Tag Archives: Scholarship

Meet Tessa Steenwinkel…

By Amy Karagiannakis

Within one year of undergraduate research at Michigan Tech, Tessa Steenwinkel went from assisting in Dr. Thomas Werner’s genetics lab to co-authoring his book. Tessa started at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2017. She is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-Biological Sciences with a minor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Originally from the Netherlands, Tessa has lived in the United States since she was 12 years old. Growing up with a brother who has Down Syndrome drew Tessa to science at a very young age. Her desire to explain to her peers why and how her brother was different led to a later interest in fertility and early development.

She met Dr. Werner as a high school student visiting Tech during Preview Day weekend. He opened up his genetics lab for tours, and Tessa knew then that she wanted to be a part of his research team. She followed up the campus visit with an email to Dr. Werner requesting a copy of his book and inquired as to if there was possibly an opening on his research team for the 2017-18 academic year. Tessa has been part of Dr. Werner’s research team since her first day on campus as a husky.

She started in the fall of 2017 washing lab equipment, quickly transitioned to a research assistant, and then laboratory manager. Biologists use fruit flies to study wing spots, metabolism, and aging. This is important because the same genes and major metabolic pathways in fruit flies affect cancer and other diseases in humans. Dr. Werner’s book, Drosophilids of the Midwest and Northeast, is a field guide to the drosophilid species of fruit flies in the region that provides some insight into their biology and importance. His intention was to introduce researchers, teachers, and young students to these amazing flies and the diversity of their potential use in research. That’s where Tessa’s contribution to the book comes in.

From left to right: Thomas Werner, Tessa Steenwinkel, and John Jaenike

The second version of Werner’s book was published in 2018 with an interesting new chapter. Tessa wrote a children’s bedtime story about fruit flies that is now included at the end of the book. Now, rather than just being a scientific field guide, Drosophilids of the Midwest and Northeast includes a significant outreach component that hopefully speaks to young children and gets them excited about science and nature. The book and a beautiful poster can be downloaded for free here.

Tessa became the first recipient of the Soyring Foundation Scholarship last Spring. John Soyring, Tech alumnus and Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board member, established the new scholarship through a generous gift that awards one deserving student $1000 each year. The scholarship is available exclusively to Pavlis Honors students expressing interest in research and innovation related to water quality management, renewable energy, or solutions to prevent and cure cancer. Tessa was awarded the scholarship this past fall semester for her research in Dr. Werner’s lab.

Tessa is a Pavlis Honors student in the Research Scholars pathway. Last summer, Tessa completed her immersion experience here at Tech on a research project that focused on the evolution of color patterns in animals. Researchers study this because the genes that control the pigmentation are also some of the key players in cancer growth. The focus of Tessa’s research this past summer was to perform transgenics, where they inserted pieces of foreign DNA into fruit fly embryos in order to control those genes. This would give them real causative evidence that these genes play a role in pigmentation in fruit flies.

This past fall, Tessa became the first undergrad in Dr. Werner’s lab to start her own research. She was given the autonomy to develop and set up the project for this academic year herself. Over the last few decades, we have seen a dramatic increase in diseases such as obesity and diabetes, which have long been linked to misregulation of what is known as the metabolic mTOR pathway. Currently, Tessa is looking at four diverse fruit fly species all with their own feeding patterns and preferences and the effect of different types of nutrition on their fecundity (number of offspring) and life expectancy.

When Tessa is not hard at work in Dr. Werner’s genetics lab, you can probably find her at Mont Ripley teaching local elementary school kids to ski, or in her dorm with a book or a knitting project and some tea. Tessa also enjoys playing tennis with the Michigan Tech Tennis Club and going on walks along the Portage.


Meet Christine Wood…

By Amy Karagiannakis

Christine Wood

Christine Wood has always felt passionate about the environment and public well-being. Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech is allowing her to turn that passion into a career. Improving the relationship between humans and the environment has become Christine’s primary goal. Christine grew up in East Lansing, MI and began her college experience at Olivet College located in south central Michigan. As part of the transfer program, she transferred to Michigan Tech in the fall of 2016 to major in Environmental Engineering. Christine became involved in the Society of Women’s Engineers and the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP). YWLP is unique to Tech and facilitated through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. A mentoring program, YWLP pairs Michigan Tech female undergraduate volunteers with local middle school girls. Through YWLP, Christine continues to empower young girls to set goals, build positive self-esteem, and develop valuable communication and leadership skills.

Christine with her "little" from YWLP
Christine with her “little” from YWLP

After spending a semester at Tech, Christine joined the Pavlis Honors College as part of the Custom Pathway. She quickly started taking on more leadership roles within the Pavlis community as a peer mentor and joined the Honors Ambassadors group in the spring of 2017. This past academic year Christine has led the bi-weekly Ambassador meetings and helped develop and implement several College events. Christine leads through example and consistently goes above and beyond to engage with students on a meaningful level. Her commitment to Pavlis and the campus community is why Christine was awarded the annual Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship this month. This prestigious scholarship is awarded to one Honors student annually in the amount of $1,000 to recognize their outstanding commitment to Pavlis programs and pathways. Pavlis students are nominated from within the department by faculty and staff, but ultimately selected by the dean. “Christine commits herself deeply to everything she does. As a peer mentor in our first semester course, she worked diligently to create a truly welcoming and, yet, challenging environment for our students—really pushing them to learn and grow.” shared Lorelle Meadows, Pavlis Honors College dean.

Christine presenting at World Water Day
Christine presenting at World Water Day

Christine is expected to graduate with her BS in Environmental Engineering in the fall of 2018, but plans to stay in Houghton to complete her MS in Environmental Engineering through Tech’s accelerated master’s degree program. Her ultimate goal is to work in wastewater consulting within the state of Michigan. Christine interned with the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Charlotte, MI and the Wastewater Department for Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber in Lansing, MI which both helped her realize her desire to focus on water and wastewater processing. Christine is currently involved in a research study which will serve as her honors project component entitled Reduction of Stream Erosion through Air Injection. Now president of the Chi Epsilon Civil and Environmental Engineering Honors Society, Christine had to initially obtain signatures from professors within her department for induction. This is how she became involved with Dr. Brian Barkdoll and his research regarding the prevention of erosion around bridges. While this research may deviate slightly from Christine’s wastewater focus, she has found the experience very rewarding. Applying knowledge and general understanding of how the natural environment functions to real-world problems is valuable to any student considering a career in consulting.

Christine enjoys being active with softball, volleyball, running, and ultimate frisbee. She also enjoys attending and watching sporting events, especially MTU Hockey. Christine is an avid reader and will often spend her free time researching interesting facts about wastewater. Other things you can find Christine doing is socializing with animals, playing games and other activities with her friends.


Summer Study Abroad in Ireland

cork-kinsale-1The University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) Honors College is facilitating a study abroad this summer in Cork, Ireland. Courses through the University College-Cork will focus on Irish history and culture and will be six credits. Over a four-week period students will visit, Limerick, Galway, Belfast, Trinity University in Dublin, and the famous Cliffs of Moher. In-state tuition rates will apply for all students, and scholarships are available. The application can be found here. This study abroad opportunity is exclusively available to honors students. If you have questions about the program, costs, or the application, please contact John Herron (herronj@umkc.edu).

Please note that this study abroad does not fulfill the immersion experience requirements for the Pavlis Honors College as is. Immersion experiences must identify an opportunity, solve a problem, or address an issue. Michigan Tech students interested in studying abroad through programs facilitated by other universities should contact the office of International Programs and Services in advance to discuss the international credit process. Students may email ips@mtu.edu or call 906-487-2160 to schedule an appointment.

 


Summer DC Internships

dcinternships

The Fund for American Studies is currently accepting applications for full scholarships to attend Summer 2018 programs in Washington, D.C. through their Leadership Scholars Program.

The Institutes are eight week summer academic internship programs sponsored by The Fund for American Studies in partnership with George Mason University. The programs offer undergraduate students a first-hand look at the U.S. political system through:

  • An internship placement
  • Courses for credit in economics and government
  • Exclusive lectures, briefings and professional development seminars
  • Housing in the heart of Washington, DC

Pavlis Honors College students may receive priority admission and scholarship consideration along with other NCHC members. You are encouraged to apply by the priority deadline of February 7, 2018.

The goal of these programs is to help students close the gap between theory and practice by developing skills to work on today’s most pressing global and domestic policy issues. The Fund for American Studies is committed to providing an educational experience that will prepare students for a successful career in domestic, economic, or foreign policy and beyond.

Scholarship funding is still available and students should apply by the final deadline of March 13, 2018. Visit www.DCinternships.org for more information on admission and program requirements.


NOAA Undergraduate Scholarship Opportunities

noaascholarshiprecipientsThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced the availability of scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in disciplines related to oceanic and atmospheric science, research, or technology, and supportive of the purposes of NOAA’s programs and mission. Over 100 students are selected each year for participation in the Ernest F. Hollings (Hollings) and Educational Partnership Program (EPP) scholarship programs. These scholarships include support for two years of undergraduate study and summer internship opportunities at NOAA facilities across the country.

For information on program benefits and how to apply, visit the following web sites:

Educational Partnership Program Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/eppscholarship

Application Deadline:  January 31, 2018

Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/hollings

Application Deadline: January 31, 2018

Eligibility Requirements:

  • US Citizen
  • 3.0 GPA (Hollings) or 3.2 GPA (EPP)
  • Full-time second year student at an accredited four-year undergraduate program or third year student at a five-year undergraduate program
  • Majoring in NOAA mission disciplines, including but not limited to: atmospheric science, biology, cartography, chemistry, computer science, education, engineering, environmental science, geodesy, geography, marine science, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography, physical science, photogrammetry, physics, etc.
  • Enrolled at a Minority Serving Institution (EPP Scholarship only)

For further information, contact the Office of Education Scholarship Programs at: StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov or (301) 628-2913.