Archives—April 2019

Darnishia Slade Recognized at Dean’s Teaching Showcase Luncheon

By Michael R. Meyer

Darnishia Slade (left) was recognized at the Dean’s Teaching Showcase luncheon event by Lorelle Meadows (right).

Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College (PHC), selected Darnishia (Dar) Slade, manager of Global Engagement Programs, as a showcase member earlier this month.

Meadows selected Slade because she “embodies the values of the Pavlis Honors College in her teaching. She exemplifies the honors abilities, and is a great role model for students who are working to develop these important skillsets and mindsets.”

Slade teaches the first Honors Seminar (HON 2150), as well as the Capstone Courses for students in the Global Leadership Pathway, pursuing their Leadership Minor. In this role, Meadows praises Slade’s “remarkable ability to adapt as class time evolves, targeting opportunities for visiting important points that pop up at unexpected times” as well as her “use of a variety of interactive techniques to assess student understanding of a concept.”

Meadows said Slade is also, importantly, able to “assess the climate of the classroom as students encounter challenging topics.” These exceptional facilitation skills have also been noticed by her PHC colleagues. In their words, “Her ability to facilitate learning in a way that embodies the mindsets we are encouraging in our students serves as a model for the rest of us, who are also trying to facilitate student learning and development.”

In the short time Slade has been a part of the Honors College, she has continuously explored ways to improve the classroom experience for students, evolving course materials and methods of delivery to increase student engagement and learning outcomes. As an example, she has observed the flow of the semester through the energy level that students bring to class. At a low energy period, she stopped class and simply went around the room asking every student to say one word that exemplified how they were feeling. It was a quick activity to gauge how students were experiencing their semester, and it was revealing.

It was around Week 5 or 6, and students were feeling the pressure of looming exams and a long stretch until a break from coursework over Thanksgiving. Synthesizing this, she created and introduced a handout at the next session that focused on campus resources for self-care, aligning this with a session on the physiology of mindfulness. Several students reflected on the timeliness and value of this simple act.

Slade’s excellent sense of the student experience likely stems from her previous work in both academic and student affairs departments of the University. Meadows, describing this unique perspective, says “Her compassion for the students, not just their learning, but for their personal well-being, is inspiring. Her teaching doesn’t stop at the classroom or office door. She takes time to talk individually with students and solicit their experience, then she synthesizes all that, and brings that knowledge to our discussions of college matters.”

One PHC faculty member noted that, “When Dar joined our team, I felt that every meeting she brought up an excellently formulated point that surprised me — mainly drawn from her approach to students.”

The students themselves have also indicated an appreciation for Slade’s openness and personal interest. Recent student comments include “I have known Dar to take time out of her day to get to know students and to be there for them and to get to know what is going on and what’s wrong,” and “Dar is someone who I can go to for any reason without any fear of judgment.”

Meadows summarizes Slade’s contribution this way: “Darnishia Slade brings creativity and compassion into her teaching. She has influenced students both inside and outside the classroom, and uses these experiences and insights to affect change in our programs.”

All of the Dean’s Teaching Showcase members pictured at Recognition Luncheon.

Slade was recognized at the end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.


Pavlis Students Shine at 25th Annual Student Leadership Awards

The 25th Annual Student Leadership Awards were held Friday, April 19 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The Student Leadership Awards celebrate and reward the individual and group efforts of students involved in organizations across campus. There are awards for student employees, student organizations, programs and more. Among the awards that were presented and announced at this year’s ceremony, five of the winners and ten of the nominees were Pavlis Honors College students.

Tessa Steenwinkel won the Provost’s Award for Scholarship.

Tessa Steenwinkel, nominated by the Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded the Provost’s Award for Scholarship. The Provost’s Award for Scholarship is given to a student who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills. Steenwinkel was also nominated by the Pavlis Honors College for the Rising Star of the Year.

Tessa Steenwinkel recognized for her research.

Logan Alger, nominated by the Pavlis Honors College, was awarded Rising Star of the Year. Rising Star of the Year is awarded to a student that shows great potential for leadership and who attempts to develop themselves personally in everything they do. Logan is currently working on his honors project in which he is developing a mentorship program for Pavlis Honors Pathway students.

Logan Alger, pictured with his nominator and Honors advisor Darnishia Slade, received the Rising Star of the Year award.

Elise Cheney-Makens was awarded the Dean of Students Award for Service and also Exceptional Community Service Project. Elise volunteered at the Ronald McDonald Home in Rochester, MN to support critically ill children and their families during the summer 2018 while she was a research intern at Mayo Clinic. Giving back in her own community of Houghton, she developed the Science Fair Mentoring Program to help 4th and 5th graders at Houghton Elementary plan, develop, and execute their science fair projects. Elise, in addition to creating this program, was responsible for recruiting 20 undergraduate volunteers. Elise has also volunteered as a Young Women Leaders Program mentor (a Center for Diversity and Inclusion program) for a year, working with middle school girls to develop leadership skills.

Elise Cheney-Makens was awarded both the Exceptional Community Service Project and the Dean of Students Award for Service.

Magann Dykema was awarded the Outstanding Future Alumni Award. This award recognizes the contribution of a student volunteer who supports the Alumni Association’s mission of “Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections.” Dykema demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the success of Tech traditions during her time on campus. She was also nominated for the Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader award. Magann is graduating this semester with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. She is then headed to the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse to start a master’s program in Student Affairs Administration.  

Magann Dykema awarded Outstanding Future Alumni.

In addition to our winners, Pavlis would also like to acknowledge the following nominees:

  • Cameron Philo was awarded Departmental Scholar by the Pavlis Honors College and therefore nominated for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship
  • Clara Peterson was awarded Departmental Scholar for Chemical Engineering and therefore nominated for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship
  • Joshua Jay was nominated for Student Employee of the Year
  • Marcello Guadagno and Corrina Kostrzewa were nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership

The Undergraduate Research Symposium winners were also recognized at Friday’s Award ceremony. Ceily Fessel Doan (environmental engineering) took first place for her research, Comparison of Nannochloropsis and Chlorelle Vulgaris Algae to Energy Efficiency in the Rio Grande Watershed. Jacob LeBarre (chemical engineering) placed second for his research entitled, Improvement of Virus Purification Method using Cation Exchange Chromatography. Third place was awarded to Pavlis Honors College student Kaylee Meyers (biomedical engineering) for Nitric Oxide Releasing Composite Hydrogels for Tendon Repair Via Matrix Metalloproteinase Controlled Pathways.

Kaylee Meyers at the 2019 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

The Pavlis Honors College would also like to acknowledge our 2019 Dean’s Scholarship Award recipient, Madi Vachon. Madi is a very active member of the Pavlis Honors Ambassadors group. She volunteers her time to design, plan, and implement recruitment efforts to grow the Pavlis community. Madi goes above and beyond to engage with students on a meaningful level which has significantly added to our enrollment and retention. Thank you for your continued support Madi! The Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship is awarded annually in the amount of $1,000 to recognize an Honors student’s outstanding commitment to our programs and pathways. 

Congratulations to all of the award nominees and winners.


Cameron Philo Wins Best Technology and $10,000 at CMU New Venture Competition

Apurva Baruah pitching at CMU New Venture for Yooper Ag.

Five student teams from Michigan Technological University traveled to Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant, MI to compete in the ninth annual New Venture Competition held Friday, April 12. Student teams from Michigan Tech and CMU presented business plans and pitches to panels of experienced entrepreneurs. The Michigan Tech students that competed in the 2019 CMU New Venture Competition were:

  • Mayank Bagaria for Vakya
  • Apurva Baruah for Yooper Ag
  • Ahammad Basha Dudekula for AGTO Autonomous
  • Cameron Philo for Life Pro Jackets
  • Karuna Rana and Sid Premchandani for Reality Check
Cameron Philo pitching at CMU New Venture for Life Pro Jackets.

Michigan Tech students Cameron Philo and Mayank Bagaria advanced to the semifinals last Friday. Cameron Philo won Best Technology and was awarded $10,000. Philo participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program last Fall. I-Corps is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The workshop provides an introduction to the Lean Start-up business development methodology, which focuses on getting out of the lab and using the tools of customer discovery and the business model canvas to evaluate the commercial potential of innovative technologies.

Mayank Bagaria pitching at CMU New Venture for Vakya.

This is the ninth year of the New Venture competition and the eighth year of Michigan Tech’s partnership with CMU. Last year, four out of Michigan Tech’s six participants took home cash and in-kind awards.

Cameron Philo wins Best Technology and $10,000.

Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE), a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College and the School of Business and Economics, continues to be an excellent resource for students looking to start their own business or bring new ideas and concepts to the next stage of development. Husky Innovate was introduced this academic year by ICE as a succession of workshops and events that build on each other leading up to the CMU New Venture Competition. The intention is to guide students through key phases of innovation or business development while emphasizing evidence based strategies for success. Many of the students that competed in this year’s New Venture Competition also participated in various Husky Innovate events and workshops throughout the academic year. Students interested in innovating, developing, and implementing their ideas and inventions are encouraged to visit the Pavlis Honors College (M&M 722) to learn more about ICE and the resources available to them.


Husky Innovate Speaker Series Event on April 26th

The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will host its second Husky Innovate Speaker Series on Friday, April 26, from 12-1 PM in the Pavlis Honors College Collaboration Space (M&M 722). Faculty, students, and staff are invited to join us for a talk given by Michigan Tech’s Dr. Brad King. King is the Ron and Elaine Starr Professor in Space Systems in the department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. He also serves as the faculty advisor for Aerospace Enterprise, is Director of the Space Systems Research Group, and the CEO of Orbion Space Technology.

King will discuss the “small satellite revolution”, Orbion’s value proposition of affordable, reliable electric propulsion for your small satellite mission, how his team approaches innovation, and how advances in technology such as Orbion’s have disrupted the space industry.

If you are an innovator or entrepreneur working on an idea with the goal of launching your own business, you are highly encouraged to attend. Registration is required, and attendance will be capped at 30. Lunch will be provided to the first 30 people to register. Please register no later than Tuesday, April 23rd.

The Husky Innovate Speaker Series is hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship which is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the School of Business and Economics, and the Vice President for Research Office.