Celebrating Our Spring 2024 Graduates!

Pavlis Honors College graduation medallion

The Pavlis Honors College would like to celebrate the accomplishments of graduating seniors, who chose to take advantage of all that Michigan Tech has to offer and challenge themselves inside and outside the classroom.  These students reflect our core values by being authentic, building relationships with each other, and being open to learning through new experiences. These students dove headfirst into everything Michigan Tech had to offer and they’ve shown what it means to be genuine, make friends, and embrace ambiguity. Their hard work and dedication have truly paid off, and we couldn’t be prouder!

  • Gina Adragna
    • Major: Cybersecurity
    • Concentration: System and Network Security
    • Minor: Writing
    • Involvement: RedTeam, Hillside Place Association (HPA), Resident Assistant, and Teaching Assistant
  • Lillian Baker
    • Major: Exercise Science
    • Minor: Psychology & Pre-Health Professions
    • Involvement: Mont Ripley Ski Patrol, Athletic Training Student Aid, Well-being Peer Ambassador, PHAT RSO, and Well-being Advocate RSO
  • Arlethia Bell
    • Major: Environmental Engineering
    • Involvement: National Society of Black Engineers, Black Students Association, Green Campus Enterprise, Student Success Coaching
  • Justin Carlson
    • Major: Computer Science
    • Minor: Mathematical Sciences
    • Involvement: Robotics Systems Enterprise: Autodrive II challenge, Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium Committee, and Broomball
  • Alyssa Church
    • Major: Human Biology & Anthropology
    • Minor: French & Historical Studies
    • Involvement: SURF recipient, Mont Ripley Ski Patrol, First Chair Alto Saxophone-Superior Wind Symphony, Huskies Pep Band
  • Jordan Craven
    • Major: Management Information Systems
    • Minor: Computer Science
    • Involvement: Varsity Track and Field Athlete, Women in Computer Science Organization, CEO Club, Husky Innovate
  • Jacqui Foreman
    • Major: Chemical Engineering
    • Involvement: AIChE, Delta Zeta, Panhellenic Council, Omega Chi Epsilon, Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise, Tau Beta Pi, Order of Omega, SWE, Provost Scholar Recipient for Chemical Engineering 2023
  • Faith Gaertner
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
    • Concentration: Engineering Enterprise
    • Minor: Art & Aerospace Engineering
    • Involvement: Alpha Phi Omega and Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE)
  • Evan Grahs
    • Major: Computer Engineering
    • Involvement: KeWee Energy Meters – Open Source Hardware Enterprise
  • Divyesh Hariram
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
  • Halle Hill
    • Major: Biological Sciences
    • Concentration: General Biology
    • Minor: Ecology
    • Involvement: Undergraduate Research, Organic Chemistry Teaching Assistant, Senior Resident Assistant, Women’s Soccer Club
  • Louis Hindman
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
    • Concentration: Engineering Enterprise
    • Minor: Manufacturing
    • Involvement: Velovations Enterprise, BOSS Snowplow, music-focused academic enhancement, MTU Nordic Ski Club
  • Henry Inyang
    • Major: Electrical Engineering Technology
    • Involvement: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Black Student Association (BSA), African Students Organization (ASO)
  • Ryan Jaklic
    • Major: Cybersecurity
    • Concentration: System and Network Security
    • Minor: Leadership
  • Cade Kaighen
    • Major: Chemical Engineering
    • Minor: Bioprocess Engineering
    • Involvement: Cross Country, Track and Field, Club Soccer
  • David Kromholz
    • Major: Forestry
    • Minor: Spanish International & Plant Sciences
  • Anthony Leick
    • Major: Civil Engineering
    • Minor: Construction Management
  • Danelle Leinonen
    • Major: Theatre & Entertainment Technology
    • Involvement: Concordia Student Ministries and Michigan Tech Emergency Medical Services
  • Thoren Lexvold
    • Major: Computer Engineering
    • Involvement: Dungeons and Dragons Club
  • Jenna Lubahn
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
    • Concentration: Engineering Enterprise
    • Minor: Manufacturing
    • Involvement: Swing Club, Outdoor Venture Crew, GEAR Enterprise
  • Nathan Luczak
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
    • Concentration: Engineering Enterprise
    • Minor: Manufacturing
    • Involvement: Cross Country Team, Track and Field Team, H-STEM Enterprise
  • Fidan Malikova
    • Major: Chemical Engineering
    • Involvement: Aerospace Enterprise and Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise
  • Hunter Malinowski
    • Major: Psychology & Computer Science
    • Concentration: Applications
    • Involvement: Delta Zeta Sorority, Panhellenic Council, Order of Omega, Tiny Knitz, Copper Country Coders, and HuskyFAN
  • Haley Marchese
    • Major: Medical Laboratory Science
    • Concentration: MLS 4+1
    • Minor: Pre-Health Professions
    • Involvement: Mushing Club, Songer Award for Research, SURF recipient, URSS, and 2023 Michigan Physiological Society (MPS)
  • Michael Martin
    • Major: Physics
    • Minor: Mathematical Sciences & Astrophysics
    • Involvement: Society of Physics Students
  • Annika Price
    • Major: Mathematics & Computer Science
    • Involvement: Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE), Mushing Club, and Circle K
  • Leanna Rose
    • Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology-Chem & Human Biology
    • Minor: Pre-Health Professions & Spanish
    • Involvement: Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, Pre-Health Mentorship Program, Medical Assistant at UGL Family Health Center, PHC Lead Learning Facilitator, GCE Conference Student Coordinator, PHC Undergraduate Advisory Board Member
  • Francine Rosinski
    • Major: Environmental Engineering
    • Minor: Ecology
    • Involvement: Built World Enterprise and Keweenaw Youth for Climate Action
  • Amanda Tharp
    • Major: Chemical Engineering
    • Minor: Business
  • Bronwyn Weiker
    • Major: Biomedical Engineering
    • Involvement: Craft Club and H-STEM enterprise
  • Benjamin Wireman
    • Major: Mathematics
    • Concentration: General Mathematics
    • Minor: Global Community Development Partnerships & Computer Science
    • Involvement: Math Learning Center, Alpha Phi Omega, and undergraduate research studying Net Migration in the US
Spring 2024 Pavlis Honors College graduates

To our graduates – we are so proud of you!  Take a moment to soak in this feeling of accomplishment and success and know that this is only the beginning as you go on to make your difference in the world. Congratulations!

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.

B.B. King

Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss Named President of the Midwest Victorian Studies Association

Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss, Associate Teaching Professor and Assistant Director of the Pavlis Honors College and Associate Teaching Professor in Humanities, takes on the esteemed role of President of the Midwest Victorian Studies Association (MVSA), a position integral to steering the MVSA community of scholars and volunteers. The new role was made official during the 2024 MVSA conference, held at the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City from April 19 to April 21, 2024.

Laura Kasson Fiss (right) and past-president Christopher Ferguson (center) present outgoing MVSA president Andrea Kaston Tange (left) with a mid-Victorian cake serving set as a thank you.
Photo credit: Doreen Thierauf

Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss is a distinguished scholar with an interdisciplinary background in music, literary studies, and the history of the book. She brings with her a wealth of experience and a profound appreciation for the complexities of the Victorian era. Her journey into Victorian scholarship began early in her academic career and has been fueled by a fascination with the interplay between optimism and fear, progress and apprehension, that characterized the Victorian period.

Reflecting on her passion for the Victorian era, Fiss remarks, “The Victorian period is fascinating to me because there is this intense divide between optimism and fear of degeneration, between the marvels of technology and the menace of it, looking to the future and learning from the past. There is a lot of information out there about the Victorian period and it’s really easy to see the connection between it and what is happening now.  But also it’s different enough that it makes me continually stop and think: what was it like to be in a different time?”

With a keen appreciation for interdisciplinary scholarship, Fiss embraces the diverse facets of Victorian studies, including music—an aspect she values deeply within the MVSA community. Her previous role as Vice President of the association has provided her with invaluable insights into the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and inclusivity in fostering a thriving scholarly community.

Laura Kasson Fiss presenting her conference paper entitled “From ‘Lecture on Lecturing’ to ‘Humorous and Musical Recital’: Comic Solo Performance between Generations of George Grossmiths.”
Photo credit: Tom Prasch

Looking ahead, Fiss envisions a future for the MVSA that is characterized by inclusivity, collaboration, and impact. She emphasizes the importance of expanding the association’s reach and resources, stating, “MVSA is known as a welcoming community, and I’d like to continue and extend that. I would like to see people engaging with MVSA from a variety of fields and continue to provide a community that lets people know if they want to be involved in research, they can be.”

During her tenure as Vice President, Fiss prioritized initiatives aimed at supporting emerging scholars, notably chairing the Arnstein Prize committee—an essential recognition for dissertation research among graduate students engaged in Victorian studies.

Discussing the significance of the MVSA conference, Fiss underscores its role as a platform for networking, scholarly exchange, and mentorship, particularly for emerging scholars.

“I believe that the MVSA conference’s main purpose is all about networking. Engaging with other scholars, connecting on research, encouraging work, and encouraging emerging scholars.”

Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss
Laura Kasson Fiss displaying her book, “The Idler’s Club: Humour and Mass Readership from Jerome K. Jerome to P. G. Wodehouse.”

For those seeking to embark on their own journey into Victorian studies or engage with the MVSA community, Fiss offers practical advice: “Read. If you are someone who thinks you might be interested, read Victorian literature, listen to Victorian music, and take in Victorian art. Take a class.” If you’re already a researcher in the area, “Start with the MVSA seminars. They are friendly and a good place to begin your journey, show us what you are working on and see how we can help you.”

As Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss assumes the presidency of the Midwest Victorian Studies Association, she brings with her a vision of inclusivity, collaboration, and scholarly excellence that promises to shape the future of Victorian studies in the Midwest and beyond.

For more information about the Midwest Victorian Studies Association and its upcoming events and initiatives, please visit midwestvictorian.org.

Advisor Appreciation Month: Recognizing Pavlis’ Outstanding Advisors

April is Advisor Appreciation Month, and April 19th is Advisor Appreciation Day! In the Pavlis Honors College, we’re fortunate to have four exceptional component advisors, each contributing significantly to our program. As we honor Advisor Appreciation Month, let’s shine a spotlight on these remarkable individuals and acknowledge their invaluable contributions to our Pavlis community.

Image of a man wearing a ski helmet, ski goggles, and a balaclava.
Pavlis Leadership/Mentorship Advisor, Chris Hohnholt

Chris Hohnholt

Chris Hohnholt is currently the advisor for the Leadership/Mentorship component and oversees the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium. He also advises the Project Experience during the summer months. Chris Hohnholt has been working at Michigan Tech for 15 years.

When asked about the Leadership/Mentorship component, Chris shares “It’s an opportunity for students to give back while learning that things don’t always go as planned.”

One of Chris’ favorite Michigan Tech opportunities is the CFRES Earn and Learn Assistantships. He is also very passionate about human development.

Fun Fact! Chris enjoys the serenity of beekeeping.

Image of a woman wearing a black floral dress, holding a songbook.
Pavlis Project Experience
Advisor, Laura Fiss

Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss

Laura Fiss currently advises for the Project Experience component. She has been working at Michigan Tech for ten years. When asked why she thinks the Project Experience component is valuable to students, Laura says “Students work on a project and tell its story. The project doesn’t have to be finished at the end of the component experience. The value usually comes in the things the students learn about themselves and about the process of working on a project – things like communication with stakeholders, how to define the scope of a project, how to modify goals and expectations, and how to work with other people on a team.”

Laura’s favorite Tech Tradition is the snow statues. She is also very passionate about Victorian literature, musical theater, and Victorian musical theater. 

Fun Fact! Laura is currently teaching herself how to play guitar!

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” – Douglas Adams

Picture of a woman sitting in a canoe.
Dean of the Pavlis Honors College and
Academic Enhancement
Advisor, Marika Seigel

Dr. Marika Seigel

Marika Seigel currently advises the Academic Enhancement component and is the Dean of the Pavlis Honors College. She has been working at Michigan Tech for 19 years. Before becoming the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, she was a faculty member in the Humanities department, teaching writing and rhetoric courses.

Marika advises the Academic Enhancement component. When describing her component, she states “The Academic Enhancement component encourages you to explore an area of interest outside your major: this could be a professional interest or personal interest. The purpose of the component is to encourage you to explore areas that you are curious about, that intrigue you, and that help you to become more well-rounded. You could take a minor for this component, or you could take a cluster of related courses (for example, language or art courses). You can also use it to explore opportunities to educate yourself outside of coursework; for example, doing EMT training or taking cooking classes.”

Marika’s favorite Tech Tradition is Winter Carnival. She is also very passionate about making sure that every student feels welcome in the Pavlis Honors College and at Michigan Tech. 

Fun Fact! Marika once attended “Elf School” in Reykjavik, Iceland. She recommends their pancakes.

“Nobody puts Baby is a corner.” – Johnny Castle

Picture of a woman in a blue tracksuit, smiling at the camera with both hands lifted to the face.
Pavlis Immersion Experience Advisor, Darnisha Morris

Dr. Darnishia Morris

Darnishia Morris currently advises the Immersion Experience component and oversees the Global and Community Engagement Conference. She has been working at Michigan Tech since 2005 and was a student here between 1992 and 1998.

When explaining the importance of her component, she says “The most valuable aspect of the Immersion Component is the opportunity to ‘test drive’ or prototype ANY aspect of your life or future you’d like to explore.”

Dar’s favorite Tech Tradition is the Parade of Nations – “Hands down.” Dar is passionate about serving others, especially Tweens. 

Fun Fact! Dar is a hardcore foodie, Bruno Mars fan, and New Edition fan.

“Speak without being offensive. Listen without being defensive. And always leave your opponent with their dignity.” – Andrew Young

As we celebrate Advisor Appreciation Month, let’s take a moment to reflect on the profound impact our advisors have on our college experience. They are not only here to guide us through component selections and academic challenges but also to offer invaluable advice, support, and encouragement as we navigate the complexities of college life. Whether it’s helping us discover our passions, providing career guidance, or simply lending a compassionate ear, our advisors play a crucial role in our journey toward personal and academic fulfillment. So, to all the college students out there, remember to take advantage of their wisdom, seek their guidance, and don’t forget to express your gratitude for their unwavering dedication to your success. After all, having a supportive advisor by your side can truly make all the difference in your college experience.

Thank you, Advisors!

Winners Announced: 2024 Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium

This year marked the 10th annual Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium

This past Friday, March 22, students from across the university came together to share their innovative research at the Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium (URSS). Students from various disciplines united to present their cutting-edge projects, painting a vibrant display of research exploration across departments. Attendees seized the chance to engage directly with these passionate researchers, delving into the intricacies of their work and gaining valuable insights into the world of undergraduate research and scholarship.

The day was brimming with informative events, including a thought-provoking panel discussion on the transformative power of undergraduate research in forging new pathways to success and two dynamic poster sessions provided platforms for students to share their findings with participants and judges.

A heartfelt round of applause is in order for all our remarkable student participants. Their outstanding research endeavors made it a challenging day for our judges, showcasing the incredible depth and breadth of talent within our university community. Let’s extend a special congratulations to our deserving award winners for their exemplary contributions and dedication to advancing knowledge and discovery. Here’s to celebrating their achievements and inspiring future generations of researchers!

First Place winner, Lance Waise

First Place (tie)- 

  • Lance Waise – “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Lindy Oujiri – “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”

Third Place

  • Haley Marchese – Targeting Acid Sensing Ion Channel 3 (ASIC3) in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Audience Choice

  • Scott Severance – “Development of Optical Tweezers to Measure and Predict the Behavior of Collagen Networks”
First Place winner, Lindy Oujiri

Excellence in Presentation – 

  • Lindy Oujiri – “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”
  • Lance Waise – “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Abraham Stone – “A Botanical and Ecological Profile of Isle Royale’s Invasive Hawkweed Complex”

Excellence in Research Content – 

  • Lindy Oujiri – “Immunofluorescent Labeling for Zinc and Platinum in Old Rats”
  • Haley Marchese – Targeting Acid Sensing Ion Channel 3 (ASIC3) in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Excellence in Design and Format – 

  • Liza Korolkov – “Evaluation of aqueous two-phase systems for the purification of influenza B virus”
  • Lance Waise – “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Research Project”
  • Mackenzie Russell – “Ameliorated mine waste rock for enhanced weathering and as a soil amendment for bioenergy production”

Thank you to all of our sponsors, student presenters, faculty mentors, judges, and panelists. We are proud to be able to highlight our amazing undergraduate students and celebrate all of their outstanding work.

Exploring the Significance of Undergraduate Research: Attend the 10th Annual Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium

Student researchers and attendees at the Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium hosted in 2023

Have you contemplated engaging in research during your time at Michigan Tech? Are you curious about the various research endeavors undergraduate students are actively involved in? Would you like to understand the significance of participating in undergraduate research? Join us on March 22nd for the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium (URSS) at the Rozsa Center Lobby. This symposium serves as a platform to showcase the exceptional undergraduate research conducted across diverse disciplines at Michigan Technological University.

Recognized widely as a valuable learning opportunity by esteemed educational institutions such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities, undergraduate research offers students a plethora of benefits. These include a heightened determination to excel, increased interest in pursuing further education such as graduate school, and the development of essential research skills like data analysis and effective communication. Moreover, engaging in research contributes significantly to both professional and personal growth.

“Participating in undergraduate research is not merely about acquiring knowledge; it’s about developing a mindset of inquiry, innovation, and exploration that prepares students for a lifetime of meaningful contributions to their chosen fields and society at large.”

Dr. Marika Seigel, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Pavlis Honors College

Regardless of the subject area, involvement in research serves as a valuable asset for undergraduate students. Research indicates that students who participate tend to achieve better grades, are more likely to graduate, and are better equipped for subsequent academic pursuits or careers.

Commencing research endeavors as an undergraduate provides students with essential hands-on experience, laying a strong foundation for future academic and professional endeavors. As Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, Will Cantrell, aptly states, “Research takes time. It takes more than that first try, it might even take more than that 5th try.”

Audience Choice winner, Katherine Rauscher, proudly displays her research poster at URSS 2023.

That’s where the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium comes in.

URSS is an opportunity for students to show off the exceptional research they are involved in and creates an opportunity for other students to see the research potential that exists right here at Michigan Tech.  The day starts with the first of two poster sessions (12:00-1:30 pm and 2:30-4:00 pm). The student participants will be on hand to share information about their research, allow attendees to ask questions about their projects, and display the diversity of undergraduate research being explored on campus.

Additionally, URSS will include a panel discussion at 1:30 pm which will feature experienced professionals and provide a chance for discussion about how undergraduate research creates opportunities. They will share their experiences and discuss the value that they have found by participating in research as an undergraduate. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this discussion.

Our esteemed panelists include Debra Switzer, a Michigan Technological University alumna with a B.S. in Metallurgical & Materials Engineering, boasting over 20 years of experience in the mining industry, particularly in mineral processing. Debra currently serves as the Global Product Manager for Hydrocyclones at Weir Minerals, overseeing the end-to-end life cycle of hydrocyclone products.

Another distinguished panelist, Erik Lilleskov, is a Research Ecologist and Project Leader at the USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station. With a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University, Erik is committed to providing novel scientific insights and tools to address major environmental challenges. His diverse background underscores the importance of real-world experience and interaction with individuals from various walks of life.

Student researcher, Tessa Tormoen, describes their research project as SURF and URIP Coordinator, Rob Handler listens intently at URSS in 2023.

Finally, Dr. Ellie Asgari, the Charles C. and John G. Gates Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, brings a wealth of expertise as an Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the College of Business. Dr. Asgari’s research focuses on the intersection of innovation and entrepreneurship, shedding light on the roles of star performers in organizations.

The Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium serves as an excellent platform to showcase the captivating research projects underway at Michigan Tech, emphasize the benefits of undergraduate research, and underscore the diversity of research topics being explored. Mark your calendars and join us in the Rozsa Lobby for this inspirational event!

For more information about the Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium, please visit the URSS website. For more information about undergraduate research, please check out our research programs website. Questions? Please email honors@mtu.edu.

Empowering Entrepreneurs: Join Founder’s Friday for Collaboration, Inspiration, and Resources

Are you an entrepreneur looking for advice to launch your startup? Look no further than Founder’s Friday, a weekly meetup where aspiring entrepreneurs can come together to collaborate, founded and hosted by Jordan Craven, a current Pavlis Honors College student.

Image of a person holding three awards in front of a room with theater seating.
Founder’s Friday creator, Jordan Craven, celebrating after the 2023 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition

Jordan has been part of the Honors College since she was a first-year at Michigan Tech, even receiving a scholarship from Pavlis after pitching through Husky Innovate when she was in high school. Jordan is studying Management and Information Systems with a minor in Computer Science. “All of the components of Pavlis that I’ve done have been building up my company and have gotten me prepared to launch. It’s been really cool to now look at graduating with honors having accomplished things I didn’t know I was going to do in college. Instead of just preparing to launch, I realized that I was able to actually launch my business while I was still here. It was crazy to do that,” said Craven.

Craven’s business is called Sizeologic; a technology company that helps online clothing retailers with issues such as returns, sustainability, and customer satisfaction. Right now, Craven is working on creating a 3D fitting room, so that shoppers can see how clothes will fit online before purchasing them. “There’s a lot of waste from online returns. I would buy three pairs of pants then return two of them, and there’s a two-thirds chance they’re burned or landfilled when they go back, so it’s just really environmentally not cool. I’d like to help solve that as well, with my company.” 

In her experience with the Pavlis Honors College and Husky Innovate, Jordan has traveled to many pitch competitions throughout the state, including the Experience Innovation: Detroit trip this past fall. “I noticed that we didn’t really have a space where students can go to work together with other innovators. I saw all of that downstate and recognized that there wasn’t a big community like that at Tech, and so I wanted to start something.”

That’s where Founder’s Friday comes in.

Coworking space with table, couch and window.
An example of a flexible coworking space from TechTown Detroit.

Founder’s Friday offers up-and-coming innovators and entrepreneurs the opportunity to network, collaborate, and brainstorm with other like-minded individuals. When asked about the inspiration for Founder’s Friday, Jordan stated “I know personally, by coworking, and being connected with other entrepreneurs and business professionals, that it helps inspire me, and I’ve been told by a lot of other people that it also inspires them, and I want to continue to build that, and build more of a consistent community.”

Craven has dedicated 15 hours a week to working on her company. “I was thinking, what if there was a place – I’m already actively engaged in this work for five hours – where other people can come and cowork with me. Or, if they want assistance, I have a lot of connections downstate. I want to connect people to the resources they need, and I’m trying to build up the innovator community at Tech.” Founder’s Friday focuses heavily on resource sharing, for all entrepreneurs, regardless of where they are in their journey. “It’s not super easy to figure out what the entrepreneurial steps are, and so pulling in all the resources from each stage of startups, bringing them together, sharing them with people, and showing others the steps I’ve been taking can be very helpful. My goal is to connect everyone so we can build each other up.” 

My goal is to connect everyone so we can build each other up.

Jordan Craven, Pavlis Honors College student and Founder’s Friday creator

If you’re interested in connecting with other aspiring entrepreneurs, be sure to stop by Founder’s Friday happening every Friday from 12-5pm in the Minerals and Materials Engineering building (M&M) in room 718A, down the hall from the Pavlis Honors College. It takes place both in person and on Zoom and everyone is welcome. “Founder’s Friday is a resource that is consistent, whether it’s five minutes or two hours, or the whole five, whatever that person needs and wants.”

Written by: Frankie Straubel for the Pavlis Honors College

Husky Innovate is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.

If you are interested in more information, please feel free to reach out to honors@mtu.edu.

Highlight: Innovation Week 2024 and the Bob Mark Pitch Competition Winners

This year marks Michigan Tech’s eighth year hosting Innovation Week. 

Innovation Week at Michigan Tech was started by a group of University Innovation Fellows (UIFs) in 2017.  At that time, UIFs hosted meet-ups, design thinking challenges, and events to get folks thinking innovatively.  Throughout the years it has evolved, but one thing remains the same, Innovation Week is a celebration of innovation at Michigan Tech. 

The week’s events included presenters from as far as Texas and Traverse City, Michigan as well as right here within Houghton. With the option of both in-person and virtual events, entrepreneurially-minded individuals had the opportunity to join us for one or all events. Husky Innovate kicked off the week with a presentation from our keynote speaker, Dr. L. Brad King, CEO and founder of Orbion Technologies, who shared his journey with Orbion including key insights for startup founders.  On Tuesday, Nate Yenor with the Office of Innovation and Commercialization shared opportunities for startup collaboration resulting from research here at Tech.  Wednesday, former IBM Corps. executive and Michigan Tech alum John Soyring (EE ‘76 &  Honorary Doctorate ’06) provided us with fresh insights from the world of investing and the opportunity presented through impact investing.  On Thursday, Dr. Ashley Sloat, president of Aurora Patents gave us a crash course on careful contracting with key points founders should take into consideration as they start working with developers and investors. Friday, Dr. Len Switzer, associate director of Enterprise shared entrepreneurial opportunities for both founders and technical teams through the Enterprise and Husky Innovate programs. 

In addition to the stellar line-up of workshops and presentations, Husky Innovate hosted Innovation Week’s main event Wednesday evening – the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition, which is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor Bob Mark.  For the 18th year, community members from across the region, including innovators, entrepreneurs, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, joined to hear students pitch their business models.  Ten teams pitched to win in three categories; Business Model, Social Impact, and Breakout Innovation with prizes totaling $6000.  There was a lot of energy and anticipation in the room as teams pitched and waited for scoring.  After two hours of pitching, the judges selected their winners and the audience selected their favorite.  Congratulations and thank you to all the student contestants and winners! 

Business Model Category

First place and Breakout Award winner Viraj Mane with judge Jason Mack

Presented by the College of Business with thanks to sponsors Rick and Jo Berquist, and Dan and Jane Green for sponsoring the Audience Favorite award. Student pitches were judged by how well the solution addressed the customers’ needs, the path to revenue, and the overall presentation.

  • First place – Viraj Mane with DocCraftAI ($2000)
  • Second place – Alex Nosalik with The Eternitee ($1000)
  • Third place- Nirmal Raja Karuppiah Loganthan with Jarvis-Vision ($500)
  • Honorable mention –  Aliyah Maxwell Abrams with Sunny Buddy ($250)
  • Audience Favorite –  Alex Nosalik with The Eternitee ($250)

Social Impact Award Category

Sponsored and presented by Gates Professor Dr. Elham Asgari, College of Business. The social impact category examined the significance of the social problem and how well the solution addressed it.

  • Olamide Ayeni with HOPCYKU  ($1,000)

Breakout Innovation Award

Presented by Jason Mack, Vice President of Business Development, MTEC SmartZone, and sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The breakout innovation award considered the solution’s novelty, ease of implementation, and time to implementation.

  • Viraj Mane with DocCraftAI ($1,000)

This event would not be possible without support from our Michigan Tech I&E collaborators and community.  Thanks to our team mentors, with special recognition to Michigan Tech alum Joseph Corso (EE ‘77), Founder and President of TouchPoint Inc., for hosting regular Office Hours mentoring sessions throughout the year with Husky Innovate students.  

Thank you to our Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition judges: Northern Michigan University Professor Corrine Bodeman, Michigan Tech Professor Elham Asgari, Michigan Tech Professor Charles Wallace, Michigan Tech alum Dan Green (BA ‘83), Michigan Tech alum Jason Mack (MBA ‘13), and Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board member Carolyn Yarina.   We appreciate your time and expertise in helping our students improve their pitches. 

Thank you to our prize sponsors.  The business model prizes are sponsored by the College of Business (COB), Rick and Joe Berquist, and Dan Green and Jane Mooney.  The Social Impact Award is sponsored by Dr. Elham Asgari, COB, Gates Professor of Entrepreneurship, and the Breakout Innovation Award is sponsored by MTEC SmartZone and MEDC

Thank you to our emcee, Jordan Craven, Management of Information Systems (MIS) and Computer Science (CS) and startup founder of Sizelogic.  Thanks to our marketing team, Jessie Neece, and marketing intern Eugene Agyei.  Thank you to our production team, Sound and Lighting Services, and the Pavlis Honors College team for supporting this event.  Thank you to our presenters and participants who helped to make the week a success.  We appreciate your time and contributions to 2024’s Innovation Week.

Thanks to all who attended our Innovation Week events! We look forward to next year’s events!

Husky Innovate is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.

If you are interested in additional opportunities, check out our Husky Innovate Events Page.  Please feel free to reach out to huskyinnovate@mtu.edu for more information.

Announcing Our Upcoming Experience Innovation Trip – Detroit!

Experience Innovation trips offer a unique blend of education, inspiration, networking, and personal development. They provide students with a taste of the entrepreneurial world and equip them with skills and insights that can benefit them throughout their academic and professional journeys.

Husky Innovate is proud to announce their newest Experience Innovation trip and they are headed to Detroit!

What makes a strong innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem and why are companies drawn to Detroit? One could argue that Detroit is the most innovative city in the Midwest.  From Motown music to the Big 3 automobile manufacturers, Detroit has a rich history that positions it as a regional hub for innovation and technology development.  Detroit companies are making an impact in global markets and up-and-coming startups find that they have the resources they need to fuel their growth. 

Michigan Tech students are invited to an immersive innovation experience in Detroit this November 19-22, in which they will tour and meet with representatives at Ford Motor Company’s mobility innovation district – Michigan Central, Michigan Founders Fund – led by DUO Security co-founder Dug Song, Dow Ventures, and a collection of startup companies that you may not have heard of yet, but are on their way to becoming household names.  

A preliminary list of visit locations includes:

Here are just a few compelling reasons why students should consider joining us on this adventure to Detroit:

  1. Networking Opportunities: These trips offer Huskies a unique chance to connect with established entrepreneurs, successful business leaders, and like-minded peers. Networking with individuals who have practical experience can open doors to mentorship, internships, and future career opportunities.
  2. Inspiration and Motivation: Meeting entrepreneurs and visiting startups can be incredibly inspiring. Students often leave these trips with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to pursue their own entrepreneurial ideas and projects.
  3. Resume Enhancement: Participation in such trips can significantly enhance a student’s resume. It demonstrates a proactive approach to learning and a genuine interest in entrepreneurship and innovation, which can make them stand out to potential employers or investors.
  4. Clarifying Career Goals: Meeting startups and entrepreneurs can help students clarify their career goals. They may discover new interests or confirm existing passions, helping them make informed decisions about their future paths.
  5. Entrepreneurial Mindset: These experiences can foster an entrepreneurial mindset characterized by creativity, resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to take calculated risks, which are valuable attributes in any career.
  6. Academic Complement: Experience Innovation trips can complement their Michigan Tech academic coursework by providing real-world context to what students learn in class. This practical application of knowledge can enhance their understanding of business concepts.
  7. Personal Growth: These trips often lead to personal growth. Students develop self-confidence, improve communication skills, and become more adaptable to new environments and challenges.

In summary, Experience Innovation trips offer a unique blend of education, inspiration, networking, and personal development. They provide students with a taste of the entrepreneurial world and equip them with skills and insights that can benefit them throughout their academic and professional journeys.

Understanding what fuels innovation is best understood by experiencing it firsthand – sign up today!  Get a window into the regional innovation and entrepreneurship community (I&E), have a chance to ask your questions firsthand, and learn what drives entrepreneurship. 

This opportunity is made possible by Husky Innovate’s key collaborators, Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business

Daytime shot from across the Detroit River taken of the Detroit Skyline.

Husky Innovate Announces Fall 2023 Schedule of Events

Husky Innovate, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business, has a goal to provide the tools and knowledge to cultivate Michigan Tech’s innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial spirit across all disciplines offered on campus. To accomplish that goal, Husky Innovate provides valuable innovation and entrepreneurial education programs to students, staff, and faculty at Michigan Tech and this fall’s schedule is no exception!

This semester we have an outstanding lineup of workshops and speakers – check out the schedule of events for fall 2023 below. For more information on our Husky Innovate events, please visit:  http://www.mtu.edu/husky-innovate

Husky Innovate Fall 2023 Semester Calendar of Events
Husky Innovate Fall 2023 Schedule of Events

Looking for ways to get involved? Sign up for our mailing list and get information sent directly to your inbox about upcoming innovation workshops, speakers, or other ways to excel your career. 

Congratulations, Graduates!

The Pavlis Honors College would like to celebrate the accomplishments of graduating seniors, who chose to take advantage of all that Michigan Tech has to offer and challenge themselves inside and outside the classroom.  These students reflect our core values by being authentic, building relationships with each other, and being open to learning through new experiences. All of their hard work and commitment to the ideals of the Pavlis Honors College and Michigan Technological University has paid off!

Pavlis Honors College graduates – Spring 2023
  • J.T. Boudreau
    • Major: Wildlife Ecology & Conservation  
    • What’s next: J.T. will be starting a job with the U.S. Geological Survey, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior
  • James Brouckman    
    • Major: Computer Engineering  
    • James is looking forward to moving out to San Fransisco shortly after graduation to start his new full-time job in software engineering.
  • Jerod Busch    
    • Major: Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering  
    • Jerod is looking forward to starting his full-time position as a controls engineer in Ithaca NY.
  • Nolan Davis
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering 
    • Minor: Manufacturing 
    • Concentration:  Engineering Enterprise
    • Nolan will be working full-time at The Hill Group and is looking forward to starting his first job, growing professionally with this experience, and having more fun times with my family and friends.
  • Tanner Duncan
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering 
    • Minor: Manufacturing and Aerospace Engineering    Concentration: Engineering Enterprise   
    • What’s Next: Tanner has accepted a position with BOSS Snowplow and will be moving to the Iron Mountain area.
  • Ben Houck
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
    • Concentration: Engineering Enterprise
    • What’s Next: Ben will be pursuing an internship in Engineering at Stellantis, and will continue at MTU for a 1 year accelerated MBA next year.
  • Andrew Kleehammer
    • Major: Engineering Management
    • Minor: Enterprise   
    • What’s Next: Andrew is about halfway through a Master’s in Engineering Management and also works in project management at FORTNA.
  • Megan Lee
    • Major: Environmental Engineering
    • Minor: Spanish
    • What’s Next: Megan will be working for Arcadis, an Environmental Consulting firm, out of Novi, Michigan on environmental remediation projects.
  • Mandy Lepak
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
    • Minor: Manufacturing 
    • What’s Next: This summer Mandy will be working for Gentex Corporation in Zeeland, Michigan as a Production Support Engineer and is looking forward to another big change in her life that will help me continue growing myself as an individual.
  • Fable-Viktor Moore
    • Major: Psychology
    • Concentration: Clinical/Counseling Psychology
    • What’s Next: Research Job and Graduate School
  • Anderson Piercey
    • Major: Management
    • Minor: Psychology 
    • What’s Next: Anderson will be living in the Lansing area with his significant other and pursuing employment as a Project Manager.
  • Jonathan Rabideau
    • Major: Computer Science
    • What’s next:  Jonathan will be starting his career and is considering a Master’s degree
  • Mady Sherman
    • Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology-Chemistry focus  
    • What’s Next: Mady will be working as a Research Technician for Neogen Corporation in Lansing Michigan
  • Colton Sitts
    • Major: STC
    • Minor: Computer Science
    • What’s next: Colton will be working as a quality manager at Epic Systems in Madison, WI. designing and testing software for healthcare facilities all over the country.
  • Nick Stankovich
    • Major: Management   
    • What’s next: Nick is looking forward to pursuing a Master’s here at MTU and an internship with General Motors.
  • Maddie  Thompson
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering
    • Minor: Business
    • What’s next: Maddie will travel to Europe for a month after graduation to learn more about different cultures and experience new places! Upon her return, she will start her full-time job with General Motors as a TRACK Hardware engineer in their rotational program!
  • Libby  Umlor
    • Major: Chemical Engineering
    • What’s next: Libby will be returning to Michigan Tech to complete an accelerated master’s in Chemical Engineering.
  • Zachary Vatter
    • Major: Biomedical Engineering and Human Biology   Concentration: Pre-Health Professions
    • What’s next: Zachary will return to Michigan Tech to pursue a Master’s in biological sciences.
  • John Waller
    • Major: Mechanical Engineering Tech
    • What’s next: After graduating John is moving to Kalamazoo, MI, and getting married in June.

To our graduates – we are so proud of you!  Take a moment to soak in this feeling of accomplishment and success and know that this is only the beginning as you go on to make your difference in the world. Congratulations!

Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.

W.B. Yeats