Category: Students

Addison Goecker Wins Poster Award at AIPG Meeting

Addison Goecker, an applied geophysics senior at GMES, presented her research at the AIPG Michigan Section end-of-year meeting in Ann Arbor on December 8, 2022. Addison’s poster “Tectonically Versus Magmatically Accommodated Extension at Different Mid-Ocean Ridges and Ridge Segment Offsets” won her $500.00 in the student poster contest. Addison worked on this research during her summer internship at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (Honolulu) with Prof. Garrett Apuzen-Ito and Dr. Jana Schierjott. Congratulations, Addison!

Addison Goecker at her award-winning poster. 
Addison Goecker discusses her poster with Chuck Graff (MS Geology ‘91), a Senior Geologist with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
Addison Goecker (right) with David Adler (Geology ‘82), the industry sponsor of the GMES AIPG Student Chapter, and Sienna Meekhof (Mining Engineering ‘21).

A Note from the Chair

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Alumni,

Greetings from the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Tech! I hope that this newsletter finds you well and in good spirits.

The second half of the year 2022 has brought our Department new challenges, but also achievements and successes. 

Professor Aleksey Smirnov, Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

First and foremost, I am proud to report that, after some hiatus, we inducted eight (!) new members to our Academy of Geological and Mining Engineers and Scientists. I hope you will join me in congratulating David Adler ‘82, Daniel Farrell ’60, Mary Herrmann-Foley ’83, Terre Lane ’82, Julie (Varichak) Marinucci ’02, Richard Saccany ’71, Brian Schwanitz ’77, and Todd Stone ’85! The Induction Ceremony, held on October 14, was a success and well-attended. In particular, we were happy to see the current academy members Catherine Aimone-Martin, Suzanne Beske-Diehl and Jimmy Diehl, William Brice, Karl Burgher, Gerald Carlson, Richard Gray, Catherine Dummer McRae, and Bill Rose. The festivities continued the next day with a Director’s Tour of the Mineral Museum and apple pressing at Professor John Gierke’s farm. Everyone had a good time. I would like to praise Brittany Buschell, our Department Coordinator, whose diligent work was instrumental in the success of this event. I intend to preserve the biennial cycle of the Academy from now on.

The success of our department is ultimately measured by the success of our students, and it is no secret that we’ve been blessed with more than our fair share of capable, dedicated, enthusiastic individuals who’ve been very successful in their classes and professional development. Just to give you a small sampling of these successes—our student chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists won the nationwide Student Chapter of the Year Award, not just one time, but three times in a row! Our mining engineering senior, Jake Maxon won the highly prestigious national Lord Bagri Scholarship Award from the Copper Club. It’s the second time in a row the award goes to our students.

In addition, our geology majors, Elliz McClelland and Samuel Johnson received the DeCleene Memorial Scholarship awarded by the Copper Country Rock and Mineral Club (CCRMC). Our graduate students get awards, too. For example, Beth Bartel was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and the prestigious Smithsonian Institute Fellowship. Beth was also featured in the book, Quake Chasers: 15 Women Rocking Earthquake Science—check it out!

Increasing undergraduate and graduate enrollment to full capacity is one challenge that remains. We have been active in our recruitment efforts. We recently developed an articulation agreement with the Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) for our Geology and Applied Geophysics programs. We plan to complete similar agreements for our Geological Engineering and Mining Engineering degree programs soon. I am especially grateful to Luke Bowman, research professor and recruitment director, for his meticulous and efficient work in developing these initiatives. So far we have been able to withstand national enrollment trends, even slightly increasing our numbers this year. But much more remains to be done. 

We are dedicated to providing students with the greatest possible opportunity to succeed—something we can only do with the best faculty, staff, equipment, facilities, and scholarship opportunities. Your generosity makes our goal of providing truly excellent undergraduate and graduate experiences a reality, as we educate the scientists and engineers of the future, while still meeting the needs of today’s employers.

We especially need your help to support incoming and current students. This can be done in a variety of ways:  funding undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships; helping us to incorporate modern instrumentation and software in the classroom and field; developing new opportunities for the professional development of our students; and extending our efforts to offer a cutting-edge, quantitative, digital-age curriculum. You can find more information here, or contact me via email, at asmirnov@mtu.edu.

On behalf of all of our students, faculty, and staff, I want to express our deepest gratitude to those of you who have provided support to our department, by sharing your experience and expertise, providing professional opportunities to our students, or offering monetary and logistical support. As always, we welcome all new ideas and inquiries, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Alumni and friends are always welcome in person, too! Feel free to stop by the department office (room 630) on the 6th floor of the Dow Building whenever you are in Houghton. We would be very pleased to meet with you and arrange a tour of the teaching and research laboratories during your visit. Meanwhile, I invite you to stay connected to the department via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and our website.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Aleksey Smirnov
Professor and Chair
Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Pictured here: Canyon Falls, L’Anse, Michigan

Congratulations Graduates!

Commencement at Michigan Tech–it’s coming up on December 17, 2023

The Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences would like to congratulate our Class of 2022 Summer and Fall graduates. We are proud of you and wish you the very best of luck in your next chapter. 

Summer 2022

  • Brock Howell – MS Geological Engineering, advised by Dr. John Gierke
Brock Howell
Brock Howell
  • Nelmary Rodriguez Sepulveda – MS Geology, advised by Dr. Simon Carn
Nel Rodriguez Sepulveda

Fall 2022

  • Poorva Kadrolli – MS Mining Engineering, advised by Dr. Snehamoy Chatterjee
Poorva Kadrolli
Poorva Kadrolli
  • Emily (Street) Voght – BS Mining Engineering
Emily (Street) Voght
Emily (Street) Voght
  • Fletcher McGuire – BS Applied Geophysics
Fletcher McGuire
  • Austin Riggs – BS Applied Geophysics
Austin Riggs

Beth Bartel Receives the NAGT Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Beth Bartel, a geology doctoral student at the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences Department, receives the NAGT Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. NAGT recognizes outstanding teaching assistants in geoscience education.

“Teaching at Tech has been a fantastic learning experience. GMES assigned me to courses I could contribute to from my particular academic and professional experience—and yet, I have learned how much more I still have to learn in these subjects, through the planning of courses, the lead instructors, grading, and the students,” Bartel says.

“Coming into my PhD, I was curious whether I would enjoy teaching a semester-long course after having only recently taught short courses and workshops,” she adds.

“I love it!

“I appreciate being able to support students, come up with creative ways to engage students, and take time to explore material together.”

Beth Bartel pictured at Fuego Volcano, Guatemala.

MTU Students Receive DeCleene Scholarships from the Copper Country Rock and Mineral Club

Pictured left to right: Elliz McClelland, Sam Johnson, and George Schriver, president, Copper Country Rock and Mineral Club.

Geology majors Elliz McClelland, a senior, and Sam Johnson, a junior, were awarded the DeCleene Memorial Scholarship by the Copper Country Rock and Mineral Club (CCRMC). This scholarship is for students in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Tech who have demonstrated academic achievement, and best exemplify the blending of mineralogy and mineral collecting as both a hobby and an educational pursuit.

This fund was established in memory of Nathan DeCleeene, a geological engineering student and an active member of the CCRMC.

Emily Street on Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Scholarships

Emily Street
Emily Street

Undergraduate Emily Street (mining engineering) was quoted by Mining Engineering Online, the official publication of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME), in a story about the impact of SME scholarships on the recipients and their futures in the mining industry.

In April, Street was awarded two academic scholarships by SME: the SMEF/MMSA Presidential Scholarship and the Gerald V. Henderson Memorial Scholarship.

She heard about SME scholarships through SME e-mails and through her advisor, Dr. Nathan Manser. “Dr. Manser always offers to write recommendations and encourages students to join SME,” said Street.

Related

Jacob Maxon Receives Lord Bagri Scholarship

Jake Maxon pictured at Adventure Mine

Jake Maxon, a fourth-year mining engineering student at the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, has received the prestigious Lord Bagri Scholarship from The Copper Club for the 2022-23 academic year. This $15,000 scholarship was endowed in honor of Lord Bagri, who was the longest-serving chairman in the history of the London Metal Exchange, and unfortunately passed away in 2017. Through this program, the copper industry identifies and recognizes exceptional individuals who have excelled in the study of mining and metallurgy.

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 producing 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.

Michigan Tech wins 2022 AIPG Student Chapter of the Year Award

Large group of students wearing hard hats outside of a mine entrance.
MTU AIPG Student Chapter/Geology Club Group at Quincy Mine Adit in Hancock. See the Annual Report for 2021-2022.

The 2022 American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Student Chapter of the Year Award goes to Michigan Technological University. This is the third year running for Michigan Tech!

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. Some of the recent activities included a resume roast, Quincy Mine Tour, grad school presentation, poster meeting, Meet a Professional, Eben Ice Caves Trip, and group carpool to Central Michigan University for ASBOG Examination.

The 2021/2022 AIPG Student Chapter Officers: President, Elana Barth; Vice President Olivia Salvaggio; Secretary Nolan Gamet; and Treasurer Emilie Pray.

The 2022/2023 AIPG Student Chapter Officers: President Grace Ojala; Vice President Max Strange; Secretary Hannah Miller-Young; and Treasurer Emilie Pray.

The Chapter Sponsor is David Adler, CPG-11377, a Mannik & Smith Group Certified Professional Geologist (BS Geology ‘82). David Adler, inducted into the GMES Academy in October, has been awarded the AIPG Presidential Certificate of Merit for excellent contributions to the AIPG Michigan Section as chairman of the Michigan Section CPG application process.

The Chapter’s Faculty Sponsor is Chad Deering, associate professor in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

The AIPG Michigan Section President is Mellisa Powers-Taylor and the AIPG Michigan Section Liaison is Cody Stoddard.

Congratulations once again on a job well done. The GMES department is proud of your continued success!

GMES Student Travels with Women in Physics

Geophysics Ph.D. student Gabriel Ahrendt recently participated in an outreach activity at the Gwinn HS organized by Michigan Tech Women in Physics. On April 28th, he and the six other chapter members visited Daniel Kelpela’s junior and senior physics classes to give presentations on each member’s research and their particular concentrations in physics— including geophysics, atmospheric physics, applied physics, materials science, and astrophysics.

Gabriel presented his research on using rock magnetism for mineral exploration, structural mapping, and tectonic studies using paleomagnetism, as well as the timing of the Earth’s early inner core formation.

Gabriel Ahrendt presenting to high school students.

The 70 high schoolers received a basic rundown of the researchers’ projects, including a basic synopsis of the topic, methodology, and raison d’etre. Here, the students received some insight into applied and theoretical physics research such as magnetic geodynamo,  simulations of ice nucleation and cloud seeding, phone battery design and production of synthetic magnets, studies on the effect of airborne particulates on climate, and the search for dark energy. 

During the demonstrations, the students were able to ask more personal questions of the researchers and share their interests after finishing high school. A few showed interest in attending Michigan Tech for geology and geophysics!

After the presentations, the students walked around to 10 different demonstrations of basic physical principles ranging from concepts like static friction — where two students tried to rip apart two phonebooks connected by having their pages intercalated,  to concepts like resonance, where they made water vibrate through the audible properties of a brass bowl. Other demos included showing optical principles of diffraction through laser pointers diffracting off of CDs and DVDs, and conservation of momentum while spinning. Gabriel presented principles of rock magnetism by differentiating magnetic minerals by measuring their susceptibility and physical properties. 

Gabriel’s Ph.D. research is supported by the USA National Science Foundation and the US Geological Survey. He is advised by Dr. Aleksey Smirnov.  

Pictured left to right, back to front:
Tong Gao, Elise Rosky, Oindabi Mukherjee, Sushree Dash, Rita Wilson, James Turkovich, Shreya Joshi, Gabriel Ahrendt, Miraj Kayastha

Congratulations Spring 2022 Graduates

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


Rachel Heatherington

Rachel Hetherington, Ph.D. Geology, advised by Chad Deering

Currently working as a coordinator in Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, Rachel plans to enjoy no longer being a student and see what opportunities arise along the way. When asked what part of attending MTU has been the most memorable, Rachel says it’s been the people and connections she’s made. Plus, she met her husband here!


Emily Gochis

Emily Gochis, Ph.D. Geology, advised by John Gierke

Emily serves as the Western UP MiSTEM Network Director and the Program Director for the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative- serving the five-county region of the WUP (Houghton, Baraga, Ontonagon). For the time being, she’s continuing with that work. Emily had this to share when asked what’s been the most memorable part of her time here, “GMES is a great family. I appreciate the opportunities to interact with the students and faculty both in and out of school. I also enjoyed how connected the different departments and colleges are on campus.” 


Abi Raetz

Abi Raetz, M.S. Geological Engineering, advised by John Gierke

After graduation, Abi will be working as a design engineer for Sustainable Streams, LLC, designing treatments for rivers, wetlands, and stormwater systems. Being a member of the Mont. Ripley Ski Patrol has been a consistent highlight of her time at MTU.


Jordan Ewing

Jordan Ewing earns a Master’s in Data Science on the way toward his Ph.D. in Computational Science and Engineering under the advising of Dr. Thomas Oommen.

His research work is in machine learning and remote sensing of soils for mobility, autonomy, and terramechanics applications. He has also received the SMART Scholarship and will continue on with his sponsoring facility after completing his PhD in Computational Science and Engineering.


Breeanne Heusdens pictured with a calcite vein in the Keweenaw

Breeanne Heusdens, M.S. Geological Engineering, advised by Radwin Askari

The second degree Breeanne has earned from the GMES department; her master’s comes after a bachelor’s in applied geophysics she earned in the spring of ’21. Breeannee leaves us to join the workforce in a geologist position with BLN.


Josh Breggar

Josh Breggar, M.S. Geology, advised by Luke Bowman

After graduation, Josh will be working as the Minerals and Geology Assistant and Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The most memorable part of attending MTU for Josh has been all of the explorations that he’s been able to do as there are so many great beaches for rock hunting and trails for hiking up here.


Kassidy O’Connor, MS Geophysics, advised by Thomas Oommen

After graduation, Kassidy will be moving to New Jersey to work as a geologist for Arcadis. Winter Carnival goes down as one of her most memorable experiences while here.

Kassidy O’Connor

Jacob Bonessi, MS Geology, advised by Chad Deering


Olivia Salvaggio stands on top of Mont Ripley

Olivia Salvaggio, B.S. Applied Geophysics

Olivia hopes to become a field geophysicist and is currently looking at options to complete her goal. Whether graduate school or a job, she knows she is well equipped for any opportunity that comes her way. The Michigan Tech community has been the most memorable part of her experience while studying here.

Cade Johnson

Cade Johnson, B.S. Mining Engineering

After graduation, Cade will be working for US Steel at Keetac in Northern Minnesota as a mining engineer in their development program. He enjoyed the events that the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration allowed him to attend. These include the Salt Lake City MineExchange, the Northern Minnesota Mining Conference and mine tours in the UP.


Ryan Schwiderson

Ryan Schwiderson, B.S. Geology

After graduation, Ryan plans to move to Novi, Michigan where he will work for a leading international consulting and engineering firm, Wood PLC. “The most memorable part of attending MTU has been any and everything that has taken me into the Keweenaw’s great outdoors. Between field classes, athletics, winter carnival, or just adventuring with friends. People always tell you how beautiful nature is up here but you don’t truly believe or understand them until you see it for yourself.” – Ryan


Justin Ketola, B.S. Geological Engineering


Matt Kummeth, B.S. Geology


Cooper Osgood, B.S. Geology


Lila Carden, B.S. Geological Engineering


Cole Anderson, B.S. Mining Engineering


Olivia Salvaggio leads the way followed by Lila Carden, Justin Ketola, Hayden Risko, Cooper Osgood, and Ryan Schwiderson.