Category: Students

Congratulations to GMES Summer and Fall 2021 Graduates!

We are pleased to announce our Summer and Fall graduates. We are proud of you, and wish you the best of luck in your next chapter.


Leonid Surovitskii
Leonid Surovitskii

Leonid Surovitskii will soon graduate with a PhD in Geophysics. A highlight of his time here has been conducting fieldwork in China, Canada, and the U.S. Leo shared that all of his experience at Michigan Tech is a bright spot on his life path. Moving forward, Leo plans to publish more research papers and is looking forward to finding a postdoctoral position.


Domenicca (Dome) Guillen

Domenicca (Dome) Guillen is graduating with an MS in Geology. Dome shared this when asked to reflect on the last two years: “My time at Michigan Tech was a self-revolution for me; I had to adapt myself to a new language, culture, and weather. Certainly, I have improved academically and even emotionally, during this time, and I thank MTU for who I am now. In terms of courses, I love the remote sensing courses and the course on geostatistics and data analysis.”


Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson will soon graduate with an MS in Geophysics. Katie is continuing with her research working towards a PhD. A few highlights of Katie’s time here have been playing on a broomball team her first year, getting to travel to do fieldwork, and meeting so many wonderful people.


Dianna Bullen

Diana Bullen is graduating with an MS in Geology. After graduation, Diana plans on relocating back home to lower Michigan while searching for a job. When asked what she enjoyed and will miss the most, she had this to say, “I am going to miss all of my university Zoom friends the most. I am thankful that I got to meet such a great group of people. When I met them in person they were just as amazing as they were online!”


Nick Potter is graduating with an MS in Geology.


Ryan Klida is graduating with an MS in Geological Engineering.


Shubham Mahajan is graduating with an MS in Geological Engineering.


Sienna Meekhoff

Sienna Meekhoff will soon graduate with a BS in Geology. Sienna had this to say about her time at Michigan Tech:  “The highlight of my time here would have to be my involvement with the Geology Club and our AIPG student chapter. They really got me to open up to other students in and outside our department. I had several traveling opportunities with them, too, like our spring break trips to Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee as well as the AIPG national conferences in Burlington, Vermont, and Sacramento, California. I am going to miss the Keweenaw Peninsula the most. I love swimming in Lake Superior and finding agates on the beaches as well as skiing with the amazing scenery Ripley and Bohemia have to offer.”


Emily Pray

Emilie Pray will soon graduate with a BS in Geology. After graduation, Emilie plans to stay at Michigan Tech to pursue an MS in Geology. The highlight of her time here so far has been the undergraduate research she’s conducted. Through it, she was able to learn a lot about the geology of the Upper Peninsula outside of the classroom. She studied some of the oldest rocks in the region! Working in the lab and collecting data were the hands-on experiences she wanted during her studies at Tech.


Hannah Hunt

Hannah Hunt will soon graduate with a BS in Geology. Hannah is pictured using a Geonics EM-16 VLF receiver at Taylor Mine.


Cristhian Salas ’21 finished this summer, earning an MS in Geology. More details to come.


Sanna Mairet ’21 finished this summer and earned an MS in Geology. Info coming soon.


Kay Sivaraj ’21 finished this summer, graduating with an MS in Geology. Stay tuned for more details.


Stepan Pikul ’21 finished this summer, earning an MS in Geology. Check back later for full details.


Summer Field Geophysics Becomes More Affordable: Thanks to Carl Schwenk!

Jeremy Shannon and GMES students gather for a celebration picnic after final presentations.

Thanks to the generosity of alumnus Carl Schwenk our unique summer course in Field Geophysics has now become more affordable for our students. Starting this past summer, the Carl G. Schwenk Field Geophysics Lab Endowment began to cover all course expenses not tuition related, such as annual costs for travel, field supplies, periodic equipment maintenance, instrument rental, and equipment replacement. This support made it possible to reimburse the hefty $450 laboratory fee in full to each student who took the course this year. And no laboratory fee will be required for Field Geophysics in the future, starting in summer 2022.

“We all here in the GMES department are very grateful to Carl, who has made significant professional contributions to field geophysics and mineral exploration throughout his career,” says Aleksey Smirnov, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, “As an alum, he remains closely and actively involved with our department, providing tremendous support to our students over the years.” 

Schwenk earned a BS in both Geological and Geophysical Engineering from Michigan Tech in 1962 and 1965, respectively. He worked as a Field Geophysicist with Kennecott Copper Corporation and was instrumental in the discovery of the Flambeau copper-gold Mine in Wisconsin. Later, he worked with the large iron company Vale do Rio Doce exploring for base metals in Brazil. After his return to the USA, he was hired as Great Lakes District Manager for Noranda Exploration and led a successful State Supreme Court challenge to Wisconsin’s Geologic Disclosure Law. 

Principal Lecturer Jeremy Shannon, Carl G. Schwenk Endowed Faculty Fellow in Applied Geophysics, teaches the Field Geophysics courses at Michigan Tech. “This is a great gift for our students and I can’t wait to share Carl’s story of his contribution each summer,” he says. “The cost of equipment and resources used in the class is significant, but inevitably spread out over time scales that are beyond any student’s undergraduate career. Thus students are often left wondering what their lab fees are really being used for. Carl’s gift takes a dent out of the ever-increasing cost of a college education while ensuring that students will continue to have access to modern geophysical instrumentation.”  

Olivia Salvagio, an applied geophysics senior, adds: “Field Geophysics was where I learned that I wanted to continue my education on near surface geophysics in graduate school! I was so intrigued by each of the methods and the equipment that we used and the broad applications that they have to Earth science.”

Emilie Pray, a geology senior, had this to say: “Field Geophysics was the class that fully cemented the concepts learned in the classroom into real-world applications. Along with practice in technical writing skills and group work in the field, I believe this class has prepared me well for my future career.”


Emilie Pray Wins AIPG Poster Competition

Emilie Pray, a geology senior in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences (GMES), won first place in the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Michigan Section Annual Student Poster Contest.

Pray’s poster was titled “The Exhumation History of the Bell Creek Batholith.” Her research has been advised by Chad Deering (GMES).


Gustavo Béjar López and Beth Bartel Present at Volcanology Congress

Gustavo Béjar presenting on Zoom.
Gustavo Béjar López presenting on Zoom.

Michigan Tech doctoral students Gustavo Béjar and Beth Bartel gave invited talks at the I Congreso Internacional Vulcanología y Gestión de Riesgo en Guatemala (1st Volcanology and Risk Management Congress in Guatemala), held Nov. 4-5. Both Bejar and Bartel are studying volcanic hazards. Both are co-advised by Research Assistant Professor Rudiger Escobar Wolf and Professor Greg Waite.

The virtual meeting was hosted by the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala City.

Béjar’s presentation was titled “Generación de un catálogo de lahares para el Volcán de Fuego” (Generation of a catalog of lahars for Fuego Volcano). An international student from Ecuador, Béjar came to Michigan Tech in 2020 via Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He also hold a BS from Yacay Tech University in Ecuador.

Bartel spoke on “Comunicación de Peligros” (Hazard Communication). She came to Michigan Tech from UNAVCO in Boulder, Colorado, where she worked for 17 years, first as a field engineer and most recently as a science communication and outreach specialist. Bartel has an MA in Journalism and Mass Communications from University of Colorado at Boulder, an MS in Geophysics from Indiana University Bloomington, and a BA in Geology from Whitman College.

Beth Bartel presenting on Zoom.
Beth Bartel presenting on Zoom.


The Institute on Lake Superior Geology Awards Geology MS Student $1k

Katherine Langfield, a geology master’s student, received a research grant from the Institute on Lake Superior Geology (ILSG). The $1,000 award will help defray the research costs for her proposed work on the Hancock Fault. A portion of the work will be conducted in the Quincy Mine adit in West Hancock. Katherine is advised by Research Professor, James DeGraff.

The ILSG Student Research Fund is available for undergraduate or graduate students conducting research on the geology of the Lake Superior region.

PC: U.S. Geological Survey


Mining Engineering MS Student Poorva Kadrolli Selected as SRK Scholar

Poorva Kadrolli, a Master’s student in Mining Engineering in the Department of GMES, has won a highly competitive SRK scholarship!

SRK is a global consulting firm in mining and exploration geology and provides scholarships in Australia and North America to encourage and support students undertaking graduate studies and help them complete master’s and doctoral degrees in fields related to the mining industry.

The scholarship selection process is very thorough and includes writing a research proposal by the student. Poorva’s research is in joint simulation of material-type and mineral grade using multiple-point simulation and machine learning.

Poorva is advised by Dr. Snehamoy Chaterjee, an Associate Professor and the Witte Family Faculty Fellow at the Department of GMES.

Poorva Kadrolli


Michigan Tech wins 2021 AIPG Student Chapter of the Year Award (again)

The 2021 American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Student Chapter of the Year Award goes to Michigan Technological University for the second year running!

Each year, AIPG recognizes the most outstanding student chapter for its activities, achievements, and contributions to the Institute. Nationwide there are 55 student chapters at AIPG. 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.”

Currently, the chapter officers are Elana Barth (President, Geology), Olivia Salvaggio (Vice President, Geophysics), Emilie Pray (Treasurer, Geology), and Nolan Gamet (Secretary, Geology). The officers during the year of the award were Elana Barth (President, Geology), Breeanne Huesdens (Vice President, Geological Engineering), Emilie Pray (Treasurer, Geology), and Makala O’Donnell (Secretary, Geological Engineering).

Chad Deering, Associate Professor in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and David Adler, a Mannik & Smith Group Certified Professional Geologist (B.S. Geology ‘82), advise the Michigan Tech chapter.
Congratulations once again on a job well done. The GMES department is proud of your continued success!

Michigan Tech AIPG Student Chapter members while exploring the Eben Ice Caves. Photo courtesy of Dave Adler.


Emily Street 2021 Copper Club Scholarship Recipient

Emily Street, a fourth-year majoring in mining engineering with a minor in mathematical sciences.

Emily Street, a fourth-year mining engineering student at the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, received the prestigious, highly competitive Copper Club Lord Bagri Scholarship. Her essay, ‘The Importance of Copper in the 21st Century,’ gives the reader a passionate viewpoint, written by an outstanding, hardworking student ancestrally connected to the industry. 

The Copper Club, Inc, formed in 1944, is the leading organization for networking, educational grants, and events for those who support the copper industry. The Copper Club Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to students majoring in geoscience or other fields related to the production of copper or copper products. A $15,000 award goes to one student who shows exceptional merit demonstrated by excellent grades, with a necessity for financial aid. In letters of recommendation, Michigan Tech faculty can quote praising,  “… she will be a role model for the next-generation mining and geosciences students”, and “…Ms. Street will have a transformative impact on the mining industry as she transitions from student to professional.” A well-deserving student to receive this award, indeed. 

Emily Street, pictured, receives the highly sought-after Copper Club Lord Bagri Scholarship with her essay, ‘The Importance of Copper in the 21st Century.’

I was honored to be nominated as MTU’s representative for the Copper Club Scholarship 2021-22, and I am humbled to represent the college as a recipient of The Lord Bagri Scholarship. I am thankful to be a part of the mining engineering program at MTU and to have the opportunity to be taught by such passionate and knowledgeable industry leaders. I am currently working as a summer mine engineering intern at LafargeHolcim in Presque Isle, Michigan; I hope to use the hands-on experience I gain at the quarry this summer to further my knowledge in my senior year in the program. Attending Michigan Tech’s newly resurrected mining engineering program, while a rigorous curriculum, has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I am proud to be a student here, at what was originally the Michigan Mining School, and to be able to work as a miner in the industry that brought my family to the Keweenaw nearly one hundred years ago! – Emily Street

https://www.copperclub.org/scholarships-awards/


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!


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.