Category: Michigan Tech News

Psychology Student Tyrell Buckley Named Krampade All-American Scholar

Tyrell Buckley, a senior Psychology student and Michigan Tech hockey player, has been named a Krampade All-American Scholar for the 2020-2021 school year. He is one of nine Huskies who were awarded the honor by the American Hockey Coaches Association. Congratulations, Tyrell!

Find the full announcement on the Michigan Tech Athletics website.


New Chair of Cognitive and Learning Sciences Has Passion for Human Factors and… the Ukulele

David Hemmer, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, announced that Kelly Steelman has accepted the position as chair of the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department.

Kelly Steelman

Steelman, an associate professor of psychology and an affiliated associate professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, had been working as the interim chair.

Hemmer cited her work developing Michigan Tech’s new bachelor’s degree in human factors as one reason he’s happy to see her in the role. “Kelly has done a great job as interim chair, including shepherding the department’s new Human Factors BS degree through to approval,” he said. “I look forward to working with her over the next three years.”

You’ve been working as the interim chair during a time of great change here. From a new university president, to a new college. What have you enjoyed about it?

Some people might view this as somewhat terrifying: to step into a chair position, or really any leadership position, in a time of great institutional change, with a global pandemic and lots of uncertainty in the world and in higher education. But for me, this seems like the best time to be in a leadership position, because you can actually do things and facilitate positive changes. You know, when everybody’s off-kilter, it gets the ball rolling and then you just get to help guide it in different ways. That’s a lot easier than trying to get people who are used to the status quo to take that first step.

You came a really long way to join us in Houghton. Tell us about that.
I came to Michigan Tech following a post-doctoral fellowship at Flinder’s University in Adelaide, Australia. So I traded in the ocean and warm temperatures for the shores of Lake Superior, and a much heavier jacket.
I had returned to the States for a conference where I saw an advertisement for an assistant professor position in CLS. So I went over to check out the Michigan Tech lab poster. I grew up in Grand Rapids, so I was familiar with Michigan Tech and its reputation. And I knew that there was a graduate-level program related to human factors. But, when I walked up to the poster, I saw a group of women standing there, and I thought, wow, that really defies my expectations about Michigan Tech. That was not the crowd that I expected to see.

Susie Amato-Henderson, our former department chair, walked up and introduced herself and then invited me out to lunch with a group of graduate students. By the end of the lunch, I knew I had to apply for the position. I actually ended up extending my stay in the US long enough to be able to interview for the job before returning to finish my post-doc in Australia.

I was thrilled when I got the job offer and luckily managed to convince my wife and son that it was a great idea to move here even though neither of them had even been to the Upper Peninsula and didn’t really know where it was. After I accepted the job, we came up to find a place to live and actually saw a moose on our drive up to Copper Harbor. That was, of course, really thrilling and the first sign that we were moving to a really amazing place!

What do you like about life in the Upper Peninsula?
I love that it is just so easy to get outside and explore. I really enjoy hiking and cross-country skiing on the Tech Trails and exploring new waterfalls and beaches. I’m not a downhill skier but the rest of my family has really gotten involved at Mont Ripley. My wife works in the ticket office and my oldest son is a ski and snowboard instructor. Even my four-year-old has tried out snowboarding and loves the tube park.

I’ve particularly enjoyed getting involved with the Pewabic Community Garden in Houghton and the Keweenaw Roller Derby league. Both were great ways to meet folks with common interests and helped us feel like we were actually part of the local community.

The competition for students is tougher than ever. What do you see as a competitive advantage here?
Most people don’t think of psychology when they think of Michigan Tech. But I am very proud of our program and what it offers to our students. As one example, our psych students have far more opportunities to get engaged in research in our department than they would in other programs. All students take a two-semester research methods course that gives them the opportunity to work in teams to design, conduct, and present their own research studies.

Many students go on to do research with faculty members and really hone their research skills, making them competitive on the job market and also for graduate programs. Our undergraduate psychology program has a great record of students getting into competitive masters and Ph.D. programs.

Our undergraduate psychology program is also flexible by design. In addition to gaining research and internship experiences, we encourage our students to add minors, double majors, join the Pavlis Honors College, and really focus on building a personal portfolio of skills. Many of today’s college students will be working in jobs or industries that don’t yet exist, so it is really important that students can clearly communicate their skill sets to potential employers. We build advising right into the curriculum to help students do this.

What makes you so passionate about human factors in general and what does the study of this discipline offer to Tech students?
I completed two degrees in Aerospace Engineering before discovering the field of human factors. For those who are unfamiliar with it, human factors is the study of human performance, especially within socio-technical systems, and the application of that knowledge to the design of safe, efficient, and satisfying products, workplaces, processes, and systems. For me, pursuing human factors in my graduate studies allowed me to blend my interests in people and technology.


Through the Tech Forward Initiatives of the past few years, we’ve talked a lot about the fourth industrial revolution, the integration of the physical, digital, and social worlds, and the rapid pace of technological change. The problems facing the world today require that we take a human-centered approach and that we understand how people think, feel and behave and how they interact with technology.

Our new human factors major will be great for students that are interested in designing the future and building new technologies, but also really care about people and want to understand why people do the things that we do and why we make the mistakes that we do. A human factors program is a particularly good fit for Michigan Tech as it blends foundational coursework in psychology with courses in systems engineering, human-computer interaction, usability, business, and design. Designing the major was a true multi-disciplinary effort, with faculty from numerous departments and colleges providing input and feedback.

You already mentioned your roller derby involvement. What’s something else people might not know about you?

About two years ago, I joined a local ukulele troupe called The Yooper-leles. One of my colleagues in engineering Engineering Fundamentals, Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, invited me and it was so much fun! We had folks from five years old to probably 85, with a variety of skill levels. I’m still a beginner, but I did get in a fair bit of practice during the stay-at-home order. I’m really looking forward to when we can all gather to play together again.


Kayla Conn receives CLS Department Scholar Award

MTU Junior, Kayla Conn, was selected by CLS as the 2020 Department Scholar. Kayla is a Psychology major, minoring in Global Community Development. Academically, Kayla strives to excel in her coursework, has strong teamwork skills, and demonstrates a curiosity and depth of understanding that we strive for our students to obtain.

Kayla has participated in two internships thus far. She served as an intern at the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Domestic Violence Shelter in Calumet, where she was trained in answering the domestic violence crisis line, lead child care and group therapy sessions, and ensured clients’ needs were met while residing at the shelter. She is currently an intern at Counseling Services, assisting with event planning and implementation. In addition, Kayla has been offered a paid internship this summer with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Kayla is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Council (Executive Board member 2019-2020), a Student Ambassador for the College of Sciences and Arts, and a Young Women Leaders Program Mentor.

Congratulations Kayla!

To see the full virtual awards ceremony, click here.


Dr. Kelly Steelman to participate in HFES fellowship program

Dr. 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.

Copied from Tech Today page for June 17th 2019.


Dr. Stockero is new AMTE Executive Director

Raleigh NC, June 07, 2019 – The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) is excited to announce the selection of Executive Director Designate, Dr. Shari Stockero from Michigan Tech University, who will begin her term of service as Executive Director in February 2020.

Shari Stockero is a Professor of Mathematics Education and the Director of Teacher Education at Michigan Technological University. 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.

We were pleased to receive excellent applications and to interview two outstanding finalists for the position.  Persons on the search team were impressed both by Shari’s history of active participation and experience in AMTE activities, as well as her ability to look broadly at the mathematics teacher education landscape and envision how AMTE can continue to be a strong voice in mathematics teacher education.  All of the applications we received were from persons who have great organizational skills, strong communication skills, and a deep love for the work of AMTE.

The search process for the new executive director was completed over three months, but included many months prior with discussions and encouragement of members to apply for the position.  The formal search was led by Randy Philipp, current Past-President of AMTE, and included the following members of the search team: Mike Steelecurrent AMTE PresidentTim Hendrixcurrent AMTE Executive DirectorJennifer Bay-Williamspast president of AMTE; Christine Browning, former Vice-President of Publications and former AMTE Board member; Eva Thanheiser, current Board Member-at-LargeDorothy Y. White, former AMTE Board member;and Trena Wilkerson, former AMTE Board Member and current Associate Vice-President for Conferences.  We want to thank these individuals for their service to AMTE in leading this important search process.

Applications for the position were solicited and submitted by the end of February.  Review of applications and interview of finalist candidates were conducted in March.  In the April Board meeting, the search committee made a recommendation to the AMTE Board of Directors to appoint Shari Stockero. After unanimous approval, the offer of service was extended to Shari, who accepted the appointment with an initial four-year term of service. Discussions then began between Shari, AMTE, and her home institution, Michigan Technological University (MTU), to develop a Memorandum of Agreement, which was approved by the AMTE Board in their May meeting, and has been executed by both AMTE and MTU.  AMTE provides the Executive Director with a nominal stipend and support funds to operate the AMTE Headquarters at their home institution, given in the form of a subcontract to the host institution.

Shari Stockero will become the fourth Executive Director of AMTE, following Judith Jacobs (1998 – 2000), Nadine Bezuk (2001 – 2014) and Tim Hendrix (2014 – 2020). Shari will shadow current Executive Director, Tim Hendrix, and continue to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of Executive Director. At the conclusion of the 24th AMTE Annual Conference in February 2020, Hendrix will step down and Stockero will begin her term of service.  AMTE is fortunate to have dedicated members who are invested in the mission and goals of the organization, and who commit their professional time and service to AMTE.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Timothy Hendrix, current AMTE Executive Director at 919.760.8240 or by email at hendrixt@meredith.edu.

Copied from AMTE website 


Women’s Free Sale

Please join us at the Harold Meese Center on Saturday, February 16th to find your perfect career fair outfit! Select from a large variety of styles and sizes of gently used business clothing and accessories, perfect for career fair or interviews. Did we mention that you get to take home your outfit for free?

This event is made possible by donations from MTU faculty and staff, alumni, and the local community.


Alumni Spotlight: Chemical Kim

image4Over the past 10 years I’ve taken my love of teaching chemistry to the community and volunteer bringing hands-on learning to schools, organizations, libraries, the children’s hospital, and television science segments on ABC affiliate stations (WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and ABC7 in Fort Myers, Florida). I present a blend of smart and entertaining hands-on science activities that motivate kids to continually question and investigate their world. My encouragement is to never stop being curious and never stop seeking the answers.

In addition, I utilize mobile technology in my teaching in the chemistry classroom, laboratory, and science outreach. I’ve authored several technology grants and have led several workshops at local colleges and schools teaching on the integration of mobile technology in the classroom.

I started into the education program at MTU as a junior as a result of two friends majoring in mathematics that convinced me to join them. I really wasn’t expecting to go into teaching. I loved chemistry and was planning on a career as a research chemist. Standing in front of a group of people was always so fearful to me. As I got farther into the education program, I started to discover how much I was enjoying my classes. It got me thinking how many college chemistry professors really don’t know how to teach. This motivated me more in the education program at MTU. I started to feel like I could be that change and teach chemistry better than it was taught to me. The education program at MTU gave me that “face your fear and find your passion” moment. I faced my fear of being in front of a group of people and found a passion that made everyday of going to work since, a joy.

My advice to current teachers is to do what you love. If you don’t find a love in your subject or in teaching it, don’t force it. The teaching world is filled with too many who complain about teaching, students, and the hard work for so little pay. Yes, the pay is little and yes, the work is hard… but if you love it, you will not regret a day of your career choice. You will make a difference to the world because you’re giving the good part of yourself, the happy part.

Always be yourself and do not teach a particular style just because that’s how you were taught. Teaching is always evolving and be ready for constant change. The best experiences you can bring to the classroom are your life experiences. Use your personality and life experiences to make the best environment for learning. In the early years of your teaching, keep learning more hands-on about your subject and education. Substitute teach, participate in research, attend workshops and seminars, become active at your school. And if you have time, volunteer in your community.

If you’re enjoying teaching, then your students are probably enjoying learning. And if your nervous, that is good because nerves means you care. The day I’m not nervous or a bit scared to go into a classroom might be the day I might be ready to retire from teaching.

To learn more, check out Chemical Kim’s social media sites: www.youtube.com/scistudiowww.chemicalkim.com