Category: News

Celebrating Black History Month: Honoring Legacy, Embracing Diversity

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. Observed annually in February, Black History Month stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of African American history, culture, and achievements. This month-long celebration serves as a powerful reminder of the struggles, triumphs, and contributions that have shaped the United States into the diverse and inclusive nation it is today. In this blog, we delve into the significance of this heritage month, its origins, and its alignment with the values upheld by institutions like Michigan Tech.

Jacek Borysow Wins 2024 Bayard Rustin Award

A student hands Jacek Borysow the Bayard Rustin award near a podium.
Jacek Borysow receiving Bayard Rustin award from Jaylen Body (NSBE)

Jacek Borysow, interim physics department chair and professor, has been named the 2024 winner of the Bayard Rustin Award. The National Society of Black Engineers presents this prestigious to faculty or staff who make important behind-the-scenes impacts on campus, especially for underrepresented groups.

“Thank you to the National Society of Black Engineers for this award. Truly, it is the most important award I have ever received. It was given to me by the students and it is named after one of the most outstanding African-American leaders in the movement for nonviolence and civil rights,” said Borysow.

MTU McNair Scholars Publish Cutting-Edge Research

May Waters smiles at the camera, wearing safety goggles and a lab coat in front of a computer. A microscope and other equipment is in front of her.
Image courtesy Sarah Atkinson

The McNair Scholars Program is thrilled to announce the publication of groundbreaking research by current student scholars May Waters and Sophia Jaeger. Their work, recently published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, marks a significant advancement in the field of biosensing technology.

Waters and Jaeger, both fourth-year chemistry majors and research assistants in Haiying Liu’s lab, have made a remarkable contribution to the understanding of NAD(P)H. Crucially, NAD(P)H fuels many of our cellular processes such as the production of energy.

Wayne Gersie Appointed to U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Advisory Council

Portrait of Wayne Gersie smiling with his arms folded across his chest.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has appointed Wayne Gersie, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, as a representative member on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA or Academy) Advisory Council. The appointment is effective from May 3, 2023 for a term of two years.

On the Council, Gersie will represent the viewpoints of Michigan Tech in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging (DEIS). In this role, he will provide valuable insights and perspectives to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to help further the USMMA’s mission.

“I am honored to be called to serve by the Secretary to provide insight on the positive educational and innovation impacts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging initiatives,” said Gersie. “This appointment is recognition of the DEIS work we’re doing here at Michigan Tech.”

Christopher Sanders Wins 2023 Bayard Rustin Award

Christopher Sanders smiles and stands in front of a microphone.

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) named Christopher Sanders the winner of the 2023 Bayard Rustin Award during the 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet on January 16. This award, now in its fourth year, recognizes a faculty or staff member at Michigan Tech for their behind-the-scenes impact.

Sanders is the advisor for NSBE as well as the assistant director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Bayard Rustin Award from NSBE. Since starting at MTU, our community—and especially our students—have gone out of their way to ensure I feel welcome on campus,” said Sanders.

On Whose Land We Live

Landscape containing a dirt road, wetland grasses, several small trees, and a small pond.

November is Native American Heritage Month, and like all of the United States, the Keweenaw Peninsula has been home to Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The more recent inhabitants included those of several nations including the Dakota, Fox, and Menomonie. The most prominent nation in these lands before the incursion of Europeans was the Ojibwe. This heritage month is an opportunity for us to learn, share, and celebrate the culture of these first peoples.

Domestic Violence: Changing the Narrative

Michigan Tech's Husky Statue wearing a purple ribbon around its neck.

For more than 30 years, we have marked our observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) with purple ribbons, awareness campaigns, and participation in local and national events. At Michigan Tech, purple ribbons around campus draw attention and awareness to the issues of domestic violence, domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, and relationship abuse. Student organizations also host events to raise awareness.

A Look at Latine Culture: CDI Director Talks Hispanic Heritage Month

Colorful illustration with text that reads National Hispanic Heritage Month.

¡Hola!

My name is Gabriel Jesus Escobedo, but most people here at Michigan Tech call me Gabe. I am originally from Texas and identify as a Tejano. This is my first year as the Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. I am also a PhD candidate studying Anthropology of Performing Arts and Dance with a minor in Latino Studies at Indiana University. The focus of my research is the intersectionality of dance and identity among US Latine youth. Just a few more chapters left and I will be Dr. Gabe.

Queer and Here: Conversations Beyond Pride Month

Sunshine creating a rainbow in the mist of a lawn sprinkler on a sunny day.

This Pride Month, a few Michigan Tech faculty and staff from across campus gathered for a conversation on being queer in the Keweenaw.

In this roundtable Q&A, Amlan Mukherjee, Erin Matas, Kelly Steelman, Paige Short, and Tom Adolphs share their thoughts and experiences on the importance of representation, connections, and conversations during this heritage month and beyond.

Seven Things to Try this AAPI Heritage Month

Prairie landscape with a long barracks-type building on the left, a water tower in the distance, and a guard tower in the near right.
Amache National Historic Site, a newly designated national park unit, was an incarceration site established by the War Relocation Authority during World War II to unjustly incarcerate Japanese Americans. Credit: US National Park Service.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month serves as an allegory for many Asian Americans as they ascertain their identities. Officially designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, public law 102-450 finally passed in 1992 after nearly 15 years of failed resolutions. Congress selected May as the official heritage month for Asian and Pacific Islanders to mark the anniversary of completing the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. This tribute also stands as a reminder to many Asian Americans that, with the completion of the railroad, many of our predecessors weren’t met with thanks or applause but with dismissal, anti-Asian sentiment, and segregation. It wasn’t until 2014 that work began on a memorial in honor of the Chinese railroad workers, which was finally completed in 2018.