Author: rbarnard

Meet Lexi Steve…

A woman sits on a stone wall overlooking a Spanish town.
Always ready for the next experience, Lexi also spent a term studying abroad in Spain.

By Dean Lahti

The Pavlis Honors College fosters and promotes our future leaders – Lexi Steve serves as an excellent example for the program.

Steve, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student, joined the Pavlis Honors College’s Honors Pathway Program during her second year at Michigan Tech. Steve said that she applied because of the travel experiences and leadership opportunities that the program had to offer.

Leadership is nothing new to Lexi. Steve received an Undergraduate Research Internship Program (URIP) award as well as a scholarship from the Dean of Students. She used her undergraduate research internship to establish a program in hydroponic research. As a member of the Green Campus Enterprise, Steve is involved in designing and building a tiny house that focuses on sustainable living in Bete Grise.

An indoor hydroponic garden
A hydroponic garden in Michigan Tech’s Sustainability Demonstration House, one of Lexi’s environmentally focused endeavors.

She said that her motivation for her endeavors at Michigan Tech comes organically. “Hardly any of these were planned,” Steve said. “I’m a bit of a social butterfly, so it’s easy for me to hear and learn about a lot of events and organizations MTU and Pavlis have to offer.” 

A group of elementary school-aged children in Peru, standing next to planters made of two liter soda bottles.
Working on a vertical gardening system with students in Peru

For her immersion experience through the Pavlis Honors College, Steve was part of a group that went to Peru. During her time in the country, she and her teammate used their training in design thinking to help the community refocus on how to communicate and support each other to the fullest. One of the projects that came out of that was a vertical gardening system that utilized old soda bottles filled with dirt and flowers at a local school mentoring program. It gave the kids something to take care of and added a bit of color to the area they were living.

She said that her volunteer experience in Peru was unique. “We formed a community there and it made me passionate about what Pavlis had to offer.”

These unique experiences through the Pavlis Honors College have allowed Steve to contribute to local and global communities. She is continuing her sustainability efforts at Michigan Tech through starting an organization called Students for Sustainability. The group has established a mini-composting project in partnership with Apple Acre Farms. This project focuses on community improvement through reducing food waste. 

A group completes an obstacle course
From classes like HON 2150 (pictured here), to exploring the world, Pavlis will help you find and build your community.

With graduation in the near future, Steve said that the networking opportunities that she has experienced through the Pavlis Honors College have prepared her for the future. “The staff at Pavlis is there to support students,” she said. “They give you the tools that you need for success.”

Steve recommends the Honors Pathway Program because it “is a great space to open up your mind and take advantage of the experiences that the program offers.”

For more information about the Honors Pathway Program, visit www.mtu.edu/honors/pathway


This piece is part of our student profile series by Dean Lahti, guest writer and current Michigan Tech student.


Finding an Undergraduate Research Mentor

Finding A Research Mentor

Are you an undergraduate interested in research, but unsure how to get started? Our video tutorial may be exactly what you need. This video addresses:

  • how to identify and contact a research mentor
  • what to expect when beginning research
  • opportunities for research internships and fellowships for Michigan Tech students

Watch the video on your own time, and if you have specific questions, feel free to email honors@mtu.edu, or make a 10-minute appointment for one-on-one research mentoring via Zoom on September 22, 24 or 28.

If you’re a current or prospective graduate student interested in finding a research mentor, please contact the Graduate School.

Interested in Undergraduate Research?

Pavlis Honors College can enhance your involvement in undergraduate research. Learn more about our Honors Pathway Program, meet an honors student who co-authored a field guide based on her research, and see other research options and exhibitions available to undergraduate students.


“Radar and Risk in the Straits of Mackinac” in Michigan Tech Research Magazine

A map of the straits of Mackinac

As Great Lakes water levels rise to record highs, remotely monitoring currents and waves grows in importance. Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College, is co-conducting the first test of an onshore high-frequency radar system specifically tuned to map complex current patterns in the Great Lakes.

Read “Radar and Risk in the Straits of Mackinac” in the 2020 Michigan Tech Research Magazine.


Results of the TCNewTech Pitch Competition

On August 4, 2020, six Michigan Tech teams participated in a takeover of TCNewTech’s virtual pitch competition. TCNewTech is a community of tech enthusiasts, businesses, entrepreneurs, and Michigan policymakers building a culture of innovation, economic growth and opportunity for local talent in the Traverse City region.

Mitch DeLong won the one-minute “bar napkin” pitch with InnoFreightive, which uses software to consolidate less-than-truckload freight into full truckloads, saving time and money and eliminating the need for warehouses to consolidate services. Ranit Karmakar won the five-minute new venture category with FOCUS, which combines a cell phone and a slit-lamp microscope to make eye diseases diagnoses more accessible to all parts of the world.

Read the full results in Tech Today.


Michigan Tech Teams to “Takeover” TCNewTech Pitch Contest

TCNewTech Pitch Contest, streaming live on Tuesday, August 4 at 6 p.m.

Join the TCNewTech Community as Michigan Tech and Husky Innovate takeover their August Pitch Contest for startups. TCNewTech is a community of tech enthusiasts, businesses, entrepreneurs, and Michigan policymakers building a culture of innovation, economic growth and opportunity for local talent in the Traverse City Region.

The competition will showcase three MTU student-generated “Bar Napkin” business ideas or innovations and three commercialized startups with roots connected to MTU and the Husky Innovate program.

This year six teams will present:

Idea pitch category

  • Kyra Pratley with MercyAid
  • Jacob Soter with SwimSmart
  • Mitch DeLong with FreightMate

Business model pitch category

  • Ranit Karmakar with Focus
  • Steve Tokarz, Yoke Khin Yap (Physics) and postdoc Nazimye Yapichi with StabiLux Biosciences
  • Steven Senczyszyyn and Andrew Barnard (GLRC) with Nanosound

Read more in Tech Today or register to watch the competition on Tuesday, August 4 at 6 p.m. EST.


Study Abroad Update for Fall 2020

Dear Fall 2020 Study Abroad Students,

As you know, Michigan Tech has been monitoring the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 and international travel.

Regrettably, in order to protect your health, and to minimize the financial impact to all involved, Michigan Tech is cancelling all study abroad programs departing August through December 2020 due to the continued spread of COVID-19. This includes both European Project Semester programs and study abroad programs operated by third-party providers.  

Like you, we are deeply disappointed by the need to make this decision. We highly value the unique, soul-enriching, perspective-changing experience of study abroad. Ultimately, our higher priorities must be to protect your personal health, minimize disruptions to your academic success, and promote the well-being of the entire Michigan Technological University community.  

We know that this decision will affect each of you in different ways and that you have each been preparing for the possibility that your program might be canceled by delaying your bookings and enrolling in Fall courses at Michigan Tech as a backup. 

Students with questions about how this cancellation affects degree programs including minors and certificates, should contact academic advisors and faculty program leaders as soon as possible. Please also feel free to contact Vienna Chapin if you have any questions about this cancellation, or if you would like to meet virtually to plan an alternative future study abroad experience. Vienna can be reached by email, vrchapin@mtu.edu, or by phone (906) 487-1976.

Lorelle Meadows, PhD

Dean, Pavlis Honors College


Congratulations, Pavlis Honors College class of 2020

Spring 2020 Medallion Ceremony – Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech

Congratulations to our graduates! Watch our virtual medallion ceremony as we celebrate Adison Cook, Brad Dahm, Becky Daniels, Samantha Dertinger, Lucinda Hall, Lianne Novak, Clara Peterson, Cameron Philo, Brenna Rosso, Emily Rutledge, Addie Saltarelli, Joshua Undlin, and Amanda Vermeer.

Transforming a Michigan Tech Program into an Honors Program

Every Michigan Tech graduate has accomplished something amazing — Michigan Tech has prepared them to create the future in their fields. So how did our Honors graduates go above and beyond?

They had once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Took action. Learned and led. Developed relationships in the Michigan Tech community and around the world. Take a look at this photo essay to see how the Pavlis Honors College’s class of 2020 created their own definitions of success.

Spring 2020 Pavlis Honors College graduates


Husky Innovate Students Compete and Win at the New Venture Competition

Each year, Central Michigan University and Michigan Tech’s CMU’s New Venture Competition. Due to COVID-19, this year the competition pivoted online and became the New Venture Online Competition — NVOC. Contestants pitched their ideas in either a 10-minute or two-minute pitch. Four Michigan Tech Husky Innovate students competed in the 10-minute pitch category and three won top prizes.

First Prize — Ranit Karmakar with FOCUS, $7,500
Second Prize — Mitch DeLong with FreightMate, $3,000
Honorable Mention — Jacob Soter with SwimSmart, $1,000

Watch the 2020 New Venture Competition awards ceremony


Student Feature: Addie Saltarelli on School Greenhouses and Gardens

“When I was growing up, I could walk fifty feet out my back door and pick a fresh tomato to eat as an afternoon snack. Another fifty feet, I would find farm fresh eggs and beyond that there were blueberry bushes that our bee hives were pollinating. My family survived Michigan winters from persevering the food we grew in the garden from the summer before. I was fortunate enough to grow up watching my food grow and being a part of the system of planting, picking, and processing. I quickly realized not every kid grew up like this. …”

Sometimes the best way to teach really does involve getting your hands dirty. Read “Planting a Seed for Generations to Come: School Greenhouses and Gardens,” by Honors student Addie Saltarelli, on the Western Upper Peninsula Food System’s blog.