GCEC 2020 – Thomas Oommen

Thomas Oommen is a professor in the geological and mining Engineering and Sciences Department and the director of the computational science and engineering PhD program here at Michigan Technological University. He is actively involved in undergraduate and graduate education, research, and service. He teaches the engineering geology course at Michigan Tech, has participated in over 8 million dollars in research grants and published over 100 peer reviewed publications. His research focuses on utilizing remotely sensed sensor data, remotely sensed data, data machine learning algorithms, and geological knowledge to solve real world problems that affect human health and safety. Beyond Michigan Tech he serves as the editorial board member of the GSA and AEG joint publication environmental and engineering geoscience. He’s vice chair of the ASCE Geo-Institute engineering geology and site characterization committee and a member of AEG technical committee on the landslides and a member of the AGU natural hazards Award Committee. He is also an ABET program evaluator for the geological engineering and geology programs.

GCEC 2020 – Thomas Oommen


GCEC 2020 – Val Gagnon

Val Gagnon is the Director of the University-Indigenous Community Partnerships at the Great Lakes Research Center as well as a Research Assistant Professor in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. Splitting her time between Michigan Tech and the Great Lakes Research Center, Val has done a lot of work for indigenous people in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

GCEC 2020 – Val Gagnon


GCEC 2020 – Dr. Caryn Heldt

Dr. Caryn L. Heldt is the Director of the Health Research Institute, Covid lab technical director, the James and Lorna Mac chair in Bioengineering, and Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. She received her bachelor’s of science in chemistry and chemical engineering for Michigan Tech in 2001. She worked for two years at BASF corporation before commencing her PhD studies. Upon receiving her PhD in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2008 under the guidance of Dr. Reuben Carbonell, she joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for her two year postdoctoral training under the guidance of Dr. George’s Belfort. In 2015 Dr. Heldt was was awarded a National Science Foundation Career Award to study virus surface chemistry for research. Her lab is focused on the purification removal and activation and detection of viruses and gene therapy vectors.

GCEC 2020 – Dr. Caryn Heldt


GCEC 2020 – Meghan Kirkwood Gallery Exhibit

Hero City: Documentary Photography by Meghan Kirkwood features a collection of silver gelatin and inkjet photographs made as part of a documentary project about modern Mongolia and its capital city, Ulaanbaatar. Kirkwood’s images of modern Mongolia capture the unique and storied history of its capital city, and its transition through economic and cultural change – and the rich and thriving culture that animates this young Asian nation. This exhibit is presented in collaboration with Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors college and the D80 Conference, where Kirkwood gave the keynote address.

GCEC 2020 – Meghan Kirkwood Gallery Exhibit


GCEC 2020 – Tech Tutors


Tech Tutors was established to help meet the evolving needs of kids and families in the Keweenaw during the COVID-19 crisis. Their goal is to provide resources for K-12 students to receive free virtual tutoring from the crazy smart students of Michigan Tech while exploring new topics in science, engineering, and the humanities and learn about career pathways.

GCEC 2020 – Tech Tutors


GCEC 2020 – Interview with David Shull


David Shull joined handshake in 2014 as one of the founding team members. Since then he has gone on to the handshake’s University growth in the United States from five universities in 2004 To over 1000 universities, 17 million students and 500,000 global employers into 2020. Today David is leading handshake’s international expansion efforts in the United Kingdom and Europe. With a degree in Computer Science from Michigan Tech, David is passionate about the intersection of technology and education, and believes together we can be a powerful engine for social mobility.

GCEC 2020 – David Shull


GCEC 2020 – Copper Country Coders

The Copper Country Coders is a program that aims to provide education in Computer Science topics to local middle and high school students. Members of the help to put on weekly sessions that introduce these local students to new computing topics and programming concepts, which helps to develop their knowledge and skills in Computer Science.

GCEC 2020 – Copper Country Coders


GCEC 2020 – Interview with John Kusku

John is a math and physics teacher at the Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest in Wixom, Michigan. He teaches high school juniors and seniors from several different school districts in Southwest Oakland County. He is legally blind due to a degenerative hereditary eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. He earned his master’s degree in mathematics in 2009 from Western Michigan University. John’s five year-old son, George, is in first grade and John’s wife, Jessica, is a teacher of children who are blind or visually impaired. John is a Paralympic silver medalist in the sport of goalball.

GCEC 2020 – Interview with John Kusku