Author: Debra Charlesworth

Graduate School Represents Michigan Tech at MAGS

The Graduate School recently represented Michigan Tech at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) annual meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from April 6-8. Dean Will Cantrell, Melissa Baird (SS/GS), Debra Charlesworth (GS), Anna McClatchy (Dean of Students/GS), and PhD candidate in chemistry Priyanka Kadav attended the meeting.

Baird attended the New Graduate Administrators Workshop, providing graduate deans from across the Midwest the opportunity to network and discuss how to best support graduate education. Charlesworth and McClatchy presented an oral session titled “Bridging the Gap: Holistic Graduate Student Support at Michigan Tech.” They provided an interactive session for the attendees to learn from each other as well as Michigan Tech about support resources for graduate students. Finally, Kadav represented Michigan Tech in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Her presentation was titled “Capture and Release (CaRe): A novel protein purification technique.” Her slide and a picture of her group can be found on the Graduate School Newsblog.

MAGS sponsors several competitions to recognize graduate student and graduate school accomplishments; please consider nominating your outstanding students when nominations are open!

MTU Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Two Michigan Tech graduate students, Tessa Steenwinkel and Tyler LeMahieu, have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, and one undergraduate student, Jenna Brewer, has been given an honorable mention.

The oldest STEM-related fellowship program in the United States, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a prestigious award that recognizes exceptional graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines early in their career and supports them through graduate education. NSF-GRFP fellows are an exceptional group; 42 fellows have become Nobel Laureates and about 450 fellows are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 stipend for each fellow and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for the fellow’s institution. Besides financial support for fellows, the GRFP provides opportunities for research in national laboratories and international research.

The Graduate School is proud of these students for their outstanding scholarship. These awards highlight the quality of students at Michigan Tech, the innovative work they have accomplished, the potential for leadership and impact in science and engineering that the country recognizes in these students and the incredible role that faculty play in students’ academic success.

Tessa Steenwinkel

Steenwinkel is a biochemistry and molecular biology M.S. student under advisor Thomas Werner (BioSci). She has been studying the influence of nutrition on the interplay of fertility, fecundity and longevity in Drosophila. In the long term, she plans to focus on medicinal research and how genetic regulation plays a role in infertility

Werner writes: “Tessa is the best student I have ever had the pleasure to mentor in my lab. During her undergraduate and accelerated M.S. years, she won nine research awards and published 10 research papers and two books with me. I am extremely happy (but not surprised) that she won the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Her newest success proves that I was not mistaken in my choice to name a new fruit fly species in her honor last year, which is named ‘Amiota tessae.'”

Tyler LeMahieu

LeMahieu is an environmental engineering M.S. student under advisor Cory McDonald. LeMahieu’s proposal was titled, “Understanding Wild Rice Site Suitability in a Changing Climate.”

LeMahieu writes: “I plan to dedicate my career to bridging gaps between the scientific body and land managers. I would like to manage public and rural lands for the farmer, the logger and the hunter while managing those same lands for improved water and ecological health into perpetuity. Because fundamentally, rural land managers have the same goal in mind as those studying the environment — a useful, productive and sound ecosystem which will support and be supported by the next generation. That common ground is not always evident to both parties, but I am equipped to act as an intermediary with a foot in both worlds.”

Jenna Brewer

Brewer is a senior undergraduate student from Grand Rapids studying wildlife ecology and management under advisor Jared Wolfe. She plans to continue her education at Michigan Tech, pursuing a graduate degree this fall. Her research aims to develop an acoustic signal to deter birds from potential collision hazards such as city buildings during flight, effectively mitigating bird deaths. After graduate school, she hopes to become an avian ecologist, contributing to projects that focus on migration science.

Wolfe writes: “Jenna’s enthusiastic study of songbird ecology and conservation has long been recognized by her supervisors and peers; now that same passion has been recognized by the National Science Foundation. Faculty at CFRES are incredibly proud of Jenna’s accomplishment!”

Priyanka Kadav represents Michigan Tech in regional 3MT competition

Priyanka Kadav recently represented Michigan Tech in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) annual meeting. The MAGS meeting was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from April 6-8, 2022. Priyanka is a PhD candidate in Chemistry advised by Dr. Tarun Dam.

Prior to representing Michigan Tech at MAGS, she earned the top prize at Michigan Tech’s 3MT competition. The Graduate Student Government sponsors a local 3MT competition each fall. Each university in our region was invited to send one representative to the MAGS annual meeting.

Her presentation was titled, “Capture and Release (CaRe): A novel protein purification technique.” The Graduate School is proud of her accomplishments and how well she represented Michigan Tech!

Priyanka Kadav's slide representing her dissertation.
Priyanka Kadav’s slide for her 3MT presentation describing the protein purification technique she is developing in her dissertation.
Priyanka Kadav (far left) with her 3MT competitors and judges.

Nominations Sought for KCP Future Faculty Fellowships

Applications are being accepted for the KCP Future Faculty Fellowship, a program funded by the State of Michigan.  The purpose of the King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship Program is to increase the pool of academically and economically disadvantaged candidates pursuing faculty teaching careers in post-secondary education.  

Funding may begin in summer or fall of 2022. Complete applications received by 4pm on February 24, 2022 will receive priority for consideration. Pending availability of funds, applications received through 4pm on April 12, 2022 will be considered on a rolling basis.

Applicants will complete the following steps:

Changes for this cycle of competition are as follows:

  • Michigan Tech is requiring use of a standardized budget template for the budget summary requested in the application.
  • If proof of US Citizenship at the time of application, one of the following must be provided to the Graduate School prior to an award being made:
    • US Passport, Birth Certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the US, Certification of Report of Birth, or Certificate of Citizenship issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. 
  • US Passport, Birth Certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the US, Certification of Report of Birth, or Certificate of Citizenship issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

KCP fellowships provide students up to $20,000 (MS students) or $35,000 (PhD students) to pursue their degrees.  Funds may be used to support students, including faculty and staff, pursuing degrees at Michigan Tech.  For Michigan Tech students, the Graduate School and nominating department must also contribute matching funds to help support the student.

Complete information about eligibility criteria and materials needed for an application is available on our web page. Please note that applications will be submitted through the MILogin Citizens Portal. Questions about eligibility or the application procedure can be directed to Dr. Debra Charlesworth.

Let’s Talk About it: Facilitating Difficult Conversations for Graduate Students

Are you a graduate student interested in developing skills that will assist you in facilitating difficult conversations? Please join us on February 2, 2022 from 1-2:30 p.m. for Level 1 of a Facilitating Difficult Conversations workshop.

This in-person workshop is open to all graduate students. The workshop will provide foundational information and practice for handling uncomfortable work and/or peer situations in a respectful and professional manner. ​Level 2 of Facilitating Difficult Conversations will be held on a future date.

​The number of participants is limited to facilitate discussion and promote physical distancing, so please complete the registration form to save your spot. You will receive an email reminder before the event which will confirm the location. 

For more information, contact Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School at ddc@mtu.edu.

Reasons to take a break

As the fall semester comes to a close, this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education provides some good advice about why we should take a real break over the holidays and some concrete things that are attainable to ensure 2022 starts off well. A free account might be required to view the article; it’s worth your time to gain access to a wide variety of helpful articles and news.

The Graduate School wishes you the very best for a happy and healthy new year. If you need help managing the stress associated with obtaining a graduate degree, please reach out to Dr. Anna McClatchy or Dr. Debra Charlesworth. We are here to help you achieve your goals.

Safety protocol changes

Because we are seeing an increase in cases, both on campus and in the local community, we are returning to the Health and Safety Level protocols that were in place at the start of the fall semester. Beginning Monday, October 25, face coverings will be required indoors on campus, with the exception of the SDC and Gates Tennis Center, where face coverings remain recommended for all. You are not required to wear a face covering when alone in an enclosed space. Please refer to our Health and Safety Levels for additional information. 

Vaccine requirements for graduate student employees

To comply with requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, all Michigan Tech student employees — including Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Teaching Instructors, and graduate hourly employees — must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exception prior to January 10, 2022.

More detailed information regarding vaccination and exception requirements is included below and on the MTU Flex website. Please send your questions about any of these topics to mtuflex@mtu.edu

Vaccination Timing

All employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exception by January 10, 2022. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Please note that the Pfizer vaccine doses are given 21 days apart and the Moderna doses are given 28 days apart. Vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are also acceptable under CDC guidance. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, and doses are available at most pharmacies and health care providers. Please visit the Copper Country Strong website for information about where and how to get vaccinated in the Western Upper Peninsula. 

Vaccination Documentation

Under the federal requirements, employees will need to show proof of their vaccination status. We are building a confidential process employees can use to provide this proof, either electronically or in person, and which Michigan Tech will use to review that documentation. We will provide more information as soon as we are able. 

Exception from Vaccination

Employees with documented medical reasons for being unvaccinated may be entitled to a disability accommodation excepting them from the vaccination mandate. Medical exceptions can be requested by contacting Michigan Tech’s ADA Coordinator at adacoordinator@mtu.edu. Information and a form will be sent to employees for completion, and documentation will be required from a medical provider.

Employees with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prevents them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine may be entitled to an accommodation excepting them from the vaccination mandate. Accommodation requests based on a religious belief, practice, or observance should be made using the religious exception form. When completed, this form should be submitted to Michigan Tech General Counsel Sarah Schulte at shschult@mtu.edu.

All accommodation requests are confidential. In the event that a request is granted, only those individuals who need to know of the accommodation will be informed of it. In the event that an accommodation request is denied, it will not be shared beyond those performing the review, except as requested by the individual seeking the exception. Employees who receive a vaccination exception may be required to comply with alternative health and safety protocols. 

All employees need to be fully vaccinated or have an accommodation in place prior to January 10, 2022. Human Resources will work with employees who have challenges with those requirements. 

Please send your questions about any of these topics to mtuflex@mtu.edu

Nominations sought for KCP Future Faculty Fellowships

Applications will be sought in mid-November for KCP Future Faculty Fellowships, a program funded by the State of Michigan.  The purpose of the King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship Program is to increase the pool of academically and economically disadvantaged candidates pursuing faculty teaching careers in post-secondary education.  Funding may begin in spring 2022, pending timely opening of the portal by the State.

Prospective applicants should complete the following steps before the portal reopens:

Once the portal opens in mid-November, applicants will have approximately 1-2 weeks to submit their application (step 4). The time to submit for spring funding will be short so that we can complete the review process in time to award funding for spring 2022.

KCP fellowships provide students up to $20,000 (MS students) or $35,000 (PhD students) to pursue their degrees.  Funds may be used to support students, including faculty and staff, pursuing degrees at Michigan Tech.  For Michigan Tech students, the Graduate School and nominating department must also contribute matching funds to help support the student.

Complete information about eligibility criteria and materials needed for an application is available on our web page. Please note that applications will be submitted through the MILogin Citizens Portal. Questions about eligibility or the application procedure can be directed to Dr. Debra Charlesworth.

Copyright Workshop for Graduate Students

What’s copyright and what does it have to do with your dissertation? Do you need permission to use someone else’s figure or image, or an article you wrote? Should you make your thesis open access? And what is a Creative Commons license? Get the answers to these and other questions at the library workshop: “Copyright and Your Dissertation, Thesis, or Master’s Report.”

In this workshop, you’ll learn the role U.S. copyright law plays in writing and publishing your report, thesis or dissertation. We will explore the legal use of copyrighted material, publishing agreements and Creative Commons licensing, and the role of Michigan Tech’s institutional repository Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech. After this workshop, you will be prepared to make informed decisions about using copyrighted material and the publishing options for your dissertation, thesis or master’s report.

Join us on Oct. 14 at noon in the Van Pelt and Opie Library, Room 244. Registration is required.