Category: News

GMES 2020-21 Student Awards and Recognitions

The 2020-21 Academic Year brought the following student achievements to GMES:

Grace Ojala receiving AIPG awardGrace Ojala receives American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) National Scholarship – Congratulations to Grace Ojala (Applied Geophysics), who was awarded a prestigious American Institute of Professional Geologists National Scholarship! Grace pursues a double major in Applied Geophysics and Anthropology, working towards a career that utilizes geophysics to advance archaeology. In addition to her excellent academic standing, Grace is actively involved in several research projects, including a satellite data processing project (supervised by AssociateProfessor Dr. Snehamoy Chatterjee) supported by the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. The award was presented in person by Bill Mitchell, the president of the Michigan Section of AIPG.

Grace Ojala also received a prestigious scholarship from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). The competitive SEG scholarships are based on merit and have been awarded to students all over the world to encourage the study of geophysics and related geosciences.

Emilie Pray – 2021 Department Scholar Award Congratulations to Emilie Pray (BS Geology), who received a 2021 GMES Department Scholar Award to recognize her scholarly achievements! This award, presented to a student entering their senior year, recognizes one who best represents student scholarship in the department by participating in research or scholarly activities, demonstrating a high level of intellectual curiosity and creativity, and showing excellent communication skills. Emilie participates in research led by Associate Professor Dr. Chad Deering on deciphering a complex geological history of the central-eastern UP using petrological and geochemical data.

Congratulations to the recipients of Michigan Space Grant Consortium grants:
Diana Bullen (MS), Using a Biologically Enhanced Silica Recovery System to Retrieve Valuable Non-Renewable Resources from Waste Material (advisor: Dr. Nathan Manser)
Ian Gannon (MS), Critical Mineral Potential in the Vulcan Quadrangle and Adjoining Areas, Dickinson County, Upper Peninsula of Michigan (advisor: Dr. James DeGraff)
Brock Howell (MS), Effective Optimization of Groundwater Extraction Through the Development of Computational Tools (advisor: Dr. John Gierke)
Ryan Klida (MS), Satellite Based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Techniques for Earth Dam Monitoring and Failure Prediction (advisor: Dr. Thomas Oommen)
Katie Nelson (Ph.D.), Measuring CO2 fertilization of tropical forests from volcanic soil gas emissions using remote sensing: Volcán Rincón de la Vieja, Costa Rica (advisor: Dr. Chad Deering)
Kassidy O’Connor (MS), Using Satellite Aperture Radar to Improve Wildfire-Causing Debris Flow Mapping on the West Coast (advisor: Dr. Thomas Oommen)

Congratulations to the recipients of these additional awards and recognitions:
Beth Bartel (Ph.D.) – Smithsonian Institution Fellowship–Robert D. Hevey, Jr. Ten-Week Graduate Student Fellow in Mineral Sciences at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). Project title, “Reconstructing Disaster: An Analysis of Digital Communications During Volcanic Crises.”
Natalea Cohen (MS) – National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Internship with the USGS Volcano Science Center. (Summer 2021)
Cristhian Salas (MS) – Outstanding Graduate Student Scholar (Spring 2021)
Nelmary Rodriguez (MS) – Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award (Spring 2020); Outstanding Graduate Student Scholar (Fall 2020)
Jordan Ewing (Ph.D.) – Won first place at the 2020 3MT Competition with his presentation, “Terrain Traversing: X Marks the Spot,” in addition to winning the People’s Choice Award. (Fall 2020)  Jordan also received an outstanding achievement certificate from the U.S. Army DEVCOM Analytics division. (Spring 2021)
Elana Barth (BS Geology) – Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Club Annual Earth Science Award (Spring 2021)
Chandan Kumar (Ph.D.) – Outstanding Scholarship Award (Fall 2020)
Beth Bartel (Ph.D.) – Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award (Fall 2020)
Amol Paithankar (Ph.D.) – Outstanding Scholar Award (Spring 2020)
Katie Nelson (MS) – Outstanding Teaching Award (Spring 2020)

Congratulations from all of the faculty and staff in GMES!


Jeremy Shannon GMES Selected for Deans’ Teaching Showcase

The College of Engineering has selected Jeremy Shannon, principal lecturer in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES), for this week’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase. Dean Janet Callahan selected him for teaching excellence in a field course.

Shannon joined GMES as a lecturer in 2007. He teaches a variety of courses throughout the year including Understanding the Earth (GE2000), a large course that is taken by many non-major students. Department Chair Aleksey Smirnov (GMES) says “Dr. Shannon provides a vital contribution to GMES undergraduate instruction and advising. He is an outstanding instructor and an impactful and trusted mentor.”

One of Shannon’s favorite courses is Field Geophysics (GE3900), a summer, a five-credit course required for Geological Engineering, Geology, and Applied Geophysics majors. Most geoscience programs only require a field geology course, so this class provides an extremely unique, hands-on experience for GMES students. The five-week-long class is set up like a consulting job with weekly projects. Each project uses a different geophysical technique, or a combination thereof, with specified goals. As one student put it, “Jeremy had an innate ability to connect with us all, especially on field trips. He utilized more field visits than any other professor I had at Tech. This gave me real-life scenarios and examples to help cement concepts I had learned in the classroom.”

A typical week involves fieldwork, the reduction, interpretation and modeling of data, and a final written report or oral presentation. Shannon worked for a few years in environmental consulting and likes that he can share with students his own experiences that mimic the format of this class, especially the report writing. This class offers one of the best opportunities in the GMES curriculum for practice in scientific writing, an invaluable skill that will translate directly for students that either choose employment or decide on graduate school. A recent alumnus observed that Shannon made sure the students also “focused on the hard work that occurred back in the classroom completing the reports to improve students’ report writing skills. Jeremy had very high standards for the reports. His resolve in consistent writing and proper formatting for all reports significantly influenced my use of proper documentation, even today.”

Shannon is an MTU alumnus and took the Field Geophysics class as an undergraduate in the summer of 1992. He was honored to take over the class in 2007 from his former professor and mentor Dr. Jimmy Diehl, who taught it for 25 years. He has continued and built upon this legacy to deliver a unique field experience to GMES students. In particular, Shannon has proactively worked to upgrade the geophysical equipment which is typically expensive. Over the last several years, with the help of departmental, alumni, and C2E2 funding, new seismic refraction and ground-penetrating radar systems were purchased. Other equipment includes magnetometers, electrical resistivity meters, electromagnetic instruments, and one precious gravity meter. And he makes using the equipment fun. Another student said, “Jeremy helps students to see the joy in fieldwork. He makes it exciting to see seismic waves be recorded by a geophone, or he encourages us to be patient in aligning the gravimeter.”

The class projects typically target objects or structures within tens of meters below the surface. The projects include determining depth to bedrock and water table, mapping contacts between different rock types, or locating buried metallic and non-metallic objects on the site of a Calumet & Hecla stamp mill in Lake Linden. About five years ago, Shannon collaborated with the Michigan DNR and had the class perform geophysical surveys to delineate a buried bedrock valley near McLain State Park. There is no definite surface expression of the valley as it is filled with glacial till, but a gravity survey showed that the ~3 km wide and 200 meters deep valley trends to the north through a portion of the park. The absence of bedrock near the surface where the valley is located is precisely the location where significant beach erosion is taking place. These results became part of the decision-making process, which resulted in the recent restructuring of the park layout.

Dean Callahan summarizes: “Shannon’s dedication to continually improve the field course provides a unique learning environment for our students in which they develop skills that they will use throughout their careers. He is very deserving of this recognition.”

Shannon will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members, and is also a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series (to be determined this summer), recognizing introductory or large-class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.

Shannon pictured May ’21 with graduates Elana Barth, Makala O’Donnell, & Breeanne Heusdens.

Written by Aleksey Smirnov, Chair of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Jordan Ewing Wins Big at the 2020 3MT Competition

Jordan Ewing, Ph.D. student in GMES, won first place with his presentation “Terrain Traversing: X Marks the Spot”. Ewing also won the People’s Choice Award for his presentation. He will go on to represent Michigan Tech at the regional competition.

The runner up is Ninad Mohale, Ph.D. student in the Materials Science & Engineering department, with his presentation “Development of a Physically-Based Creep Model Incorporating ETA Phase Evolution for Nickel-Base Superalloys”.

The other finalists were: Masoud Ahmadi and Sadaf Batool, Ph.D. students in Mechanical Engineering & Engineering Mechanics; Parya Siahcheshm, Ph.D. student in Chemistry; Rachel Hetherington, Ph.D. student in GMES; Shardul Tiwari, Ph.D. student in Social Sciences, and Emily Lindback, MS student from the College of Forest Resources & Environmental Science.


Bornhorst Recognized by Michigan Museums Association

Ted-BornhorstProfessor Emeritus Ted Bornhorst (GMES), has been selected by the Michigan Museum Association (MMA) for one of its 2020 MMA Member Awards in the “Colleague Champions” category.

Bornhorst will be recognized at a virtual celebration hosted by MMA on Nov. 19, in recognition of his work that allowed the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum to safely reopen to the public on July 1, and to plan a smooth transition of leadership of the museum upon his retirement as executive director and interim curator.

A large piece of sheet copper from the White Pine mine at the entrance of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum. Photo credit: wikimedia.org


NASA Awards Funding to Simon Carn

Simon Carn is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $325,000 research and development grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The project is entitled, “Tracking Volcanic Gases from Magma Reservoir to the Atmosphere: Identifying Precursors, and Optimizing Models and Satellite Observations for Future Major Eruptions.”

This is a potential three-year project.


The 2020 AIPG Student Chapter of the Year Award goes to Michigan Tech

The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Student Chapter at Michigan Technological University has been selected as the 2020 AIPG Student Chapter of the Year.

Each year, AIPG recognizes the most outstanding student chapter for their activities, achievements, and contributions to the Institute. The award letter states, “the Student Chapter at Michigan Tech stood out among the AIPG Student Chapters in the nation this past year, and are highly deserving of this distinction and honor.”

The current chapter officers are:

Elana Barth, President (Geology)
Breeanne Huesdens, Vice President (Geological Engineering)
Emilie Pray, Treasurer (Geology)
Makala O’Donnell, Secretary (Geological Engineering)
The president and vice-president during the year of the award were Dustin Helmer (Geological Engineering) and Sienna Meekhof (Geology).

The chapter, which has more than 50 members is advised by Chad Deering (GMES) and Michigan Tech Alumnus David Adler ’82 BS geology, a Mannik Smith Group Certified Professional Geologist.

2020


GMES Grad Student Presentation Wins GSA Award

Daniel J. Lizzadro-McPherson
Daniel J. Lizzadro-McPherson

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering Sciences (GMES) announced that master’s student Daniel J. Lizzadro-McPherson’s talk, “Remapping the Keweenaw Fault and Discovery of Related Structures in Michigan’s Historic Copper District,” was awarded the Best Graduate Oral Presentation from the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) 2020 North-Central Section Meeting, held online this past May 2020.

The talk was featured in the Unique Geology and Geoheritage of the Lake Superior Region Session led by Erika Vye (GLRC), William Rose (GMES), Jim Miller, and James DeGraff (GMES).

Lizzadro-McPherson presented on the history of mapping the Keweenaw Fault and the current remapping efforts aimed at understanding this complex fault system in northern Keweenaw County. For more information about this project or to receive a link to the virtual presentation please email djlizzad@mtu.edu.

Explore the eight presentations in the session by Michigan Tech researchers:

  1. REMAPPING THE KEWEENAW FAULT AND DISCOVERY OF RELATED STRUCTURES IN MICHIGAN’S HISTORIC COPPER DISTRICT
  2. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF FOLDS AND FAULT SEGMENTS ALONG THE KEWEENAW FAULT SYSTEM, MICHIGAN
  3. KEWEENAW SHORELINES: SHALLOW WATER SCIENCE, HISTORY, EDUCATION AND GEO TOURISM + YouTube Video
  4. GEOHERITAGE AND THE ARTS: BUILDING AWARENESS USING THE KEWEENAW MINES + YouTube Video
  5. DIGITAL CAPTURE AND PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC MINING DATA FROM THE KEWEENAW COPPER DISTRICT, MICHIGAN
  6. TEACHING THE GEOLOGIC HERITAGE OF MINNESOTA’S NORTH SHORE AT THE NORTH HOUSE FOLK SCHOOL, GRAND MARAIS
  7. SHIPWRECK EXPLORATION WORKSHOP IN NEARSHORE KEWEENAW WATERS
  8. CONNECTING RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY – A KEWEENAW LAKE SUPERIOR NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY


Thank You Ted Bornhorst

Ted Bornhorst
Ted Bornhorst

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering Sciences offers our congratulations and best wishes to Theodore J. Bornhorst on his retirement after a long and productive career as Director for the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and professor at the Department of GMES! He has inspired many with his passion for mineralogy and Keweenaw geoheritage.

We are happy that he will continue his research at our department as a professor emeritus.


Aleksey Smirnov is an Outstanding Reviewer

Aleksey Smirnov
Aleksey Smirnov

Aleksey Smirnov (GMES) was named one of the American Geophysical Union’s Outstanding Reviewers of 2019. Smirnov was cited for his service to Geophysical Research Letters.

In 2019, AGU received over 16,700 submissions and published over 7,000. AGU is working to highlight the valuable role of reviewers through events (though they may be virtual) at the Fall Meeting and other meetings.