Category Archives: Alumni

English Alum receives “Up and Comer Award” from Michigan Library Association

Dillon GeshelWhat do libraries have to do with farmer’s markets? What is a “book bike?” And why was there a Nerf gun battle in the library last Friday night?

Dillon Geshel (English, ’13), Director of the Portage Lake District Library, can tell you, and his efforts to expand community outreach at the library have recently been recognized by his peers. Geshel has been selected for this year’s “Up and Comer Award” by the Michigan Library Association (MLA). This award is given each year to an early-career librarian who is “expanding the role of librarian by being forward-thinking and moving libraries into the future.”

“Winners of this award are energetic, efficient librarians who push the boundaries of originality and creativity and help to establish a library culture that sets high expectations, promotes learning, and creates understanding of the library as an integral part of the community,” said Rachel Ash, MLA communications and membership manager.

“Libraries have so much to offer their community beyond the books on their shelves, and I’m passionate about the non-traditional ways we’re able to meet community needs,” says Geshel. “This award really speaks to the Portage Lake District Library’s ability to do that work in a meaningful way.”

Geshel will accept the award in mid-October at the MLA annual conference in Novi, Michigan.


Joel Beatty and Stefka Hristova Co-author Book Chapter

Joel Beatty and Stefka Hristova wearing graduation robesRTC graduate, Joel Beatty, and professor Stefka Hristova have co-authored a chapter in the book, Surveillance, Race, Culture, published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Their chapter is titled “Articulating Race: Reading Skin Color as Taxonomy and as Numerical Data”. According to Dr. Hristova, the chapter “explores the transformation of race into biodata at the turn of the 20th century”. The book is edited by Susan Flynn, University of the Arts, London; and Antonia Mackay, Oxford Brookes University. 




Victoria Sage Receives Award from Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council

Victoria SageVictoria Sage, technical writer in the Center for Technology & Training (CTT), is the recipient of the 2018 Carmine Palombo Individual Award from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC). In addition to her duties as a technical writer at the CTT, Sage is editor of the Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program’s The Bridge newsletter.

In announcing the award, the TAMC notes “Vicki’s work in these roles has been a great service to the TAMC in that many of Vicki’s efforts advance the strategies of the TAMC Work Program through key training and educational initiatives for professionals at local transportation agencies. Vicki has also provided leadership and advocacy of asset management principles as well as communicating relevant programs of the TAMC and transportation agencies across Michigan in helping develop stories in The Bridge.”

One of the driving factors in Sage’s nomination for this award was her role in development of the TAMC Bridge Asset Management Workshop. Using innovative features of common desktop software, she transformed the TAMC training into a focused workshop to quickly and easily create a bridge asset management plan for students attending the training.

“Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans, and she developed an innovative way to use everyday tools to help the workshop attendees,” says TAMC Bridge Committee Chair Beckie Curtis. “This innovation has been a game changer in terms of what can be accomplished in the training workshops and making it even easier for people to have a document that they can then use to organize treatments in a way that is financially manageable.”

Transportation asset management is a process of managing public assets, such as roads and bridges, based on the long-range condition of the entire transportation system. TAMC, created in 2002 by the Michigan Legislature, promotes the concept that the transportation system is unified, rather than separated by jurisdictional ownership. Its mission is to recommend an asset management strategy to the State Transportation Commission and the Michigan Legislature for all of Michigan’s roads and bridges.



Anna K. Swartz Participates as Invited Panelist

Anna K. SwartzAnna K. Swartz, a graduate of Rhetoric, Theory & Culture, participated as an invited panelist at the 2018 Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics Spring Symposium: “Held Against My Will: Conversations About Involuntary Commitment and Forced Treatment” at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in Los Angeles, California on April 16.



HU Alum Nathaniel Gbessagee Named President of Grand Bassa Community College

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed Michigan Tech alumnus Nathaniel Gbessagee ’12 as president of Grand Bassa Community College, three miles north of Buchanan on Liberia’s Atlantic coast.

Gbessagee received his PhD in rhetoric and technical communication from Michigan Tech in 2012. His dissertation research focused on improving risk communication about malaria in Liberia.

After completing his doctorate, Gbessagee returned to Liberia, where he accepted a faculty position in the Department of Arts and Sciences at Tubman University. In 2016, Gbessagee was appointed a senior aide to the chairman of Liberia’s National Elections Commission. His responsibilities as president of Grand Bassa Community College will begin in August.


Michigan Tech Alum in episodes of “This Is Us”

Eric Michael JohnsonEric Michael Johnson, who graduated with a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication in 2012, was featured in an article in the Duluth News Tribune for earning a role as the drumming instructor in two episodes of the NBC drama “This Is Us” (Season 1, Episodes 13 and 14).

While at Michigan Tech, Johnson created a parody video of Al Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” for a digital media course. In the article, Johnson recalls his time filming the video:

“It celebrates the geek, nerd culture at Michigan Tech. It is a celebration of that because I absolutely identify as a big sci-fi geek,” he said. Being in front and behind the camera in creating the video, he said “it was right around then that I really started to fall in love with the idea of filmmaking.”