Tag: Applied Ecology

New Graduate Fellowships Lure Returning Peace Corps Volunteers

A new partnership between Michigan Tech and the US Peace Corps will enable returning Peace Corps volunteers to attend graduate school at Michigan Tech while putting their Peace Corps skills to work. Michigan Tech is one of the universities recently selected by the Peace Corps to offer new or expanded Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program graduate degrees, which include scholarships and degree-related internships in underserved American communities.

The new fellowships will support graduate degrees in biological sciences, forestry, applied ecology, forest ecology and management, forest molecular genetics and biotechnology, environmental policy and industrial archaeology. All returned Peace Corps volunteers will be eligible to apply for the Coverdell program. Currently, 12 alumni who received bachelor’s degrees at Michigan Tech are serving in the Peace Corps. They also will be eligible for the new program when they finish their service.

“Michigan Tech is extremely pleased to be selected to participate in the Coverdell Fellows Program,” said Graduate School Dean Jacqueline Huntoon. “With this program, we will continue to strengthen our collaboration with the Peace Corps, building on our existing programs for returned Peace Corps volunteers and students in our Peace Corps Master’s International programs.

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Published in Tech Today by Jenn Donovan, public relations director


ESC Graduate Travel Grants Awarded for Fall

The Ecosystem Science Center is pleased to announce the eleven graduate student travel grant awardees for fall travel to conferences within the United States and Canada.

  • Ruth Bennett (SFRES) awarded $500 to attend a workshop on the Winter Habitat Conservation of the Golden-winged Warbler in Washington, DC, Oct. 27–31 (Joe Bump, advisor)
  • Ashley Coble (Bio Sci) awarded $500 to present a talk at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco, Calif., Dec 3-7 (Amy Marcarelli, advisor)
  • Stacy Cotey (SFRES) awarded $500 to give a poster presentation at the Wildlife Society Annual Conference in Portland, Ore., Oct 13-18 (Audrey Mayer, advisor)
  • Ram Deo (SFRES) awarded $500 to give a poster presentation at the Silvilaser Conference in Vancouver, B.C., Sept 16-18 (Mike Falkowski, advisor)
  • Anna Hess (SFRES) awarded $500 to present a talk at the Entomological Society of America Annual Conference in Knoxville, Tenn., Nov 11-14 (Andrew Storer, advisor)
  • Lilli Kaarakka (SFRES) awarded $500 to give a poster presentation at the Society of American Foresters in Spokane, Wash., Oct 24-28 (Andy Burton, advisor)
  • Bryan Murray (SFRES) awarded $500 to present a talk at the Wildlife Society Annual Conference in Portland, Ore., Oct 13-18 (Chris Webster, advisor)
  • Nan Pond (SFRES) awarded $500 to present a talk at the Society of American Foresters in Spokane, Wash., Oct 24-28 (Robert Froese, advisor)
  • Karl Romanowicz (SFRES) awarded $500 to present a talk at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 3-7 (Erik Lilleskov, advisor)
  • Luis Verissimo (SFRES) awarded $500 to give a poster presentation at the Silvilaser Conference in Vancouver, B.C., Sept 16-18 (Mike Falkowski, advisor)
  • Anio Virtanen (SFRES) awarded $500 to give a poster presentation at the Society of American Foresters in Spokane, Wash., Oct 24-28 (Audrey Mayer, advisor)

New theses and dissertations available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Applied Ecology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
  • Geology
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


New theses available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Applied Ecology
  • Applied Natural Resource Economics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Policy
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Geology
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


Sea Grant Fellowship Opportunities

Sea Grant offers several fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students who are looking for:

  • An opportunity to learn more about coastal, Great Lakes and marine issues
  • A fantastic career building and networking opportunity
  • A chance to apply academic training in ecology, natural resources, policy, or law to real world issues
  • An insider view into how environmental policies are developed
  • A paid fellowship that can ease the transition from school to working life

For Graduate Students

These are paid 1-2 year fellowships that are typically pursued the year following graduation. The fellowships recruit students with a strong interest in marine and Great Lakes issues from a wide range of backgrounds, including, science, policy and law. Applications are due in late January or February.


New theses and dissertations available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Applied Ecology
  • Applied Natural Resource Economics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Forest Science
  • Geophysics
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Physics
  • Rhetoric and Technical Communication


Hands, Minds–and Trees–Across the Sea

The forests of North America are different from those in Finland and Sweden, and the management of these forest resources differs historically and culturally. But environmental and forest resources issues are no respecters of national borders and global solutions are needed in today’s global economy. So Michigan Tech’s ATLANTIS program at the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES) is preparing graduate students on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to tackle the world’s forest resources challenges.

ATLANTIS (Actions for Transatlantic Links and Academic Networks for Training and Integrated Studies) is an educational program jointly funded by the US Department of Education and the European Union. Only 16 such grants were awarded in 2008. Michigan Tech’s partner universities are North Carolina State, the University of Helsinki in Finland and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Graduate students from each university spend up to a year at a foreign partner university, as well as up to a year at their home institution, earning dual master of science degrees from both their home and host universities. The program provides for faculty exchanges as well. So far 10 Michigan Tech faculty have spent time at the Swedish or Finnish universities to establish new collaborations, and a total of 24 graduate students will earn their degrees through this program.

An Estonian Student Comes to Tech

Tõnis Tõnisson, 25, is one of the ATLANTIS graduate students. An Estonian, he was studying in a cooperative program between the Estonian University of Life Sciences and the Swedish University of Life Sciences when he heard about the ATLANTIS program.

Tõnisson’s father works in forestry, and he wants to work in forest management. More than 50 percent of his native Estonia is covered with forests. “I grew up in the forest,” he explains, “and I wanted to study abroad.”

The fact that Michigan Tech courses are taught in English was no stumbling block for Tõnisson. He has studied English for 11 years, and the courses at the Swedish University of Life Sciences were taught in English. However, “I never had to speak English before. People here speak so fast, and they use more vocabulary than I know. But everybody has been really understanding and helpful.”

Another challenge was the high academic standards at Michigan Tech. “It is very different here,” Tõnisson says. “The university’s expectations of the students are much higher. I think I am learning much more here.”

Students here also have a lot more freedom than students in Estonia or Sweden, says Tõnisson. “And I am surprised at how open the people are here. They are much more talkative and friendly.”

Living on his own in Houghton, the Estonian student plunged right into campus life, playing soccer with international students over the summer and joining a bowling league.

Tõnisson spent a semester in Sweden and one in Finland before coming to Tech in January 2011. He is doing his graduate work with Kathy Halvorsen, a professor who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. He will finish his dual master’s degree program in December and return to Estonia to complete another master’s degree for which he is already enrolled.

A Michigan Tech Student Goes to Scandinavia

Kassidy Yatso, a graduate student who also earned her Bachelor of Science in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science at Tech, spent one ATLANTIS semester at the University of Helsinki and the second semester at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. She is back on campus now, completing her master’s degree work.

Yatso learned some surprising things while she was in Scandinavia, which she shared with the Tech community through a blog. (See Abroad.) For example, “No one in Sweden stands in line,” she discovered. “You push a button, and a paper slip comes out with a queue number. A large board shows which number they are serving, so you can guesstimate when to return for service.”

She also found that Swedish postage stamps, at 12 krona–approximately $1.85–are the most expensive stamps in the world. But the Swedish postal service is much more efficient and reliable than the one in Finland, the American student says.

Yatso’s academic experiences don’t reflect Tonisson’s impression that graduate school is more demanding in the US than it is in Scandinavia. In her April 17 blog, she describes a week that included a thesis defense; three demanding assignments for an intensive, two-week silviculture course; and an all-day field trip to Snogeholm to study multiple forest management techniques and current landscape architecture trends.

She still found time and energy to hear some live music by an all-girl Swedish band at a club in Malmo. “I was absolutely blown away,” she blogged. “They are now one of my favorite bands.”

No More Funding for ATLANTIS

The ATLANTIS program, a victim of federal budget cuts, won’t be funding any new programs, although Tech has already received the funds to complete its project. But Michigan Tech is going to try to find a way to continue the joint degree program with the Scandinavian universities.

“The European-American perspective provides invaluable benefit–a global perspective–to our students and the students from overseas,” says Chandrashekhar Joshi, professor of plant molecular genetics in SFRES. Joshi, who was graduate program director for SFRES when Michigan Tech applied for funding for the transatlantic master’s program, heads ATLANTIS at Tech.

“On return from abroad, the students’ vision has changed,” he says. “They become more outgoing. They transform into leaders. They seek more interactions with others. They act like global citizens.”

Yatso enthusiastically agrees. “The ATLANTIS program changed my life,” she says, “by giving me an opportunity to learn about science, culture and myself–while earning two master of science degrees. I have learned invaluable life lessons, skills and vocabulary along the way as well. The people I have met through ATLANTIS will forever be in my life and heart.”

Joshi points out that the dual degrees that the students earn are another benefit “of tremendous value in today’s job market.”

Since ATLANTIS began in 2008 in SFRES, two other international dual-degree programs funded by the same agencies have been established at Michigan Tech. One is in rail transportation; the other is in volcanology.

by Jennifer Donovan, director, public relations
Published in Tech Today


New Theses and Dissertations Available in Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Applied Ecology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Policy
  • Forestry
  • Geology
  • Mechanical Engineering


World Water Day: Michigan Tech Helps Make a Difference

World Water Day was recently observed at Michigan Tech with a variety of events including a poster session.  Several graduate students were honored with awards including:

  • Ellis Adams, Environmental Policy
  • Jessica Billings, Environmental Engineering Science
  • Aleta Daniels, Forest Ecology and Managements
  • Jonathan Ebel, Biological Sciences
  • Danielle Haak, Biological Sciences
  • Laura Kangas, Applied Ecology
  • Mariah Maggio, Environmental Policy

Read more about the events and see photographs of the award recipients online.


Wildlife Conservation Award

The Safari Club International (SCI) Michigan Involvement Committee (MIC) is a non-profit corporation composed of representatives of each of the Michigan chapters of SCI.  The Committee coordinates collaboration between SCI, its Michigan chapters, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR); provides scholarships and grants to graduate students; and supports other wildlife conservation and education activities deemed appropriate by the organization.

The Award

Goal: To preserve and perpetuate the right to hunt and the commitment to conservation within the wildlife profession and potential future leaders of the DNR.

Purpose: To provide financial assistance to a graduate student, preferably one working on a DNR-funded university research project associated with the preservation of hunting.

Fund Financing: A minimum annual fund of $3,000 has been established by SCI MIC to finance the grant program.  Additional grants may be awarded if funding is available.  Grant amounts may vary depending upon the number of awards and the fund balance.

Award Duration: The grant will be available for use for one year between September 1 and August 31 of the next year.  An award recipient can compete for additional grants in subsequent years with other applicants.  If invited by participating chapters, each selected student will be required to visit the chapter at least once during the year of the award.

How to Apply

To Be Eligible:

1)    Student must be accepted or enrolled in a Wildlife or related discipline graduate program at a college or university in Michigan.

2)    Must be planning a career in the Wildlife Management field.

3)    Student must be familiar with hunting, hunting ethics, the role of hunting in wildlife management, and hunting’s role in society.

4)    If enrolled in a MS or MA program, it must be a thesis-based degree.

Application: There is no separate application form.  Please send a resume which outlines your background, along with three reference letters from individuals knowledgeable of your field skills and experience.  Include your name and graduate institution where enrolled on all materials submitted.  In addition, in 500 words or less, provide a response to the questions:  “Twenty years from now, what should the elements of wildlife management be, and what role do you see yourself playing in this profession?”

Selection Process: An SCI MIC committee will review application materials and select finalists.  A subcommittee will interview finalists and select the award recipient(s) by September 1, 2011.

Send all materials, by June 15, 2011 to Paul Royce, SCI-Lakeshore  Chapter, 9881 84th Avenue, Zeeland, Michigan  49464