Read More ]

Wolf Man

Photo by Dan Stahler/NPS
Photo by Dan Stahler/NPS

Article by David McKay Wilson

Eco-tourists are lined up on a roadside in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Canyon to witness two wolf packs jockeying for territory, and wildlife biologist Doug Smith ’88 is nearby with a TV crew shooting footage of the predator that has captivated mankind for eons.

It’s been seventeen years since Smith helped launch the effort to restore wolves to the 2 million-acre park. Today, an estimated ninety-eight wolves in ten packs thrive in Yellowstone. On this crisp February morning, the lanky Smith, dressed in his green wool Park Service uniform with a pair of Nikon binoculars dangling from his neck, talks about how wolves have reacted to the decline in the park’s elk herd, their prime prey.

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Shekhar Joshi Named Interim Chair

Shekhar Joshi
Shekhar Joshi

Professor Chandrashekhar Joshi has been appointed as the interim chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for the 2012-13 academic year, while the department conducts a search for a new chair.

According to Bruce Seely, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, the college and the department are “borrowing” Joshi from the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science for the year to insure that the department continues the progress made over the past three years in revitalizing its program of graduate education and research.

“Shekhar is perfectly positioned for this responsibility,” Seely said. “He is a molecular biologist so he’s already a member of the diverse profession of biological scientists. The courses he regularly teaches clearly show the connection between his work and that of the department–molecular genetics, genomics and bioinformatics.” Joshi’s research interests include bioenergy and cellulose biosynthesis in trees.

Seely said that Joshi has been “extraordinarily successful” in securing external funding to support his scholarship and research, as well as that of his graduate students.

Joshi received Michigan Tech’s Research Award in 2011, was the director of the Biotechnology Research Center (BRC) and routinely offered a course on grant writing for graduate students from across the campus.

“Shekhar has been a marvelous ambassador for interdisciplinary activities,” said Seely, noting that Joshi played a key role in the “Wood to Wheels” program; establishing the transatlantic MS in Forest Resources; providing various summer programs for high school science teachers; and setting up a multi-year collaboration with bioenergy faculty at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea.

“We’re excited to have Shekhar join us in the role as department chair in biological sciences,” Seely said. “He is a perfect role model and mentor for the numerous faculty hired in the department over the past several years. He exemplifies the college’s desire for chairs who lead by example, demonstrating excellence in teaching, scholarship and professional and institutional service.”

At the same time, Seely added, “Shekhar will fulfill the demanding role of department chair–mediating between faculty and staff and the administration.”

Outstanding Young Alumni

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented each year by the Alumni Association to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated. The following Biological Sciences alumni have previously received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award:

  • James L. Voogt (1966)
  • James D. Brodeur (1968)
  • Jeffrey M. Jentzen (1975)
  • Douglas G. Harris (1986)
  • Darla I. Olson (1993)