Annalisa Wiesner’s “why did you become an engineer?” story is a familiar one. But through her own reflections and a little help from Pavlis Honors College, Annalisa’s personal pathway led her to become an author, an architect, a builder, and a Michigan Tech graduate in mechanical engineering with ideas on how to combine creativity, curiosity, and technical know-how into a career path custom to her interests. Her “What will you do now that you’re an engineer?” story has been shaped by her time in the Pavlis Honors College.
“Honestly? I threw the mailer away.”
“My parents always told me that I was good at engineering, and that I was creative, and that I should look into engineering as a career.” After two years at community college exploring engineering courses, Annalisa transferred to Michigan Tech.
“Right before I started at Michigan Tech, I got the mailer about the honors college, and honestly? I threw it away without even opening it. I didn’t want to be an honors student in college. I had been an honors student for a long time [in high school], and I wanted to be done with the stress of being in honors.”
Fortunately, Annalisa had a friend in the Honors Pathway Program. A lot of the things her friend was learning in her honors classes—like personal growth, leadership skills, and incorporating school into her life instead of going to school just because it was the next expected thing to do—resonated with Annalisa.
“When I joined Pavlis, I was worried that I wouldn’t have time for it and that it would be too stressful. Pavlis actually made my life a lot less stressful because I learned how to manage myself and manage my work. And I did things that were really interesting to me and that gave me energy and were creative and exciting and not not just schoolwork. My life felt a lot better once I started with Pavlis. ”
Fast facts: Annalisa’s Pathway
Annalisa graduated in December 2020 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Immersion experience: Internship with CommScope, an American global network infrastructure provider company, in their Richardson, Texas office
Honors project: writing a children’s book about her hometown of Traverse City, Michigan.
Academic enhancement: the design/build semester program at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. In the program, she joined a team that researched, designed, and built an architecturally innovative high-performance shelter.
Leadership/mentorship activity: worked in the toddler room at BHK Child Development in Houghton
Academics, enhanced (with chainsaws)
Reflection and Design Thinking are two key parts of the Honors Pathway Program. Try something, think about the experience, and base your next steps on what you’ve learned. Annalisa’s immersion experience, an internship, made her realize she wanted to try a self-directed creative project. So she wrote a children’s book for her honors project. After more reflection, she had an idea for an academic enhancement.
By her senior year, Annalisa knew that she wanted to find a career that got her away from a desk, where creativity and dreams and design could come together. “I had this crazy idea to be a treehouse engineer, to design and build liveable, sustainable treehouses as a career.”
Some research led to Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. Their treehouse class was full, but they did offer a 16-week, 15-credit immersive program that “takes up to 15 students from a variety of backgrounds through an architectural design process to the substantial completion of a single, high-performance, year-round structure. Students, while completing a 15-credit course load, receive instruction in design, assembly and detailing, and building performance while exploring group process, definitions of sustainability, and relevant contexts.” [Source]
Building an knowledge base in an area that complements the focus of an honors experience? That’s an academic enhancement. After talking to her honors and in-major advisor, the registrar, and more, she had a plan: her last semester of college would be spent in Vermont. Four credits would apply to Senior Design, and the rest would form her academic enhancement for her honors pathway.
The Yestermorrow team designed a building for a customer who needed flexibility. It could be a residential space. It could be a small business space. It could be a short-term rental. And, per the customer’s request, you can keep the front tire of a bike fixed in a center spot and rotate the rest of the bike 360 degrees around that pivot point without running into anything. (And yes, Annalisa got to work on a treehouse while at Yestermorrow.)
“My experiences are 100 percent going to impact what I do after graduation,” says Annalisa. “One hundred percent.”
“When you know how things work, you can make things that are really cool and really creative. And that’s what I want to use my degree for.”
Annalisa’s pathway components added a lot to her resume. But Pavlis added more than bullet points on a resume. “I think the biggest benefit that I received personally from the honors college is that I learned how to reflect on my circumstances and my experiences. I’ve gone back to that idea of reflection so many times, and I write reflections now on things that don’t have anything to do with the honors college. I know how to think through my experiences better because I was asked to do that in Pavlis. I’ll go and reflect on a problem or an event, and I’ll come up with some really profound things to help me know myself better and help me to choose a direction for my life. Pavlis taught me the tools that I can use to design my life.”
“For me, it’s about success, and how I think Pavlis can be a catalyst for my journey.” Accountability. Creativity. Innovation. Learn more about why Colin is joining Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech.
Coming to Tech in the fall? Learn more about early admission for incoming first-year students.
Already a Tech student? Learn more about the Honors Pathway Program.
by Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss
Applying to MTU as a transfer student? Interested in engineering technology? Check out the ETS-IMPRESS scholarship program. Open to community college transfer students majoring in electrical engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, mechatronics, cybersecurity, or computer network and system administration, this program requires participation in the Honors Pathway Program in the Pavlis Honors College as well as mentoring activities. It fulfills unmet need of $4,500. Other requirements are listed on the scholarship website, and the deadline for application is March 5.
I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a number of ETS-IMPRESS students in Pavlis Seminar II, and I’ve learned from them about their work designing satellites, implementing sustainable solutions, and using their industry experience to improve MTU’s curriculum. The community within ETS and Pavlis has helped hone their ambitions and support them through the challenges of college — which have intensified for all of us in the past year.
Check out ETS-IMPRESS scholar Caleb Devonta Rogers’ story, in which he describes his journey to MTU and his plans for his Honors Project, and remember to apply by March 5!
Congratulations to our fall 2020 graduates! You’re leaders. Authors. Researchers. Global travelers. Volunteers. We’re honored that you chose to spend part of your time at Michigan Tech in the Pavlis Honors College, we’ve enjoyed watching what you’ve accomplished here, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
Maya Chappell (BS, Environmental Engineering, December 2020) completed the Peace Corps Prep program at Michigan Tech and was awarded a certificate by the U.S. Peace Corps this fall for her accomplishments. Peace Corps Prep is an official partnership between Michigan Tech and the Peace Corps to prepare undergraduate students for Peace Corps service after graduation. Students in the program focus on courses and hands-on experiences to build intercultural sensitivity and technical skills that can be used for Peace Corps service. Maya focused her technical training on water resources, combining a number of courses in civil and environmental engineering with an International Senior Design project partnering with a community in Ghana and an internship at TTM Technologies. Maya further embraced challenges and sought diverse perspectives as an undergraduate by studying abroad and volunteering in Ghana, where she also took a class in the Twi language. She holds leadership positions in several student organizations and was a recipient of the Community Ambassador scholarship for her work building local community service opportunities for students at Tech. Maya will move to Texas to start a job with 3M after graduation and hopes to one day also join the Peace Corps.
GivePulse is an online platform that connects non-profit agencies, student groups, universities and more to their community. The online portal easily allows organizations to list, find, and create events in the area, as well as measure the impact being made within the community. Students can use GivePulse to find volunteer opportunities, projects and beneficial partnerships.
GivePulse at Tech
Since the start of the fall semester, we have 850 users who have devoted 2,068 hours and 729 impacts to the community. According to GivePulse, this has created a total economic impact of $56,254. There are currently five ongoing opportunities for students to sign up with including working with HuskyFAN. We have 42 affiliated community organizations to reach out to if you have a special interest in volunteering or collaborating on a project.
This year we were able to house the registration and site matching through GivePulse for our Make a Difference Day, National Day of Service event. Make a Difference Day 2020 had 590 volunteers at 71 service locations. Service locations were located from Chassell all the way to Calumet. Student volunteers were able to rake and winterize for local residents, tear out the old carpet for the women’s shelter, and organize the local food pantry. Despite the weather (snow), students still showed up and showed their tenacity.
Other past events included the Red Cross Blood Drive, wood chopping for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Adopt-a-Highway clean up, and Keweenaw Day volunteering.
Creating Your User Account
There are two main ways you can log in and create your User Account on GivePulse.
The first way is through Involvement Link.
Log in to Involvement Link
Click on the Service Tab
Service Opportunities will be published from GivePulse on Involvement Link. You will be able to search by date, causes, and type. Click on the opportunity you are interested in registering for and you will be brought to the GivePulse Database. First-time users will be prompted to set up their user account.
The second way to create your account is by going to GivePulse on your web browser.
Click Log in via MTU
Sign in with your Michigan Tech ISO and password.
Registering For Volunteer Opportunities
Once your user account is set up with GivePulse, you can start registering for events/volunteering opportunities.
Find the opportunity you would like to volunteer for and click the green Register button. Depending on the opportunity you may need to answer different registration questions. You will receive an email once you have completed registering.
Impact is the term used to describe all the potential ways you will be engaging with the community. An impact can be funds donated, funds raised, goods donated, hours trained, or volunteer hours served.
Whether you have served your community at an event you found through GivePulse at Michigan Tech or you volunteered on your own, you can track your impacts.
Log in to your GivePulse Account and click the green Add Impact button. This is your opportunity to reflect and track on your community engagement experience.
Applications for 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs) are now open. Fellowship recipients will spend the summer on an individual research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor. SURFs are open to all Tech undergraduates who have at least one semester remaining after the summer term. Awards are up to $4,000.
How to apply
Applications are due by 4 p.m. on February 12, 2021. For more information on the SURF application process, watch the workshop video included on this page. To access application materials and instructions, visit the SURF webpage. If you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dean Lahti
Michigan Tech is a community for students who are driven to learn and succeed. Anderson Lind came to Michigan Tech with ambitious goals and has contributed to the Michigan Tech community through the Pavlis Honors College.
Lind, a third-year management student, is currently a resident advisor in the Pavlis Living and Learning Community (LLC), located in Wadsworth Hall and dedicated to about seventy first-year students in the Pavlis Honors College’s early admission program. He said that the Pavlis community has persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic due to their camaraderie and willingness to take on more than what the university requires.
He joined the Pavlis Honors College during his first year at Michigan Tech, on the recommendation of one of his friends. “I wouldn’t be here, at Tech or in Pavlis, if it wasn’t for Maddie Thompson,” said Lind.
An RA with Recognition
Lind is also a decorated student. He had recently been awarded a Golden MOWII pin from the Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (GLACURH) region for his involvement in the 2020 Virtual Regional Leadership Conference. His hall previously won the Residential Community of the Month award for their participation in Michigan Tech’s K-Day event in Chassell, Michigan. Lind also won the annual Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader award through Michigan Tech.
“My favorite thing about the LLC is having a space where people can talk to each other, build each other up, and create a community that’s really their own.”
Research and Honors Project
In addition to serving as an RA, Lind serves as a research intern with the College of Business, where he is currently researching how to improve college and community engagement with high school students, with support from local organizations such as the Portage Health Foundation and the Copper Country Intermediate School District. Lind said, “Our research team has been speaking with these organizations to see what resources in the community exist for college education and where there could be gaps.”
When asked why students should join the Pavlis Honors College, he said, “Pavlis is hard work, actively seeking your dreams, and finding ways to give back to your community. If any of that appeals to you, then you know you’re on the right track.”
“We did a lot of reflecting on values in HON2150, and it made me realize that most of my values are around community and building other people up. [Pavlis] made me change my career goals. I came to Tech planning to be an engineer, to make money, and experience life after my 9 to 5 was over. Reflecting made me realize that life is short, and I want to make sure I’m making friends, helping people, and being someone that other people can turn to when they’re struggling. It’s shaped me fundamentally. I don’t mind where I end up, as long as I’ve done good things recklessly and spread joy that way.”
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.
Darnishia L. Slade has been appointed to a three-year term with the Michigan Community Service Commission, representing fellow experts in the delivery of human, educational, environmental, or public safety services to communities and individuals.
The Michigan Community Service Commission strives to build a culture of service by providing vision and resources to strengthen communities through volunteerism. The Commission develops a three-year comprehensive national and community service plan for the state that shall be updated annually, oversees and submits the state’s applications to the Corporation for National and Community Service and other public and private funding sources, establishes policies and procedures for the use of federal funds, and develops initiatives to promote community service in coordination with existing programs.
“I am honored to receive this appointment from Governor Whitmer!” said Slade. “I am ready to roll my sleeves up and do the work of continuing to make Michigan one of the nation’s leading state service commissions and a model state for volunteerism. I believe that through volunteerism lives are enriched, cultural understanding is exchanged, and lasting partnerships are established.”
Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College, says “Dar is an excellent individual to serve the State of Michigan in this way. She has the depth of knowledge, experience, and passion to make an impact on community service outcomes so important to our state at this time.”
Slade is an instructor, advisor, and the manager of global engagement programs for Pavlis Honors College. She is a member of the IDEAhub Leadership Team and an organization advisor for the Society of Intellectual Sisters and Canterbury House.