Day: September 13, 2012

Graduate Students Invited to Participate in Safe Place Program

With the increased enrollment of students who openly identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (GLBTQ), the Michigan Tech Safe Place Program has been redesigned to be a comprehensive and in-depth resource to better prepare faculty and staff to address the needs of these students.

The revamped training program addresses a wide range of terms that GLBTQ students use to define their identities, issues that GLBTQ students often deal with during the coming-out process, concerns that GLBTQ students face both in and out of the classroom, ways that faculty and staff can create inclusive classroom and office environments, where faculty and staff can refer students who need to report harassment and the on- and off-campus resources available to students.

Faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate student employees are invited to participate in the program. The fall 2012 training times and the online registration form are available at Safe Place.

Published in Tech Today

Attracting Underrepresented Graduate Students: GEM GRAD Lab This Saturday

Rod Carter credits his graduate education at Michigan Tech for the strong problem-solving skills it takes to succeed at his job: high-level materials research for Boeing. A research and technology engineer, Carter was the first African American to earn a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Tech, in 2008.

During an all-day seminar at Michigan Tech on Saturday, Sept. 15, Carter will talk about the doors that graduate education opened for him. Called the GEM GRAD Lab, the meeting addresses a critical shortfall in US engineering and scientific talent, focusing specifically on recruiting more underrepresented students into graduate programs. GRAD stands for Getting Ready for Advanced Degrees.

“Students will leave the GRAD event with a definite plan on how to apply and gain funding, and hear about real-life research and internship experiences,” says Marcus Huggans, senior director of external relations for the National Consortium for Graduate degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc., sponsor of the program. “GEM appreciates Michigan Tech’s Graduate School leadership to bring this workshop to students in the Upper Peninsula.”

Jacque Smith, Michigan Tech Graduate School director of marketing, explains: “It’s all part of an even larger goal of creating a pipeline for this talent to move on to corporations and organizations after receiving their graduate degrees.”

A major component of GEM is fellowships for Master of Science in engineering students or PhD students in engineering or science. The GEM fellowships include full tuition, summer internships and stipends.

His GEM fellowship has made all the difference to Sterling Prince, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering. “The GEM Fellowship has been a blessing to my life,” says Prince. “It has strengthened my decision and given me confidence to achieve a doctorate in electrical engineering. It has provided the financial support I needed for my graduate program, allowing me to dedicate my time to my studies rather than working. The program has also provided me with the opportunity to work at a national laboratory, an experience that allowed me to see that I enjoy the area of scientific research and want to pursue it in my future.”

In addition to Carter, Prince and two other current Michigan Tech GEM fellows and PhD candidates–James Alexander and Tayloria Adams–will speak at Saturday’s seminar. Other speakers include Huggans; Patty Lopez, a component design engineer at Intel; and Howard G. Adams, founder and president of H. G. Adams and Associates, a consulting and training firm. Michigan Tech’s Associate Provost for Graduate Education Jackie Huntoon and Jodi Lehman, coordinator of proposal and fellowship development for sponsored program enhancement, will also speak.

More than 100 of the nation’s top universities, many Fortune 500 companies, and numerous national laboratories support GEM, which began in 1976. Since then, more than 3,000 GEM Fellows have gone on to successful careers. Michigan Tech has participated in GEM since the 1990s.

Registration for the free event starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Great Lakes Research Center.

Change in Leadership at Peace Corps Master’s International Program

Professor Blair Orr (SFRES) is stepping down as director of Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program, the nation’s largest. Orr will be replaced by Lecturer Kari Henquinet (SS).

“I am very sorry that Blair will no longer be working with the Graduate School on PCMI and related topics,” said Jackie Huntoon, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “His dedication to the PCMI program has been remarkable. Blair has been an outstanding leader and has helped the University attract students who might not have considered Michigan Tech, if it were not for the PCMI program. In addition, he has helped the University attract and better serve other students who have contributed time and effort in service of the United States. The National Service Graduate Tuition Fellowship, which is available to groups of students, including honorably discharged military veterans, was developed under Orr’s guidance, with members of the Air Force and Army ROTC.”

Orr is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Lesotho from 1978 to 1981. Orr’s familiarity with the Peace Corps helped Michigan Tech and its students to negotiate agreements and find appropriate placements around the world.

As the new Michigan Tech PCMI campus director, Henquinet will work with the Graduate School to oversee existing PCMI programs and assist in the development of new ones. She will serve as the primary point of contact at Michigan Tech for the Peace Corps. Henquinet earned her PhD in Anthropology from Michigan State, and her research is in the area of international development. Henquinet has been working with PCMI students from across campus for several years, and she will report to the dean of the Graduate School and represent the PCMI programs on the Graduate Faculty Council.

“Kari’s prior involvement with the PCMI programs and students from across campus will be invaluable as she helps the University maintain its record of excellence in this aspect of our graduate offerings,” said Huntoon. “I look forward to working with Kari in her new role.”

Currently there are 67 students from eight different disciplines enrolled in the PCMI program at Michigan Tech.

Published in Tech Today