ACSHF Students Present Research at Society for Neuroscience Convention

Dr. Kevin Trewartha, Director of the Aging, Cognition, and Action Lab, accompanied by two of his current PhD candidates, Bridget Durocher and Isaac Flint, attended the Society for Neuroscience convention to present their research. This year represented the 50th annual convention, and it was held in Chicago, IL. This convention is one of the largest international conventions for the study of neuroscience with speakers and exhibitors from all around the world. Opportunities to meet Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 Eric Kandel for his work on signal transduction in the nervous system, global industry leaders in neuroscience technology, and leaders on the forefront of brain research were all part of this year’s experience.

Bridget Durocher presented preliminary findings of her research investigating whether acquisition, and short- and long-term retention measures of motor learning can distinguish between amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzehimer’s disease (AD), and healthy aging. The ultimate goal of this work is to potentially supplement existing neuropsychological measures for diagnosing AD. The need for additional or new techniques to diagnose AD in its earliest stages is essential in extending the quality of life for our future generations. The current standard testing procedures often miss the early onset phase of the disease process, leading many years of missed opportunities to manage the disease effectively. In the current project we are investigating whether the early stages of motor learning are affected by MCI and early AD, and whether those patients exhibit additional impairments in short-term (i.e., within session) and long-term (after a 24-hour delay) retention of a newly acquired motor skill. Initial results are encouraging, and support our hypothesis, but it should be stressed that these data are very preliminary.

Isaac Flint presented findings from work investigating whether younger and older adults differ in the ability to make optimal corrective actions for collision avoidance during reaching movements. This work showed that when making motor corrections in response to visual feedback perturbations, both older and younger adults are equally able to make optimal decisions when correcting their movements to avoid collisions with obstacles. However, older adults make less efficient movements indicated by longer movement times, exhibit increased rates of collision, and delayed electrophysiological responses to the visual feedback perturbations. The efficiency with which older adults made corrective actions was also correlated with cognitive measures of executive control, and processing speed. 

In addition to attending the conference Bridget and Isaac took some time to explore the city, learning to navigate Chicago’s public transportation, and visiting various spots including the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library, Little Italy, Millennium Park, downtown shops, and the lakefront. Having a diverse population to network with along with the unique cultural opportunities Chicago has to offer made this convention an excellent opportunity to explore both cognitive neuroscience and human factors. 


Dr. Stacy Keynote Presenter at Childhood Development Conference in Germany

Dr. Peter Stacy received and accepted an invitation to provide a keynote presentation at the 18th Annual International Conference on Attachment and Early Childhood Development.  The conference took place in Ulm, Germany between Sept. 13 to Sept. 15, 2019.  It attracted over 900 attendees from throughout Europe. In introducing Dr. Stacy, the conference administrator spoke of his 20+ year research effort as gaining national and international recognition due to its unique approach of using an intrafamily research design in identifying the role that early childhood attachment plays in differentiating a resilient sibling from his/her non-resilient sibling.

Dr. Stacy’s presentation included a review of his research findings followed by discussion of effective treatment strategies that seek to address early childhood attachment disorders.  The presentation closed with a brief question and answer session.


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 


Psychology Undergraduate Honored as Departmental Scholar

At the end of each academic year, each department nominates one student to represent them as their Departmental Scholar. 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.

This year, the Departmental Scholar award was given to psychology undergraduate student Hannah Kariniemi. Hannah may only be finishing her second year but has already accomplished a lot. She has achieved Junior status with an impressive GPA of 3.64 overall and 3.7 in the Major. Dr. Veinott who has Hannah in the Research Methods II course says “Hannah is motivated and diligent to chase down problems and figure them out”. She is also interning at the 97th Regional Treatment court and doing research with Dr. Amato-Henderson. Dr. Amato-Henderson says she hopes to guide Hannah through writing a manuscript to be submitted for publication. Hannah has also recently been inducted into Psi Chi (the International Honor Society in Psychology) and is also active in the Association for Psychology Students (APS). It is amazing how quickly Hannah is advancing here and she plans to continue in graduate school where she will continue working toward clinical psychology with an emphasis on judicial corrections and community health. Congratulations Hannah!


Art Therapy

As the semester is winding down, stress is ramping up. The Association for Psychology Students (APS) and the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences hosted an “art therapy” session in the Makerspace on Monday, April 22. Everyone had a great time getting to know each other, creating art, and making a mess. It was the perfect way to de-stress before finals.


New Inductees into the National Honor Society in Psychology

The Department of the Cognitive and Learning Sciences inducted five new members into Psi Chi, the international Honor Society in Psychology: Hannah Kariniemi, Lavanya Rajesh Kumar, Rose Hildebrandt, Shurti Amre, and Via Ouellette Ballas. The Induction ceremony took place at the Harold Meese Center on Tuesday, April 16. The Michigan Tech Chapter of Psi Chi is led by Abby Kuehne (President) and Caden Sumner (Treasurer) and advised by Dr. Kelly Steelman. For more information on Psi Chi, visit: https://www.psichi.org/default.aspx


CLS Congratulates Thomas Offer Westort

We are happy to announce that Tom successfully defended his Master’s Thesis titled “Attitudes About Acceptable Risk in the Context of the Biodiversity Crisis” on April 12th. Crafting and enforcing conservation policy requires making normative judgements about what levels of risk are acceptable. These judgements include crucial decisions that impact which species qualify as “endangered.” If a government’s policies are going to represent the values of the public they govern, then public attitudes should be understood. Unfortunately, essentially nothing is known about public attitudes as they pertain to acceptable risk and the biodiversity crisis.

Read more about Tom’s research below.

My research aims to address this gap using data from an internet-based survey (n=1050). I focused on the Endangered Species Act of 1973 which defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” Because a species’ risk of extinction increases with decreasing geographic range, the phrase “significant portion of its range” requires a judgement about what level of risk is acceptable. I then examined how the public’s attitudes regarding risk differs both from the guidance provided by conservationists and the practices of government agencies. I also explored the extent to which variation in attitudes could be explained by relevant knowledge, social identity, level of education, personality, moral foundations, and numeracy. I then used structural equation modeling to model the relationships between predictors.


In the News

Rylee Price

Michigan Tech Senior Mathematics and Psychology major, Rylee Price, joined the Huskies women’s volleyball club team in the spring of 2016. As featured in the Daily Mining Gazette April 12th article, Price states “The main objective of our club is to provide a fun yet competitive environment where people can just come and play volleyball, because it’s a really fun sport that people can play for a really long time”.  High school athletes looking to continue playing volleyball without playing at the varsity level can join and be a part of a club like Michigan Tech’s, since there is a more flexible schedule for students on the team. Players have time to complete their homework and practice when needed. Price mentions “We practice about three to four times a week, but our only mandatory practices are right before we travel, just to get a higher level of play going.”

The team recently competed in the WVC Tournament, where they went undefeated in the pool play. Price has learned a lot from adjusting from player to player and has become a good leader by helping her teammates improve their overall game. Price is in her final month with the team and she wants to let those considering the club know that you do not need to be the best athlete- you only need to love the game.