Congratulations, graduates!

The class of 2021 had their “embrace ambiguity” skills tested during their final year. Even with this unexpected twist, our newest honors students made their mark in labs and Enterprise spaces, in bowling alleys and roller derby arenas, everywhere from Houghton to Peru. Congratulations, graduates.

Ben Neely

During his time at Tech, Ben served as vice president of Phi Kappa Tau, spent part of his research pathway studying grade estimation using dynamic anisotropy interpolation, and is graduating with a degree in mining engineering. Ben’s headed to Lexington, Kentucky after graduation, where he’ll work for RESPEC Engineering.


Brandon Howard

A mechanical engineer on the New Venture pathway, Brandon’s senior design team won first place in this year’s Design Expo, designing an N95-rated filtration system to be used with Stryker’s existing Flyte helmet and hood in order to protect surgeons against COVID-19 and other airborne viruses. Brandon also served as advertising chair for Film Board, and headed several student committees. Brandon is staying at Michigan Tech to work on a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, with a focus on sustainable design and manufacturing.


Chiarra Elkort-Wickboldt

Chiarra graduated with a degree in environmental engineering. During her community engagement pathway, she earned a Peace Corps Prep certificate, mentored in the Young Women’s Leadership Program, worked with the Canterbury House Food Pantry and served as a learning facilitator for HON 1150. After graduation, Chiarra’s going to stay at Michigan Tech for a while longer to finish an accelerated master’s degree in environmental engineering.


Deanna Springgay

Deanna Springgay’s (center-right, kneeling in a purple jersey) roller derby team

A statistics major, Deanna used her custom pathway to improve one of her favorite off-campus activities: she created a recording system for Keweenaw Roller Derby’s internal team development. She also served on the Pavlis Honors College’s undergraduate student advisory board and volunteered as a Pavlis peer mentor. After graduation, she’ll start working for Epic Software as a technical solutions engineer.


Harley Merkaj

Harley graduated with a computer science major and a mathematics minor. As part of his leadership pathway, Harley created a ticketing portal for USG. The website gives all registered student organizations on campus a way to efficiently file forms with USG. He also served on the Diversity Council, the Networking and Computing Student Association, and on the Honors Ambassador team. Harley was also nominated for exceptional leadership in student governance. Harley plans to move to California after graduation.


Joseph Van Linn

Joseph graduated with a mechanical engineering major and a Spanish minor. On his research pathway, he’s done everything from presenting his research at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition virtually in November of 2020 to fighting forest fires in Oregon to a Study Abroad in Spain to giving back to Pavlis as one of our first peer mentors. After graduation, Josephy plans to go back to Oregon for another season of firefighting, and will then go to graduate school in the Netherlands.


Kaylee Meyers

A biomedical engineering major, Goldwater Scholar, and winner of the 2019-2020 Provost’s Award, Kaylee is also a co-director and tutor for Tech Tutors (a free and virtual tutoring program developed in response to schools moving online due to COVID-19). On her research pathway, Kaylee studied ultrasound and tendon wound healing. After graduation, she’s headed to graduate school to work on translating biosensor medical research and technology to clinical settings.


Kenneth Shivers

Kenneth earned dual degrees in computer and electrical engineering. On his enhanced Enterprise pathway, Kenneth served as a project manager for the Wireless Communication Enterprise and the Michigan Tech fall Hackathon. After graduation, Kenneth’s hoping to find a job as an embedded engineer in southeast Michigan.


Jake Grund

Jake Grund (back row, third from the left)

Mechanical engineering technology major Jake Grund is one of Pavlis’ first ETS-IMPRESS graduates. He’s also a fantastic bowler, and used his pathway to teach others the game through a coaching clinic and outreach to middle and high schoolers. After graduation, Jake plans to move closer to his hometown, volunteer, and continue bowling.


Lydia Savatsky

Lydia Savatsky majored in mathematics, minored in global community development partnerships, earned a Peace Corps Prep certificate, received the Dean of Students’ Award for Service (2020-2021), and completed a community engagement pathway for her honors program. On her pathway, Lydia did data analysis with the Appalachia Service Project, and mentored a young women’s leadership program. Lydia is off to the University of Minnesota to work towards a master’s degree in business analytics.


Lexi Steve

Lexi Steve graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in Spanish. Lexi was a member of the Green Campus Enterprise, a founding member of Students for Sustainability, a resident of the Sustainability House, a University Innovation Fellow, a learning facilitator for HON 2150, and interned for Husky Innovate and IDEAhub. On her global and community engagement pathway, Lexi piloted a community project in Peru, hosting design workshops for afterschool teachers, community parents, and a local volunteer organization. What’s next for Lexi? “A few main options: convert a travel van, become a co-world renowned chef, mentor some kiddos in California, or build a greenhouse–nothing is set in stone, but the world is full of opportunities!”


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