Tag Archives: education

STEM Immersion on Isle Royale

IMG_0702 (2) (1280x853)A group of 13 Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth took part in an immersion experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and careers, May 26 to 30, 2015 on Isle Royale. The program, entitled “MAAMAADIZI II”, was co-sponsored by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Cedar Tree Institute of Marquette, the Isle Royale Institute and Michigan Tech’s Ride the Waves with General Motors Program. MAAMAADIZI, meaning “the Journey begins” in the Anishinaabe language, sought to immerse students in a wilderness environment rich in both scientific and spiritual content. A diverse community participated in the Journey, including spiritual advisors, artists, scientists, chaperones, graduate student mentors and KBIC drummers … a grand party of 32 travelers. Isle Royale National Park provided an ideal wilderness setting for this important work.

The Michigan Tech team of 6 members traveled to Isle Royale aboard the R/V Agassiz with Captain Stephen Roblee at the helm; the rest of the party came across on the MV Ranger III. Once on the island, the R/V Agassiz provided transport to campsites, ferry service for on-island field trips and served as a platform for STEM offerings. KBIC students, MTU graduate student mentors and chaperones camped for two nights at Daisy Farm, with the entire party moving to Tobin Harbor Cottages for the last two nights.

STEM Science was presented through water quality measurements (light and temperature sensors, Secchi disk transparency) and collections (plankton and bottom organisms) made in Moskey Basin and in the open lake from the R/V Agassiz. Samples were examined on board using microscopes and dissecting scopes. The STEM Science program was led by Dr. Marty Auer of Michigan Tech supported by graduate student mentors Varsha Raman, Aubrey Scott and Nathan Zgnilec.

STEM Math was presented within the context of mass and compass (on land, Jon Magnuson, Cedar Tree Institute) and vessel navigation (on the water, Stephen Roblee, MTU). Hikes to Mount Ojibway and an R/V Agassiz cruise around ice-encrusted Blake Point to a shipwreck site on the Palisades provided the venue for STEM Math offerings.

Students also participated in Art and Spirit Projects led by artist and illustrator Diana Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute. Ken Vrana, Director of the Isle Royale Institute, guided students on hikes and on field trips to Rock Harbor Lighthouse, Edisen Fishery and the Island home of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson.

The Journey was wrapped up with a Feast prepared by the Rock Harbor Lodge, a Ceremony hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Drum and an evening campfire with S’mores.

The KBIC, particularly Lori Sherman and chaperones Richard Wickstrom and Katrina Ravindran, deserves special thanks for logistical and financial support. The Isle Royale Institute contributed financial and made other contributions which greatly enriched the experience. The R/V Agassiz and Captain Stephen Roblee were made available through Ride the Waves with General Motors. Wilderness STEM experiences with KBIC youth were originated in 2013 by Jon Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute and Marty Auer of Michigan Tech and, with support from General Motors are now in their third year.

Group at Mott Island, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group at Mott Island, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group on board RV Agassiz, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group on board RV Agassiz, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group at the the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson
Group at the the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson
On board the RV Agassiz
On board the RV Agassiz

See More Photos of the STEM Immersion on Isle Royale


STEM Career Tours at Michigan Tech

STEMHigh School students came to learn about STEM Careers at Michigan Tech. Nearly 200 high school students from nine schools in the western UP spent a day at Michigan Tech, exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. They visited labs and learn about green building and low-impact design, human monitoring devices, forest insects, steam mechanics, remotely-operated vehicles, computer science, materials science and engineering, civil engineering/concrete testing, Great Lakes fish, transportation engineering and geology and mining engineering.

On Tuesday May 12, students from Jeffers High School in Adams Township spent the day at Tech learning about STEM careers. Students from Nah Tah Wahsh Public Academy in Wilson were on campus on May 13th, and on Friday the 15th the University will host students from Watersmeet High School.

Students visited a variety of science, engineering, and computer labs at Michigan Tech and participate in presentations and hands-on activities led by Michigan Tech students, engineers, and scientists to kick start students’ planning for careers in STEM. Tours were approximately from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

View some photos of the STEM Careers Tours Program at Michigan Tech

View a short video clip of a lab example learning about STEM careers

Download the PDF Flyer: STEM Career Tours at Michigan Tech

Selected Topics and Labs to Visited:

Green Building & Low Impact Design
Stream Mechanics Lab
Remotely Operated Vehicles
Computer Science
Materials Science & Engineering
Civil Engineering Concrete TestingLab
Fishy Great Lakes
Transportation Engineering
Geology & Mining Engineering
Human Monitoring Devices / Driving Simulator
Forest Insects

For more information about STEM Career Tours at Michigan Tech, contact:

Joan Chadde, Director
MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach
jchadde@mtu.edu or 906-487-3341

Made possible with funding from the Michigan STEM Partnership and coordinated by the MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach and Western U.P. Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education with assistance from the Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

STEM Tours School FLYER

Schools Sheduled (Update to May 6)

April 28 – Keweenaw Bay Alternative School and Copper Country Christian
May 4 – Lake Linden-Hubbell High School
May 5 – L’Anse High School
May 8: Dollar Bay
May 11: Bessemer
May 12: Jeffers High School
May 13: Nah Tah Wahsh
May 15: Watersmeet

STEM Career Tour
STEM Career Tour
STEM Career Tour
STEM Career Tour

Lake Superior Celebration April 23

00IMG_0298aLake Superior Celebration:
6:00-8:00pm, Thursday, April 23, 2015; Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center

Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center was the site of a celebration of Lake Superior. The event took place from 6-8 p.m. Thursday. It was free and open to the public.

There was a variety of hands-on activities, GLRC tours (green roof and other sustainable features), energy efficient homes, wind turbines and draft dodger activities for youth.

See the Photo Gallery of the Lake Superior Celebration here

Continue reading


Michigan Tech World Water Day 2015

IMG_3709Michigan Tech celebrated World Water Day on March 23, 2015. Professor Peter Goodwin presented a lecture on “River Restoration and Flood Management”. Goodwin is the director of the Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho and also served as the science director for the California Delta Program. He is the DeVlieg Presidential Professor in Ecohydraulics and Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho.

The Center for Water & Society World Water Day poster competition was held at the Great Lakes Research Center. Awards were made in two categories: Original Research (presentation of thesis or project research) and Coursework/Informational (presentation of coursework or literature-based research).

Original Research
1st place: Jennifer Fuller
Developing a Sustainable Solution to an Urgent Problem: Pharmaceuticals in the Water Cycle
2nd Place: Anika Kuczynski
Shining Light on Cladophora in the Great Lakes
3rd Place: Marcel Dijkstra
Ecosystem function in Lake Superior: The impact of “big heat” (2012) and “big chill” (2014)

Coursework/Informational
1st place: Hayden Henderson group
Decentralized Wastewater Treatment (DEWATS): San Francisco del Valle, Panama
2nd Place: Erica Coscarelli group
LEED Certification of the Van Pelt and Opie Library
3rd Place: Sarah Harttung
Hawai’ian Coral Reef Sedimentation from Industry and Its Impacts

More Details, News Articles, Photos and Video

Michigan Tech Celebrates World Water Day
Michigan Tech Celebrates World Water Day
Panel "What role will dams play in future water resource management?"
Panel “What role will dams play in future water resource management?”

Free Scientific Excursion Aboard the Agassiz at the Strawberry Festival

Free scientific excursions aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel Agassiz will be held at the Strawberry Festival, 1-5 p.m., Saturday, July 12 at Chassell Marina. “How do scientists assess the health of Lake Superior?” is the focus of the excursions.

See the Video Scientific Excursion Aboard the Agassiz – Ride the Waves with GM

The public is invited to sign up for a free 30-minute excursion by calling the Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education at 7-3341 or coming to the Chassell Marina dock on Saturday between 12:30 and 4 p.m. Spaces go quickly. On-site sign-ups begin at 12:30 p.m. with first departure at 1 p.m. Half of the spaces will be saved for onsite participants.

On each scientific excursion, a Marcel Dykstra, a Michigan Tech Great Lakes scientist, will demonstrate how sampling equipment is used to collect plankton and sediment, evaluate water clarity, temperature and turbidity, which tell us about the health of Chassell Bay. Microscopes will be on shore so participants can view the organisms. Participants will investigate the connection between land uses and the health of the Great Lakes.

Scientific excursions will depart from the Chassell Marina dock approximately every half hour. Space is limited to 15 persons per excursion (children must be at least 7 years of age and accompanied by an adult). Life jackets are available for all passengers.

Remotely-Operated-Vehicle (ROV) demonstrations will also be conducted from the Chassell Marina dock throughout the afternoon.

“Copper Country residents and visitors are encouraged to learn how scientists study the Great Lakes and what factors contribute to a healthy lake,” explains Joan Chadde, education program director. “These scientific excursions for the public have been offered at the Strawberry Festival since 2006 and have been extremely popular. Youth and adults enjoy the opportunity to interact with Great Lakes scientists and get their questions answered.”

The event is coordinated by the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. This year, the program is funded by the GM Ride the Waves Program putting more than 500 Copper Country youth and adults on the water to learn about the Great Lakes and promote STEM careers, along with support from the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society and the Chassell Lions Club.

For more information or to sign up for an excursion, call 487-3341. More information on the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative is available online.

Chassell (in 2013)
Chassell (in 2013)


2013 Lake Superior Water Festival

2013 Lake Superior Water Festival at Great Lakes Research Center on Thursday, October 17

High school students from the five western UP counties will spend today at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, learning about the Great Lakes, water research and careers they might consider in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Water Festival is sponsored by the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, based at Michigan Tech. Continue reading


After-School Science and Engineering Classes at GLRC

Michigan Tech’s Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education is inviting children in grades 1-7 to spend six Monday afternoons after school learning about science and engineering.

Classes for grades 1-3 begin Monday, Oct. 14 and run through Monday, Nov. 18. Children will design and build wind turbines and engineer animal sounds. The instructor is Betsy Tahtinen, who has a master of science in applied ecology and forest management. Continue reading


Houghton Middle School at the Great Lakes Research Center

Houghton Middle School will bring their entire 7th grade class (83 students) to the Great Lakes Research Center to experience the Agassiz research vessel, limnology lab, and several other exciting opportunities including a knapweed pull along the GLRC waterfront and using cell phone technology to do environmental monitoring More than ten Michigan Tech scientists, graduate students and staff will help lead the activities.

See more photos at WUPCSMEE


Norm Yan Presents Seminars about Environmental Stress on Lakes

Norm Yan of York University, Ontario, Canada is visiting Michigan Tech, presenting seminars and working on collaborations. On Monday September 9th , he presented “Regulators of recovery of acid and metal-contaminated lakes in Sudbury, Canada” for the Environmental Engineering Seminar Series. He also will present another seminar, 2:00pm Friday, September 13 in Dow 642 entitled “The widespread threat of calcium decline in Canadian Shield lakes.” Continue reading